Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Happy New Year, Kiddies!
At the risk of revealing my true inner nerd, I have to confess that part of me always looked forward to the return to school every September. There were the cute new shoes to show off, and all those lovely pencils that didn't have the shit chewed out of them, not even one tiny nibble. And I also think I was a sucker for the catalogues that came out, which depicted all those sassy new outfits being modelled by flawless kids, strolling carefree down leafy streets. No doubt they had homemade cookies in their Nancy Drew lunchboxes.
Of course the reality proved to be rather more harsh than the Leave it to Beaver world of the Eaton's catalogues, but I still do enjoy the fresh beginning that September promises. I crave the structure of the school year after a couple of months of hedonism. Even though I work through my summers these days, the structure is still quite different than it is the rest of the year.

And now my baby is at her first day of high school (which starts at grade 10 in Alberta).
There is no high school in our area, so even if she was going to her designated school, she would still need to take the bus. And there is no school bus for high school students - they take the regular transit system.
$47.00 per month!
We apparently get a rebate of $15.00 per month, but we still have to fork that money out at the beginning of each month.

No wonder the province of Alberta is so fucking wealthy. We pay for everything - school transportation, health care premiums, automobile registration, even bloody library cards. Other provinces in which I have lived have always provided those things. I guess that's why Ralph sent us those "prosperity" cheques last winter.

And naturally the bus schedules all changed at the end of August, so that my carefully crafted itinerary is no longer valid. Today I was scrambling trying to figure out how Eva will get to school on time tomorrow when I return to work (and I hate being unprepared). It looks as though it will take her an hour to get there. She has the option of 2 buses and a train, with a short walk from our house to a bus shelter, or 2 buses with a long walk from our house to a bus stop with no shelter. I think she really wants to take the train option, but not because of the shelter, which would be important to me, but rather because she likes taking the train. I think she likes to pretend that she does not live in the suburbs.

Reading Allison's excitement about her thesis project got me all hankering to go back to school again. I loved going to university, which is part of the reason I went for 8 years (that, and too much partying), and have worked in a university setting for almost 10 years. I'm sure that hankering will pass though when I am free to do what I want with my spare time and others are doing homework. I have to grow up sometime, after all.

34 comments:

Allison said...

Homemade cookies in a Nancy Drew lunchbox, twas me in gr.2 :) Well, except they weren't homemade, Pillsbury helped with that. And no matter if I bought 5 pens or 30, I was always left with 0 at the end of the year, where they went, I shall never know!
Septemeber for me is truly that start of the year. Probably because I'm still in school, so that's how I tell time. Suppose that's kinda sad...
That's too bad Eva has to take so much transit to get to school, but from the sounds of it, she'll be getting a great education.
I don't feel so bad now, hopefully if I make it to grad school, my years will total 7. Thanks for the blog shout out, btw. I shall keep you informed on my process :)

Allison said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ariel S. Hyre said...

Ah, school... I know what you mean. The newness and all, new classes, books not all scuffed... Pencils not vanished yet...

It's like a brand-new journal or notebook. It's all empty and fresh and it has that new-paper smell, and all that potential. My problem is, I kinda stop writing in journals halfway through them. O.o

Rositta said...

I know what you mean about kids going back to school. I could hardly wait to get rid of "teddy". Nevertheless you are fortunate to live in Alberta, we also pay a "health premium" among other things here in Ontario, except we dont see any benefits. I guess the grass is really "greener" on the other side of the fence.

hilary m. said...

I love stationary shopping at Staples. It's one of my favourite back-to-school things.

It's too bad about the bus. I live so close to my school that I have never experienced it, but I have many friends who take many a bus to get to school.

btw. I have a wicked metal Beatles lunch box. I didn't have homemade cookies in it, just a little perrier bottle that exploded in French class.

The Stroumboulopouli said...

In my day if one city bus could not get you there they would send out a school bus. That was taxpayer dollars at work...

Barbara_mtl said...

ooops I lieft my stroumboulopouli jacket on...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

September will always be the start of the year for me, Allison, no matter how many years I've been out of school.
I should be able to drop Eva off at school a lot of the time if she doesn't mind getting there early. I have a feeling she will take me up on that come winter. I think this will be a really good school for her so it's worth the extra commute.
Sounds like I'll have some competition for the perennial student title haha!

Yes, the new paper smell and the potential therein, Minty, that's a large part of the appeal. And don't forget the new shoes!

Hi Rositta, welcome! Are you Calgary Teddy's mom, by any chance?
hahaha that's great; next time I run into him I shall have to tease him that you had to practically kick him out of the house.
Do you also have to pay for library cards in Ontario now too? That infuriated me when we moved here.

What about your high school, Hilary? Will you be able to walk there as well? That would be so nice. Good thing Eva likes the C-Train.
Bummer about the Perrier bottle! Did you get sent to the office?

If they had that policy in Calgary, the infrastructire would collapse, Barbara W. With 150 new people every day, there is no keeping up. But they could cut us some slack on the student fares...

michelle said...

