Bus Love

This year, represented the first year that I had been issued a brand new bus at the beginning of this school year.  It was the first “new bus” I have had the privilege of driving in my 14 years with the Centerville school district and my 17 year driving career.  So a pretty big deal for this veteran driver…exciting stuff, for sure.  My brand new bus, is a , 2017 International, 71 passenger CE series with a cummins engine.  Shiny, and bright, with that new bus smell…ooh…what a thrill…and quiet…oohlala NICE!

A little over a week ago, my bus had to go in for some warranty work, due to a check warning light that kept coming on….Grrr.  This seemed to be a trend for that particular group of busses purchased at the beginning of the school year.

I removed my personal belongings and said goodbye to my new friend…bus 120. As is typical, a spare bus was issued as a replacement until 120 made its way back from the shop.  I found myself on the second oldest bus in the entire fleet, bus#98.  98 is a 2004 Vision BlueBird.  I have to admit, for an old bus, it drove surprisingly well and I actually really liked the mirror set up better than my prized International.  Can you believe it…I still have not named my new ride….GASP!  Hmm…maybe this wouldn’t be as dreadful as I had anticipated it was going to be.

I always get a kick our of my kids reaction to the new equipment and I was not disappointed in their reaction to our replacement bus this time either. I received the typical responses, like…This bus smells bad and this bus is old and dirty, the seats are close together and the steps are narrow.  I did have one student that actually thought the seat cushions were more comfortable in the old bus.  I believe the term he used was the cushions were squishier.   I think one of my favorite responses to bus 98 was from one of my fourth grade girls, Lila.  The second morning as Lila was boarding the bus, she had this to say about our new ride.

“Do you know what the bus looks like to me?”  Lila asked.

“No, what does the bus look like to you, Lila?”  I replied

“It looks like a caveman.”  She said.

“A caveman, how so?”  I questioned.

“Well, you know…a caveman’s chin sticks out, kind of like how the front of the bus sticks out.”  She said.

While I may not have entirely grasped her  visual connection to a caveman, I just love the originality of her creative imagery.  To Lila, bus 98 looked like a caveman with a protruding jawline, so who was I to challenge her creative vision.  Sometimes I am in awe of the creative perspective of my students.  They tend to have unique interesting viewpoints and objectivity, that occasionally border on the obscure.

The weekend came and went and Monday was upon us. I received a note from my supervisor indicating that I would still be driving bus 98 until the return of my beloved 120, which I was missing more and more with each passing day.  Had it really only been three days?

I went out to bus 98, turned the key and the engine grumbled…whir…whir…whir…whi…whi…whi…wi…….then…nothing…not even a grumble. Perfect!  And now the song, Manic Monday, is running through my mind and playing on a loop in my brain.  What a way to start my Monday morning!  So I radioed into the garage and they told me to take bus 97 instead.  So, I grabbed my belongings and headed for bus 97, basically, it was 98’s twin.   Whew!  It started!  That was a good start.  I proceeded to pre-trip the bus, things were humming along, until…I tried to move the seat.  It wouldn’t move.  I was feeling a bit reluctant to call the garage again, and feeling even more reluctant to ask one of our mechanics for help with a seat latch!  Reluctant or not, that seat was not moving, and with where the seat was set, there was no way I was going to be able to drive that bus.  The seat was set for the Jolly Green Giant and I am…well, I am…Jolly Green Giant’s sidekick, Little Sprout.   Like it or not, help was definitely what I needed.  Since one of our mechanics just happened to be hooking up bus 98 to a battery charger, I engaged his help to go about helping me move the seat latch.  A part of me was glad when the mechanic had no luck adjusting the seat latch, but that also meant, that I was now in need of yet another bus.  I found myself once again on the radio in search of a bus…any bus…at this point, I would have taken the Fred Flintstone bus.  It was now past my normal departure and I hadn’t even found a roadworthy bus…yikes!  I radioed into base and was instructed to head to bus 50.

