Archive for April, 2004

Some people really annoy me

Thursday, April 29th, 2004

There is a kid on my route who has an amazing habit of almost never riding the bus, and when he does, he takes several minutes to leave his house and get on. If I drove a normal route, I could just drive off and leave him, but since my route is technically “special ed,” I have to honk my horn and wait two minutes, no matter how late I already am. Tuesday was his third day in a row of no call/no show, and on the special ed routes, that means your stop gets removed. So I went in that afternoon and talked to the routing guy, and he said I didn't have to stop there anymore, and he was going to take care of removing the stop from my route. Yay.

Wednesday morning, I bypassed his stop and went straight to the next one. About 10 or 15 minutes later, I get a call on the radio: “Did you stop for XX?” Ugh. Evidently, the routing guy didn't get the paperwork turned in, and the parents called in to complain before the stop had been officially removed, so now it's back on my route. Evidently, the child had been “sick” for several days, which was their excuse for him not riding. I pull up this morning, no kid. I honk the horn and wait two minutes. No kid. I grabbed the radio mic and waited for the radio traffic to clear. Still no kid. So I called it in as another no show. I got maybe 5 minutes away, and lo and behold, the parents called in AGAIN to complain. I spent about three minutes on the radio with one of the skippers going through every detail of the stop this morning… I showed up, sounded my horn, waited three minutes, left. Why can the parents only manage to muster up the energy to call in when they want their kid to go to school? How is it that for the three days he was supposedly sick, they didn't bother to make one single call. But as soon as he gets better, they're on the phone with us every chance they get?

At least I got some good news today. There is a charter next week that I had wanted to do, but my drug test was scheduled for the same day and time, so I had taken my name off the list. They asked me today why, and when I told them, the dispatcher (who was sitting nearby) got a look of “Oh, crap” on her face and said, “Physicals are the same day as that charter?” Such brilliance. The charter requires 59 drivers and buses, and some brilliant person also scheduled a round of physicals for that day. So evidently, they will either try to get my drug screen moved to a different day (I don't need the full physical, since I just had one), or they are going to move the entire day of physicals to a different day. Yay!


Monday, April 26th, 2004

This past weekend was the annual Roadeo at work, but unfortunately I didn't get to go, since I was busy getting some much needed rest instead. I'm kind of annoyed that I didn't go, though. I had volunteered to help move the buses back to our lot after the event, mainly to be sure that mine got parked somewhere decent. Read lots more

Oh no! A bomb!

Wednesday, April 21st, 2004

I was sitting at the school this afternoon, loading kids onto the bus (all six of them), and the principal walked over and started chatting with me a bit. He asked me how I liked the job and the kids so far, and I told him that I was really enjoying it and the kids had been good so far. He then commented on how calm and mellow I was. “A bomb could go off on the back of the bus, and you wouldn't care, would you?” And in all honesty, I wouldn't. I told him that as long as my part of the bus is unharmed and still works fine, I don't care what happens back there.


Monday, April 19th, 2004

I saw a very pretty little black kitten crossing the road this morning right after I turned down a fairly main road on my route. I actually had to fully stop the bus to let him cross. Very pretty and svelte, couldn't have been more than 8 or 10 months old and looked very boyish. After he got across the road, he just stopped in some bushes maybe 2 feet from the bus. I wanted to get out and take him, but I'm fairly sure he was feral, so probably not too nice or easy to catch.

Simply amazing!

Monday, April 19th, 2004

I don't know how or why, but all of my kids but one rode the bus this morning. And the one who didn't ride is one of the kids who normally rides. Very odd indeed. It was nice not to have to wait for most of them, but it also sucks because it means that I will have to take all of them home this afternoon. Looks like I won't be getting home early today.

One the way back to the lot after my second route, I evidently cut a little too close in front of the semi, because it seems I managed to piss off the driver. I was in the right lane on the highway, merging over to pass a very slow-moving dumptruck with a giant roll of carpet sticking out the back. After I merged back, the semi that had been behind me in the center lane came up alongside me and honked his horn. I glanced over for a second, and the driver was looking directly at me shaking two fingers at me. Now this might have had some impact, were it not for how completely stupid the guy was being. (a) He was looking directly to his right at me, instead of at the road in front of him. (b) There was a cigarette held in between the two fingers he was shaking at me. (c) I was driving right at the speed limit, so I know he had to have been speeding to have caught up with me. Now, given how stupid and careless he was being to chastise me for that, am I really supposed to think he is a better driver than me or something? Cuz those are some pretty stupid things to be doing all at once.

