Where was I? O yes, I had just made my way down the long hallway to my new seat on the sparkling, brand new motor coach and met my seat buddy, Beth. It was all good and great…yeah…
Since the week had been so hectic, I had not have time to do a good job packing. I had spent most of my time prepping the material for the substitutes that were covering my classes during my absence, prepping meals for the two boys I was leaving home alone, and making sure Grant had all he needed. Therefore, when it came time for me to leave the house, I had forgotten to pack my snacks for the trip…among other things I found out about later. So, on my way out the door, I just grabbed a few miscellaneous stuff and as many bottles of water as I could hold, and put everything in a plastic shopping bag. The error in my ways began to show quickly after I made the trek down the bus hallway to my new seat. The plastic bag started tearing and an assortment of granola bars, cookies and water bottles began to poke through the thin plastic.
I also realized that the overhead compartment was too small to fit my backpack and that there wasn´t any room for my coat either, so I wedged the backpack under my seat and sat on my coat. Needless to say, it was all very snug. I just couldn´t get a handle of the space or lack of thereof to utilize it the most effective way possible…
For a while, I just sat there, immobile, my torn plastic bag on my lap, backpack under my feet and winter coat under my behind. The comfort that had been promised by the motor coach company seemed just a bit elusive at that moment. I was surrounded by seniors who had been together in Band since they were in 8th grade, riding on their last trip as a group…loud and crazy was an understatement. At least I was close to the bathroom, right? Wrong, the driver had just announced that the bathroom was off limits, and that it was to be used only for extreme emergencies, emphasis on “don´t use it!”
It was 2:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday when we left Slippery Rock. We were not to arrive at our hotel in Orlando until 9:00 p.m. ... on Thursday after spending the day at Epcot. Suddenly, the walls of the enchanted coach that was transporting us to the happiest place on Earth became narrower…the realization of spending the next 20 plus hours on this bus, on this seat, next to these kids, carrying a torn plastic bag on my lap, my feet on my backpack, sitting on my coat, not being able to go to the bathroom other than at scheduled stops and most of all, not being able to lay down on a bed to sleep until at least 29 hours later hit me like a ton of not so magical bricks.
Not only that, but the chaperone duties I had been assigned were daunting. Somehow, the Band Director had decided that I was the person to assign as the bus garbage patrol and roll caller??? (I have a hard time pronouncing even my own last name!) Also, I was responsible for the kids in not one but TWO rooms!!! Really? A Rookie Mom and first-time-chaperone?? Obviously, I had miscalculated what it meant to chaperone this monstrosity of a trip. Reality had definitively hit. The funny thing is that I kept thinking about Dan’s reluctance to come with us way back in August when I first suggested it…now I understood. I should have volunteered to chaperone something more manageable for my first experience…like a trip to Grove City! (about 10 miles from our town).
Don´t forget to tune in tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of The Adventures of a First Time Chaperone