We took the MetroLink to CityGarden for a potluck birthday party. The group on the train consisted of me, R, M, one Chinese graduate student, and two Chinese undergraduate exchange students, plus one of their mothers (the students are renting downstairs from us this semester). I had a transit pass, but the students didn’t have theirs yet, so R showed everyone how to get tickets (none of which were checked during our trip). The ride there was straightforward except it conflicted with M’s naptime. Also, we had a stroller and the toddler tricycle (don’t ask). She wasn’t not excited about the train or sitting or having anyone sit near her or basically anything in the entire world during that long 15 minute trip.
After about 90 minutes or so at CityGarden with lots of water time, the international group headed to the Arch, and R, M, and I headed back home. Still no nap yet. A blue train had just arrived — let’s wait for Red, I said. That stop is closer. The train left. M’s crank intensified. She cried off and on. We should have taken the Blue one, I said. The best train is the first one to arrive. During a quiet period, a woman walked by carrying her fussy toddler. Look how good that baby is, she said. Ha.
I had the brilliant idea of tucking the stroller into the area by the train-conductor’s box. Nope, not allowed. I guess in case of emergency, but it makes having anything extra very difficult. I don’t know how people do it with bikes, although the stroller and tricycle probably took up more space. Sometimes the doors on the right open, sometimes the doors on the left open, and it’s generally impossible to get out of the way. A woman’s purse strap got caught on the tricycle handle. Oops, you’re stuck, I said, and helped her pull it off. Thankful for our tiny, quiet train. And don’t get me started about bringing that tricycle, which was used for maybe 10 minutes TOTAL and only because it was there. If you leave it at home, it’s not an option!
Highlight? A man with a cane got off the train. R, who was sitting with M, motioned to me that I should take the empty seat (which happened to be reserved for the elderly and disabled). I was standing with the stroller and tricycle. I shook my head. As the man got off, a woman with a cane was boarding with a young boy, who also had an upright duffel bag on wheels. The two parties bumped at the door. Can I get off first? the man said. I’m sorry–I didn’t see you! the woman said. She’s blind! someone else yelled. Asshole, the woman said. She and the boy sat in the row recently vacated by the man. M cried.
After waiting for the Red train so we could get off at the stop closer to home, we decided to get off at an earlier stop and walk so that M would fall asleep in the stroller.
M and I took the bus to daycare today. I got her up around 7:20. We were out the door by 7:30. It helped that she wanted to wear her pajamas to school (reindeer ones — Christmas in August). We got to the bus stop in about 5 minutes with me carrying my bag for work, a bag with her stuff for daycare, and her, who carried her purse, which held important items like a bead necklace and toy car.
On the walk, I sang the first verse of The Wheels on the Bus and she danced in my arms. One day I hope she’ll sing it on the bus.
The bus (#2) I planned on taking was running late (Thanks, Google Maps update), so I decided I’d take the other one, which came earlier but had an exit stop an extra block away, which is very far when you’re with a toddler. M sat on one of the benches and ran around on the grass. I didn’t see the bus (#91) at its stop, so we dawdled. Then M wanted to walk in that direction. And that’s when I saw the sign that the stop was temporarily across the street and the bus we wanted was sitting there idling. Then, of course, three buses came from the other direction, so we had to wait to cross. Pretty much right after we sat down (after I confirmed this bus was going down Olive), the driver shut the doors and drove off.
M wanted to hold my transit pass, which costs about $15 to replace. I tried to give her a Starbucks gift card that only has $5 on it — besides, I use Starbucks less than the bus anyway — but she didn’t want it. It’s green and plastic! But the transit pass is orange, and that was better. I pulled the cord too soon and yelled out, “Sorry, I meant the next stop.” We got off. Bye bus! M called out and waved. I carried her to daycare most of the way. She was happy to go to her room and have breakfast with Ms. Becky.
I checked Google Maps. Campus shuttle coming in 5 minutes. Standing at the stop 5 minutes later, I realize that it will be coming from the other direction, just as it passes. That’s okay, regular bus coming in 10. I walk to a different stop in the shade. That should be it! Then it turns before my stop. Google Maps says the bus is early and has come, but I’ve been standing there and no bus. I blame trolley construction which has caused a number of detours. At that point, I decide to just walk. Twenty minutes later, I’m at my desk. That’s 20 minutes from the bus stop. It’s now 70 minutes since we left the house and more than 2.5 hours since I woke up. On the plus, I’ve already walked 1.35 miles today and part of that was carrying a 26-pound toddler.
Lesson: Next time R decides to go to work early, he can take the bus.
Ruby the car was hit about 2 weeks ago.
The good: no one was in the car, the damage was relatively minor, and the driver left a note with contact information, which means we can go through that driver’s insurance.
The bad: my car was hit (while parked in a parking area on the side of the road)!
I went in for the insurance repair estimate today. The estimate, the bulk of which involves replacing the rear door, is higher than the cost of one of these pretty babies, which I’ve been eying since I saw it in a magazine last week. With that bike and this trailer, it’s almost enough to want to give up the car completely. Except, behind the dings and dents, Ruby is in excellent shape. Born in 2002 (with an official 2003 car birthdate), she just hit 100,000 miles last month.
