Quote of the Week

"We Must be Willing to Give Up the Life We Have Planned, So As to Have the Life that is Waiting for Us."
-Joseph Campbell
Week of Aug 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tales from the Bus Stop: A Gerding Dramady

Those of you who follow my Facebook posts have seen comments here and there about some "issues" at the kids' bus stop on our street.

Well, those issues have now escalated into blog-worthy hilarity.

Sometimes I wonder if my family has been cast in a sitcom ... problem more of a dramady...the likes of the Truman Show; where the world is watching and laughing (or crying) and we're just plugging away at juggling this stuff - none the wiser.

So to bring you up to speed: (Seriously - the stuff in the middle in kinda boring - but the end is worth it - so hang in!)
The bus stop has been an annoying issue for the parents who've been standing out there with the kids. Luckily, to keep our lives from being a full on CSI drama - I get to sleep in during that time. The previous bus stop was basically directly across the street to our house, then one house over. A family of girls live there. Seen that movie "Mean Girls?" Yeah, not even close. I won't go into full on characterization - you get the idea.

Well, the frustration for the parents is that the bus pulls up -- but the door to get on the bus is on OUR side of the street. So - kids all cross the street to get to the bus stop, then cross the street AGAIN to get on the bus. Then throw in some mean girls. Usually all the kids and the 2 or 3 adults all stand at the home across the street - then walk up to the actual stop when the bus arrives and goes from there. God forbid they get too close too soon -- then the nasty comes out...example;l the girls telling the kids "DON'T TOUCH OUR SNOW." Yeah.

So, over the summer .. at various gatherings .. moms vented. And wondered what we'd do. To me the solution was simple: Everyone just stand in our driveway. What's the driver gonna do? Not pick them up?

One neighbor was so fed up, she contacted the District Transportation department and asked about getting the bus stop moved. The district lady said 'sure, just fill out a form and mail it back to us.' Well when this form arrived - our neighbor was so aghast she immediately went door to door to show it to us. It was funny, I was sitting in my living room facing the stairs..and her kids came in - not unusual, the kids were all playing together. I was greeting each of them as they came up the stairs. "Hey kid 1, whatcha up to?" "Hey kid 2, aw, you got a haircut, so cute!" And then to my surprise, "Hey....uh, Mom 1 , oh, uh, hey??"

She brought me the "form". It was like 6 pages long - front AND back. And it required the drawing of diagrams! I thought that was ridiculous .. and at our last gathering before school started, we all agreed the best thing to do would be to just "make our own" bus stop. We'd all gather at our driveway, and just see what happens. Logic would have you believe the bus would stop at the place with 13 children. As opposed the one w/2. And that's where you are wrong.

So, first day of school. It's a big day for the Gerdings -- our LAST kid is going to school. The big kindergarten. My baby, my shadow - off on his own. We gather in my driveway - lots of kids, and all the parents. We have coffee and doughnuts. And we wait.

Here comes the bus. And it stops -- at our house. We take pictures, the kids pile on. Across the street, and a house over, the two girls stand there. One acts like she's going to cross, but her MOTHER tells her no. I watch. It's a standoff. The bus driver honks the horn and waves them over. The mothers hold the two girls back. At this point, it's no longer "my baby is going to kindergarten, waah!" It's - what the HELL is this? Finally, after a long delay of just standing there, the girls cross to get on, and the one mom comes over as well -- boards the bus and starts to give the bus driver Hell. The poor guy, (he's like a grandpa), keeps saying "What about the kindergartners??" And her argument is simply, "You have to stop at the designated bus stop."

At this point, one of the dads gets involved - and I step in. The bus driver takes this as his chance to exit - and off he goes. We stand there and bicker. The two moms claim because their children come home to empty homes the stop has to be where it is. Or that they can't see their kids if they aren't at that bus stop. We basically challenge how silly that is, especially since we have 2-3 adults outside standing with the kids every morning watching them - -THEY are never out. I do manage to get in a "hey, let's be honest, these kids don't want to stand by your daughters - they're mean." Yeah, I had reached 'mad.' Odd thing was she didn't deny it - she actually said something like "I think you'll see that's better this year." Interesting. Anyway, as we debated, I bottom lined it for her; "Basically, all this boils down to is, you want it at your house. So here's the deal. We're not moving. Our kids will wait in this driveway 'til the bus comes, then we'll walk one house up and board on the side where the door opens. Period."
(She does call the bus barn and scream at them, and the next day the bus stops one house up. And the poor driver even admits it's crazy, but he has to stop at the designated stop. So we stick w/our plan. Stay on our side of the street, and just move one house up to board.)

