Trapped on the Bus

So yesterday was the first day of school.

The twins are starting high school this year, and –having experienced the car line at the high school before– I have declared that they are going to be riding the bus.

(The high school campus houses a middle school also, and the traffic jams during pick-up and drop-off time are horrendous! On Boo’s first day of school there, four years ago, I thought I had allowed plenty of time to get there. Then I spent over twenty minutes waiting in the car line and Boo was actually late to school on the first day!)

But I digress. My point is, the twins are riding the bus to and from high school.

This means they have to be at the bus stop at 6:24 am every day, which means I have to get up before five in the morning, which is way too early, but whatever. I am making it happen.

It was still dark when we went out to catch the bus. It’s August. That means it’s only getting darker, as the sun will be rising later and later as time progresses. But hey, I’ve seen worse. I’ve lived in Alaska.

In the morning they got on the bus without incident. The bus driver handed me a form to fill out, introduced himself as Mr. B, and they were off.

In the afternoon I went outside to wait for the bus to come. Sitting on my front porch, I can see the corner where the bus will stop –it’s on a busy road where the neighborhood entrance is—but it’s across the yard and past some trees. So I can see the bus when it comes, but I can’t see when the kid gets off or whatever.

Okay, so yesterday I’m sitting out there and the bus stops at the corner, and then the bus drives away. I wait, but my child never shows up.

I was only expecting one of the twins, because Little Boy stayed after school for band practice. But Little Girl never appeared.

I walked over there and looked around, but she wasn’t there. Then she texted me saying that she was still on the bus.

Ok, I thought. So you’re trapped on the bus now?

I started walking down the street because I figured the next stop shouldn’t be that far away.  

I went to get the car. Then my husband pulled up in his car, and I said, “Hey you wanna go on a mission to get a kid who is trapped on the bus?” He is always up for a mission, so he hopped in.

So there is a new thing I’ve never seen before:  they have an app that tells me where the bus is. I had downloaded it earlier, thinking it would just give me bus updates, but it seems that there’s a literal GPS sitting on that bus telling me exactly where the bus is in real time. I’ve never seen this before; I’m pretty excited about it actually.

Technology= WOW, am I right?

I was like, well let’s just follow the bus on the app, and then once I catch up to it, she can get off. I handed the phone to my husband and said to look at the app and figure out where the bus is.

He was looking on there while I was driving. Then he said, “Okay I have it.” He directed me to a corner in a neighborhood near ours.

“Park right here,” he said. “Then the bus will be trapped down this circle, and when it comes by, we’ll get our kid.”

He was taking this “we’re on a mission” thing very seriously.

I said okay and stopped. I put on my emergency blinkers so people could go around me and waited. Then he said, “When I see the bus coming, I’m gonna get out and stand in the street and wave my arms.”

I said, “Really?”

He said that he figured it was gonna really embarrass her but then she’d figure out how to get off the bus at the right stop after this.

Talk about tough love!

SO. He saw the bus coming and stood in the street waving his arms.

OBVIOUSLY I had to get a picture of this!!

Inside the bus driver was like, “What gives?” and tried to wave him away.

My husband went up to the window and said, “Hey my kid is on that bus, and I need it back.”

Then he explained that she didn’t get off at her stop, and the bus driver said he would take her back there.  

“Nah,” said my husband, “just let her out right now and I’ll take her.”

So Little Girl got off the bus. You can imagine how incredibly embarrassing this was. She got in the car and said, “Mom. Dad stood in front of the bus. He stood in front of the bus!”

I told her how you’ve got to stand up when it’s your stop, and if he if he drives away without letting you off you yell, “Hey it’s my stop!” I don’t know why this kid doesn’t know bus etiquette. I guess because she only rode the bus in elementary school where they’re actually more careful about the kids, maybe she isn’t aware of how you’re supposed to act?

Anyways, it was the first day the driver didn’t know who was supposed to be getting on and off but…

I’ll bet he remembers this kid now.

