Thursday, September 26, 2013

One small door = large problems

It's been a busy few days!  But then, what else is new in my little world!?    :)

I've been trying to get as many school field trips as possible since so many of them are during the school days. 
In our district, all the 5th grade students from every elementary school take a trip to one of the local camps, about 40 minutes away.  They go for 3 days and so far I've been able to take and pick up most of them.  This means I have trips on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.  It's a fun trip and the kids are always so excited to go AND to come back home!

Along with those field trips I now have 2 extra hours each week transporting elementary students from one school to 3 different ones for their music lessons.  Another fun trip and every extra hour is valuable.

Yesterday was just one of those days . . . the kind you know are around the corner . . . making you not want to round the corner!

Each semester we must do a "practice" evacuation drill on the bus.  Since my scheduling is so tight on time the only day I could get it done was a Wednesday (elementary starts an hour later that day so extra time between routes).  Yesterday we did our drill with the junior and senior high students.  It went off without a hitch and no one was late for class.  They were helpful and took things seriously.  Not the norm for that age of kids!

I then rushed home to inhale a sandwich before going back to take the kids to camp.  We had 2 busses of kids and 1 bus just for their luggage.  The trip itself was pretty routine until the way back.

As I was turning into the high school (just enough time to get there from the field trip) I noticed the back engine door of my bus flapping in the breeze -- not a good sight.  I had to continue to the school, which was about 2 miles away.  When I got there another driver and I got it closed and thought that was the end of that.

That's what we get for thinking!  Just as I had my senior high kids loaded and was leaving to go to the middle school I noticed the door swaying open again. 

Our rules are that if students are on board the bus we drivers are not allowed to step off the bus.  So this meant I had to go on to the middle school.  I radioed our main office and one of the assistant principals said he would meet my bus and help close the door.  Sounds easy . . .

But as he worked and worked we realized the latch was totally broken.  Transportation then had to send another bus for me to continue my route.  This meant off loading the senior high students to wait with the middle schoolers while they brought another bus.  This whole procedure took about 40 minutes.  Needless to say these kids were going to be late getting home.

And . . . since I go directly from dropping of the last high school student to picking up the elementary students it required transportation to send a substitute driver (and bus) to run that elementary route.

I knew my little kids would be confused and some would most likely be upset with the unannounced change.  I was right!

With so many really little ones and ones that don't speak English --- confusion abounded!

But I was able to radio the sub and let him know which student would be able to help him and so the driver was able to get through the route a bit easier.

And then came this morning --- over 60 little ones --- and their parents --- all waiting to see who and what bus were coming!  All with numerous questions! 

I had to smile as I reassured them that it was unavoidable and sometimes these things happen. And even though they weren't aware of the details -- the school was! 

I think they understood and those that didn't were being translated to as I drove away.

By this afternoon the latch should be replaced (I used a sub bus this morning = confusion) and we should be able to settle back into routine!

They may be small in size and not able to understand most of what I say -- but they know me and   they trust me and depend on me.  Kind of made me think about my relationship with God.  Many times I don't understand Him but I trust Him and depend on Him --- and know He'll never send me a substitute!    :)

One small little door ---- one so very important door!  Scripture tells us the doorway to heaven is narrow --- SUPER important!  

Who would have ever thought there were comparisons between driving a school bus and heaven?

If we look -- we'll see God everywhere!!!!

Until next time . . . where do you see Him?  Or are you even looking?                          Susan

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thou Shalt Not . . .


A couple of years ago I helped our church secretary and her family move.

One of the things they were going to get rid of was a big hippo --- yes, I said hippo.  This thing was about 2 feet high and nearly 3 feet long.  It had been sitting in front of their fireplace.

As soon as I saw it -- it was love at first sight!   :)

Since they didn't want it anymore it "jumped" into my truck and found a home with us.  I decided to put him outside, just underneath our bedroom window, in the landscaping.  When Monty saw it knowing all the brightly colored things I had painted and put in our landscaping, he thought the hippo should be painted purple.

Sure thing -- bright purple he became.  Everyone who walked by noticed him and said just looking at him made them smile.

This past weekend I was painting one of our plastic lawn chairs purple and thought I would give hippo a fresh coat of a bit brighter purple.  As I turned the corner to pick him up --- he wasn't there!?  At first I checked my own self wondering what I had done with him.  Then it dawned on me --- someone stole him!!!!!

I was a combination of heart broken and mad -- more mad!  Didn't someone realize he didn't belong to them?  Didn't they think that he might have some sentimental value to me?

The answer to both questions is NO!  Not only didn't they realize --- they just plain didn't care!

I am still angry and now the neighbors tell me how much they miss seeing him as they walk by!