Now, bus 50, was a newer spare, so I was reasonably certain that the third time would be the charm and sure enough, it was.  The bus started right up, I completed my pre trip and I was on my way only twelve minutes past my scheduled departure time…not too hateful. Bus 50 even had a radio…BONUS!

Once I finish my elementary run, I have about a ten minute layover before I begin picking up my middle school children.  I pulled into a parking lot, and turned off the bus.  It is after all, longer than a five minute break. Anytime we are sitting idle, for longer than five minutes, we are supposed to turn the bus off.  This is an effort to limit emissions and engine run time.  So, I turned the engine off and do whatever needs done in that short period of time.  I decided to start the bus up a few minutes earlier, since it was cold out that morning.  I turned the key and nothing….not even a grumble or a whir…just nothing.  Was this morning for real?  Could this possibly be happening?  Oh, it was happening, all right. Manic Monday…or was it Rainy Days and Mondays this time…who knows, I may have even mashed the two songs into Rainy Manic Mondays.

So, for the third time…or was it the fourth…Geez…I’ve lost track…anyway, I  found myself calling the garage  for assistance.  It went a bit like this.

“120 to base.”   We use our regular bus route number even when we are on a spare, so base knows which drive they are speaking with.

“Go ahead to base.”  They replied

“Umm…bus 50 won’t start, do you have any suggestions?”   I asked.

“Jiggle the gear shift.”  Was the response I heard on the other end.

I didn’t even bother replying though I’m sure they could imagine the puzzled reply based on my lack of response.

Jiggle the gear shift?…Umm…really?

Well, it worked!  Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles…that was a miracle too.  (Oh, I do hope these have been some good ear worms for you!)  Oh, what a morning, with an afternoon that had its own set of challenges, though not of the mechanical variety.

I’m going to fast forward to today, Thursday.  One week and one day since 120 went bye bye for repairs.  Suprisingly the remainder of the week went off without a single mechanical hitch on bus 98, once the battery had been charged.    I came home for lunch and just before I was ready to leave for work, I received the greatest text from my boss.  Bus 120 is back and ready to take for your PM route.  WOOHOO!  This made my whole day, and I told him as much.

In my excitement to get back on bus 120, I neglected to pick up the keys…oops.  The long walk back to  base to retrieve the keys and the return journey, just didn’t matter.  I had my bus back.  I picked up my kids and their joy almost matched my own.  One of my middle school kids stopped just short of the bus, spread his arms wide and yelled…My bus is back!

Yes, Yes it is, and I hope it’s back for good!





Oh Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble

As I was driving to the elementary school I drive for this morning, one of my second grade boys, Isaiah, shared…rather loudly, that he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.  I am always interested in finding out the goals and aspirations my students have and preceded to ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up.

“When I grow up, I’m going to be a YouTuber.”  Said Isaiah.

“What type of YouTube videos are you going to produce, Isaiah?” I asked.

“I’m going to make video game, videos.” He replied.

Moments after Isaiah enthusiastically shared his life long ambitions with the bus, Sam, a second grade boy sitting behind him, felt the need to share his career goals, as well.

“I’m going to be, a professional YouTuber AND a professional football player.  I’m going to be the best YouTuber, and…Thee. Very.  Best.  Football player, of all time!”  Sam boasted.

By this time, the majority of the bus was listening to the conversation taking place in the front area of the bus and from somewhere in the peanut gallery, better know as the fourth grade seating area, one of the girls had this to add to the conversation.

“Someone needs to take a ride on the humble train.”  She said.

If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn that I could hear her eyes roll as she said that.   No one else seemed to notice our hecklers, not so subtle, jab at Sam, but I certainly did not miss it!  I was about in tears from laughing so hard.  I’m not sure where my little spitfire heard that line or from whom it may have come from, but I know for certain, it will be repeated by me!  I love it!  I know a few people who could definitely benefit from taking a ride on the humble train!

So…what lines or phrases have your students taught you, and which are your favorites?