As things broke up, I turned to Mom 1 and told her to get me the forms - we're doin' this. I was pissed. The "moment" for my kindergartner was gone - I didn't even get to cry. And it was because 2 other moms were just being mean girls, 20 years older. Neither of these other two moms had made decent arguments - and I did listen to see if they had anything valid. Nope. I went to town. I used Google maps. I measured the length in distance the change would be (13 yards.) And as luck would have it, on the first day of school, the district sent home a school bus safety diagram - showing safe places to stand and "danger zones." Guess what? Original bus stop = danger zone. Our preferred stop? Safe zone. That's right. The door opens on our side of the street, duh! So, yes, I used the district's OWN diagram to make our case. After filling out all the paperwork with supporting arguments, and diagrams I double and triple checked over it. It was solid. Mom1 was kind enough to get signatures from our 7 families with 13 kids (most of which were K - 2nd grade.) We mailed it in and waited.

Soon, notice arrived, on official transportation letterhead - we won. The bus stop was now to "officially" be at our house. Hurrah! I was so pleased all the work I had done paid off and benefited so many people. The letter even said something like "after reviewing the documentation"! Yeah baby!

So yesterday was the big move. I was actually out there. I noticed mean mom come out. But we all played it cool. Let's not make a big deal. Mean girls looked a bit confused, but got on the bus - no drama, no problem. End of that.


Ok, at this point - I don't know the rest of the story. I wasn't out there this morning. I just know a couple details. But the details I know are killer. You'll love it.

So, apparently mean mom emailed a flamer to the head transportation lady with the district. So, this morning, head transportation lady with the district actually CAME to our bus stop to watch what was going on. I think she was expecting a showdown with fireworks. I'm sure what she actually found was several SANE families all out with their kids, at the proper stop, waiting for the bus like normal people. My husband says she even seemed annoyed at crazy mom. But here's the punch line. The thing I will laugh about all day. The part of the sitcom where you think they've jumped the shark.

Apparently, crazy mom told the district lady that the bus stop can't change because .. .wait for it...............................................................................:

You read that right. And again, I don't know the whole deal - I just got a brief , terse email from the hubby. But that's enough really.

Trying to decide if I should be concerned about these WILD CATS that apparently only go after mean girls (yes!) and seriously, have to be invisible. And the attacking? Is that happening, when? When they pop out of their house JUST as the bus arrives? Is it in the Bermuda triangle of the extra 13 yards they have to walk?

Yeah, that's just too good not to share.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

This Day.

We remember heroes. We hold each other tighter. And we get misty at seeing the flag.

I also remember my hero. Popaw, who died years later on this same day.

Never forget.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Well, that blows.
Just attempted Week 3, Day 1 (W3D1) of Couch to 5k. I couldn't even finish the 1st run stage, which was the length I had ALREADY been running. What's up with that??? Something was wrong today. Things hurt - like right away. I did about 1:00 of the first 1:30 run - a run I've been able to complete. Then I did about 2:00 of the 3 minute run. There's a small victory. But when it was back to the 1:30 run again, I had to stop with 40 seconds left...and walked through the next 3:00 run. Crap. My legs were KILLING me. Even just walking. My ankles, and right hip. What gives? Is it because I ran in the morning instead of night? In which case, better fix that, because this 5K is at 7-freaking-30 in the morning. I had the right mindset. I even had the right song to get started - Eminem "Prove Yourself" ... started as a motivator, then it mocked me. Dang. I will try again. I hope today that my body was just off kilter. Of course, that makes me worry it could do that on 5K day. Not good.

Oh, and by the way, I found two syringes on the sidewalk that is outside our division where everyone jogs. WTF?

And speaking of WTF? Anyone see that Notre Dame piece on Game Day this morning? Gag. And Lee Corso can bite me. I hope the Boilermakers drop a rock on those Irish. Get over it people, they're done!!! (Corso - who btw was a former IU coach- said "I'd pick a rock before I'd pick Purdue to win." )

I really wasn't ready to give up summer - and I do hope we get a trip to the pool in this weekend - but I am SO GLAD football is back. Freaking love it. Doesn't matter what game is on - it's soothing to my soul. Aaaaah. Foooooootball.

