Friday, March 09, 2012

7 Quick Takes

And this time there's a theme.

1. Our van died. Completely and utterly. It was leaking coolant from four places. The brakes were worn out. It was time to send this pony to the glue factory. She was twenty-two years old, and had been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. And yes, I am personalizing her now. I have never done that before. It must be part of the grieving process.

We sold her for $400 to a junkyard. If I had thought of it, I would have spray-painted her first: "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

2. We cannot afford to buy another vehicle, so we are vanless for a while. We still have the sedan that my husband uses to get to work, but we don't have a vehicle that the entire family will fit into. I called the school board and got my two school kids signed up for bus service, but we had to wait two weeks until the buses were rerouted on March 12.

In the meantime, through friends and neighbors and church folk, we arranged rides. Two weeks of borrowing vehicles or asking for help in other ways. It's a humbling experience, but I'm grateful for all the people who helped us.

 3. The older two kids start riding the school bus on Monday, and they are anxious. They have never ridden the bus before. We live in a sorta seedy neighborhood, and I won't let them wait alone at the bus stop. But I am also terribly absent-minded, and I am afraid of forgetting to meet them or something. Prayers are appreciated.

4. During the school day, the younger two girls and I, like working class people for generations before us, will depend on the city bus system for transportation. I have not been bus-dependent since before the kids were born, so this will be an adventure. AN ADVENTURE, I SAID.

5. I took the money from selling the van and have bought equipment for the kids in our new pedestrian life. A sturdy stroller, raincoats, umbrellas, comfortable sneakers, rainboots and sunglasses. We will be WALKING today, kids! I mentally practice saying this with lots of enthusiasm. AN ADVENTURE, I SAID.

6. This also means that we will need to take the bus to church every Sunday, since not only do WE not have a vehicle big enough for our family, but no one else we know has one either. If we all take the bus together, going to church every Sunday will cost us $18. Have you ever thought about what you would pay to go to church? SEE? I SAID AN ADVENTURE.

7. Some of you live in cities with excellent mass transit and you are wondering what all the fuss is about. I live in Cincinnati. This city does not have excellent mass transit. There have been improvements made recently, and I was excited to see that AT LAST! In March, Metrobus would begin selling fare cards! I would not need to bring exact change every time I rode the bus! I could put money on a fare card and swipe it whenever I rode instead!

So today I took some of my broken-van money and walked up to the Metrobus booth downtown.

"Are you guys selling the rechargeable fare cards yet?"


"I ask because I looked at the website and it said you'd start selling them in March."

"They're not selling them yet."

"Any idea when they'll start?"

"Whenever they can get the computer interface to work right."

He grinned at me. I grinned at him. It was a grin that said, "Oh? Government-contract, awarded-to-the-lowest-bidder IT work? What could go wrong?"



  1. Good luck with the ADVENTURE! I imagine I would struggle mightily to maintain that attitude for any length of time.

  2. Oy. I didn't even know you had four kids! You're taking all of this remarkably well. I am agog with admiration, agog I say! Wish I could be more helpful than admiring.

  3. I'm still amazed at the 22 years you got from that van!

  4. Anonymous3/10/2012

    Sigh. I can relate, although thankfully my city has decent public transportation. And my kids are older. Hang in there, and enjoy your adventure!

  5. Anonymous3/10/2012

    I think that you and your blog are lovely. I also believe that your children will benefit exponentially more from all the adventures they will have with YOU, on the bus, than they would spending the day without you, at a daycare, so you could earn extra money for a new car. :) Children need their mamas.

  6. On the plus side, no more hassling with car seats. And my kids love public transportation. On the downside-- getting anywhere takes sooooooo long. Hang in there as you adjust to the new adventure. :)

  7. All the best on this adventure! I am glad you have the proper gear to get the job done - aside from the fare card. I wonder how much it was costing you to drive to church? $18 seems like, well, um, too much money to go to church. (No offense, church!)
    I also don't let my kids wait alone at the stop -well the almost 13 year old is a different story - but the younger two we walk in the morning & pick up every afternoon. The driver waits for 5 minutes if we aren't there - then moves along and we get a call from dispatch (which has actually happened once due to a problem with my van). They went round the route and our driver brought them back because she is a kind and protective soul - if someone grouchy at times.

    Hoping the kids become industrious little walkers /stroller riders for you!

  8. I got stuck on $400. What a wonderful amount of money for such an old van!

    ADVENTURE it up! When the going gets rough, remember that in a few years it will be a fond, and hopefully funny memory.

    ADVENTURE! Good attitude.

  9. Kris, that's how I felt about the money too. I think we can deduce from this that the GMC vans of the 1990s were so reliable, there are enough of them still around for the parts of this one to be in demand. Maybe. It certainly worked a long time for us.