Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Week Update

So...I sit here and look at this blank screen again and wonder what to write...It's been 2 weeks(!!) since I've posted anything and I feel like I hardly know what to write about.

We had bus driver training this morning - this time on dealing with parents - whether they meet the bus or on the phone or whatever. Again I thought it was a rather interesting presentation - I came out of it with some areas to work on (I could do a much better job at documentation of bus stuff. I journal after all so it shouldn't be too terribly difficult to fill in a calendar page after bus route.) and encouragement in other areas. One of my biggest areas of encouragement is the statement that "kids won't go up to an adult or person they don't like". Implied from that is that if kids off my bus route come up to me in public for a hug or to say hi or whatever I must be doing something right. After this morning's route where I had two different sibling groups arguing amongst themselves on the bus I needed to hear that.

Dipstick is on spring break this week - Sunday I was afraid it was going to be a very long week. However yesterday he did really well at working on getting his bedroom cleaned and organized again. It's not done but it is MUCH better than it was. Today he is with his step-brother "Ornery" due to my training this morning. I was hoping to be able to make time to take him to a movie or something a little bit special but I'm not sure if that will work out or not - getting him to a matinee show and getting myself on the bus on time are the challenge.

Squirrel did pass his black belt test and has received his belt. He did really well - got to break "real boards" at testing. That is always more fun/satisfying than the plastic boards that are used more commonly. He came back from his retreat fighting a cold - and is still fighting it.

Saturday we went as a family to a local tractor auction - B had a tractor that was being sold. It was interesting to watch and hear the auction going on. I have a terrible time figuring out what is being said though - they speak so fast in such a sing-song fashion it just blows my mind. After we got home from that we all spent time in the shop building "my" flower boxes. That was fun - 2 are completely built but not filled yet. I will need at least one more 4x8 foot one and would like a couple of 4x4 ones for other areas of the yard. I want to grow a combination of perennials and annuals with the goal of eventually ending up with 3 seasons of color. I also want to mix in vegetables instead of having a huge separate vegetable garden. B is anxious to get grass seed sown.

Mom ended up spending a couple of days in the hospital last week - she was in on the 22nd in the ER and probably should have been admitted at that point. However as she "perked up" once she was re-hydrated she was sent home only to fall back into the same pattern of losing more fluid than she was able to take in a couple of days later. Thankfully we now have a diagnosis - it's something that in some people would be surgically "repaired" but she's not able to withstand surgery. Therefore she and Dad will have to learn to control the symptoms with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medication. It's been really difficult both for me and the boys being this far away. I am extremely thankful that I was able to go up for a visit at the beginning of the month - am trying to round up passports and figure out the best time to go later.

Guess that's enough of an update. I hope to get around to catching up on all "my" readers posts and comment soon. I sure appreciate your comments and encouragement.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Stuff

  • Trying to come up with an interesting, catchy blog post is stressing me out.
  • I want to either get outside and "play" in the dirt or get out and travel - go sightseeing. Therefore I'm currently considering a number of day trips the boys and I can make over spring break...not really any good ideas where to start at the moment. Suggestions??
  • Daylight savings time is really not fun! It's dark again in the mornings when I drive my bus route...and getting supper and bedtimes at a reasonable time is a challenge. Who thought up this scatterbrained idea anyway??
  • Pete's circle of daffodils seems to have mostly survived the construction around here - they are just beginning to peak through the ground.
  • My daffodils and tulips are coming up at the old house - I always feel a bit melancholy when I go over there though I'm definitely happily married. (The above picture was taken last spring at the old house)
  • I stopped by the old house to check on the repair work being done on the kitchen ceiling - and see what else was being done as I knew there was some painting going on.
  • Stretch has equated the fact that doing extra chores around here - splitting wood - with or without a log splitter or working in the shop or whatever equals gas money for him
  • Spring track is starting. Squirrel will be taking time off TaeKwonDo to participate in track. Stretch is busy with spring musical practice. Dipstick is staying busy with homework and CERT (Crisis Emergency Response Training) through his boy scout troop.
  • Squirrel leaves tomorrow for a PeaceKeeper Retreat through school. PeaceKeepers is a program that trains kids to help others resolve conflict without violence.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Delay

Well...no delay this morning and I ended up backing up the bus about half a mile. I had come in the same way I did yesterday morning to this one area - knowing there would likely still be at least some water on the road. However I couldn't tell at all how deep it was - nor could I, in the dark, accurately judge a turn-around without running the risk of hitting something. So I just backed out to where there was a dead-end drive that I was certain I could turn-around in. It made me run later than I did yesterday - thankfully I had received a call from the mom of my student who lives furthest east that he wasn't riding so I didn't have to pass his stop. The only other "excitement" on the bus route was seeing the ice running diagonally across a busy intersection that I have another stop at. The first time it wasn't a problem...the second time the back end of the bus kind of skidded around.

This morning by the end of bus route time snow was falling - and sticking slightly to roads. It seems to have stopped now and it's definitely cold. The plan for today is to get a thorough grocery list made and ready. Then I'll grocery shop this afternoon while Squirrel is in TaeKwonDo.