Speaking of which - 5 minutes to kick off.
M- I - Z-!!!!!!!!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sure - leave comments here!~

Many of you pop over from Twitter or Facebook - it's ok to post your comments here! All are welcome. Thanks.

Many, Many Heartfelt Thanks.

Last week was painful. We lost the "foundation" of Ryan's mom's family. Sunday, we knew she wasn't doing well, and went to visit. But, for the most part, she seemed like herself - just very tired. She looked at pictures with us from our vacation ... and made jokes. We had asked if we could move her to her bed for a nap when we left ... and she said, "No, someone's job is to hold this chair down, and I'm doing great at it." (As she playfully grasped the sides of the chair.) I'll always remember, that as she looked through the pictures - she pointed out to me, "You have a beautiful smile." That was one of the last things she ever said to me. But it was SHE who had the beautiful smile. Seriously.

The very next day, she dressed herself, and went to breakfast - stunning the staff. But on the way back, she stumbled...

Ryan decided to stay with her, and was holding her hand and stroking her hair when she peacefully left this world.

At that point our world came to an abrupt stop. I think some of us were in denial, instead thinking that this tough lady would once again rebound - and be with us forever. We were in denial, that this person, who attended every single event in our lives ... wouldn't be there anymore. Smiling.

Ryan was tasked with compiling a video of pictures of her life. And he threw himself into it. Hundreds and hundreds of pictures...with different children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends. But one thing was always the same. That smile.

Ryan spoke at her funeral: talking about how everything was her "favorite." She was always happy with whatever she was doing at that moment - and even happier if she was surrounded by people. So, yeah, that's what I take away - the smile. She always said she "never remembered the bad stuff." I like that. That lends itself to easily always having a smile on her face.

And through the pain of that miserable week - while there may have been tears on my face, there was a smile in my heart. So many people stepped up to help us out. I want to thank them out loud.

When I called my mom, to say what was happening, she literally dropped everything (seriously, I heard things hit the floor) to drive from Indiana to our home to help with kids and routines and folding laundry. This was a tremendous, incredible, huge help. She helped keep the balls in the air, and the household in movement. Thank you, thank you.

Our neighbors also came through. It was very difficult not to burst into tears, when Arturo (and yes, he looks as big & burly as the name suggests) came to our door with armloads of food and a card all our neighbors had signed. Everyone had pitched in. Only moments before I was thinking to myself: "I wonder if the kids would notice if we didnt feed them dinner tonight." That food helped so much. We seriously ate only that for the next few days - in fact, Ryan's mom stopped by around lunch time, and we convinced her to eat something .. and we were able to easily offer up a nice plate, thanks to the food that had been dropped off. Seriously, it HELPED. And the gesture meant so much, thank you, thank you.

Our neighbors also took in kids on various days. Someone ate dinner at one house one night, another spent the night...and the Wrights were simply assigned "Kyle duty" the day of the funeral - and ferried him around to football and soccer. Huge help. They also supplied us with another night of food. Thank you, thank you.

And my work people were helpful - just with their words. Yes, I said work people. In the past, that would not have seemed possible ... but things have changed. I appreciate that when I kept sending emails concerned about loose ends, that my boss finally just replied: "We got it. Go be with your family." Small gesture, big impact. Another boss cried with me on the phone. Helped me put things into perspective. Thanks.

And my kids. Bless their sweet little hearts. I'll never, ever, ever, ever, forget the looks on their faces when we told them. Or how each of them handled their it in their own way - fit for their personality.
Nick, after running to his room to cry in to a pillow recovered and turned into "helper." He kept trying to find me bookmarks as I went through albums to find pictures. Then he remembered he had his own album in his room. With a picture of her. With a grand smile. Nick then insisted that I get her a flower, like the one she wore as a corsage in that picture. Pink. And he told me, "Momma, I want to get a flower like that one, and put it on her rock." Sweet boy.

So I did. I got a flower like that one. And it only came in a package of three. One for each boy. And I left it with her rock. And I'm sure that made her smile.

No, Mamoo, YOU have a beautiful smile. And it's what I'll always remember.

Thank you.