Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Did I Get Myself Into?

Well, that's the question I've been asking myself today. What was I thinking! Bus driving? How crazy am I?! To find out just how crazy the past few days have been, follow along!

Day1
am- rode along with an experienced driver and watched the morning route and stops

pm- drove my first route. Elementary age girl threw-up in the middle of the bus

Day 2
am- drove on snow covered roads

pm- "lost" a child. I pulled up to a large bus stop. After all of the children from the stop had exited, a woman came up to my door and asked about a particular girl. She wasn't on the bus. I CB'ed my boss who contacted the school. The girl was placed on the bus at school. The school's principal sent out an "A.P.B" to all the other buses, in case she has gotten on the wrong bus. I sat and waited as each bus responded that they didn't have her. After 20 minutes of sheer panic, the principal CB'ed back, she has gotten off the bus and walked passed the woman who was to pick her up and went right to her house. The entire panic-filled time, she was safe and sound at home! (Insert cardiac arrest here!)

Day 3
SNOW DAY- No school!

Day 4
am- got my 1 set of rear, double wheels stuck on a patch of ice. Held up a major roadway, in both directions, while I spun myself free. Returned to bus yard where I came 1" from scraping the side of my bus on the lot fence. My boss came out with a huge grin on his face and helped me correct the problem. Ahhhhh! Thank God for gracious and understanding bosses!

pm- high school kid entered bus and then RAN off. Um, hello?! Then after making my last elementary stop, I noticed one of the little girls wandering around looking confused. Her mom came out of their house and I stopped to see if everything was OK. The mom responded, "I'm missing a child. My son?" immediately I hear "MY STOP!" from the back of the bus. The little boy was cuddled down in his seat either reading, sleeping or daydreaming and missed his stop! AHHHHHH!

WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2 Runs Under My Belt

The bus driving is going well. I've now driven 1 am run and 1 pm run. Both times I've had a "senior driver" riding with me. I must admit, I'm very glad they were there. Yesterday during the pm run an elementary age child threw up right in the middle of the aisle. Then, today we had snow. Enough snow for a 2 hour delay. The delay was great and gave my children a chance to sleep in. However, even with the delay, many of the roads were still snow covered. All went well and it really was great to have an experienced driver watching my back during my first run in the snow. So, I wonder what will await my run today..................................................

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I PASSED!

I passed my bus test! (Can I get a woo-hoo?)
I'm so relieved and very excited. My first bus run, alone, will be Monday afternoon. I rode along Friday afternoon and will ride along again Monday morning. Then, Monday afternoon I'm on my own! A frightening, yet exciting thought!

Here is the first item I will be hanging in the bus:


My cousin created this picture. The kids in the back include my 3, plus my sisters 2. I LOVE it!


So, let me tell you how I got to this point.

A few years ago, one of my co-workers gave me the initial idea. She drove school bus in the AM and PM, and then worked at the same daycare I worked at during the day. She was a VERY petite little lady and would always respond to me by saying, "Karen, if I can do it, you can do it!"
So, the thought was planted. However, at the time Ella was only an infant, Reid was only 3 and Hayden was in half-day Kindergarten. I was assured they would be able to ride along, safely in their age and weight appropriate seats, but I couldn't easily find a babysitter, during the day, to watch the kids during the week of classes.

Time passed and I continued to play with the idea. Then, this fall, James earned 2 weeks vacation. He was free to take a few days off, to watch the kids, so I could take the classes! I called the bus company, filled out an application, took a initial test, and registered for the classes. I was told there was very little chance the boys would be able to ride my bus. The runs for their elementary school were filled and it didn't look like there would be an opening for some time. I worried about this a bit. Ella would be able to come, but the boys would need to ride their normal bus through the entire run and meet me back at the bus terminal. I was disappointed they wouldn't be on my bus, but knew they would be ok. Then, quite honestly, God stepped in.

James never needed to use his vacation days. His employer was WONDERFUL about moving his start time to accommodate my class schedule. It was, after all, only a week. During the week of classes I was able to complete my FBI fingerprints and physical/drug test.

Within 3 days I received my permit papers and was cleared to take my "written" tests for my permits. I went into the DMV Christmas Eve morning and passed 3 out of 4 of my written tests. I failed the air break test. Ugh! I was disappointed, but knew with a bit more studying I would easily pass. I re-entered the DMV a few days later and passed!