Stealing has always been something that Monty just cannot deal with.  It's one of those "pet peeve" things for him.  He says he grew up with it and just cannot tolerate it.

I did not grow up with it and still don't like it!

So my hippo is gone and no one will convince me he's found a better home!  And maybe he was just plastic and painted purple --- but he meant much more to me!

God knew what He was doing when He wrote the 10 commandments and put in the one stating "Thou Shalt Not Steal".  I only wish people would take Him seriously!

Until next time . . . Lord, please forgive the person with the sticky fingers and convict them enough that they just might return hippo to his real home!                                            Susan

Monday, September 16, 2013

He's still not 50

I don't know if you remember last year this time.  Monty's birthday!

Last year he came to me and finally "admitted" that he was having a lot of difficulty dealing with the fact that he was turning 50.

When I told him he would only be 48 a smile broke across his face and he laughed at how much better he felt.

So today -- he's still not 50!!!!!  And he's still happy about it! 

We've got a whole year to "deal" with 50.       :)

Gotta love the man!  I know I sure do!

Happy Birthday Monty!                                                                           Susan

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Nations . . . on a school bus

All week I have been working with 2 little kindergarteners on their English.  Each day they get on the bus ahead of the rest of the elementary classes and they are all excited to open their school folders and show me their coloring pages, stickers for being good and everything else they did in school.

English is a minority language on my bus.  Omar and Gustavo have really been working hard.  Omar on his colors and Gustavo on his numbers.  Gustavo can now say his bus number and count to 11.  Omar knows the stop light colors and loves telling me when I can go and when I can stop.  He's still a bit confused about what yellow actually means as he doesn't understand "slow down".

The little Chinese kids and their laughter and high pitched voiced speaking their native language never cease to amaze me.  Sun in the only one who can translate the rules of the bus -- and repeat them as often as needed.

This week I also have 4 new students, none of who speak English.

As I was rolling down the road back to the bus lot this afternoon, looking back to all my empty seats as they were all home safe and sound -- I thought about the nation being on my bus.

I've got kids from Africa, China, Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Germany, Portugal --- and those are the ones I know of.  I have no doubt more are there but I just haven't gotten to know them yet.  I still don't know where Ebba is from?  And Isa doesn't know where he's from either!

I am growing more and more attached to them each day.  Their innocent smiles, their laughter that will make the worst feelings disappear, their love for their parents and the parents love for them.  As they take that last step off the bus steps and run into the arms of their parents it shows me the love of God for us!  He's always there waiting for us -- with His arms open to catch us, to hold us, to love us.

The kids on my bus this year couldn't have more opposite backgrounds as mine from last year.  But what they do have in common is the love of Jesus and His arms ready to hold each of them.  Makes me wonder what they will all be when they grow up.

Santiago brought me a cupcake this morning!  The smile on his face as he handed me that little brown bag was priceless!  When I thanked him and told him I didn't think I would share it with my husband he just cackled.  Those priceless, life changing moments --- for me!

Thank you Lord for allowing me to see You through these children!  Bless them Jesus!  Bless us all.

Until next time . . . God really IS love!                                               Susan

Sunday, September 08, 2013

What's it going to take?

Friday afternoon's bus trip returning the kids from school to home was one of the toughest I've had to date.

I wonder what it's going to take to get people to wake up, hang up, stop texting and take notice of the 8 large red flashing lights and 2 stop arms staring them in the face to realize that they all mean STOP!!!

Let's recap Friday afternoon.

The high school route was fairly event free.  Just the usual traffic through the IU campus that leaves my head spinning from looking right, left, front and back and then all around trying to ensure my kids are safe as they get off the bus.

Then came the elementary route.  The kids were wound up and we had another quick discussion about the importance of them staying seated.  They always listen and always mean to follow the rules and this day -- they were doing great.

My first 3 stops are group stops where over 20 kids get on and off daily.  The very first stop had me blowing my horn to get the attention of the on coming vehicle who had no intention of stopping.

Let me interject here --- in case you've never really paid attention to a school bus ---- quite a bit before I am going to make a stop I turn on 4 very large amber colored flashing lights --- warning everyone around (front and back) that I am going to be coming to a stop.    I then watch and try as best as I can to get traffic through and past me as to not throw up the stop arms right in the middle of traffic.

As I am coming to a stop -- about 20 feet before time to open the door -- I turn on the 8 flashing red lights and the 2 large stop arms with even more red flashing lights.  This does not open the door -- just yet.  As I am coming to a stop I am watching the traffic and making certain everyone has come to a complete stop before I do open the door.

When I feel it's safe (and the kids have been trained on this procedure) I open the door and the kids get off the bus -- many running into the welcoming arms of their parents.

