Thursday, August 22, 2013

So this is the bus...

This week, thanks to the college kids moving to (or back to) school, parking at work has been tricky. My usual lot as well as my backup one had been closed, and I received conflicting info as to when they'd open. Monday I drove around for awhile and lucked out, as some city dweller was just leaving his large space. But because I can't parallel park worth a crap and spaces are far and few, I decided to look into taking a bus. 

Public transportation is not for everyone. In fact the hubby told me the only way he would ever get on a bus was if someone put his casket in there (lovely, eh). But I am all kinds of optimism mixed with sensibility so I figured it could not be that bad. Probably the worst part about it is there have been so many stops eliminated, so it is not convenient for everyone.

My original plan was to catch a bus a couple communities over, where the kid goes to day care, since I drop her off. But, alas, I discovered that would entail dropping her off about 20 minutes earlier. Considering the kid has enough trouble getting up as it is, and I feel bad she has to wake up early all year round now, I was thinking this was not going to work. Then I talked to my bus-driving neighbor who said I might want to consider a park and ride a few communities away that runs busses fairly often and which would be going towards work anyway. I remembered then that an occasional blog commentor suggested this very route a few months ago. 

So I threw caution to the wind and did it yesterday! 

It was a relatively short drive there, through mostly side streets (which meant little traffic!). When I arrived, I was surprised by the number of cars parked there. I had no idea this many people took public transportation from one area! Fortunately, I found a space faaaaaaar away (and I got there around 7:45, which is not that late). I walked the few minutes to the bus and waited only about five minutes more. 

The ride itself was uneventful, which I was hoping for. As I suspected, there was nary a crazy or drunk person in sight (who would be up at that hour?). And I made it to work 15 minutes early.

At the end of the workday, I left work three minutes early, which allowed me to get the bus at just after 5 (my stop is about three minutes from my office). I was back at the lot in under 20 minutes and home about 7 to 10 minutes earlier than normal. The only negative of the whole experience was the BO emanating from a woman who picked me to sit me next to.

Today I got a later start and ended up watching the bus drive away just before I walked up to the station, so I had to wait another eight minutes, but a coworker was also there, so I had someone to chat with. He spent time on the bus reading, as a number of people do, but that is just not for me. The bus ride home was A-OK. I got on the bus at just after 5, and best of all, there were no smelly people next to me!

I have decided that I kind of like the bus! I love that it saves me $7 in parking every day (but I do have an FSA for parking that I have to use every month, though I have some wiggle room). I definitely will use it on occasion and I might even consider dropping the FSA at some point and riding the bus often. Who would've thought!

Oh, and look at me putting one fewer car on the road (well, at least I will be on the road less)!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crossing something off my bucket list (kind of)

Full disclosure: I don't have an actual bucket list, at least not something physical. And I don't have a lofty list of things I hope to accomplish partly because I am not that motivated but mostly because I am risk-averse. I would think people would have things like sky-diving or mountain-climbing on their lists.

For many years I wanted to travel to a few places, including New Orleans, California, and Hawaii. But since I hate flying, I have decided if I make it to Hawaii, that would be great. Beyond that, this homebody just does not have a travel wish or bucket list. I guess I should be glad I went to Europe when I was in high school (which also happened to be the first time I ever flew on an airplane).

I really don't know the kinds of things people even put on their bucket lists. I got married and had a kid.  I own a house (though as I have said many times that is not all it is cracked up to be). When I was in high school, I did not even care if I went to college, but when both of your parents did and your older brother graduates at the top of his class, and you are a straight-A student, it is pretty much a given. (And I am very glad I did.)

Since then I have put getting a second degree on my not-really a bucket list, but, as I have clearly established on this blog and in my life in general, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, so there is no way I would go back to school. Plus there is the time factor. Thankfully I can get a huge chunk of my next degree paid for if I stay at my current job, so hopefully I will be able to get more collegiate someday.

But back to the point of my post. There has been something I had wanted to do since probably I was in high school. In fact I am pretty sure I blogged about it before. I had always wanted to sing the National Anthem at Three Rivers Stadium. When that stadium was imploded in 2001 or whenever it was, so went that dream with it. But by that time, I figured the chances of my singing in the replacement stadiums, PNC Park or Heinz Field, were pretty slim; I am just not that good. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I have kept the thought of singing the NA at some significant event. 

About a week ago, our choir director sent us an email about singing the National Anthem. I saw only the words "PNC Park," and thought my dream was coming true. When I read the email more closely, I discovered he actually was asking us to sing for the opening ceremonies for the Purplestride walk for pancreatic cancer, which happened to be near PNC Park. I decided this was about as close as I was going to get to my dream. But, as important, we would be doing this for a fellow choir member who lost her mom to this awful disease last year. 

So yesterday morning, a small but mighty group of us set off for Purplestride. And at about 9:25 a.m., I sang my heart out, in between Heinz Field and PNC Park (pretty close to the site of Three Rivers  Stadium, actually). I even got to hold one of the mics!

I might actually type up or hand-write a bucket list just to be able to cross off something that came pretty darn close to something I have wanted to do for so long. 

:-)

Below is a view from the stage just before we sang. Unfortunately I am on my mom's iPad and I could not figure out how to save a picture from email, so ignore the extra iPad crap. If only someone had recorded it...



Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's the end of the world as we know it

Just a quick post to say that the Pirates are in first place in their division AND it is August! The last time that happened, I was in college. That almost makes me feel old.

In any event, people, this is a big deal. Huge. The fans finally have a reason to go to beautiful PNC Park other than to watch pieorogies race (which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way).

I know so many people who were not alive the last time the Pirates were relevant.

But relevant the Buccos are.

Let's go, Bucs!