Saturday, May 24, 2008

Valley Metro

A few months ago, I , with my wife's prompting, decided to participate in "Don't drive one in five". My work provides me with a pass that pays for it. It was pretty easy, I must admit. In order for it to work, the route you need has to be convenient. Mine is. I walk about a quarter of a mile from my house to the bus stop and less than that to get to my work. No transfers, it only requires a 13 minute journey. Because of the price of gas these days, I am riding the bus at least 3 days now( I just paid $3.75 a gallon at Quiktrip). Here are some random thoughts about my experiences. The bus drivers are always pleasant. This surprises me. They great you with a smile, are always willing to answer questions, and generally care about your experience. I guess you really would have to like to drive, but even if you did, why would you want to drive a city bus? Because of the culture of the bus environment, I would be scared to drive it. They are not. I thank them for that. They are truly enforcers. I have literally had a driver get out of his seat and remove a person from the bus because the person was swearing. Imagine that! (that was the most tense moment of my bus career!). The buses are generally clean. Again, this surprises me. For the most part, people are considerate of the cleanliness. When I ride the bus, I am the minority. I do not have any negative experience because of this, but good or bad, I am aware of it. At least once each week, on the trip home, I have to get off the bus I start on and get onto a second bus. I do not understand why. It pulls over, waits for the next bus, everyone is told to get on the new bus, and the first bus drives away. It usually doesn't take that long, but when your commute is only 13 minutes, and the switch takes 5-10 minutes, its annoying. I do not know how effective the fares are in paying for the expense of the bus. About 50% of the time, the machine that collects the money is broken. When it is, everyone rides for free. If the dollar people are using for the fare is rejected (old, wrinkled, torn), the driver doesn't make them pay. They ride for free. If people ask for a free ride, the driver lets them ride for free. I have seen more than a couple people do this. It surprises me how many people sleep on the bus. I would be afraid to relax that much. I am sure I would wake up at the end of the route way past my stop. Not everyone is willing to share their bench. People will put their personal belongings on the seat next to them and expect people to stand to ride. It amazes me that people are that inconsiderate. Lastly, the buses are usually on time. Once in awhile, they will run a couple of minutes late. They never leave early. They have certain stops that they must wait until the correct time to leave. This happens all the time. The drivers will pull over and wait until it is time. At least they tell you what they are doing. If you miss your bus, its your fault for running late, not theirs for running early. I am lucky, the #45 route (my and my fellow bussers' route) runs every 30 minutes westbound and every 15 minutes eastbound. I am thankful I not only have the ability to ride the bus, but also that it is convenient. Thank you Valley Metro !!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hats off to H

I am sitting upstairs at Tasha's gymnastics class enjoying the fact that not only does the place has wifi access, but our computer picks it up! The girl next to me must me about Kyra's age. She is struggling with her math homework. Her father is hovering over her, trying to understand what she is doing. She is very frustrated, but not as frustrated as the dad. She tries to ask him a question but he doesn't help. He explains to her that the only way to learn it is to work it out. His theory makes a little sense. But at this point he is unwilling to explain the method she needs to understand. He mumbles a question to her, barely audible, mumbled enough that I can not understand him. When she meekly answers, "I don't know", he yells loud enough that we can now hear and understand him, "Well, what in the hell am I paying your school $5000 for. They aren't teaching you a thing". At this point, he leaves the room and goes downstairs. She hangs her head, packs her books up, and goes to find him. I'm not sure what is worse: The fact that he acts that way or that he did it in front of a group of people. Maybe that was his point. So this post is for Helena, who works extra hard with her students and has extra patience when it comes to Kyra! Thank you babe! You are amazing!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mothers Day History

