Day 11 – Homebound (Sleep deprived and BROKE!)

Have you ever watched an unconscious slug come to life? (If not, I might have some video of it!)

Now that they’re getting closer to home, they’re starting to act like YOUR CHILDREN again! From here on out, they’ll be referred to as YOUR CHILDREN rather than OUR STUDENTS (insert same tone as you use with your spouse when you have a disagreement about the kids!). I can’t be taking any more responsibility for these sleeping, lack-of-budgeting slackers!

Speaking of sleeping slackers, Jamie and Alex are to be commended for their quick reflexes and response after being DISCOVERED SLEEPING in their room at 745 (yes, that is the bus loading time!). Apparently they were woken by Mr. Reid at the morning wake up call, but quickly turned over and fell back to sleep! Luckily for us, they keep a clean room so it was really just a matter of closing up their suitcases and grabbing some breakfast to go.

In Winnipeg, a few stops (Golftown, Cabella’s and Polo Park Mall) and then on to the Go-Karts! I was really surprised, as we left the mall, to see more students with MORE SHOPPING bags! I guess it really does prove the point that teenagers have bottomless wallets (or at least their parents do!).

As we were heading to the Go-Karts, I got wind of a story that apparently Mrs. Hay isn’t too shy around the corners! She’s prone to find her way (so get out of the way!) when she gets on the track. For that reason (you know, to keep the peace) I thought it might be better to just hang back and take some pictures. It was a good idea, because I really did get some great shots! You’ll love them!

The kids loved the go-karts. I fear for my life when they get their driver’s licenses. (No. Really. I do.) You on the other hand, might need to start saving for insurance premiums.

Once we were done at the go-karts, it was on to the highway! We knew we needed to head into Kenora for a quick bus change and then home-bound full speed ahead we would soon be. In Kenora, everyone grabbed their belongings from the seats and bins, except Bethany who thought she’d leave her camera as a tip for the bus driver/cleaning crew. Again, I have to say, “what nice kids we have!”. (Seriously…….)

So, when Beth realized that she had left her camera on the previous bus, she was already into the Waldo costume for leaving her sweater and the same camera on a bench at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. SO what do you do if someone is ALREADY being WALDO’ed? and they pull another WALDO? Only Beth would challenge us with such a situation……..

We stopped at Ms. Willis’ new cafe in Ear Falls and let me tell you, if you haven’t stopped there yet, you really must! She makes ginormous (gienormous?) ice cream sandwiches, and they are so delicions! Mine was chocolate chip cookies with chocolate ice cream in between. SO YUM! Kids also enjoyed an Italian Soda (ahemm, some of YOUR CHILDREN enjoyed an Italian Soda. Some were a bit fussy about it, so only the ones who liked it are OUR STUDENTS!).

And……then Balmertown. You know what? It’s my favorite moment of the trip. Really, it is. For me, its that moment when they are all home safe and sound to the people who love them! I watched Claire hug Hannah until I thought Hannah would break! (thank goodness nobody noticed me in the bus, bawling like a baby!!!). I watched as sons let their moms give them the biggest hugs (no teenager-pulling-away-that-they-usually-do) and I saw dads stare in aghast at the new clothes that had just broken the bank account (think multiple overtime shifts over the weekend!). It is such an honor to take these children on a trip-of-a-lifetime, but it is truly much more of an honor to be a part of a great team that brings them home safely! I could not ask to be a part of a more rewarding job!

Which brings me to the thank yous and acknowledgements in this final blog post!

First of all, I join with our students in thanking Stu, our amazing bus driver. Stu is the ultimate bus driver. He is always ready first thing in the morning, is professional with the students and works until we’re ready to hit the hotels (which is typically quite late). He has a smile for the kids when they get on and a “goodnight” as the day finishes. He has kept us safe through the winding roads of Ontario, the mountainous paths in Alberta and of course through the sweet, straight, languid Saskatchewan highways! He’s so great and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts for keeping us safe during our bus time!

Our male chaperones this year, Pierre and Reg, were also great! Again, poor Pierre! He ended up being at the end of several of my jokes and for that, I would like to apologize (I said, “I would like to….”. I’m not actually GOING TO!). Pierre was a great chaperone to visit with the students. I loved how he would head to different sections of the bus to visit with the students. It is very apparent that he is a great dad to his boys and that he has a heart for children! He thinks about safety and has a great sense of humour! We loved having him as a chaperone, but I would like to publicly acknowledge that this is his LAST TRIP! I’ve heard rumours of him trying to find some surrogate kids so that he can go on another trip in 2 years! Seriously…..(get a life!).

