Tag Archives: Kelley

On traveling and time, part II

For going on four years now, Chicklet and I have had a standing Friday date with my friend Kelley and her daughter, Evan. (For almost two of those years, sweet Busling has tagged along, too.) When the girls were infants, we met at Green Lake for grown-up walking and talking, but as they grew older and our get-togethers became more about them, we started to branch out. Common meeting places these days: parks (Green Lake included), the Children’s Museum, Central Library, Aquarium, Zoo, and et cetera.

Most of the time, it takes my crew longer to travel to a meeting location than it takes our friends.* This is because our travels include walks and waits, and because it (usually) takes a bus longer to get from one place to another than it takes a car. On the other hand, we never have to spend 10 minutes driving around the GLCC parking lot (or the block) waiting for someone else to leave. And since, as bus people, we pretty much always have to be out of the house on time, we regularly find ourselves at the meeting location ahead of our friends, enjoying a few extra minutes of playtime while we wait.**

The most recent example of this was last Friday, when the five of us decided to meet at the holiday carousel at Westlake. We bus types opted to take the 27 because, well, we always do. Kelley drove. Since (as of July) Kelley and her family live about a mile southeast of us, she took the same route that the 27 takes to get downtown. While I was waiting at the stop with my kids, Kelley and her kid passed by in their car–mere seconds before our chariot pulled up. By the time we boarded, they were a couple of lights ahead.

I’ll let you guess who was waiting for whom at the carousel entrance.

Score one for the bus moms.***

*It’s sometimes hard to compare, since, until recently, they were coming from a different part of town.
**This is not to say that the bus is always the preferable way to travel. Early arrival or no, there are times (like, say, when it’s pouring, the bus is late, and it’s past naptime) when even a bus chick envies the comfort (and corralling and carrying capacity) of her friend’s fashionable (and warm!) black mom-mobile.
***Of course, Kelley’s child actually rode the dang thing–twice–while my two stood at the front of the line screaming in terror, but hey. You win some, you lose some.

See also, On traveling and time

Busing with two babies (or, “I’ll just catch the next one.”)

I do my best to keep this blog positive, in part because there are enough people in the world complaining about PT (really, there are enough people in the world complaining, period), but mostly because I really do enjoy my life on the bus. There are certainly challenges, but every choice comes with challenges, and I’ll take mine over all of the drawbacks of driving. I digress.

Folks, in addition to keeping it positive, I like to keep it real, and I have to say, I’m feeling pretty challenged right now. The transition from bus parent of one to bus parent of two has been harder than any I have made so far, including the transition from car-owning bus enthusiast to car-free full-time rider–and even from happily childless bus chick to bus mom. Of course, not all of the pain I am feeling right now is about travel; adjusting to parenting two has been tough for me, even (perhaps especially) when we’re in the house all day. Still, I’d be lying if I said that the bus wasn’t contributing to my angst. Peep it:

The first time I rode the bus with both babies, it was for a family outing: Nerd, Chicklet, week-old Busling, and me. Our Goddaughter, Layla, was turning one, and (thanks to the enormous families of both of her parents), her party was held at a community center in the south end. The three-bus trip (48 + 7 + 39) was less than ideal but was doable with two adults, and, despite the fact that Chicklet was a bit antsy during transfers, we managed it pretty well.

A family outing on the 14
Waiting for the 14 for Lunar New Year fun in the ID (smiling because Bus Nerd is along for this ride)

The trip home was more of a challenge, since the 39 only runs once per hour on Sunday evenings. Saying our goodbyes and getting Chicklet appropriately bundled took longer than we expected, and we barely missed the bus we had planned to catch. Had we been traveling without children, this would have been a minor inconvenience, but since we were dealing with a toddler’s bedtime, a newborn’s feeding schedule, a post-partum mom’s fatigue, and a party that ended before the next bus was scheduled to arrive, it was a major inconvenience. We ended up taking a cab home, sans car seats. I worried for the entire (thankfully short) ride.