Stink Bugs

I took a trip to Maryland to visit a friend. The first day there were a couple of bugs in my hotel room that she identified as stinkbugs, telling me that those types of insects are all over in the area.

One stinkbug was dead and one was still alive; my friend gently scooped the living bug up and set it free outside.

The next day while I was alone and peacefully reading a book, I saw another live one sitting on the washcloth I was using for coaster under my soda cup.

Thinking I would be compassionate and humane like my friend, I carefully wrapped the washcloth around the base of my cup and carried the whole thing outside the door.

Out there I unwrapped the cup and flapped the washcloth vigorously to free the stinkbug. I thought it fell out—there was a black spot in the ground— so I pulled my glasses from the top of my head down to my eyes in order to check. (I can’t read with my glasses on, but I need the glasses to see distances. It’s tough being over forty.)

Unfortunately it was just a black spot.

So where was the stinkbug? I flapped the washcloth some more, but nothing fell out. Maybe it flew away?

I shrugged and stepped back into the room, glancing down at the soda still in my hand.

There was the bug on top of the lid, SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO THE STRAW. I screamed and threw the cup across the room.

All thoughts of humanely setting a cute little bug free vanished and I smashed that nasty thing flat.

You missed your chance mister. 

Don’t press that button

My oldest daughter ET is in her third year of veterinary school.

Although she does go to class in person, a lot of her school work is still online. Therefore when her laptop wasn’t working, she took it into the school IT department for repair.

While there, she had to wait in front of a counter for a long time while the IT guy looked at her computer, and on the counter was Jar Jar Binks.

That’s right. The IT office has a big figurine of the the most hated character from Star Wars Episode One sitting front and center on the counter, staring her in the face. And the figurine had a button on it that simply cried out to be pressed.

ET stood there for almost half an hour, NOT PRESSING the button. Then, the IT guy went out of sight to the back room, and the receptionist went to the restroom. Briefly the office was deserted.

The button called its siren song, and with no one looking, ET succumbed to temptation and pressed it.

Immediately Jar Jar began to dance and sing. LOUDLY.

The song was so loud that it was obviously audible everywhere in the building, including in the restroom and the back room.

The receptionist emerged and glared at ET as Jar Jar continued to sing his ear-splittingly loud and VERY LONG song.

The IT guy, looking supremely unamused, came out of the back as Jar Jar finally wound the song up with a big finale.

“I really hate that song,” said the IT guy. “You just had to press the button, huh?”

Sheepishly ET shrugged. “I resisted a really long time…”

Like that Klondike Bar commercial

What would you do in pursuit of snacks?

Recently I took a little roadtrip with three of my kids.

On the way we stopped at a roadside rest station and the kids wanted snacks from the vending machine. I got Little Boy some Doritos and GG a Dr. Pepper.

(Little Girl had remained in the car. She wants us to think that she never-ever has to pee, or at least this is the position she maintains at all costs when we visit rest areas.)

Then I wanted a Diet Coke, but I had used all of my one-dollar bills and was almost out of change. The Diet Coke was $2. I had put all of the silver change in my wallet into the machine and the display read $1.90.

I now had only pennies left, and without much hope I tried inserting one. It came back out; the total remained $1.90.

I needed a dime. “I’m a dime short!” I complained. Suddenly Little Boy said, “Hey! I see one! There’s a dime!”

We all looked. The dime gleamed on the dirty floor between the drink and snack machine, all the way back next to the wall.

But the machines were housed behind locked iron bars to prevent vandalism or theft.

How could we get that dime? I really wanted that Diet Coke!

Little Boy wanted to help me. He is thirteen now, and has gotten a lot taller recently. He got down on the ground and stretched one newly-elongated arms out through the bars, straining to reach.

GG and I watched in trepidation as he reached … and almost touched the dime.

Then he found a stick and used it to scrape the dime forward enough so that he could grasp it.