Reg also fit in with our kids very easily. He visited with several of the students throughout the activities, always being professional and friendly. The students enjoyed their time with him and I know that he was a great asset to our group. Reg and his team of boys were also the ones that unloaded and loaded the suitcases! With 41 travellers and 9 different stops, this was no small task! I am very appreciative of this work, as are all of the students who exited the bus, grabbed their bag and quickly checked into their hotel room. Thanks, Reg. Great job!

Our two female chaperones had quite the job on this trip. We’re pretty certain that the next school trip will be listed like this: GLC ALberta Trip – officially sponsored by Tylenol Cough and Cold. (hack, hack, cough, sputter, sneeze, no kleenex, wipe on pants, hack, hack, cough, sputter, sneeze…..). Nancy was the official pharmacist (except without the pay and weekends off!) for this school trip. She took this job very seriously and I am very appreciative of that. When I asked her if she would do this, I didn’t think that she would be worked to the bone, nor did I think she would qualify for carpal tunnel workers compensation from opening and closing so many pill containers!! It was definitely a trip to remember for headaches, stomach aches and coughs! So, a big thank you to Nancy who came through for the students and kept immaculate records for safety reference. Her group and all of our students were able to enjoy the trip that much more because of her pharmacy work!

Speaking of being “worked to the bone”….Kelly was another key part of why this trip went off without a hitch. Kelly is the kind of chaperone who sees jobs that need to be done before they are noticed by anyone else. She is highly organized and efficient and this came through on the trip. She kept parents of this trip involved by sending out lots of pictures of the students enjoying themselves. Kelly was also the go-to gal for coffee (thankfully, she has the same addiction as me!)! She could sniff out those Timmies like nobody else! I appreciated Kelly’s attention to many, MANY small tasks that need to get done in each day (collecting keys, passing on messages for daypacks, putting kids to bed). Because of her work, the students were better prepared for each activity. And I’m going to say it publicly, because it’s true, and I always say the truth (as I see it, anyway). As far as the BEST CHAPERONE COMPETITION GOES (in the SPOUSAL vs SPOUSAL category!) – the clear and by a landslide winner is……..Kelly! Sorry, Chris, I’m never going to forget how you spread that rumour that the spilled coffee was mine. (NEVER!!!)

And finally, (tears!) the best of the best! A paragraph could not contain the words to highlight the kind of coworker, trip planner, teacher, chaperone and friend Jim has been to me and our school community. The students, other chaperones and I cannot thank him enough for his awesome contributions to this great trip. He has such a deep and meaningful vision of what this trip means and what it can do for our students. And from this vision, he plans and budgets and thinks about every detail. And, it all comes together wonderfully. What he has given to our students can not be measured in our time, it will only be measured in what they bring to their own lives, and what they will contribute to the lives of the people they encounter! Thank you Jim, for everything! You are the best!

So, this ends another set of journal entries (ahemm, blog posts!) for another great trip! A quiet summer should help to get us good and ready for our fall kick-off fundraising for Trip 2014 (did I just say that……so wrong!). Thank you, parents for all your comments on the blogs and facebook page! Thanks for the support given to teachers and your children (our students!). We live in the best community and we have the BEST SCHOOL with the BEST KIDS!

(Word count: 1654, that must be a new record for me!)

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6 thoughts on “Day 11 – Homebound (Sleep deprived and BROKE!)

  1. I have so enjoyed following the trip/adventure through your blogs. I want to add my thanks to the bus driver, chaperones and Mr. Reid, and also to you, Mrs. Parrish, because this trip really is a highlight for all of the students (Your students. Your children.) who have grown up in front of us! What a wonderful learning and growing experience for all of them!!

  2. I have so enjoyed following the trip/adventure through your blogs. I want to add my thanks to the bus driver, chaperones and Mr. Reid, and also to you, Mrs. Parrish, because this trip really is a highlight for all of the students (Your students. Your children.) who have grown up in front of us! What a wonderful learning and growing experience for all of them!!

  3. I skipped straight to the end of the blogs…exhausted each night to actually read these everyday. I have gulit regarding this as I witnessed Mrs. Parrish tirelessly type away on her ipad each bus route and by the glow of her screen late at night! Michelle took the time to thank each of us but forgot to mention herself (although that may have been a bit awkward!) The blogs were such an amazing way to keep those at home in touch with daily activities, mishaps and adventures. This truly took an incredible amount of energy and commitment and as a parent who received emails on the previous trip, I understand how this communication to those at home is treausred…THANK YOU! Of course, now I will add my say to each of these blogs because as we know there are two sides to EVERY story!

    The kids were FABULOUS. They integrated with one another, shared laughs, tears, stories and most importantly encouraged each other to accomplish new and sometimes terrifying tasks. Each day brought proud moments…incredible experience.

    • Just saw this today (where have I been????). I couldn’t agree more that the kids were FABULOUS! As I look through the photos, I remember their great personalities and the ease in which they all travelled! Can’t believe its already done! Now on to the album!

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