I felt slightly vindicated a few miles further on, too. I heard a call from one of the other drivers come over the radio letting us know that the right lane on the highway was at a standstill ahead, so I moved over into the center lane about half a mile early so I didn't have to merge too quickly. When I got up to the stopped traffic, guess who was sitting there, at a total standstill? Yep! My trucker “friend.” Muahahaha. I sailed right past the little bugger at 45 and then merged back into the right lane.


Sunday, April 18th, 2004

I figured I'd do this for fun

I hate allergies

Sunday, April 18th, 2004

My roommate cleaned a bit of the apartment the other day and now my allergies are bugging the crap out of me. At least I know for a fact that it's allergies and not actual illness, since I felt much better as soon as we left to go to the store earlier. That makes me happy, since it means I won't miss any work. The kids on my bus have been really well behaved this week, so I haven't had too much to post on lately.

Read about stuff that did happen…

Why do they share their vomit with us?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

This morning started out with some driver talking on her radio about some child on her bus. “I have a child who got sick on the bus. Can I have someone from the school meet me when I get there?” At first, I figured that the kid had just suddenly started feeling very bad, and the driver wanted to be sure the kid got handed straight to the school nurse or whatever. But I was wrong!

Another vomituous day…

Juvenile Delinquents

Monday, April 12th, 2004

I did my first real “alone” run this morning, although I did have a monitor on the route with me, so I guess it only kind of counts. The route only had a total of 5 or 6 stops, one kid each, but they were all over the place. Only two kids actually rode the bus this morning, so it was plenty easy. The kids were allegedly “bad” kids who misbehave or are violent and whatnot – the school they are going to is basically their last chance before they get kicked out of city schools altogether. The two who rode were quiet as can be. One sat right behind me and helped me with the directions, the other went further back on the bus and just laid down. No complaints from me with that.

We ended up going around in a giant circle at one point, because the monitor told me to turn the wrong direction down one of the streets downtown, but it was pretty easy to recover from that. Outside of that, the route was super easy and uneventful. When we finally got to the school, the aide/monitor/whatever that meets them at the bus (they all get searched and passed over with a metal detector when they get off the bus) took the two kids I had to drop off, then looked up at me and said, “Only two this morning? Bless you, sir. Bless you!” and made the little “cross my heart” motion with his hand.

Evidently, I'll be driving the same route this afternoon, so I'm hoping that I only have the same small number of children to deal with. I also have to remember to show up early so I can refuel the bus if the fuel truck doesn't run, which it won't, knowing my luck. More smelly diesel on my hands. Blech.

Fun fun fun!

Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

It's amazing how much the kids change when their regular driver isn't on the bus. The driver I was supposed to drive with again was off this afternoon, so I had to drive out with one of the skippers on board.

We weren't but a few hundred feet off the lot when a call comes over the radio. “[Skipper]. Did you just drive off in bus XXX?”

“Yeah, we did.”

“Why'd you take it? The mechanic downed that bus this morning.” How fun. They ended up having us continue on the route with the downed bus. I personally would have preferred swapping it out for another one. The ABS light had been on intermittently for at least a day. When it was on, the brakes worked fine. When it wasn't, the pedal would grind and pulse, and the braking power was somewhat reduced. Not fun to drive, to say the least. The brakes were so bad by the time we got back to the lot that when I set the parking brake and took my foot off of the service brake, the bus started rolling forward.

I also had the pleasure of refuelling a bus today, and getting diesel fuel all over my hands. Evidently, no one ever bothers to wipe off the fuel caps, and they are coated with diesel. It was quite nasty, especially since I had to get back in the bus and drive it from the fuel tanks back over to the building to wash my hands off, getting diesel all over the wheel.

The kids today were very upset that the neither the skipper nor I would let them off at their usual “Sweetheart Stops”. Evidently, the regular driver lets almost every kid off somewhere other than their designated stop. When I had run the route with her on, that's what we did, but I didn't know they weren't the official stops.

I still have problems, too, switching from driving the bus to driving the van home. I just feel completely wrong sitting lower to the ground, with a smaller steering wheel, and a more responsive engine.

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