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.


Lisa said...

Knock knock....who's there? Flower delivery. Knock knock....who's there? Singing telegram. Knock knock.....who's there? WILD CATS.

Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

KELLY said...

Ha ha! Seriously. I think we're all gonna do some big Halloween decorating in our front yards. Beware the WILD CATS. Oh..yes....

Anonymous said...

I especially enjoy how these "wild cats" attack these mean girls from inside the house. Where they've been for the past six months. With the breif exception of 5-30 minutes outside on leashes. BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!
-Madi P.(:

Vickie said...

Kelly - Bravo to you for changing the bus stop and standing up to the bullies.....wildcats and all!! Hope the rest of the school year goes smoothly for your family. ( you may remember me....I am Jen Harpers - sister-in-laws mother....now that is real clear!! We scrapped together in Sedalia a few years ago....lots of laughs!! )