Monthly Archives: June, 2014

Thursday, June 19

# 2 – southbound, a.m.

I walked to Skinker and Delmar from daycare and waited for the bus because it was already too hot and sunny (and my straw hat was at home) to walk the rest of the way. I was already cutting it close for a 9 a.m. meeting and did not need to be any sweatier than I already was. 

After the bus pulled onto Brookings, I pulled the cord and heard the automated “Stop Requested” announcement, but when the driver turned onto Hoyt, he kept going. I called out “Stop,” and he pulled to the side while saying something to me. However, between the AC fan, the bus engine, and the nearby construction, I couldn’t tell what he said, so I just said “Thank you” and got off.

I told R this morning, “I don’t know if I should be annoyed that he might have been upset with me even though I pulled the cord or not,” and he essentially told me to get over it.

“I don’t have a lot of good bus stories,” I said, “so I take what I can get now.” 

This morning I had no problems on the same route. 

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Check out all this trash at the Skinker/Delmar stop–there’s a bench but no trashcan, although I feel like there used to be one nearby. The buses are No Food or Drink, so I guess people litter on the sidewalk to avoid violating the bus rule. Or maybe they don’t care one way or another.

More about driving

We might get a new car. Currently, we’re borrowing my parents’ Honda Odyssey minivan while they use our Civic. I was worried about driving a van because I’ve been driving a sedan for, um, 12 years–the same sedan. It was very easy to get used to. I could almost say that I love it except it’s only been a few days. Over the summer we will probably buy the van from them and sell the Civic. I’ll miss that little car.

The goal is to still have only one car, except the car will be bigger. It does use more fuel, but it may help us in other ways.

Today we drove, but

it was a much more stressful trip, even though it took a lot less time. Home to daycare to work took 45 minutes (I took some extra time at dropoff this morning). 

A car cut ahead at the four-way stop.

A truck cut behind me and in front of a van on Forest Park Parkway at the DeBaliviere turn after I had my right-turn signal on, which meant I was already slowing down! He was so close behind me I wanted to honk (do people honk at cars behind them?). 

A car tailgated me and then cut another car off, only to end up at the stoplight ahead. 

A car stopped to let someone pull out of the gas station, but another car honked.

I’m trying to learn patience as a driver. I complain about people honking, but I often yell at other cars. It’s amazing how much you see someone maneuver around only to end up at the same light as everyone else. As a pedestrian, if I miss the walk sign, I can miss the bus and lose 30 minutes. As a driver, if I miss a light, I can make that time up without even trying. And if I don’t, it’s only a few minutes anyway. 

More license plate sightings

  • MO-JEDI (my nephew might want this one)
  • NAMAST — this person cut me off on the highway on-ramp
  • PLM CRY — This was on a purple Dodge Challenger. I thought at first it was a Charger. Why would someone name a car Challenger? R said it meant Plum Crazy. I read it as Plum Carry. Typing it now, it looks like Palm Cry or Plum Cry. Apparently, it’s officially the Chrysler Dodge Plum Crazy Challenger, and the original car was named before “Challenger” was a bad idea.

You should try to spring for the extra letter if you’re already getting a vanity plate. I know you can have 7 characters with a hyphen, so why not 7 letters and/or numbers?

 

Can we make it in less than 75 minutes?

This morning, Baby M and I took the train to daycare again. We started down the street at 7:15. It took us 15 minutes to reach the platform. On the elevator, I reminded Baby M not to pee in the elevator (as the oh-so-helpful posted sign tells us, “Public Urination is Illegal.”) I did say that it’s ok if you’re wearing a diaper, and she seemed fine with that. 

We reached the platform just as the Red train approached. We could not have planned it better. I’ve decided to board in the area immediately behind the driver so that the driver sees I have a stroller. I’m not sure what I expect from my fellow passengers when I board other than a basic level of courtesy and acknowledgment that I’m navigating the train with a large object on wheels, especially since this is the route that goes to/from the airport. I always plan to stand right behind the driver — if I had a bicycle, that’s one of the recommended spots, but I also expect, foolishly I suppose, people to realize they may need to adjust where they’re standing as other people get on and off the train. 

Our previous two trips, someone’s offered up the front-row handicap seat, which allows me to sit with the stroller right in front of me, and it keeps us both out of the way of people getting on and off the train. This time, no one offered a seat, and the one guy still standing up front did not move even an inch. I locked the stroller in front of me next to the other set of doors and stood leaning against the glass partition in front of the first row of seats. We only ride two stops — the first stop has the other doors opening, and the second stop has our doors opening, but then that meant we were right where we needed to be and not in anyone’s way. 

The train ride took 5 minutes. Baby M was still awake. Then we walked through the parking lot, down the sidewalk, through the other parking lot, and to daycare. I don’t remember how long this took, but somewhere after the first parking lot, M fell asleep. Of course. I’ve decided she stays awake for the first part because she thinks we’re going to the swings. Then she stays awake because she sees lots of people between the playground and the train station. Then she stays awake because the train is exciting. Then she falls asleep because who cares about parking lots. 

When I left the daycare after dropoff, 50 minutes had passed since we first left the house. Could I shave some time off my previous trip of 75 minutes? I started walking to the bus stop. When I crossed at the light, another woman crossed with me. I stopped at the bus stop, but she kept walking. If my bus passed her, then I made the right decision, in terms of time, to wait for the bus. The #16 arrived before the #2 — on the day I’m early for the bus, both are a couple minutes behind. I grabbed the #2. At the next big intersection, the woman crossed the street, while the bus picked up a passenger. We had to sit through the light. After that, though, the bus took me right to campus and dropped me off at the circle. When I reached the front door of the library, the time was 8:25. 

Door-to-door = 70 minutes!

I’m not sure I can do much better than this. The only areas for improvement are walking through the parking lots faster, dropping M off at daycare faster (and this involves a lot; I don’t just plop her on the floor and leave), hoping for a perfectly timed bus, or walking from daycare to the library faster than waiting for and riding a bus. This is where having a bicycle at the daycare could be useful. 

Walking to brunch

We did a lot of walking this weekend. Saturday morning, I took M on a walk through part of Forest Park. I had the dilemma of using the bike trail or the other trail. The bike path specifically has a picture of a bicycle on it. It’s paved. The other path is not paved. There were runners and pedestrians on the bike path, but I felt like they would have been annoyed if a bike was on the other path. But the stroller has wheels, and the other path is gravel. So we used the bike path and some of the sidewalks along the roads.

Sunday we all went to brunch and walked to the cafe, which was a little over a mile away. I should start counting how many intersections don’t have a ramp at the sidewalk. One intersection had them at three points, but not at the corner we were coming from. This is particularly annoying with a stroller, and I imagine it’s even worse in a wheelchair. At another corner, we came upon this:

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Someone, I think the gas company, was doing work nearby. I will also point out there was no ramp at this corner. To the right of the picture, was a big piece of wood with “Hole” painted on it and then two giant metal plates on the road. Overall, the trip was pleasant and uneventful, except for the overwhelming lack of shade and the fact that on June 1 the temperature already hit 90 degrees.