Posted by: Marie | January 28, 2011

(502) Kids and buses

Post #502
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, September 14, 2010]

So . . . I’m discovering that, despite my best attempts at being organized and efficient, this business of working two jobs (school district job and piano lessons) is pretty tough. I start my day at 5:45am and I work until 6:00 or 8:00pm – and I’m doing that seven days a week. About every three weeks, I’m taking off Sunday morning to do something with friends or family. But, this schedule is crazy – and not very healthy.

I have sat down and calculated how much income I would need in order to just scrape by – and I have enough coming in from just the piano lessons to meet that need. I could afford to quit the school district job as long as nothing unexpected happens that would exceed the normal budget.

Whew . . . I think I have to take the plunge. I need those extra 20 hours a week that I now spend at the school to spend on growing my business. I need to do this.

Photo by Martin Chen

But, wow . . . I’m really scared to take the plunge. If something unexpected happens (which is not so unlikely), I can hear the voices rolling around in my head, “How stupid was that decision – to stop working the ‘for sure’ job, to stop that flow of income when you could have made it work with both jobs. I know it is a tough load, but it would have been do-able. It was irresponsible of you to quit your school district job!”

Wait . . . that would be the voice of my dad again . . . I don’t have to listen to that voice . . .

Okay. I’m going to do it. I’m going to give my notice of intent to quit on October 1st – in just over two weeks from now. I’ll give one month’s notice so they have plenty of time to find a replacement. My last day will be October 29th.

I am feeling very scared about doing this. Of course I feel scared . . . it is a scary thing to do. But, I need to take the plunge. I need to do this.

The school district really doesn’t need a month to find my replacement, but it will give me a month after announcing my impending resignation to get used to the idea . . . to get over being scared of the thought of being without that supplemental income. I think a month is enough time for that.

And now, my blog buddies . . . now that I’m going to quit, I feel comfortable telling you what I do for the school district . . . I am a school bus driver!

I haven’t felt okay about disclosing on my blog the specifics of what I do for the school district because I have been concerned about the safety of the kids on my bus. I know the chances of it are slim, but I could not take the chance that some weirdo might read my story on my blog, figure out where I live and figure out my real identity . . . then figure out my bus route and get the stupid idea of doing something aggressive to me.

It’s one thing to put myself at risk; it is another thing to put a busload of 60-75 kids at risk. I could not take the chance that something like that would happen – I would be out there, all by myself, with that many kids, facing down a weirdo . . . I just couldn’t take that risk.

But, now . . . well, by the time this is published, I won’t be driving the bus anymore and that risk will be removed. So . . now you can know the rest of the story!

Speaking of school bus driving . . . something happened yesterday that shook me up pretty good. We made some changes to the bus route and some of the little kids got all mixed up and got on the wrong buses. When I finished my route and returned to the bus barn with my bus, my boss asked me to take a couple of the “mixed up” kids home in the transportation department’s passenger car. They were little kids . . . a 6-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl.

I knew the boy because he sometimes rides on my bus. And, I knew the girl because she was on my bus a couple of years ago, when she was in kindergarten. She had grown so much that I didn’t recognize her at first. But, then, when I heard her name and saw her address, I recognized her.

I dropped the boy off first, then I headed towards the girl’s house. As we neared her house, she told me that I needed to take her to a relative’s house instead of her house. She seemed very worried about the idea of going to her house. I told her I had to take her to the address I had been given . . . I didn’t have a choice. She got very panicked – to the point of hyperventilating – and almost begged me to take her elsewhere.

So, I pulled the car over (we were within a couple of blocks of her house) and started asking questions. I asked her if she was afraid to go home . . . she said, “Yes”. I asked why . . . and she started telling me about a very bad domestic situation. It was bad enough that I felt her life could be in danger.

I called my boss and told him what was happening. He instructed me to wait until he could figure out what needed to happen. He called back a few minutes later with arrangements for me to meet another relative away from her home location.

The whole thing really shook me up. By the time I got back to the bus barn with the car, I was in tears. I walked into my boss’ office to hand him the car keys – he took one look and got very worried something had happened to me. I assured him I was fine . . . it just broke my heart to see that little girl dealing with the stuff she is having to deal with. He agreed that it can be tough to handle . . . and he thanked me for paying attention and stopping what could have been a very rough situation.

I learned today that things were pretty bad in her home and it was a good thing I didn’t take her to her house. Because of the conversations I had with her and with my boss, she and her mother were going to get support of various kinds . . . including therapy . . . to help deal with the bad situation.

So . . . my heart is heavy today, thinking about her. I hope things get better for her.


  1. Hi Marie, I wondered if you were going to do this. I hope it has worked out well for you. And I hope your business has grown so that you aren’t just scraping by but starting to do well.

    • Hey, Evan –

      It is a scary thing to move to self-employment . . . I’ve attempted it a few times before so I’d like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way, LOL!

      – Marie

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