Nothing’s Ever Easy

That’s my father’s saying. Mine is “It’s always something.”

Baguette’s IEP includes bus transportation between home and school. Because she is now able to attend the after-school program (this is a whole story of its own), she only rides the bus to school in the mornings; Mr. Sandwich picks her up in the afternoons.

At the beginning of the year, I called the Special Education department, which is where you’re supposed to call to let them know this.

Her bus comes at about 7:15 each morning, except for when it doesn’t–usually because there is a substitute bus driver, or because there is some sort of maintenance issue. Usually (but not always) we get a robocall about the latter.

Baguette, meanwhile, loves the riding the bus. She is ready ahead of time, can hear it 1/2 mile away (I am not exaggerating), and is almost frantic to get the front door to the house open when it pulls up.

little girl boarding school bus

Today, the bus did not arrive. We waited on the porch for almost 20 minutes. There was no robocall.

So I called the Area Bus Supervisor, who was not there, and left a voicemail. Then I called Dispatch, which required a lot of time on hold before I spoke to a person, and many more short times on hold while that person talked to other people before finally let me know that Baguette was not on the route sheet.

Which is weird, because she was on a route sheet YESTERDAY.

Then I got Baguette into the car and called Special Education, who confirmed that their records showed that she was to be picked up in the morning and said that her “profile is active,” but that they did not see any routing information.

And then I called the Area Bus Supervisor again, and actually got a person. She remembered talking to me earlier in the year (when I was trying to get Baguette’s pickup time changed because I refused to cut into her inadequate sleep even more by waking her up before 6:00 a.m.), confirmed a.m.-only pickup, and said that the only thing she could think of was that sometimes “when you make some changes, the system goes ahead and bumps kids off of routes when it’s not supposed to.”

You know what? That’s not a system.

But she did email the person in charge of routing and get them to reinstate Baguette’s transportation starting tomorrow, and she called me to let me know it was fixed.

So that’s good. But to get it fixed, I had to make multiple phone calls to multiple offices for a total of 45 minutes, be late to work, and find breakfast out in the world (thanks, McDonalds!) because I hadn’t been able to eat at home the way I usually do.

This is going to happen again, because this is how it “works.” Nothing’s ever easy, and it’s always something.

Summer Recap

I haven’t posted in a while. Or much this year at all. Turns out, life’s exhausting.

Baguette finished TK in June, and we promptly left for a week’s vacation in Santa Barbara. Where I drank a lot of coffee, we went to the zoo manymanymany times, and she lost a tooth! We don’t usually go that early, but it turned out that there was a week-long gap between the end of school and the start of summer camp.

label on coffee dispenser reading "Obama Blend: an optimistic blend of Kenya, Indonesia, Hawaiian"

small girl sitting on small statue of elephant, with a hat on its head

Naturally, she was sick for the first few days of summer camp.

Then, after not-a-week of camp, she started summer school. This was by virtue of a revision to her IEP. In theory, fine. In practice? We weren’t so sure.

The challenge was that summer school only ran until about 12:45. That’s far short of the end of the workday. Neither of us works nearby, and it would be really hard to drop her off mid-day anyhow.

That meant Baguette would need to take the school bus from summer school to camp.

This was not her actual bus.
This was not her actual bus.

We had severe doubts about this. It just didn’t seem like something that would work. She’d never been on a bus of any kind, and she’d never been in a vehicle without one of us or a grandparent (and, let’s face it, that mostly means us).

The first couple of days were rough, as they worked out the details of the route. The ride was too long, and Baguette would arrive at camp screaming and crying. But she never balked at getting on the bus, and we started packing Dr. Seuss books so that she’d have some entertainment.

She decided she loved the bus. She started telling her aide that she wanted to ride the bus, long before it was time to leave for the day.

After four weeks, summer school was over, and it was back to all day at camp. No bus. Baguette was disappointed, but she rallied.

And after another three weeks, it was time to start kindergarten. So here we are, in kindergarten. We’re still trying to figure things out, primarily because there has been a lot of change–new special ed teacher, new principal, new classroom, and more.

Fingers crossed.

School bus photo by dfirecopy, via Flickr. Public domain.

Idiots on Parade

Yesterday Mr. Sandwich and I were driving to the house. The car in front of us was being driven by someone who was on his cell phone. This is illegal in California now, but why let that stop you? Except that it wasn’t a phone. It was an electric razor.

That’s right. Some guy was shaving his head while driving 70 mph on the freeway.

Today I took the bus to work, as I do. And after a few minutes I became aware that someone behind me on the bus was calling his credit card company. Apparently he wanted to cancel his credit card protection plan. I couldn’t make out his mother’s maiden name, although I do know that he lives a block down the street from us. And I know this because he thought the bus was a good place to hold this conversation.

I thought it was an ironic place to hold it. So when he was given another number to call in order to lower his interest rate (21 percent, BTW), I got up, went back, and asked if he was sure he wanted to conduct this business on the bus.

He said, “Oh, it’s okay,” and I said, “Really? Because I can hear you way up in the front of the bus, and this is a really public place. You have no way of knowing if someone is going to use this information.” And then he said, again, “No, it’s okay. Thanks.”

So I left him to get his identity stolen, since clearly that was his goal for the day.

Why are there so many idiots on the move? I don’t know, but trust me. If you do something this stupid, I will tweet about it on Twitter. And 12 people will read about it.

Guilty Conscience

I wound up driving to work today so that I could get the smog test done on the way home. And it turns out that the shops I’m most likely to go to are in the neighborhood where we live. So I could have taken the bus and then just driven to the smog test location. On the other hand, I’m more confident that I’ll get there before they close if I drive straight there, instead of timing my departure from work to the bus schedule.

But still.

Why I Love the Bus

Think about it. It’s L.A. Why are you driving? The cult of the car is so enormous here that it’s impossible to get around. The bus, on the other hand, is cheaper than gas and much cheaper than parking. So check out the bus lines in town and ride.

Another thing I love about the bus: I get to read. I love to read, and it’s tough to find time. But on the bus, there’s nothing else to do.

Banker, by Dick Francis
The Ghost in the Little House, by William Holtz

Hot. Where’s that break in the heat they were promising?