Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Wheels On The Bus Go 'Round And 'Round

I'm tired of talking about my truck. I'll just condense it. I'm still driving the rental. I stood outside the Maine State Capital this morning, hiding from the fifth graders and shivering in the snow, talking to the nice lady at the Dealership Car Fixy Place. Any day that the words "valve," "exploded," and "never actually seen this before" are uttered is going to be memorable. Apparently, they are so transfixed by this never-before-seen phenomenon that they have forgotten my explicit direction to just shoot the stupid thing. They are running some sort of a teaching hospital over there, it seems.

Like I said...I'm tired of talking about it. It is a pain in my Sheepie hindquarters and my wallet.

Why don't we talk about field trips instead?

Remember when you were a kid and you got to go on a field trip? That was a big day. You packed a special lunch, some fun games for the ride and you even got to eat on the bus. Bus drivers only let you do that on field trips. Chances are, you don't even remember the "edu-macational" part of the trip. But the bus ride, being able to use those cool public bathrooms and trading packaged snack cakes with your buds? That was memorable!

I am an adult. And then some... As an adult, I have been going on field trips at least once per year (and then some) for nigh on twenty years now. And, I have to say, that much of the joy has been sucked out of those memories for me. I now look back on them and wonder if my giddy behavior gave any of my teachers the same level of headache as I have now. And if they would appreciate knowing how tuckered out I am after each one.

Today, I was privileged to escort a gajillion or so fifth graders to our great state capital for some real-life learnin' on such subjects as "Why it is OK for State Representatives to yell while debating on the floor" and "How The Gift Shop Does Not Factor Into The Educational Experience." I assisted a group on their tour of the museum and the required "scavenger hunt" for information while wearily settling squabbles over which route to take through the exhibits and helping the parent chaperons deal with their more "active" charges. I debated with several students over how best to deal with the rotting banana we found under the bus seat in front of us (we opted to pretend we didn't see it) and defended my decision to stay single when the girls learned that I had never been saddled with wedded bliss.

I learned that letting the kiddies "see" your cool pink cell phone on the ride home when they have run out of things to do and are resorting to tickle fights results in some really weird pictures on the camera.

I learned that fifth graders have a better sense of time and place than I thought and that telling them "we are almost there" when we are nowhere near "there" fools no one.

I learned that the best way to shut down a smug fellow teacher who passed you on the way home yesterday at the speed of sound and who wants to chuckle over your slow motoring is to tell him that you were driving your broken truck with failing brakes. That'll shut him up. And if you happen to point out that you rented a car and came to school only because you thought you were going to be needed on this field trip, so much the better.

I also learned how to load and fire a flintlock musket. That is probably not good information for me to have right now. But, there it is...

But, best of all, I learned that you can make great progress on a sock when you have a two hour bus ride with which to contend and a real need to pretend that you are very, very busy. I was able to finish the gusset and knock out quite a bit of the foot on today's trip. I was also pleased to note that I was not the only knitter. The little girl sitting behind me used pencils to knit about eight miles of i-cord. Why she needs eight miles of i-cord, I know not. But it was nice to have a little of the sisterhood going on during my trial by school bus.

And there you have it. More of the same with a field trip thrown in. Tomorrow night is Bullet Post night and, though I have no reason to believe that I will make it to class and be in need of simpler blogging genres, I'll probably toss one your way anyway.

Exploding valves and lengthy field trips make for a love of the bullet points...



trek said...

Hmm, my guess is that the Neatnik's school will "request" parent chaperones for some field trip or another with alarming regularity.

Should I change my name now?

Anonymous said...

You certainly deserve to be elevated to sainthood for managing to stay relatively sane (or did you?) while on a field trip with a gajillon or so fifth graders! I'd rather someone load the flintlock musket and fire it at me than escort a bunch of fifth graders on a field trip!

Sheila said...

You need to figure in the price of the rental car when summing up your repair bills for the last year...if you decide to think about that, that is.
I wouldn't have figured you for having one of those pink phones....shows how much I (don't) know.

Bobbi said...

I say kudos to you for not snatching the knitting pencil away from your fellow knitter and using it to poke or stab the fellow teacher making fun of your driving abilities! especially given the week you've had!

Mel said...

Powder, wadding, musket ball? Sounds like very useful information.

Fifth grade is a difficult age, what with all those hormones just starting to fluctuate. Just be glad your lot were supervised and not up to this:


April said...

Field trip?!? I'm sitting at the back! WeeEEeeEEeeEE!!!!

Mia said...

Hey sheepie.. i've got a muzzle loader if you need help taking care of that truck ::laughing my ass off:: and I was thinking about your field trip and I said to myself. "Geeze, that would be fun!" then thought some more.. "well, maybe once" then came to my senses.. "no freakin' way". But good for you cuz somebody's got to do it *grin* and at least there was knitting.

Anonymous said...

Your truck "exploded" and they think they are going to fix it. Oh my.
Sounds like a fun field trip. I'll never forget 6th grade when we went to a Greek restaurant. We ate stuffed grape leaves. Then two boys wandered off and we got sent home and a teacher had to stay behind to find them. That teacher was never the same.

Teri S. said...

Exploding valves do not sound good...not good at all. Given the problems with the truck and your entreaties to the mechanics to just shoot it, now that you know how to load and fire a flintlock musket, you can do the deed yourself. Assuming, that is, you can actually find one.

Cursing Mama said...

I wonder if you could make some kind of "arrangement" with the pencil wielding I-cord knitter. She'll fulfill all of your I-cord needs in exchange for an extra pass to the bathroom.

*boy am I glad I am of that class of people known as "working mom" who is not called upon to attend these little trips.

knitseashore said...

They really don't pay teachers enough, do they? Combat pay...esp. if muskets are involved.

kmkat said...

I was a parent chaperone for a grunch of field trips when my kids were grades 1-3. For some reason -- perhaps self-preservation -- I didn't go on any after that. You have my utmost sympathy and respect.

"There is no personal problem that cannot be solved by a suitable application of high explosives." Don't remember where I read that but somehow it seems apropos...