March 25, 2013

Spring Break and Trips

We appear to have a kite eating tree in our backyard. The boys have been trying to get it out all day.


It's spring break. We're doing musicals, movies, the beach at dinner, kites, and sleep.

I talked about taking the Tri-rail down to Miami, but was met with a deer in the headlights look. Miami was taken off the list.

For now.

The trip:

We were told to be at the school at 5AM. So at 4, the three of us awoke, took showers, packed the last of the items and loaded the asexual mom-mobile, which is now clocking at 221K miles.

At 430 we were on the road. At 440, a check engine light came on along with a couple others.

I hate it when that happens.

Having just had the oil changed recently, I knew that wasn't it, and remembering that at 120K, I had a sensor go bad with my catalytic converter, I was sickened the lights came on, but not totally freaked out.

Only freaked out enough to awaken my husband and say, 'You may get a call from me in 20 minutes to come get my car from the side of the road if it breaks down'. I'd already created a contingency plan for a friend to come take me the rest of the way. I just had to get the vehicle off the interstate.

It didn't come to that. I made it to the school with plenty of time to spare, but did tell a couple teachers and parents that I hoped that maybe my car would get stolen from the school parking lot while I was gone.

At 221K miles it's not worth much. Who wants to dicker at a dealership with a car that's pretty much been worn out? At least if it got stolen the insurance company would just look in its book and say, "Your POS vehicle is worth $XYZ', cut me a check and it would be done.


It was still there when we got home. My husband, God love him, Friday morning, swapped cars and took it to my mechanic for him to take a quick look. It's a sensor gone bad. Dammit.

Anyway, I was concerned it was an Omen, however, it was not.

Last year's experience with the whacked out bus drivers had our Band Director telling me who to use as a bus company. Shameless plug, we used Horizon Coach Lines, and they provided us with two of the most amazing bus drivers known to man.


In the history of bus drivers.

Professional, competent, funny, smart, charming, wonderful, solid, calm.

There are certain people that make a positive imprint in your life, and these two gentlemen were of that kind.

A bus driver can make or break a trip and I knew we were in a different realm from last year when both had the itineraries I'd created in their hands, had their GPS out, had taken notes, made a list of questions, and before we left we had a mini-huddle up to discuss what we envisioned with what they could provide.

We're asking for them next year. I gather you can do that.

We stopped in St. Augustine and toured Mission Nombre de Dios. The last time I was in St. Augustine, I happened to tell a friend of mine that I was looking for a caterer for our trip. (Shameless Plug #2) Her husband said to me, 'You should try Cap'n Kids Galley, just a couple blocks down...' I wrote down their phone number and got in touch.

I cannot speak highly enough of the gentleman who owns that restaurant. Where in the hell would I begin? We had emailed and spoken on the phone. The price of the food was crazy reasonable. Sandwiches, waters, cookies and chips... all separated out in an individual bag for each student. I'd pre-ordered.

He had put the waters in a cooler the night before so we all got cold water.

I said we'd be ready to eat at 12 and when I stepped outside, there he was with our food, patiently waiting for us to be ready.

And once again... have you ever been in someone's presence and thought, "This is a good person"? That would be Donnie. He owns it. He's amazing. He is kind.

And his sandwiches were great!

We had a big picnic right outside the Mission. And the rain held off, which totally negated the bad vibe of the engine sensors going off in my car at O'dark thirty.

The trip there was uneventful. We took a tour of downtown Charleston, Magnolia Plantation, Patriot's Point, and ate at fun restaurants on the water.

On Thursday we'd had a permit for Charleston since we were touring the area, but I didn't get one for us for Friday. After all, we'd be at Patriot's Point and we only needed the bus to park to drop us off to eat, right?

Coming out of Patriot's Point, the bus drivers stopped me and said, "We need permits for tonight. It's 3:30 and they close at 5..." And so off we dashed, two buses with 73 kids, to downtown, so I could jump off with our bus driver and hunt down where to obtain a permit. I got lost as we wandered the streets, however, I get credit for stumbling on the office. My 6'5" line backer 30 year old bus driver, as wonderful as they come, gets full credit for getting me back to the bus since I couldn't figure out where in the hell I was.

Permit in hand I said, "Hmm. We have to find the buses now..." to which he laughed quietly and said, "Bou... we'll just cross the street..."

He evidently kept tabs on where we were at every minute and was never lost. Only I was lost. Even though we were both together.

It was at Patriot's Point where things got a bit hairy. That would be when the first kid projectile vomited all over the floor after lunch.

Fortunately, the visual wasn't contagious. But by dinnertime, we had two girls in the bathroom of the restaurant. By bed time, I had a kid come find me in the hotel foyer where I was hiding from my psycho roommate. He was ill.

And come Saturday morning, we had probably two more kids not feeling well. I kept saying to the band director, "We just have to get home..."

I was txting my boys, "Don't you dare hug anyone!" Teenagers are like puppies. They're constantly huddling and hugging. And it didn't help that it was 40 degrees and we were freezing.

It was just an excuse for the walking hormones to share body heat.

And yes, there were students that said to each of my boys, "What's up with your Mom? She's in the lounge when we go to bed and when we wake up for breakfast, she's there again..."

They seemed to notice I was avoiding being in my hotel room.

It was worth it. They all had fun and that's what it's about, right? I met some amazing people, from restaurateurs, to bus drivers, to tour guides. When I meet people like these... it gives me hope for America. America is full of some seriously great people.

That said, I'm not attending next year. I think I paid my dues. I have great faith I'm not needed.

It's time to pull away. Even though I love those dang kids...

Posted by Boudicca at March 25, 2013 10:02 PM

Darlin' you have more than paid your dues. You paid yours and a few other people's too. LOL. Sounds like it was mostly a great trip though - aside from the psycho roommate. That's wonderful because who wants to work that hard and have the whole thing fall to pieces... ;)

Posted by: Teresa at March 26, 2013 12:46 PM

Exactly. And the kids had a good time. I'm sending the email tonight telling them I'm not doing next year. The dist'n has a few people on it so it's documented and I can't get trapped into it. I can see someone trying to do that.... trying to coerce and cajole. If I have many people on dist'n the probability is lower.

Plus, I decided that if they hint at my going next year, I'll immediately resign my position as president and leave them all in a lurch for ALL that I do... which is a lot.

Posted by: Bou at March 26, 2013 04:23 PM

Sounds like an amazing trip... and you pulled it together perfectly! Congratulations! :-D

Posted by: pam at March 26, 2013 06:49 PM