I’m Back!

Bus 120’s maiden voyage began today at 6:15…Oh the adventures we are sure to have~
Two of the students I had when they were in elementary school, I have again in High school. What a joy it was to see them again…all grown up!

Hard to believe this is my 17, first day of school…and still lovin it!

I have to admit…that 4:30 wake up call, was brutal this morning!

The morning route went quite well…no stowaways and no leftovers! Here’s hoping the afternoon goes just as smoothly.




*School is in session…watch your speed in school zones, and know when you need to  stop for flashing red lights.

Parallel Perfection

Today, I was training my new trainee maneuverability.  In particular, we were learning  Straight line backing, off set parking, and the dreaded…parallel parking, both blind side parallel parking and drivers side parallel parking.  When I told her what we were going to be learning, her reply was an audible sigh. Then again, it may have been her eye roll that I heard.  I’d be surprised if she didn’t see her brain with that impressive eye roll!  Anyway, I knew instantly that I had a doubting Thomas on board and she quickly confirmed my theory when she told me that after she received her drivers license, she never attempted to parallel park again and she had been dreading the possibility of having to do it again…this time, on a school bus, nonetheless! This was a feeling that I could easily relate to, for I too was a parallel parking avoider.  When I told her that not only would she learn how to parallel park a school bus, but also promised her it would be easier than parallel parking her car, and that she would be parallel parking like a pro before the morning was over, she was skeptical, to say the least.  You can imagine the response I received in reply…yep..another audible eye roll. Well, that, and her daughter told her that she would never be able to parallel park a school bus, because she couldn’t even parallel park her own vehicle.

I break the process down, step by step.  I begin, by showing students each individual pivot point, which mirrors to view them in and where each pivot point for that maneuver is located.  Most drivers tend to be skeptical of the forsaid formula, until they practice it without me being on the bus.  Once I teach them the “formula”  I  observe and instruct from outside.  I love, love, LOVE, to teach my students the formula…aka pivot points and then watch as they successfully parallel park a school bus…the first time!  What a thrill! I love to watch as the look of surprise is replaced by pride and joy.  When she realized that she had parallell parked a school bus, by herself, the first time,  I was rewarded with a warm hug and big high fives that were accompanied by the look of pure satisfaction and success!

My student could not wait to go home and tell her daughter that she could parallel park a school bus!




Off Road Adventure

As I was driving to church this morning, I drove past a road that I customarily drive on during the school year. I noticed as drove by, that it was completely torn up. This was not…NOT, a minor repair job. It was completely demolished. My first thought was, I sure hope they have this project finished before the school year starts! HA! fat chance! My guess is, there would be a higher probability of me winning the lottery, than Nutt road being finished before the beginning of the school year, which is only five weeks away. Seeing the road in the condition it was in, prompted a memory from a few years back, when another road project commenced near the end of the school year. Our boss is usually kept abreast of road projects how they will affect transportation and for how long, so we can make adjustments to routes and notify drivers and parents of the changes before they occur. On this project, however, there was definitely a miscommunication regarding the timing of the road closures and the particulars associated with it. We were all aware that the project was going to be taking place, the time and alternate route location however, were slightly off…by one block and by one afternoon.

I had just picked up my elementary students and was driving them home, using the pre approved alternative route, to accommodate the impending road closures and construction. I heard an earlier call on the radio with a driver questioning weather or not she should use a particular section of roadway, and base responded affirmatively . The road was not slated to be torn up and closed until the following morning and to go ahead and proceed. As is usual, I was only casually listening to the conversation taking place on the radio. For me, the radio is like white noise, too much chatter, and most of it does not pertain to me. Much of the time, the chatter on the radio, reminds me of the cartoon, Charlie Brown as he is listening to his teacher speak in class….Wah Wa Wa Wah Wa Wa…Soooo annoying… Needless to say, I was not tuned in to the details of the conversation taking place at that time. Then found myself at that very location sitting just behind bus number 25. Hmm…guess I should have paid more attention to the Charlie Brown chatter on the radio.

Bus 25 radioed in and questioned weather or not he should proceed, and received the same answer that the previous driver had only moments before. The response from base, the second time, was slightly more terse and somewhat emphatic that we proceed on that section of roadway in question. Being that I was directly behind bus 25, I could see why he was trepidatious and questioning bases call to proceed. Allow me to provide a visual as to why we were questioning bases directive in this matter.

The section of road in question, was completely void of all pavement, it had been removed by a myriad of large construction vehicles, which in their wake, left enormous ruts that far more resembled ditches or ravines. I watch as bus 25 made his way across the intersection and up the stretch of paveless roadway. I could see the vehicle vigorously bouncing and swaying, as it jostled its way across. It was almost like being at a monster truck rally as I watched Terry navigate the large, Grand Canyonesque of ruts.