I'd better go for now - have a parent to attempt to call about an incident from earlier in the week. The other student involved has been kicked off the bus for a day - I would like to see the same thing for this student. Unfortunately I don't have much real hope that that's what will actually happen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Floods & Trip Update

Water water everywhere! Today is a beautiful gorgeous sunny day but cold! Yesterday temps were in the 60's and today we are back down to the 30's. We had a 2 hour delay this morning in school start time - thankfully. There was rain and thunderstorms pretty much all day yesterday and well into the night - I've heard that we got a couple of inches and are already well over normal rainfall totals for this time in March. Many roads are flooded and there is definitely water in strange places. My bus route was not dramatically affected - I had to do one turn-around that I don't normally have to do. However I was sort-of expecting it and had come into that area the way that I normally exit it so it wasn't a big deal. On the other hand...getting to my bus was a wee bit challenging - I was unable to take the road south that I normally take as it had flowing water over it. (I will go through flowing water if I can see most of the way across - in this case I absolutely could not!) The first road I turned on to shorten my detour also had water across it and the opinion of the boys and I was that it was also too deep to cross. However we made it to the bus - only 5 minutes or so later than normal and were able to leave on route at our normal time. Coming home I did (on a different road) drive through some fairly deep water - ended up with my wheels and undercarriage having a bunch of straw/grass debris stuck in them. The car looks pretty funny.

I'm really glad I went to Mom and Dad's over the weekend- had a fairly good trip overall. The flights both directions were decidedly bumpy - coming back I could see the thunderclouds we had to skirt. The neat thing about the flight there was watching out the airplane window to see the lights of Toronto as we landed. I forgot how beautiful the lights of a city were from an airplane at night. I also forgot how absolutely huge Toronto airport really is - seemed like I walked forever to get from the plane to customs. Getting through customs was no problem at all - the lines were not long. Mom saw me before I saw her - I was looking for Dad or for both Mom and Dad together rather than Mom alone. That was encouraging. Mom ate well while I was there and overall we had a good time. We played a game - first time in a very long time I've played a board game with them and spent time visiting. I was able to sort and organize Mom's bookshelf in their bedroom and go through some of her files in the cabinet. I wish I'd had more time to get more done. It was good to see where they are living now. I'm not sure when I will get to go back.

Yesterday afternoon was the first afternoon some of my middle school kids rode a different bus. They were less than thrilled about the transfer but it seemed to make a big difference to me - my route went more smoothly and I was far more relaxed. I was afraid the other driver would be really upset about it but she responded to me well enough this morning on the radio.

I'd better go - have to attempt to accomplish something today - with the 2 hour delay this morning and another nap my day is almost gone. Naps have been a necessity this week - probably a little more than normal due to the time change.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Am feeling rather overwhelmed at the moment - getting ready for this trip is difficult - probably made more so by fact that I'm flying and so have to pack more "carefully". Have passport and marriage license set out in pile of stuff to go. Am still looking for envelope with Canadian checks in it - from our wedding that I need to cash. I can't remember where I set it down last time I looked at it. (I'm not the most organized person in the world - those who know me well would laugh rather hysterically at that statement I'm sure) I have yet to download the pictures off my camera so that I can go with a "clear" memory card. And the plan is to pack in such a way that I only have a carry-on bag and my purse! Again...for those who know how I travel that's a rather laughable statement - I'm known more for taking everything but the kitchen sink. I've been that way ever since I was a kid - somehow I have the feeling that if I'm traveling I need to take anything that is special to me in any way in case something happens and I can't get back to where-ever "home" is.

Tonight is Squirrel's black belt testing - from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. We are coming home for a few minutes after bus route - simply to give me a few minutes at home tonight. Squirrel has pointed out that that is a waste of gas. However today I feel it's necessary - not to mention that I'm washing his uniform and we will need to get it out of dryer so he can wear it.

This afternoon I'm heading into work early - both so that I can enjoy a walk with some of the other drivers - and so that I can go to the bus shop to discuss my afternoon load with my boss. I keep having extra kids in the afternoon and struggle with finding them places to sit. I have several students that don't do well in a "3 to a seat" situation yet that's exactly where I'm at.

Better go...haven't written about the beautiful reddish sunrise this morning and the deer I've seen recently. That will all have to wait.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Can't think of a title

Well....one challenge solved...Dipstick is now typing anything that must be typed on the laptop computer. We will then transfer the file to a flash drive so that he can print it either at school or using the other computer. I am hoping that having the "big" computer free with result in less stress for all involved.

I am booked for a visit to Toronto this coming weekend to see Mom and Dad. I'm more than a little nervous about flying by myself - and driving a couple of hours to the airport. I'll have a book on CD for the drive...and am planning on packing in such a way that I only have a carry-on bag. Checked luggage means more charges - and while I got a good rate on the ticket I don't want to have to pay anymore. If I have to check something on the way back that's fine - I always bring back more than I left with. I will be taking the camera...along with journal. I would really like to get more of Mom and Dad's slides on CD before I go - however that will likely require paying someone else to do it. This will be the first time in probably 25 years that I've been the only one to visit - I'm looking forward to that part of the trip. B and the boys will have to "survive" alone here while I'm gone. My bus route is covered - had a chat with the substitute driver this morning.

Yesterday was a nice enough day that I cleaned the chicken coop out...that was a major job. It was nice to be able to have the chickens out for awhile. Sally dog was "herding" them though - towards Splash who I'd tied up. She was trying to be "discreet" about it (can a dog have that much smarts?) but definitely herding them. She had a group of 5 heading towards where Splash was when I caught her and put an end to that. She pretty much gave up after that...thankfully.

Stretch is busy with musical practice. He will legally be able to carry his brother around this coming week - one reason for when I scheduled the trip as I needed him to haul his brother to school. Squirrel will be testing for his black belt in TaeKwonDo this week - I'm pushing him a bit on that as I wanted it done before spring track starts.

Better go...am being sat upon and I've about run out of rambling anyway. Squirrel is waiting on me to go outside with him to "clean" the car out.