On my 2nd stop I am at a T intersection preparing to turn right after the kids are off the bus and across the street.  I had been stopped for over 15 seconds when -- from my right side and having to make a left turn in front of the bus!!!!! --- a truck runs right through my lights and stop arms!!!!  He nearly wipes out a group of parents and kids crossing the street!  My side window is open (it's over 90 degrees) and I immediately start screaming at him!  Yes, I was screaming at him!  "What in the world are you doing?"  was only the beginning!  His response?  "Hey lady, I looked both ways!"

That comment sent me the rest of the way over the edge and I let him have it even louder!  I told him to "just sit there while I get your license plate number so I can report you!"  I got the number while he once again told me he had looked both ways and after making sure that the kids and parents had seen what happened and knew THIS is why we are oh so careful at bus stops --- I radioed in his plate number with what had just happened. 

By that time my hands were literally shaking as I couldn't stop thinking about "what if?"

The very next stop --- again I am stopped and I see the oncoming car with no intention of stopping!  I again start blowing my horn while waving my left arm out the window -- trying to get the driver's attention.  He also stopped about half way through my stop arms and this time I yelled (yes, yelled) at  him to "back it up buddy!" as the kids and parents couldn't even cross the street to home!  He gave me quite the deadly look and I could not have cared less!

And if that wasn't enough --- my next stop is for one little boy --- right on the IU campus again -- and I am again watching the beat up red car coming down the street --- with the driver texting!!!!! --- and ready to speed right through my stop arms.

So . . . the horn blows and my arm waves and half way through he stops!  He has no room to back up as traffic has stopped behind him so he just has to sit there --- and continued to text!!!!!

All of these drivers got their plate numbers radioed into our administration department, complete with vehicle and driver descriptions.  Which makes me have to do one more thing in watching out for the safety of these precious little ones!  I have kept pen and paper right next to me -- for good reason -- and the kids in the bus are also good at turning and trying to get the license numbers!

Each of these "opportunities" for educating the kids (and parents waiting on the curbs) are indeed used to educate.  We have "the talk" inside the bus and I try to also talk with the parents.  All of which takes more and more time and the kids get home much later than the time they are scheduled for --- but --- the are getting home ALIVE!!!! 

I wonder what it's going to take!  Which child is going to have to give their life?  And which bus driver will be crucified for the incident?  And which parent is going to have to watch the whole scenario -- unable to do anything?

We ALL know that red lights mean STOP!!!!!  No matter what city, state or country we are from, no matter what language we speak -- or don't speak! 

STOP means STOP!

I would beg of you to please share this message with literally everyone you know!  Some child's life depends on it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until next time . . . if YOU stop --- those behind you will also stop!  Thank you!    
And Lord --- thank You for protecting my precious little cargo!                                     Susan

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Power Washing . . .

This morning I got the power washer and power washed that black, hairy spider into oblivion --- I think!

Tomorrow morning I'll see if he's really dead --- or if he gives it another try!

If you have no idea what this post is about ---- read yesterday's!     :)

Until next time . . . atleast I got rid of some frustration in power washing him!                    Susan

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Oh What A Tangled Web . . .

As I pulled back into our driveway from this mornings bus route I noticed one of the biggest and hairiest spiders ever webbing itself from my lilac bush to the neighboring flower.  It made me shudder!  I'm not a big fan of spiders and have noticed more these past days than I think ever before.  They are everywhere -- all over my flowers and shrubs!

The big black spider this morning made me think of something.  The phrase "oh, what a tangled web we weave . . ." came to mind.

God is not the author of confusion!  This is scriptural.  But my, oh my, can life get confusing.  Like some of the spider webs I've seen -- going this way and that with no real pattern or reasoning.

Life can get that way so easily! 

We are currently in one of those "webs" and I don't like it.  I feel like the little bug that just happened to be going by and got one little toe caught in the web and before I even realized it --- my whole self got sucked in!

But somewhere in that "web" is truth!  It has to be there!  But how does one find it?  How does one know it even if it is found? 

Another old saying of "there's always two side to a story and somewhere between them is the truth" is also appropriate right now. 

It comes back to that word --- TRUTH!

Do we even recognize truth anymore?  Seems our society has made it more and more difficult to see or feel. 

All I can do while in this web is pray that God will continue reigning on His throne and working His almighty and perfect plan to His goal.  I know THAT is truth --- scripture says so and that is what I will continue to stand on!  Looking to His Word I will atleast read truth and get the pure definition!

For those of you thoroughly confused about this blog?  That's a good thing!  It means you aren't in the spider web so keep doing what you're doing and be happy!

Life is a continual learning process --- a process of constant change --- and none of us are very excited about change --- because in order to get to the other side (the better side) we must go through the web!!!!!

I'm working my way through!  How about you?

Until next time . . . little spider --- stop spinning so fast!!!!                                     Susan