Tuesday, August 16 2022

burnt bread and the wrong bus

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. Pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable. If it's too early in the morning for metaphors, just squint at the screen in front of you.

Did you bring your coffee today? Nice - we're gonna need that.

Sip. Happy second day of school, reader. The "second day of school" doesn't have as much of a ring to it, but that same back to school energy sustains me this week. Last night, Marissa and I had no choice but to stay up late to finish the Better Call Saul series finale. Sleep was in short supply, but every sip I draw from this mug of coffee makes me feel a little more alive.

Today, I'm in search of a do-over for yesterday. By a lot of measures, it was a crappy day. Yesterday was supposed to be Krang's big comeback. Between shivering in the back of the fridge, surviving a cross state move, and living off of a measly weekly meal, Krang the sourdough starter had a rough summer. I was eager to break out the bread station and finally bring the smell of fresh bread into the house.

"I miss stukjes," said Marissa. She stared off into space, thinking about the last time we shared a butt end sample of a loaf of bread with coffee.

One of the worst parts of moving has been getting used to a new kitchen. I misjudged the height of the top rack of our new oven, and yesterday the first Krang loaf paid the price for my miscalculation. The loaf of bread sprung upward out of the pan, flushly meeting the top of my oven. Grey smoke trickled into the kitchen. I had to use a spatula to pry the blackened bread free. Burnt bread - bummer.

But we still haven't even covered the biggest fiasco of the day. Rodney's school let out. Marissa led Minnie across the street to Rodney's bus stop. I anxiously stood in the living room. The bus sluggishly turned onto our street. I had the camera ready when it coasted to a stop. Marissa disappeared behind the automatic door. After a few minutes, my phone buzzed.

"Rodney's not on the bus," she wrote. "They're trying to figure it out."

The bus driver couldn't confirm that Rodney even boarded his bus. The school couldn't tell us which bus they sent him on. The transportation company couldn't figure out which bus he wrongly boarded. We spent the next forty-five minutes calling the office, driving around the neighborhood, and waiting.

At last, an empty bus coasted up to our curb, and Rodney climbed down the steps. Thankfully, he didn't share the panic and dread Marissa and I felt. "They put me on the wrong bus," he laughed, shrugging off the whole ordeal like a funny joke. The driver explained that the school put him on the wrong bus. The school told us the drivers would take attendance for the first week, but the driver said those instructions never got relayed down to the rest of the drivers. On top of everything, her radio was broken, so she couldn't tell dispatch where Rodney was. "I just had to use my personal phone to call them, which technically you're not supposed to do," said the driver apologetically. "I wasn't going to let him off the bus - your kids are always safe with us."

I suppose the driver did the right thing. Driving my son around in the wrong bus is a lot less serious than letting him off at the wrong stop. I don't want to overreact, but I still feel angry about the whole ordeal. It's only the second day of school, and I already know way more about how the school delegates transportation than I ever wanted to know.

"What's your bus number?" I quizzed Rodney in bed.

"One-oh... fart," he replied. My scowl told him I was not in a joking mood. "One-oh-seven", he corrected.

We taught him one more line before we sent him out the door this morning. Hi, would you please look at my ticket and tell me if I'm on the right bus?

Let's end the entry on a fun note, shall we? Rodney asked for an elaborate napkin design: a night playing video games in space. Where does he get off asking for such an elaborate napkin drawing on the second day of school? Still, we don't shy away from a challenge in this house.


Have a great Tuesday, everyone.