Category: Family

Public Transit – Preschool Entertainment on the Cheap

Mim is in pre-school/daycare 3 days a week.  The mornings are a structured pre-school program and the afternoons include a rest (Mim doesn’t nap anymore), a snack and as much outdoor free play as the weather allows.  He loves it.

The other two week days are mostly devoted to domestic activities (for me) and free play (for him).  He’s equally as happy as home.   I on the other hand tend to get a little stir crazy with an active four year old bouncing off the walls. Last year, he took a gymnastics class, when I asked if he wanted to go back this year his answer was an emphatic NO! There are art and music classes offered locally, but none that jive with our schedule.

I’m always on the lookout for inexpensive, novel activities for us to undertake.  The nearest city to us recently expanded its public transportation offerings to include two trolleys that make a loop through the down town area and out to the local community college. BIG doin’s for a four year old little boy.

It took a grand total of 1/2 of an hour (excluding driving to the pick up point) and cost me $1.00 (he rode free).  He loved it and it gave us an opportunity to take in some of the local sites (banks, the Capitol building, police cars, fire trucks, there was just no end to the excitement).

I’m a huge proponent of public transportation.  I rode the T in Boston for 10 years before I got my license.  If we lived in an urban environment, I’d own a car, but ride public transit as much as possible, but alas, buses don’t run out in the sticks!

Most public transit systems aren’t as inexpensive as ours, but still you can’t beat $3.25 and a temperature controlled ride for some cheap fun.  Make sure to ride outside of rush hour to insure a relaxed experience.

All Aboard!!!

Where Were You?

Every generation has that moment. That one event they all share in common.  One that can immediately bond you in conversation, even with the strangest of strangers.

For my mother it was “Where were you when John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated?”
The teacher’s room in a staff meeting with a cranky principal.
For me, coming of age in the 80’s it was “Where were you when the space shuttle Challenger blew up?”  Hovering in the doorway of a high school classroom where the launch was being shown.  I’d seen every launch and I wasn’t about to let something as pesky as an AP history class stand in my way this time.
September 11, 2001, was a beautiful, crisp fall day. I had just returned from dropping my daughter at her in-home day care. I was in my home office filtering through email and to-do lists making a plan for the day.  The newsman from the morning show on the country station broke in to 30 minutes of music to tell us that a plane had flown into  the World Trade Center.
I shook my head.  Oh boy some schmuck really did it this time.  The music started and I went back to my tasks.
The newsman came back again.  Seems he was somewhat of an aeronautics aficionado and he really thought the tail sticking out of the North Tower was too big to be a Twin engine plane as first reported.  It looked to him to be a commercial airliner. That’s it, it was time to head downstairs and turn on the TV.
I had no clue. No one did.
Before I could get downstairs, and get the TV on, a second plane flew into the South Tower. Oh my God.  This wasn’t an accident.
A friend called just to chat.  Turn on NPR I told her.  This is bad.  She didn’t believe me but obliged me.  I watched the TV, she listened soon we were sharing bits of information.
I disconnected from her with a promise to call, her back.  I had to tell my husband.  I knew he was heading into a meeting.  I caught him just in time.  My voice broke as I told him the news. It was a small office and they tried to load web pages, but the Internet was brought to its knees by the sheer volume of requests.
We disconnected so he could learn more with a promise to stay in touch.  He worked in Boston and by then, we knew that both planes had originated from Logan International Airport.  Were we next?
Shortly after that I screamed at the TV as I listened to Peter Jennings babel as the South Tower collapsed. PAY ATTENTION I screamed.  It was all happening so fast, I needed SOMEONE who knew what was going on.  No one did. No one could have.
Husband called. They gave up on the Internet and were headed to Foley’s, the  local watering hole to watch the coverage on TV.
Oh my God there was a third plane and it hit the Pentagon.
There was talk of a fourth plane. But no one could confirm it.
Got my friend back on the phone.  We didn’t say much, but occasionally shared bits of data from our alternate sources. I sat in the middle of the coffee table tears streaming down my face hugging a pillow. We were making lists of people we knew in New York City. Hers was much  longer than mine.
In what was the only bright moment of the day, my MIL called.  Looking for Husband.
“He’s gone to Foley’s”.
“It’s a little early for a beer isn’t it?”
I laughed.
“Yeah, but that’s the only place with a TV.”
“Oh right. I want the three of you to come up here.”
I’m was not going anywhere until we knew what is going on.
Husband called.  He was on his way home.  Would I pick him up at the subway?  Not long after that, the MBTA, announced free service and the Mayor encouraged businesses to release employees to go home to their families.
As I’m made my way to the car, a black thought occurred to me. My husband just got on a subway.  We are under terrorist attack. No one knew what is really happening.  The military had scrambled every jet on the East Coast.  The FAA had grounded all flights. Police forces and Fire Stations everywhere put all staff on high alert. My mind did cartwheels as the possibilities banged around my head.  I forced the maybes out of my brain and focused on getting to the station.  It was a zoo and I’ll admit, my heart was in my throat as I waited. Finally his blonde head appeared.  He was on the phone with  his mother, assuring her we’d be up as soon as it was safe.
We picked up our daughter on the way home.  By then, it was nap time.  We sat on the couch watching the coverage until she woke up.  Then, the TV went off and we went for a walk in the local park.
It was a beautiful, crisp fall day.

The last of the lazy days

My kids started school again this week (ok Fish went back to school, Mim, just kept keepin’ on at pre-school).  The local district tries to get a jump on snow days, so the kids usually start the Tuesday before Labor Day.  They get three days of getting back into the swing of things then typically, they have the Friday before Labor Day off.

I think it is a nice way to ease out of the summer and into the school year. Especially after this summer.  We had so many snow days last year (11) that the kids didn’t get out until late June.  Then it was a quick trip to visit with my family over the 4th of July.  Then it was off to Las Vegas for a conference for the entire family.  Mim, A-Man & I flew home, while Fish took two weeks to drove back with her Grandparents.
That was supposed to be the end of the chaos.  Then we were supposed to have the rest of the summer to fritter about.  A week after we got back from Las Vegas, the father that raised me (I have 2 Dads) unexpectedly passed away.  So, it was off to Philadelphia for me and a few days later my husband followed.   Let me tell ya death really puts a damper on things.
I was back from that trip for a short time and then the kids and I headed out to Vermont to stay with a friend for a few days post-shoulder surgery. I was a puddle by the time I got back from that trip. We took 4 short days for a relaxing-just-our-family-vacation and BOOM it is back to School.
As glad as I am to get the kids back to school, part of me was really grateful for the slower pace this morning.  When we get our acts together, we’ll head to the lake to spend time with A-Man’s family.
Then, it will be Tuesday and we’ll be back in the saddle again.
In the mean time, I’m just going to enjoy the laziness of the next 4 days.

That didn’t take long . . .

I have some things in mind that I want to blog about and I was hoping that day to day life would generate a few bloggable moments, but I didn’t expect anything to materialize so quickly.

Fish’s first homework assignment is “A box about me”.  She needs to decorate a box and fill it with items that represent her and what she likes.
It was assigned yesterday and is due Tuesday.  Being the fastidious student she is, she wanted to get started right away.  Last night was haircuts, a quick dinner out, home and bed.  So today was really the first time she had to work on it.  I am an avid recycler, so boxes either get reused or sent to the cardboard pile in the basement.  Unable to locate any boxes upstairs, I sent her to the basement to find a suitable box.
This is what she came back with.