Back when Elizabeth first began preschool, I used to go to great lengths to make sure she got off to a good start every morning. In the winter and early spring I would get up at 4:30am, start a fire in the woodburning stove to take the chill off, fix oatmeal or pancakes or french toast from scratch, help her put a weather-appropriate outfit together, and so on.
As the years went by, there was less work involved. Both kids eventually got old enough to pick out their own clothes, and they began to prefer stuff like bagels and yogurt cups for breakfast. At some point last year it finally dawned on me that they didn’t really need my help in the mornings anymore. Their alarms would go off at 5:15; I would roll out of bed at six, make sure they were both up and getting ready, and at 6:30 we’d head to the bus stop. The bus arrived at 6:45 or thereabouts, and I’d return home all relaxed and rested and ready to start my day.
So. This year. Monday morning after I took the kids to school, I hied myself over to the bus department to fill out the semester bus pass forms.
Except the bus department was locked, and I was informed that it had been closed down permanently. Busses would still be running, but it would all be managed from the District office in Hemet, and I would have to go there to get the bus pass forms and pay the fees.
That seemed a bit beyond ridiculous to me (Hemet is an hour away, and I never go there if I can avoid it), so when I got home I called the Elementary office to double-check. They told me that the bus drivers might be able to bring the forms up with them and collect the fees here in Anza. Hooray! Actual sense was being made now!
The busses were running very late Monday afternoon, so I didn’t hang around to wait for them after I picked the kids up from school. Tuesday morning we waited at the bus stop but our bus never showed up, so I drove the kids again. Tuesday afternoon the busses got to the school on time, so I located the kids’ driver and asked him about the forms. He said that the drivers would not be allowed to bring the applications up to Anza, the Anza parents would have to go to Hemet to get them, and oh yes, the bus schedules have changed. Instead of the morning pickup being at 6:45, it will now be at 5:59.
To recap: I have to drive to Hemet to fill out forms that could easily be mailed to me, and to pay fees that we used to just hand over to the bus drivers. Then my kids have to start getting up at 4:30 instead of 5:15, to catch the bus at 6:00, to get to school by 7:30.
Or I could just drive them to and from school myself, and not even have to leave the house until 7am. That option’s looking pretty good right now. Think I’m going to run with that one for a while and see how it goes.
Late Monday afternoon the sky opened up and lo, a whole bunch of water poured forth. And it was good. It only rained for a couple of hours, but it was such a heavy deluge that everything got soaked good and deep, and there was much rejoicing. Except that the kids had ridden their bicycles up to see Steve, and now it was raining like crazy, and it wasn’t something they could ride home in. So I called Steve and told him that when the kids were ready to come home I would drive up and get them, and they could leave their bikes at his place for now. He replied that my car would never make it up the flooded driveway, and that he would bring them as far as the entrance to my property and they could walk the rest of the way. Because he didn’t want to take the chance that I might suddenly decide to go out in the the pouring rain and damage his beloved truck some more.
So…he was fine with making the kids walk up the driveway in a torrential thunderstorm of epic proportions, as long as he didn’t have to put his truck’s paint job at any sort of perceived risk. It’s nice to know his priorities are still in order.
“Um…instead of dumping the kids off in the middle of the storm,” I suggested, “What if I just promise to stay in the house while you drive them to the back door?”
He thought about that for a moment, and then muttered, “Fine.”
When he brought them home the kids had barely closed the truck’s doors before he was roosting mud in my driveway on his way out.
So, rain. Soaked ground. I’ve spent most of the past two days pulling weeds while the earth is still soft and moist, because the rest of the time it’s like trying to yank them out of concrete. Everything looks so clean and fresh now. I hope we get a few more late-summer downpours before the cold weather sets in — there’s nothing quite like rain in the desert to make everything feel new again.
I’ve been letting the chickens run loose the past couple of weeks; the dogs seem to have finally grasped the concept that they are Not To Be Eaten. It makes egg-gathering a bit more of a challenge, but they love the freedom and they’re a pretty sight wandering around the yard. And I’ve already noticed a decrease in the fly population as the chickens scratch through the horse manure and gobble up fly eggs. Win/win!
I have one more shed to clean out, and then I will be done with that part of my cleanup project. Everything else is just raking and pruning and cutting up wood into woodstove-size pieces, and all that neverending yardwork that comes with the property. I don’t even know what-all is in that last shed, but once it’s clean I’d like to turn it into a little workshop where I can keep all my tools and home-improvement equipment. I’m pretty sure most people don’t store those things in their dining-room hutches and pantries and wherever else they can find a spot to squeeze them out of the way. Five freaking sheds on the property and as yet not a single place to organize my tools outside the house. Does that seem right to you?
Okay, I think I’m done whining for now. Back to the weeding!