This Mothers Day marks the 100th anniversary of Mothers Day. Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mothers Day, would want us to give mothers a white carnation — she felt it signified the purity of a mother's love. Jarvis, who got the Mother's Day idea after her mother said it would be nice if someone created a memorial to mothers. Three years after her mother died in 1905, she organized the first official mother's day service at a church where her mother had spent more than 20 years teaching Sunday school. Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church is the official shrine to mothers around the world. On Sunday, the shrine will celebrate the 100th anniversary, giving each mother attending a special service a white carnation. The shrine also serves as a "reminder to the accomplishments of these women and to the issues mothers still deal with today, trying to do the balancing act of being everything to everyone," According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 83 million mothers in the United States. Jarvis' devotion to and her fierce defense of Mother's Day is tied to the feeling that "a certain era was passing and mothers like her mother were becoming fewer". Jarvis' mother Ann was a community activist who worked to heal the divisions in north-central West Virginia following the Civil War. "She was a soft-spoken, gentle woman, but she could convince the devil to give up his pitch fork." West Virginia became the first state to recognize Mother's Day in 1910. President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution in 1914 marking the second Sunday in May a nationwide observance. “Mother's Day was meant to be — and still is — a celebration of a nineteenth-century ideal of motherhood, when mothers were supposed to dedicate themselves completely to nurturing their children and making a cozy, safe home," So, to all the Mothers out there, Happy Mothers Day.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Just me and the kids...