The second time I rode the bus with both babies, it was to meet my friend Kelley and her daughter at a park in Madrona. On that day, I was parenting solo, and, thanks to a morning errand in the neighborhood, arrived at the 48 stop mere seconds before the bus did. I quickly removed Chicklet from her stroller, but when I tried to fold it down, it wouldn’t budge; a stack of papers I had tossed into the storage basket earlier that morning was in the way.

While I squatted on the sidewalk, trying to un-jam the stroller–with one hand on the baby (to prevent him from tipping out of the sling-like carrier he’s riding in until he gets big enough for the real deal) and one hand on Chicklet (to prevent her from running into the busy street we were waiting near)–the bus pulled up, and folks started boarding. When they finished, I was still struggling.

The driver peered out the door and asked politely, “Are y’all coming?” but I was so embarrassed and discombobulated, I shook my head.

“I’ll just catch the next one,” I said, and then watched as he closed the doors and drove away.

The three of us did, in fact, wait the 15+ minutes for the next bus, and when it arrived, I was prepared: Busling strapped to my chest, bus chick bag on my left shoulder, Chicklet on my left hip, Orca card in my left hand (ready to swipe), stroller folded up and ready to be carried on board with my free right hand. I managed to get everyone–and everything–on and off without incident, but that ride only took us part of the way there. (We still had a short 2 ride, which I skipped in favor of a medium-distance walk, to go.) By the time we finally made it to the park, I was stressed and tired, and we were late to meet our friends.

Since that enjoyable trip, we’ve gone on several outings as a threesome, with (thankfully) much less drama. For one thing, I don’t always bring the stroller for Chicklet; she’s capable of walking several blocks on her own. Whether or not I bring it depends on how far we have to walk–and whether I’ll need to contain her–when we get where we’re going. For another, I usually don’t arrive at stops right when the bus does. When I get there a couple of minutes early, I don’t have to rush to get ready to board and am therefore better prepared to deal with any equipment malfunctions that may arise.

Of course, getting anywhere on time (let alone a couple of minutes early) with a newborn and a two-year old is a feat in itself. This is one of the many reasons I am grateful that I can walk to many of my regular destinations. When it’s not raining, we walk to church, to the library (it’s across the street!), to the park, to the doctor’s office, to restaurants and coffee shops, to grocery and drug stores, to community centers, and to friends’ houses. On occasion, we even walk downtown.

And so, here’s hoping I’ll get to reap at least one reward of the bus (or not) parenting lifestyle: A speedy return to my pre-Busling form.

A nutcracker in shining armor

Bus Nerd and I have recently returned from a lovely evening out. (That’s two nights out in one week–a record since the arrival of Chicklet.) This time, we attended the opening-night performance of The Color Purple (27 + medium walk) and–thanks to my friend Kelley–a post-show reception with the cast.

Turns out, we weren’t the only bus types at the fancy party.

Prince Metro
“Prince Metro,” enjoying the cocktails and conversation at Pacific Place

No disrespect to Northwest Center (an organization that makes it easy for car-free types to donate clothing and household items), but maybe the proceeds from the sale of this particular nutcracker should go to Metro.

Happy birthday, Chicklet!

In her first year of life, my child has ridden the following routes:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 36, 41, 44, 48, 54, 55, 56, 60, 66, 70, 74, 134, 150, 174, 194, 230, 255, 358, 545, 550, 554, 590–not to mention the Monorail, Puyallup Fair shuttle, Elliott Bay Water Taxi, Detroit People Mover, Amtrak, Portland Streetcar, and a few Portland bus routes.

Chicklet at 50 weeks

How I know Chicklet is a true BCiT:

Yesterday, we met my friend Kelley and her baby daughter Evan for our weekly walk/lunch at Green Lake. After lunch, I took a credit card out of my wallet to pay our bill. Chicklet, in her custom of naming everything she sees, pointed at the card and announced (with great enthusiasm), “Buhpash!”*

And then there was this morning, when we three headed downtown on the 27 (eventual destination: Seattle Children’s Theater). As soon as we sat down, Chicklet reached for my bag. “Bik!”** she demanded. “Bik! Bik!”


Chicklet on Halloween
Our seasoned bus rider, celebrating Halloween at Daddy’s office (48 + 545) party

*Bus pass