Triumphantly he stood and handed me the coin. I was so excited.

“You are the best of sons!” I exclaimed as I put the coin in and pressed the button.

The Diet Coke came obediently out of the spot. Ah, the sweet elixir! I was so happy.

That kid has earned his mother’s eternal gratitude!

Kitty is at War

Cats are solitary animals. Our cat, who is named Bunny but we call him Kitty, is used to being the only cat in the house.  He is almost 12 years old and has ruled our house most of his life, and he likes it that way.

KING KITTY

Kitty received a bit of a shock a year or so when my daughter GG (she just turned 22) moved home.

GG had been attending college out of state,  but she moved back home to go to school here in town, and brought her cat Goose with her.

SHE CALLS HER CAT HER SON

This was a big shock for Kitty. He did not like having another cat in the house.

Goose, on the other hand, thought it would be great to have a friend to play with. Goose is a much younger cat, and of a more playful nature than Kitty.

Unfortunately, Goose’s attempts at friendship seemed quite hostile to Kitty, and he felt attacked. Kitty’s first strategy of defense was retreat. He spent about six months living in the kitchen cabinet.

Kitty gradually took over an entire section of the lower kitchen cabinets. First I moved things to make space for him in one cabinet. Then I discovered he was actually living in a total of THREE double lower cabinets.

HE FEELS SAFE IN HERE

When I tried to move a few things out to make room for him (in the space he had already claimed), Kitty protested. He enjoyed having all of the things in the cabinet. He could hide behind them and lie on top of them.

In the lower cabinets, I have always keep non-breakable things, such as plastic cups and dishes, paper products, or storage boxes. But now if I have an occasion to use any paper plates, plastic cups, or disposable silverware, I will need to buy new ones.

Kitty has laid his furry butt on everything we own in those lower cabinets, and it is all unusable now. (I did take out and wash all of the reusable plastic cups/dishes and move them to a higher cabinet.)

During this time, we began to refer to Kitty as the night cat, because he only came out the cabinet at night. Boo put a special pillow in the empty cabinet and set up his food and water in there for him. He seemed quite comfortable in there all day while Goose roamed the house.

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Kitty would come out of the cabinet once Goose had been shut in GG’s room for the night. (Goose is that rare kind of cat who actually sleeps in a designated cat bed at night.)

Then Kitty would emerge from the cabinet, feeling safe to roam about and rule the house again. After many months, however, Kitty seemed to reassess the threat posed to him by Goose. He began to sometimes come out of his cabinet during the day.

BOW BEFORE YOUR KING YOU PEASANT

Goose was overjoyed, and he took this as a sign that Kitty wanted to be friends.

Let’s be clear: Kitty did not want to be friends. All friendly overtures made by Goose were perceived as acts of aggression by Kitty. Therefore Kitty began to fight back.

At this point, Kitty seem to begin to realize that although Goose was younger, they were approximately matched in size and strength. Kitty began to try to become the dominant cat.

No longer did Kitty wait for Goose to finish a plate of wet cat food before creeping out of the cabinet and eating the leftovers.

GIVE ME THAT FOOD NOW

Kitty boldly came forward to eat, and eventually I started making two plates. The cats ate side by side, but it seemed an uneasy truce.

Mostly now they coexist without too much trouble. Occasionally Goose will try to sidle up to kitty with a friendly meow, but Kitty will quickly shut him down with a swipe of the paw. Kitty seems to have tenuous hold on the position of Dominant Cat.

Today Kitty made a bold move in his personal crusade to cement his position as Top Cat. (This is a war that Goose does not know is being fought. Goose still thinks they are buddies who occasionally scratch each other, but it’s all in fun in his mind.)

As I said before, Goose is a more playful cat, and he has some cat toys. He has some of those feather thingies and balls with bells in them and strings and whatnot. Recently I corralled all of these toys into a corner of the living room in a cardboard box, because Goose also likes to play with cardboard boxes. Kitty does not deign to play with toys.