Last weekend, with Helena jet setting to New York, I was in charge of the kids. Now, at first, that does not seem like a big deal. I am a very capable father; taking care of my kids needs is not a new concept. Helena from time to time has gone on other trips. She usually will take one of the girls with her. This weekend was different for some reason. Don't get me wrong, we had a great weekend. This time, the girls were A LOT of work! Helena left Thursday night and Momo (her mom) watched the kids Friday morning, but it was just me from then on until Monday afternoon. The time flied by. Friday night, we had dinner out, even though the kids had already eaten at Wendy's for breakfast and lunch. Bedtime came and went, and then the kids got to bed. Saturday came early. Breakfast was easy, pancakes for everyone. Where did all those dishes come from? Really, the kids ate out all day Friday! How many pairs of shoes does Tasha have? Does she really wear them all in one day? It looked like the laundry bin was mostly full, I thought I would throw them in the does this machine work? Did I miss the seminar that explains it? In my defense, it is a new machine. Now, we are no means a wealthy family. How did our kids get so many clothes? Do they really have to change 5 times each day? I know Tasha does. I get the kids situated to keep them busy so I can mow the lawns. Just my luck, both the back and the front need to be mowed. Sure is a warm day. Mow, edge, blow. Everything went well except for the couple times the kids wanted to know if I was done yet. I have to stop the mower to hear them. Lunch was simple. Both kids like bean burritos and they are easy. Wait! Kyra has soccer! Crap, where is the game today? Where is the schedule? Found it. Where is the game? Wait, Kyra' team doesn't play today. What? I'm not sure if I am mad because there is no game or glad because now we don't have to go across town for the game. Time to switch the laundry (you didn't think I threw it all in one load did you?). Put the next load in. This is actually a cool machine. Switch the load to the dryer...wait, we don't use the dryer...out to the back yard to the clothesline. Set up the clothesline. Where does the support rod go? H has shown me too many times for my own good. Never mind, just string it tight enough to hang the clothes (it is a retractable line). Hang the clothes. Surprisingly, this is a calming, positive experience. No wonder H enjoys it. The clothes smell so nice. Kyra is a trooper and jumps in to help without being asked. This is a surprise because when I asked her to help with the lawn, she hated every second of it (her part was to scoop the dog poop)! Are all the clothes going to fit on the line? Whew! Just barely. Good thing I didn't wash all of the clothes at once. Come back inside only to find that WWIII had hit our living room! How do two kids create a natural disaster so quickly? Pick up the living room, have the kids pick up their rooms so I can vacuum all the carpet (it's not a big deal, we mostly have tile in our house). "Dad, can we go to the park?" You can, I can't (I've got too much to do and to be honest, I am getting tired). Crap! Almost forgot about softball (see Monique's blog for the report). "Dad, what are we having for dinner?" Dinner? I haven't a clue. Besides, I have to take down the laundry and hang the next load. Ok. Done with the clothes. Dinner... As it turns out, I score a break. At the softball game (yes I know it was a tournament, but we all knew we would only play 1 game), they were serving all the sub sandwiches, Gatorade and popsicles you could eat. Kyra eats a sandwich and has some Gatorade. As I walk up to Tasha, who at this point has red lips, she tells me that she had a popsicle. I ask, "Was it cherry?" She says yes and then admits that she had more than 1. "How many?" I ask, a little concerned. "Just 5." Great. What a supervising father I was. As we were leaving, Tasha grabs a sandwich to go. She has one bite and proclaims she is full. Really? There's a surprise. She claims that the sandwich was spicy. It was a little bit, but come on, 5 popsicles! We finally get home. Time for showers...all of us! Have to be clean for Church. Showers go well, to my surprise. Tasha asks about her hair. That is clearly a mom thing, so no hair. Time for bed because we have to get up early for Church. I tuck Kyra in, and make a deal with Tasha that I will lay down with her, but only for a little while. This is the first night Tasha falls asleep by herself (it was in our bed, but still)! I get up because I still have a lesson to prepare (yea, better late than never). Finally, I go to bed (it really felt good). Morning comes quick. The girls are up and I am ready for breakfast. Today on the menu is cereal. As it turns out, the girls do not want breakfast. Time to get ready for Church. Church starts at 9:00? Really? Since when? Ok, I knew that one. But there is no way we can make it to Sacrament. We do make it for Primary. The kids were good and my lesson goes smooth. Thank you to Shanton for your assistance. The kids in class behave fantastic. Home for lunch. The kids are, of coarse, starving! Nachos are a big hit. The kids settle in to watch a Church Video as I clean up lunch? Are you kidding me? Whose dishes are these? We didn't even eat breakfast! Get the dishes done, load the dishwasher again, start the dishes. Time to take down the laundry (yes, it still is up from the day before). Finally, rest with the kids for a few moments. "Dad, what’s for dinner?" permeates from the girls. "You just ate (5 hours ago)." Spaghetti and salad is a favorite and don't forget, it's easy. I ask Kyra to bless the food but of coarse Tasha throws a fit...fine, Tasha gets to bless the food because I do not have the strength for this fit. Clean up from dinner. Where did all these dishes come from? I ask Kyra to help unload the dishwasher which she does...reluctantly. Finally, time for bed. We are all exhausted. I tuck Kyra in and then, tuck Tasha in! She actually went to sleep by herself! Before I go to bed, I straighten the living room and vacuum (it had been a whole day since I vacuumed). Time for bed. Morning comes early. Monday. The best Monday in a long while. Helena comes home this afternoon. Neither girl shows any interest in breakfast. Kyra packs her lunch. Off to school. Drop her off. Tasha is sad that she didn't get to swing at Kyra's school. But the kids who actually go to school there are swinging. We come home for alone time before she goes to preschool. A quick last pickup of the house, once again vacuum the living room. Off to preschool. Drop Tasha off and head to the airport! Yea!!! I haven't seen my wife since Thursday and she looks good! Just enough time for lunch, the two of us at Rosita's. Off to get Kyra from school. Drop Kyra and Helena off at home, and then head out to get Tasha. Finally, we are home. As Tasha is getting out of the van she asks, "Is Mom inside?" As soon as I answer yes, she runs as fast as she can to find her. Mission accomplished! The weekend and a momless home is over. Thank goodness! Don’t misunderstand, the weekend, although busy, was fun. Helena got to get away and visit with a friend and see her Aunt. I got time with my girls, which is a million times better than work. All I have to say is: "Welcome home babe, you’re my hero! What I want to know is how in the world do you do it week in and week out?"