I’ve Got The Music In Me

Our tastes in music is as vast and unique as we are.  I love to listen to music while I’m driving my school bus and this year, I have the ability to stream my own playlists from my phone through the Aux feature on the bus.  There are 10 PA speakers on the bus, so the music can be heard throughout the entire bus.  As a matter of fact, I typically have to turn the volume up fairly high if I want to hear the music clearly in the drivers section of the bus, because there are no speakers in the drivers section of the bus.
Recently, I have been turned onto Amazon, prime music…love it!  If you have an Amazon prime membership, the music portion is an additional benefit of having a prime membership, at no additional cost.  Membership has its rewards!  Whoops, that’s someone else’s slogan… As if that wasn’t enough, there are also prime books and movies at your disposal as well, so, take advantage of all those wonderful little perks!

Anyway, back to the story.  I put together a few playlists based on suggestions from the students on my bus and also created a list of my personal favorites. They are a wide variety of artists and genres of music both current favorites as well as old time classics.
Two of my students, one from middle school the other an elementary school commented on my selection of music, or in one instance, he put his hand over the speaker in an effort to quiet the, offensive noise, emanating from the speaker.
Later that day the same person got on the bus in the afternoon and audibly rolled his eyes as he boarded the bus. I asked him what was wrong, his reply…this music!

My initial reaction, was annoyance, frustration, and a tad wounded, that someone could feel so opposed to my music selections.  I quickly pushed those emotions aside and made it my mission to choose the most, obnoxiously annoying, song list I could muster up to see what kind of responses I could extract from my students. The following are just a few of my favorite responses.

“What station is this, who is the artist and what is this song called?”  Answer…Jewel, Sensitive, and, it’s not a station.  Response…snickering, and side whispering.

“Could you please play some real music, my ears are bleeding.” The Artist playing at the time, Beyonce.

My all time favorite, came this morning when I was playing some, New Kids on the Block.  Which, by the way, was requested by one of my fifth grade girls.

“Let me off this musical torture box!”  Buwahahaha.

Hmm…I wonder what I can drag out of the archives to drive them nuts today?  Challenge accepted.   I will add, that I am somewhat limited in song choices I can play on the bus.  80 percent of the list my middle school kids provided me with were all explicit lyrics with no clean version available.  Sorry kids looks like it’s the oldies, until the younger/newer artists figure out that not everyone can play their music as presented.

Hey, guess what time it is!  It’s musical torture box time!  Could there be a better time?


Urban Legends

This past weekend, My husband and I watched the remake of the movie, IT, by, Stephen King.  I must say, it is one of the few remakes that was actually much better than the original.  I’m not sure how anyone could, like a clown or red balloons, after watching that movie.  Talk about thrilling, suspenseful, creepy, and scary, rolled up into a two hour adventure/nightmare.  I loved it!  Anyway…today a memory post, came up  from three years ago on my FB newsfeed, instantly bringing, IT to mind, as well as a host of other urban legends, turned Hollywood movies, like Candyman, Urban Legend, and Gremlins.

This was the conversation that took place.

Maryellen: Go ahead, ask her.

Elizabeth: Mrs. Mileti, is it true that if you look in the mirror and say Bloody Mary three times, something bad will happen?

Me: No, it’s not true.

Maryellen: Oh, she doesn’t know, She’s too old. Look it up on the internet. It’s true!


The very same, Bloody Mary, urban legend, was around when I was a kid…It’s true…that long ago…yep, same creepy urban legends, scaring young kids…for generations!

What’s your favorite urban legend?



Parentasaurus Rex

The children I transport, endear themselves to me in both their words and actions, on a regular basis.  Today, however, it was a parents actions that completely tugged at my heart strings and definitely won an outstanding parent award…well, at least in my book, anyway.

When Sally boarded the school bus in the afternoon, she shared a story  with her seat partner, regarding a recent occurrence in which Sally’s  father attended one of her gymnastic meets,  wearing a Tyrannosaurus Rex costume.  What a joy it was to listen to Sally’s account of her fathers antics on that day.  When Sally finished with her rendition of what took place that day, she also happened to mention that her father was planning on surprising Sally and her brother Kevin, by showing up at their bus stop, in his T-Rex costume, sometime.