I think if Ruby were undrivable and it went through our insurance, we would probably see how long we could go without a replacement.
- I walk (or bike slowly) to work.
- R works from home 3 days a week again. He drives the other two days — his office is on a bus line (Only one bus line), but the schedule is not convenient and it doesn’t go that close to our house. My ideal would be for his office to be downtown!
- M’s daycare is walkable, bikable, and busable with walking taking the longest amount of time.
- We are close to both MetroLink lines.
- We’re using the grocery store close to our house more and more and making it a goal to use Costco less and less (one, it’s farther away; two, we spend a lot there; three, does a family of 2.5 need that much at a time; and four, we don’t have room to store a lot of the bulk items, especially anything that needs to stay cold — we’ve developed a list of Costco Staples with the goal of going once a month).
I think the biggest issue is appointments. It’s difficult enough to find doctors but to then limit that to doctors who can be reached by train, bus, bike, or foot in a reasonable amount of time, that would be a hurdle. And I’m not confident enough as a bicyclist yet to ride many of the streets anyway. We try to stay close, but the routes don’t always line up. I occasionally do the car-share program through work, so even that is an option. Tempting, tempting, tempting.
(As an aside, WordPress spell-check doesn’t like drivable, bikable, or busable as words. It accepts walkable.
And it’s sore! Which is a little sad. I’ve ridden my bike to work the last two days, the first time in a few months and a different route than before. I’m not sure that one is easier than the other and they’re both short routes. My current one is 1.5 miles. But there’s that damn Des Peres bridge and that campus hill at the end. Today’s ride was faster than yesterday’s and tomorrow’s may be a little faster even.
I told R after work yesterday, “I don’t think it’s just the bike, but that was a hard ride today.” I’m on the old mountain bike still, and it does need some tune-up. I showed him some bikes I liked online. “You need performance not looks,” he said. Which is probably true. My last bike was very pretty but not the best option for much beyond Dutch-style riding, which doesn’t happen much in the U.S., at least not in St. Louis. So we found a few options on craiglist and may go for one of those.
M has been very into buses lately — “Bu!” she cries when seeing school buses, public buses, and shuttles of various sizes. I told her we would ride a bus soon. I know she’s been on the train, but I don’t think she’s been on the bus. Until this morning. R had to be at work at 8, and I said I’d do daycare dropoff. With our latest move, I decided to walk to the MetroLink station, catch one of two buses toward daycare, and then head back towards the station to catch the train for my doctor appointment.
I carried M to the station, about two blocks away because we were short on time and I couldn’t remember the exact schedule. We caught the #91, which was only a 4-5 minute ride and which dropped us off about one block from school. M seemed fascinated. She got to sit in my lap, face forward, and not be in a car seat or seatbelt. That breaks all the rules! Although was similar to our recent flight but was thankfully much, much shorter.
I heard part of an interview on NPR this morning with the writer and illustrator of this book: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson. To get!
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
The “on your left” cyclist passed me this morning on the Greenway. She is the most courteous, rule-following bicyclist I have seen. She wears a helmet, she wears an orange vest, she probably has lights but I’ve only seen her in daylight, and she always says “On your left” as she passes even if I’m standing way to the right and no one else is around.
Her appearance this morning reminded me of a woman who used to bicycle in our neighborhood way back in the 1980s in Virginia. The “Hi” girl. I have no idea how old she was as I was just a child — she was maybe in her 20s, but possibly older. (Anyone related to me know?) The only people I saw on bikes were kids, but she used to ride regularly through the neighborhood and would say “Hi” every single time she passed us in our yard or on the street. Hi!
Shortly after the “On your left” cyclist, another bicyclist passed me, but he didn’t say anything. It made me appreciate the earlier notice even more.
I passed a driver’s license on the sidewalk outside the doors to the pizza restaurant/bar near our apartment on my walk to work this morning. I walked past it first before turning around and picking it up. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to find the owner (It’s an out-of-state license), but I knew if I had the license, it would be safe.
I checked my university’s directory when I got to my desk but struck out. Then I googled the name and found a posted presentation for a class; I went to the directory for a different local university and found an email address. I’ve emailed the student and am waiting to hear back on the best way to reunite driver and license.
Overheard on the Greenway walking home after work:
Young woman (partially paraphrased): My advisor is useless. She only tells me what I already know…
…If I have a question about something substantial, then she doesn’t know the answer…
…No, she’s really nice…
…She’s easy to talk to…
I was waiting for the #16 when the #2 pulled up; just then a young woman asked me, “Do you know when the bus comes?”
Which one? I said and took off my sunglasses.
It should be here any minute; I can see it back there, I said pointing down the street.
She boarded the #2 anyway.
The remaining people at the stop gathered for the #16. A man kept looking at me — he might have been wearing a chef’s uniform but black pants instead of white ones. As we started to board, he said, Your eyes are striking! They match your shirt and everything! (Blue)
I said Thank you and laughed.
On the bus, the driver called out, Does this bus turn on Delmar or after that? I felt like she was looking at me in the mirror, so I responded, It turns at the street right after Delmar.
Another woman chimed in. The driver couldn’t remember if it was this one or the #2 that had changed (I have yet to figure out what the #2 is supposed to do). I understand driving multiple routes, but isn’t there a driver schedule?