It’s Going By So Fast (and also “How Will We Survive”)

Well, WELL! I’m not too sure what I’m going to do with these little trip-keeners that I’ve got on my hands! Feeling like it’s going to be a fairly nauseating experience to have them continue in such a disciplined, orderly manner. First of all, this morning – they ALL got up without ANY need of my intervention – how RUDE! I didn’t have any chances to shine bright lights in their eyes (I brought a 5 million candle watt powered flashlight specifically for this purpose) nor did I get to pour water on their sleepy heads (I brought a fire hose with Aubrey’s name written all over it!).

Chaperones were up like a charm too, but it’s early in the trip so I expect that to change! Speaking of it being early in the trip (ahemm, Day 2!), I was chatting with Jen this morning when she said, “Tomorrow, we’re in Edmonton already.” I replied, “I know, right? It’s going by SO FAST!”. Well, WWWWEEELLLLL, the look of utter disgust she gave me shut that conversation down like me conversing with a student who is trying to tell me they were “too busy to do homework last night.” I quickly turned around in my seat, giving her the time she needed to cope with it ONLY BEING DAY 2!

Bus drivers are on point, though, with a coffee delivery at 7:30 this morning – I’m giving credit where credit is due because I was on my last legs after doing room checks!

In our CLEANEST ROOM CONTEST (aka “How to Prevent Wallets from Being Left in Fridges Contest”) students were put on a point system that they’re familiar with (think Ontario Assessment and Reporting, high expectations, learning goals, success criteria, feedback for growth and opportunities for reflection!). With all supports in place judging took place and levels R, 1, 2, 3 and 4 were issued with careful scrutination of the data we had (ie: beds made, towels in the tub, items packed, and general tidiness). Six groups scored a Level 3 (meeting the expectation), but one group scored a LEVEL 4! I’ve posted photos of the excellent, artistic way they placed damp, dirty shower towels on the bedspread surrounding their note to cleaning staff. They’re so clever – those boys! 🙂 Like, I’m not saying it was anything similar to a towel-dove and mints, but they did pull something out of their hats to separate them from the rest (and thus they shall get lots of sugary treats for the win!).

One group had to be publicly shamed for their careless disregard for the entire contest! Towels strewn throughout the bathroom, a Gatorade on the floor, messy bed and chairs not pushed in meant these kids had to stand and hear the BOOING they deserved! The worst of it all, they didn’t even SEEM TO CARE! It’s almost like these four Grade 8 girls are used to having a messy bedroom. I’m curious if this is the norm for these girls but don’t want to name names or further embarrass them (because you know I’m very private about these kinds of things), so I’ll just have to ask Carolyn, Veronica, Chantal and Rosalinda when I see them!

After driving into the majestic, gorgeous, amazing better-than-all-other-areas-of-Canada province (ahemm, Saskatchewan of course!), we lunched in Regina. WELL, some lunched in Regina while some went to the dentist! Because we weren’t quite busy enough, we thought we’d throw some fillings, a cleaning and a root canal in! 🙂 Actually, we just had a couple of stray wires making a nuisance in a couple of our kids – which Regina Orthodontist Group quickly, quickly took care. (Listen! If you’re ever on a holiday with 30 of your best friends and need some dental work – they’re your people! Call them up and say “Michelle sent me!”).

Also, dental work and small engine repair can now be added to my and Jen’s resumes (is there no end to our talents?).  I did some nifty dental work while we were contemplating when to catch an orthodontist and Jen pulled out all the stops to fix Allyssa’s headphones! Check out the photos of my orthodontisry (is that a word?) work and Jen’s mechanical work. You’ll be suitably impressed, I’m sure!


From lunch, off to Paintball! A resounding cheer from kids as we pulled into the yard – except for the kids quivering on the floor in FEAR and TERROR (they were mostly quiet for some reason!).

Now, for those of you who have been around for the last few years – you MUST REMEMBER the FAMOUS TICK INCIDENT OF 2014. You probably remember how I was the only one who kept my cool and held the team together in face of adversity, how I was the lighthouse to the stormy seas, the shelter in a tornado, the rock and fortress of them all…… Best to ask me about that in person and not read about here (or talk to anyone named Jennifer, Caroline, Ron, Chris or Darrin). 🙂

Anyway for this year, Jen and I had a STRATEGY and PLAN to deal with the POTENTIAL TICK INCIDENT OF 2016. Armed with hazmat suits we stole from Goldcorp and pesticide outlawed in most countries, we took on those ticks like a teacher takes on coaching sports they haven’t played since high school (ahemm – with our best efforts!). With three games under our belt (and an extra $140 box of paintballs for kids who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn!) we had the greatest time! Every student participated, and chaperones participated to the best of their ability! (Don’t read Jen’s account here if you’re loyal to me!).

With only a few travelling ticks, we survived. Taylor broke the 100 m dash record when one was found on a classmate near her and is now fielding calls from the Canadian Olympic Committee (think gold medal in Brazil)! Seth wins “BEST BRUISE” contest with a doozy that hit him right on the collar bone (I would have been in the fetal position, he was SO-SETH about it with his totally nonchalant voice and chill personality, “soooo, Mrs. Parrish, I got hit here…”).

Ms. From’s got a welt the size of a loonie and about 0.05 mm tall (but OH MY GOODNESS, she’s already phoned 10 relatives to tell them about it!). A few others have got some welts and glory stories that will be suitably embellished in tonight’s journals! I can’t wait until you read their journals – many are really doing a good job at capturing the special moments they’ve had!

From paintball to Saskatoon (one of Canada’s prettiest cities!) where we checked in to our hotel and then booted over to Fuddrucker’s for the BEST HAMBURGERS EVER! Ron and I used to frequent this amazing burger joint while we lived in Saskatoon (date nights when we didn’t have ANY MONEY, except for HAMBURGERS and FRIES at Fuddruckers!). 🙂 It’s a great place for a good meal, and believe me…they had a GOOD meal. They loved their supper and I think I can say that Quinn represented them all when he turned to me after finishing his supper and said in the most emphatic, excited voice and with a huge smile, “This has been the best day! First paintball! Then these burgers!”

Bonus for Emily who had visitors at Marino’s (last night) and at paintball today, Bradford who had company visit him at Fuddruckers and me who got to see Aunty Jo this evening! Love these little bonuses as kids travel across Western Canada.

Heads up, Sabrina might be heading home soon…she called my beloved province, Saskatchewan a “QuebecWannaBe”….. which I didn’t think was cool AT ALL (even if they do have Montreal, Chateau Frontenac, speak the “Language of Love” (or is that Spanish…) and make a mean crepe!). 🙂

As I write this blog post, Dave just returned from grabbing a tea for me and a coffee for Jen; Josee has medicated all these kids – prescriptions, Gravol, Advil, Advil and Advil – what good chaperones we’ve got on this trip (whew, FINALLY)! Kids and chaperones, though, are feeling the effects of that paintball intensity and Saskatchewan heat – they’re getting tired and will definitely benefit from a good night’s sleep! As will I, as will I!

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