That sometime, was today.  When we turned the corner on the street where Sally and Kevin live, dad was true to his word.  He was decked out in this enormous blow up T-Rex costume wildly waving the  short front limbs, as we pulled up to the stop.  Sally momentarily feigned embarrassment of her fathers silliness, but when the doors of the bus opened, she gleefully ran into her fathers, flailing undersized extremities, engulfing the tiny child, in his loving embrace. The remaining students on board, delighted in the sight of the scene unfolding before them.  My students will remember the silliness of the moment, I will remember the playful tenderness exhibited between a daddy and his little girl.



Easy, Peasy, Lemon Squeezy

“How was your day, today, Mrs. Mileti?”  Asked Cody.

“My day was fantastic, Cody.” I replied

“Really?  What do you do after you drop us off at school?”  He asked.

“Well,  I train new drivers how to drive a school bus, when I’m not transporting groups of children to and from school, and today, I had a new student driver start his training.”  I said.

“That’s a really easy job.  All you have to do is learn how to drive a car, then, you learn how to drive a bus, and that, is easy.”

“Well, Cody, there is a little more to it than that. Maybe when you turn 18, I can teach you how to drive a school bus.”  I replied.

“Oh, no, that’s too easy,  I’m going to be a teacher.”  He said.

“Oh, how wonderful, Cody!  What would you like to teach?”  I asked.

“I’m going to teach animals.” Was his response.

“What are you going to teach the animals?”  I questioned.

“I’m going to teach animals how to have emotions.”  Was his reply.

I continued asking questions as to how one might go about teaching animals how to have emotions. I’m not quite sure I was following how all of that was going to come together.  Good thing I have such an easy job.

Thankfully, the topic of conversation changed when Cody asked me to guess what he would be doing this evening.  I told Cody I had no idea and to please share with me what he had planned.

“I’m starting wrestling tonight.” He said.

“You are?  How exciting!  How many years have you been wrestling?”  I asked him.

“This is my third year.”  He replied.

“What do you like about wrestling.  Do you like the, throws, take downs, or pins, best?”  I asked him

“I like it all, that’s why it’s called wrestling.  Sometimes you rest and the other times, you ling.”  He said.

“Really?  What is linging?” I asked.

“It’s when you do all the moving, that’s the linging part.”


So, now I know the true meaning of the word, wrestling.  Who knew! I’m so glad I have such an easy job!  Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy!  Have a great night Y’all! 🙂













Oh, Happy Day!

What a gorgeous fall day! A crisp, clear, bright sunny day, with a spectacular display of fall colors, enhancing its beauty! It was evident that this day had a positive effect on the kids as well. Their positive energy was palpable and contagious.
There was singing and seat dancing and hands and arms up and moving to the beat. At one point, during a, Bruno Mars song, I looked into my student mirror as we were stopped at a red light, and two of my second grade students, were alternately bopping up and down to the rhythm of music, pure joy lighting up their little faces. The energy, the vibe, the day, everything about this day, was overflowing with goodness. I loved it!

When the children board the bus in the afternoon, it is customary for me to inquire about their day.  My second grade children usually board the bus first.  I generally receive an auto reply, like…it was good.  This type of reply only prompts me delve further into process of discovering how their day really was or to find out what made their day, good.  The second question I ask, requires more than a one or two word reply and, usually more consideration is put into their reply.  My second question is, what was the best part of your day? I get a variety of responses from this question, which I like.  I enjoy  getting to know what the children’s interests are.  I received a few of the typical responses that I’ve come to expect like, gym, recess, and lunch, but today’s response, from one of my second grade boys, made my heart soar.  When I asked what his favorite part of the day was, he replied…The bus.  No, there was no bribery involved…as far as you know…kidding 🙂

As if they day could not get any better, when I asked one of my sixth graders the same question, he said the same thing!    I swear, no bribery or reward was given for answers causing the bus drivers heart to melt.  I have the best job ever.

So…What was the best part of your day?