Things were falling into place! A week after passing my tests, my trainer called and scheduled my training days. I was scared about scheduling these days, seeing as I could only find care for Ella on Monday and Tuesdays! Well, the trainer trains when? ON MONDAY AND TUESDAYS! Woo-hoo! Over the past 3 weeks I met with the trainer and, thanks to her amazingly calm nerves, great teaching abilities and wonderful direction, I was ready to take my test 4 days earlier than originally planned.

During this time I was notified that there was a run opening at my sons' elementary school! I told Hayden what bus # I would be driving. His response, "That's the blue bus, your favorite color!" Indeed it is! Each bus at the elementary school is color coded to help the Kindergartners identify the bus. I just "happened" to get a bus run to my boys school which just "happens" to be the bus identified by my favorite color. Oh, that funny, funny God of mine!

I took the test. With a butterfly filled stomach I followed the tester through the bus lot as he looked for an appropriate bus to test me on. Quite frankly I don't know what exactly he was looking for. However, when he finally found the right one, I looked at the bus #. Bus 30! Bus # 30 was my bus # from Kindergarten through 12th grade! Gee, perhaps God's way of saying, "Hey Karen, calm down! I got this!" ? He did. I passed with only 1 minor mistake. Can I get an AMEN?!

Oh, yeah! I also need to mention that the bus company I will be working for recently restructured their maintenance crew. They have now moved ALL the mechanics from ALL the school districts in the area into the lot I will be working at. Not only are they all there, they are also working 3 shifts, around the clock! James' feels this was the companies way of preparing for my coming! :) (Ya see, I tend to have oil and maintenance issues with our van. My theory is out of site out of mind. Apparently my oil pan, engine, and tire feel otherwise!)

So, here is my brief review of things that just happened to fall in line God used to reveal himself.
1. James' work allowed him to work around my class schedule.
2. A trainer who worked perfectly with my schedule
3. A bus route suddenly opened at my sons' school.
4. An AMAZING trainer.
5. The bus I will be driving is identified by my favorite color.
6. I tested on bus 30, my bus # as a kid.
7. All the mechanics in the company have been moved into my lot.

Just a coincidence? I don't believe so.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Catch-up

Wow! What a crazy week! I have been feeling much better. In fact I felt much better just a day or two after my last post. However, why is it that the whole family/house falls apart when Mama isn't feeling well? I suppose I should feel honored in knowing that my family needs me so much. Yet, it would be nice for things to be completely taken care of when I'm not feeling well. James tries. He made dinner. Then left dirty dishes on the table and in the sink. A huge pile of laundry was engulfing the hallway and apparently both James and the boys "forgot" homework existed. So, I apologize for not posting. I've been well, but shoveling myself out from under the housework that was just waiting for me to get well again! Ah, housework, my faithful friend. Never does she leave my side! :)



So, here is my catch-up post:



I have completed my bus driving training. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please click HERE. My final, 2 hour test, will be on Friday at 9:30 am. So, if you wouldn't mind, please pray for calm nerves and a clear mind. Provided I pass, I will start driving my own route Monday afternoon! Woo hoo! It has been a 2 month process to get to this point. My head is full of bus parts, air breaks, bus conduct and driving knowledge. It would be wonderful to take the test, pass and finally put all the testing behind me! So, look for an update Friday evening!



Apparently, I purchased laughing cheese. I've heard of "Laughing Cow" cheese, but that is not what I bought. After a recent trip to the store, I found this on the cheese label.


Who knew! Giant sells LOL cheese. I realize this stands for Land O Lakes, but common, it doesn't take much to amuse me! Oh, what's with the "cheese product"? It's cheese, not velveeta! Since when is sliced, white american cheese considered a "cheese product"?

I'm also posting a cute video of Ella. While shopping, she found an extremely inexpensive "princess" jewelry set and wand. When we got home she put it on and I took the following video. Please excuse the way I say WAND all drawn out. Also, the lens of the camera was filled with finger prints, so the video is very blurry. However, it's a must see video for our friends and family who know how much James wanted a girl. Well, he got his girl. A very strong, yet "girly" girl!


video

Excuse the grocery bags all over the floor too. In fact, the laughing cheese is in one of those bags. So, listen closely, you may here it LOL! Ha-ha!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I have a cold.




I'm feeling a bit like this







My kids are tearing the house apart. Hubby is watching football and movies with machine guns. Mama.....feels.....ugh.



