Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Oh the Places You'll Go (Without a Car) - The Two Kids, Two Schools, and Two Buses Version

And now the commuting pattern I've been bracing for all summer is upon me: two kids, two schools, and Aaron's location is not really that close to home (although in the grand scheme of things, I believe most parents would kill to have their kids' schools all within two miles of home). Because I was hauling Aaron's initial sack of school items, and to test out the timing of the buses to see if it was reasonable to ask a babysitter to do this on the few days neither Amy nor I are available, I decided to forgo the bike and try this out on foot.

The morning was pretty smooth. We walked two blocks to Jada's school, and I pointed her in the direction of the cafeteria, as we had decided this would be her first morning doing the morning thing solo without me. Aaron and I walked another two blocks to the bus stop and our bus arrived not two minutes later. I got Aaron situated and then dropped in a token and a buck to get a transfer. We rode a mile, got off, and walked one block to the next bus stop. That bus also arrived within two minutes. (Since this bus doesn't come that often, I made mental note that in the future, I have to really hoof it lest I miss it and have to wait a good 15 minutes.)

We were on the second bus only a couple of minutes; in the morning, traffic is pretty slim. From there, it was just three more blocks to Aaron's school. I made mental note that as were pulling in, another bus was heading downtown; in the future, if I ever do this and then have a meeting first thing downtown, it's the line I'd take to get there, and at this rate, I'm not going to get that one. (I find out later, as I head out of the school, that yet another bus passes by, so I guess at that hour they run relatively often.)

Since it's Aaron's first day, I take a moment to get Aaron situated, introduce myself to the teachers, and then bolt. It's a brisk ten-minute walk to my office from his school, and on a nice day, with both kids safely tucked away at their respective schools, the walk is actually a little peaceful. I get to my desk at 8:50, a good 30 to 40 minutes later than I usually do. On bike, hopefully I can be in by 8:30 or even earlier. We'll see how this morning goes in that regard.

The way home is more problematic. The walk to Aaron's school is slightly uphill, I don't trust the bus frequency on the way back so hoof it almost a mile with Aaron on my shoulders, and then the one bus that gets us back to our neighborhood crawls because of rush hour traffic. We finally get to Jada's with only ten minutes to spare, even though I left the office at 5 (I had been in the habit of leaving at 5:50 all these years).

Thankfully, reuniting with his sister cheers Aaron up a bit; after a long day, in a new setting no less, he was starting to get a little crabby. I squeeze them into a tiny shopping cart at CVS, where I've been instructed to pick up a few things on the way home. With the exception of the two of them yammering away loud enough for the entire store to hear, we are able to get in and out without much fanfare. Soon enough, we're home. My dogs are barking, my head is pounding, and I've got a stack of handouts from school to wade through. Welcome to my new normal.

Again, I will much prefer doing this all on bike. But there will be days I simply cannot. So the alternative is doable. But I'm not sure I want to make a habit of yesterday's itinerary.
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