This morning I witnessed Kitty’s latest advance on the cat battleground. I walked into the living room and saw Kitty sitting on Goose’s toys inside the cardboard box.

I looked at him. He looked at me. I noticed he had his feet a little apart as he was sitting.

THIS IS VERY BAD

I thought to myself, It looks like he is sitting in that box the way that he sits in his litter box.

I narrowed my eyes at kitty. He held my gaze. Oh no, I thought, he wouldn’t, would he?

DO YOU DARE ME?
DO YOU THINK I WON’T DO IT?
WATCH ME!

Kitty stared directly into my eyes challengingly and began to pee on all of Goose’s toys.

I screamed but it was too late. Kitty continued to look at me with unapologetic boldness. Then he got out of the box, and walked away.

I guess I’ll have to throw out that box.

And who knows what aggressive moves Kitty might make next? We will have to see. But Goose had better beware…. 

My fridge is melting

I don’t know why, but my refrigerator is melting.

It’s been doing so gradually from the top. I tried googling, “Why is my fridge melting?” but I just ended up with a lot of information about things INSIDE the fridge melting, not about THE REFRIGERATOR ITSELF melting.

So what did I do? Basically I ignored it until my husband noticed, and then told him to figure out how to fix it.

Here’s the weird thing: HE DID!

Apparently the problem is from the things stored on top of the fridge. I keep medicines, cat food, and sunscreen up there. None of those things was the problem, but something that goes along with sunscreen is insect repellant.

So the DEET in insect repellant is a solvent, and it was dripping from an overturned bottle on the top of the fridge and melting the rubber seal in the fridge door.

He moved the bottle of repellant, cleaned up the mess, and solved the problem.

So if you ever find your fridge melting, remember this, I guess….

I am SO Nerdy

I saw this shirt advertised as a designated Christmas gift for math teachers.

I’m sorry, but this is bad math. If I were a math teacher and received this shirt, I would be horrified.

I understand that the designer meant to reference the song “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” specifically the line, “Fa lalalalalalalala.”

HOWEVER, that equation would require simple multiplication, NOT the use of an exponent. La to the eighth power would be FAR too many la’s.

It should be Fa + (8La).

As you can see, I spent WAY too much time thinking about this.

UPDATE: 10 NOVEMBER

My 13-year-old son got in the car today after school and said his math class was radical today.

“Get it?” he added. “RADICAL?”

Ah, I see the nerd apple does not fall far from the nerd tree…

I Hate Homework

Little Boy is in eighth grade right now. I saw that he had recently googled “Why does homework exist?”

Although I understand these (honestly kind of preachy) answers given on Google, and of course I told my son that homework is good for him…. and he should DEFINITELY do his homework….

I don’t like homework any more than he does!

I ESPECIALLY don’t like it when I don’t know how to DO it!

Recently he had to study a bunch of equations on calculating the half-life of radioactive elements for his science class. I was lost, so we face-timed his dad, who is out of town for work right now.

That face perfectly describes how I feel about this homework assignment.

Seriously! Did I mention this kid is in EIGHTH GRADE?!?!

Why does homework exist again?

I’m still not the cool mom

I recently downloaded some old-school Taylor Swift to my Spotify playlist and I was listening to it and singing along when I picked up the twins from the middle school.

In the passenger seat, Little Girl rolled her eyes and popped in her ear buds.

In the back seat I could hear Little Boy telling himself, “Remember, it’s not polite to criticize other people’s music choices….”

I thought: Number one, it’s good he’s learning how to be polite.

And, number two, I am SOOOOO uncool.

Updated: 29 September

I was again listening to my Spotify in the kitchen when Little Boy came in from outside. It was playing “Life Goes On” by Oliver Tree.

He said, “Oh this is a cool song!”

Then he paused. “Wait, is this on YOUR Spotify, Mom?” he asked incredulously, shaking his head in amazement.

AAAAND… I’m STILL uncool….