My new friends and family members look like this






Hoping to enter the healthy world again real soon!
Until then....take care and stay healthy! :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ugly Gift

This year my sister and I decided against getting each other "traditional" Christmas gifts. Instead we decided to have an Ugliest Gift competition. The guidelines for the competition were:


1. The gift must be inexpensive.

2. The gift must be displayed in either the kitchen or living room of the recipients house for 2 months.



I thought I had won the challenge when I searched "odd looking" and "ugly" on ebay. The result was a very funky looking ceramic/clay tribesman smoking a pipe/saxophone looking thing. Yeah, it was UGLY! In fact it was even complete with a feather for hair! :) Well my sister was able to inconspicuously tuck the ugly tribesman on a shelf in her kitchen. Honestly, if you weren't looking for it, you would never see it!


What did she gift me? Well lets just say.....SHE WON!
I've posted multiple pictures so you can get the full effect!










Yes folks, I have light-up lobsters in my living room!

Ugly Christmas gift scoreboard.

Wendy 1 Karen 0

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Reid + Football Pump + Rubber Glove =



I love how Reid always finds sheer joy in the simplest of things! However, he has been blowing up, and deflating, the same glove for 2 days now. If I hear the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of the pump one more time. Mama's going to LOSE it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Review Of The Last 3 Days

As many of you already know, a photo "challenge" has been issued in bloggyland. The challenge is to take at least one photo each day during the new year. So, since a lot has happened during the last few days, I'll allow my photos to guide this post.

On New Year's Eve the family and I spent the evening at my sisters house. At midnight we headed down to the town square to watch a lion, holding a cigar, ring in the new year. Yes, that's right, a lion holding a cigar! The town she lives in was also, at one time, a famous cigar producing town. So, each year, a cigar toting lion climbs the side of a building in the square and "announces" the new year. I tried to get a picture, but it turned out looking like this:






Here is a pic of the family shortly before midnight:




If you can't tell by our attire, it was FREEZING! Freezing and windy! I was wearing gloves and when we returned to the house, after being outside for only 20 minutes, my fingers were burning from the cold! Crazy...perhaps. Fun....definitely!

We spent New Years day at James' sister's house. We had a traditional new years meal of Pork and Sauerkraut. I've never liked this meal, but James' mom and sister know how to make a gross, smelly meal very yummy! Sadly, my camera spent the ENTIRE time in the car. :( So, my 1/1/2009 picture was taken almost at the last minute as Ella and were cuddled on the chair before bed.







On Friday we took another trip to Hershey Medical Center to have Hayden's knee checked. For those who may not already know, Hayden has been diagnosed with Pauciarticular Onset Juvenile Arthritis. He visits a Pediatric Rheumatologist 3 times a year to check his joints. Again he received an excellent report! There is currently no fluid in his knee joint. He is therefore considered to be in a medical remission. I so dislike the word remission, because it makes the whole thing sound cancerous. However, that is the term the Dr. used. It's considered a "medical remission" because the steroid that was injected last March lasts for 6-12 months. He has successfully passed the 6 month mark. Now the true test will come when we return in May. At that point, if no fluid is present, he will be in full remission. We'll keep praying for fluid free joints! :)

Now, usually when Hayden has an appointment he and I make the voyage alone. However, since James had the day off, and Ella has never been to Hershey's Chocolate World, we all made the voyage and stopped in for a ride. Here are our pics as we entered Chocolate World:

















So now the ride count is:


James too many to count


Karen too many to count


Hayden at least a dozen


Reid at least half a dozen


Ella 2 ( it's the off season, we rode twice. why get off when you can just go again!)





Hey it's a FREE ride with FREE chocolate at the end! What's not to like! :)





Now, today's pics need a bit of an explanation. It seems Ella has found herself an imaginary boyfriend. He appeared about a week ago and hasn't left. I'm not really sure where she come up with the term "boyfriend" but he as been quite an presence in our home. Today she decided to take a trip to her boyfriend house. James found this by the back door:









Apparently Ella decided to pack her bags and head over to her "boyfriends"! After she fell asleep this evening I looked inside and found she was quite prepared to marry this "boyfriend" of hers.










She packed everything a married woman truly needs. She included a blanket, new socks, a nightgown, a fresh pack of Tums, lotion and 2 lovies to cuddle up with! :) I couldn't help but LAUGH! Who knew we would be dealing with these issues at the age of 3! Isn't this supposed to start during the teen years?!

Well there ya have it! A brief review of the last 3 days! I hope everyone had a great beginning to 2009!