Friday, January 09, 2009

My stress inducer happened to someone else

And I was relieved of my stress by it

Every weekday about 4:02 I have this stress event happen.

"What if I missed the bus?"

The school system has this (very admirable & I totally agree with it) rule that they won't let primary kids off the bus unless an adult is visibly waiting for them (and the kids have to recognize the adult - the bus driver will ask the kids if the bus driver doesn't recognize the person).  If your happen to live near the road, like just about everyone else on our road, this means you can stand on your porch as the bus pulls into site, or even stay inside your front door or by a large window in the comfort of your house, should you still be clearly visible.  However, you can't see the road from our house & you can't see our house from the road. We have a long driveway with a 'rise' in the middle of it. (I'd call it a hill but that'd be gross exaggeration, but it is a visible incline and you do have to go uphill from either end of my driveway) Plus there is a curve in it.  So I am not visible to the bus driver until I am 2/3 of the way down the length of my driveway and at the top of the 'rise'.

Meaning I get to stand out at the end of my driveway in all sorts of weather - blazing sun, icy rain, bitter cold wind, etc. Naturally I am not wild about spending any more time there than I have to, so I leave it as late as I dare to leave the house. You can usually find me pelting down the driveway at 4:00 everyday, certain that THIS time the bus will arrive at 4:02 instead of 4:04-4:11 like usual. Because on 2 occasions it has, but they were in September when I was leaving still at 3:58, so I was there.

I'm always thinking about this stress that I will miss the bus. That the day I say "enough already, the bus never comes before 4:04 so there is no need for me to leave before 4:02" the bus will come at 4:02 and I'll never know about it because it only takes about 10 seconds for it to drive out of sight. (2 minutes may not seem like much, but it is a very long time in an icy rain).  I could very easily reach the top of the rise and never know the bus has been & gone. So I'd be standing around at the end of the driveway assuming it was a 4:08 day, or maybe 4:11 or even the rare 4:17 day not knowing I'd missed it & my kids are still on the bus.

I know they radio the bus depot & the dispatcher then tries to reach the parents. But I am standing at the end of my driveway, where my portable phone range doesn't reach and even though my cell is with me, there is NO SIGNAL at the end of my driveway. There is a 50% chance they might reach DH, assuming he is not in some even more of a backwater county checking on towers. Then I think they take them back to the school, make another attempt to reach parents or emergency contacts (they may or may not reach mine depending on the day of the week) then they hand the kids over to CPS.

And I'm still standing at the end of the driveway dithering about whether to risk leaving to call the bus depot & possibly miss the bus.

I think about this a lot when it reaches 4:09 and the bus isn't there. I can't leave & go call the bus depot because I pretty much have to go all the way back to the house to use the cell and I can't see or hear the bus from there. What if it comes while I am gone?

I'm the first to admit stress clouds the judgement.

I could drive to the end of my driveway & sit in the car & at least be out of the weather but then I'd have to back my car UPHILL and around a bend and no good would come to my axles, my bumper, a number of small trees and numerous large rocks if I did that. (trust me, I've tried it, I somehow perched my car on a railroad tie edging part of the driveway while backing up and had to be towed off of it)

So I stand in icy cold wind & rain at 4:00 every day for upwards of 15 minutes, composing blog posts in my head, hoping to not miss the bus.

I was composing this post today while waiting, debating whether or not to expose my neurosis to the internet, when the bus arrived at 4:07.

The first words out of my boys' mouths were "Danny's dad wasn't home & he has to stay on the bus. Miss A called on the radio but they couldn't find Danny's parents. We waited forever at his house."

My first thought was "Man I feel for Danny's dad." but it was immediately eclipsed by "they WAITED?!?" You mean the bus will wait a bit & see if the parent shows up? Suddenly I am slightly less stressed. I asked what was going to happen to Danny & they said Miss A is going to drive back by his house after dropping everyone else off & then take him to school.

Drive back by!

My kids are nearly the end of the route but even then I have at least a 5 minute leeway before the bus comes back down the road. Suddenly common sense blows through my stress induced fear. "Well, duh, why not drive back by the house? It's no faster going some other way back to school."

I hope they were able to get a hold of Danny's parents. If I had any clue who they were I'd call them up & offer to be their emergency contact from now on in gratitude for the relief they have inadvertently given me.

6 comments:

Too Many Hats said...

Whew, that whole running to the end of the driveway everyday would have put me over the top. Talk about stress! So glad you know the truth now and can relax maybe a little.

Jenni Jiggety said...

My kids have be returned to school twice on their bus. My mom gets them for me, and she was at the mall and forgot them. Twice.

So embarrassing.

Lindy said...

Man I am sooooo happy we live a block and a half from the kids school! (Well,they haven't started yet, but come September...) I couldn't imagine having to fuss with busses. Now, I will have to walk them there and back each day, but at least I won't have panic attacks like this! And don't worry, if I were you in your shoes I so would be freaking out every day too. :)

LuAnn said...

I think I'd be worried on a daily basis that I'd miss the bus too!!! your story was cute to read!!

Aunt Becky said...

Man, it stresses me out thinking about that! No wonder you were stressed!

Paula Constable said...

I have to drive my kids to school, but I remember my bus days. First one on in the am and the last off in the pm. I can't tell you how many drems I had about missing the bus--there's always one more thing to get. I even have those dreams as an adult. It stresses me just thinking about it!