My heart started racing faster as I approached the stop sign and was next in line to tackle the unintended, makeshift, world wide championship, off-road obstacle course. There was no way I was going to call base a third time about the same intersection. I was up for the challenge. I got on my internal intercom and told the kids to hang on. I knew once I got started, I didn’t dare stop till I made it across. I also knew going really slow was not an option. By doing so, I would only have succeeded in getting myself stuck amid the gaping trenches ahead of me. So off I went, and as I maneuvered my way across the deeply grooved road, I managed to glance into my student mirror and saw a couple of children in the very back of the bus bouncing out of their seats as we hit the deepest pits on the road. When we managed to roll onto solid pavement, I felt an immediate sense of relief, but more than that there were feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and pride. Off roading in a 13 ton vehicle with 48 kids on board. Now that’s an adventure not too many school bus drivers get to experience. I imagine most would prefer to skip that adventure altogether. As it was, however, we survived, Mrs. Mileti’s, wild ride. There were even cheers of joy and laughter from the majority of my passengers, particularly my older, more adventurous children sitting in the back rows of the bus. They chanted, “Do it again…do it again!” The feeling was not unanimous and one of my younger kids said she did not like the bumps and did not want to do that again. I assured her that we would not be doing that again, much to the dismay of my back row thrill seekers who asked me every afternoon, from that day forward, if we could off roading again.

Shortly after my motocross expedition, my boss went and surveyed the stretch of road in question. Needless to say, he was surprised by the condition the road was in and immediately altered the original scheduled detour route, to bypass the missing section of road until the completion of the intersection and repaving were complete. The detour was in place for almost an entire year.

That was the vision that went through my brain upon seeing the state of disrepair the road was in with its deep ruts and lack of pavement. I’m pretty sure there will not be a repeat of, monster bus off road expedition, any time soon and is quite likely a once in a lifetime adventure.



X Marks The Spot

Whenever the weather turns nice, it is inevitable that one or more of my students will ask if they can get off at a stop location other than their own.   It’s generally not far from their stop location, and typically their request is to get off at a friends stop.  My reply is the same each time.  “I will be happy to let you off at, XYZ, stop,  I need, is a note from home, telling me that it is ok for me to do that.”

I received one such request from one of my second grade boys a few weeks ago.  I gave him my standard response, to which he replied with the typical response, my mom won’t care, which only prompts a repeat of auto reply to such requests.

Travis got on the bus, and sat down with his seat partner, and friend, Carl.  Shortly after the boys had been seated, Travis walked toward me with his hand outstretched telling me that he had a note for me.  I reached out and took the note he was offering me and looked at it.

I would love to show you a copy of the “note” he brought me.  A description of the note will have to suffice, being that the “note” was drawn out on the back of a referral that his friend needed to take home to have a parent sign.  A referral, is a corrective notice for a child who is being counseled for a rule infraction, so I could not keep the note.  That being said, I will do my best to give you an adequate description of the note.

Typically, when I get a note it will state that…student A has permission to get off at an alternate stop, then, it will be dated and signed by a parent or guardian.  This “note” was more of  a drawing…Lines were drawn forming a lane, or street, with a square on one side of the lane and Carl’s name written under the box with an X and an arrow indicating where I was to drop Travis off, with the words…drop off here.

I could not contain my laughter!  I had received, notes, that I knew were not written by a parent, but this was another first.  A permission map.

I love my job!

Stop drinking the Kool-Aid

Almost daily, for the better part of the past four to six weeks I have been trying to find the student or students whom I felt had repeatedly spilled Kool-Aid, or some other type of red drinking solution on the floor of my bus. Each day this happened, I would become more and more frustrated with the children. I was certain, at least one of my students had some type of  bottle that was defective and would leak the offensive liquid daily, leaving small trails of liquid running part way down the isle.  Each time I finished interrogating the students sitting near or around the general vicinity of the fluid, my inquisition only left me feeling more perplexed…which is actually code for…irritated, and equally clueless.   NO ONE was fessing up!  No one knew, least of all me, where the liquid was coming from, and my irritation was growing each time I cleaned the offensive liquid from the floor.  My verbal grumblings escalated as well.  I went from mild irritation, you know…the audible heavy disgusted sigh,when I first started noticing the red liquid, and it morphed into an unpleasant rant, that may or may not have contained a string of obscenities. YES, I threw my temper tantrum after the children left.

This undesirable ritual had been going on for, W-E-E-K-S!  My interrogation skills and tactics were fruitless and I had long since hit my patience level regarding the, lingering liquid lunacy.

Last week, my latest trainee, who, happens to be one of our mechanics, climbed aboard my bus to take the district road test, which is performed just before a driving student goes to take their state driving exam.  Previously, we had been training on other vehicles, but that day, we hopped on my bus.  I was lamenting to him about the problem I had been having and out of sheer exasperation asked if there was any thing on the inside the bus that could possibly leak.  He asked me where the fluid was coming from and I showed him.  It only took him seconds to unmask my leaky nemesis.  The front heater hose was loose and needed to be replaced.  The, Kook-Aid, was not Kool-Aid, but rather, coolant.

Today, I am very happy to report that I am leak, liquid, kook-aid and coolant free!  So, Therese…how do you like your crow?  Dinner…is served!  Apologies and peace offerings are in the making.