You have to send Eva to school on public transportation?!? That's rather, uh, unnerving! Then again we have some rather colorful characters that ride the bus in my neighborhood, hopefully yours is much less predatory.

I *HEART* OFFICE SUPPLIES. I love the pens, the mechanical pencils, the little desk widgets that help one organize their clutter better, the pretty paper for writing special letters... it's like anal retentive heaven or something. That's why I secretly love school supply shopping, too. <3

Teddy said...

Cass too is beginning HS this year. He's taking public transit too. 20-30 minutes isn't too bad in my books.

I went to HS in Ontario, where it began in grade 9 and went for five years. Alhtough I lived a 5 minute walk to begin with, we moved out to the Danforth, and I had to take the red rocket everyday, half hour at least, one transfer. Even if I hadn't gone to Jarvis (we're celebrating our 250th anniverary in 07), my closest HS would still be at least one bus ride away.

I don't think it's particularly onerous at that level, or even JHS. Elementary, tho... well, kids should be able to walk to primary school.

Teddy said...

WTF is my mom doing ont his blog... sheesh. Invasion of privacy or what!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

If Eva was going to her designated school she would still be taking public transit, Michelle, but it would be a specifically assigned bus. However, since she is going to a different school, no such arrangements exist. I have some concerns about the train part, but she rides it by herself fairly often, so I can only hope she doesn't run into any trouble.
Oh yeah, love mechanical pencils. And fresh erasers!

So your baby is off to high school as well, Teddy. I hope all goes well there.
I'm also hoping that Eva's commute will end up being less than the one hour each direction that Calgary Transit cited me, but that's why they make ipods I guess.
hahaha not only did your mom visit my blog, she said she practically had to kick you out of the house! I hope she visits again soon. She's great!

Will said...

Wow ... first day of tenth grade - that takes me back. The lead-up process of back-to-school is kind of fun as I recall, but once you set foot on campus, it is a little different. All the best to Eva - I'm sure she will thrive. I, too, am getting a hankering to go back to school.

Ben said...

As a schoolboy delinquent I can safely say that September was a desperate month for me. Only when I went to engineering/technical college did I understand the value of education because it applied directly to my chosen career.

The corporal punishment, permanent detentions and repressive school structure left me with nothing but bitter memories sadly.

Barbara said...

In Quebec high school starts at grade 7 and ends at grade 11. After that is CEGEP (college) then university.
Because Quebec has to be different...
They think 17 year olds can handle college and they are right It's all that beer that goes with it they can't handle.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I get varying degrees of that back to school hankering every fall, Will. This year it is fairly strong, perhaps because Eva is now in high school and will be taking more interesting subjects.

It's so sad that you have bad memories of school, Ben. I have heard horror stories, of course, of the British school system. One is subject to the terrors of the other kids regardless of where you grow up, but to have an entire system that is ingrained with a draconian philosophy, that's brutal.
I flew under the radar all through school - that was my coping mechanism.

I knew about cegep, but didn't realize that high school starts at grade 7 in Quebec, Barbara W. So there is no junior high?
Oh yes, 17 year olds and beer, I recall those days fondly.

mellowlee said...

I loved the new school supplies and seeing friends I hadn't seen all summer again.
We have to pay for Devon's transit to school too, but it's $40. I think kids should get to school free. It's ridiculous. Man, it drives me CRAZY when plans change *pulling my hair out *

Barbara Bruederlin said...

$40/month is plenty steep enough, Mel. Do you at least get a rebate like we do?

I usually saw everyone that I wanted to see during the summer, but did love the fresh new supplies. So much hope in those blank pages!

Rositta said...

Yup, guilty... Teddy's mummy. Since it bugs him though I may not be back. Library cards are free but getting a best seller is difficult. I recently waited 8 months to get a book. When Teddy to the "red rocket" to school I paid and there was no rebate.
Didn't literally kick him out of the house, just that as a single parent I felt better if he was in school. Safer kind of.

Kellee said...

HI BARB!!!!!
PS: Never, ever grow up. ever.
xoxoxo

mellowlee said...

No rebate, 40$ is the discounted rate,but they must hold a gocard which is photo id issued by their school each September. I never saw my school friends during the summer because I lived out in Moyie, and they lived in Cranbrook. About a 30km drive for their parents, so I guess they didn't love me enough to come out for a swim in Moyie lake lol!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You are more than welcome to come visit any time, Rositta - I won't tell Teddy.
I know how you feel though - my daughter gets embarrassed to be seen attending concerts with me (although she is more than happy to accept my money for merch).
8 months to wait for a library book is insane!

Hey Kellee, how are you? I'm not planning on growing up any time soon, never fear.

%40 is the discounted price? OUCH!
I would have come to swim in Moyle Lake with you! I am a huge fan of lakes.

Becky said...

In a hurry, so I don't have time to read all the comments (I will later, promise!), but I just wanted to comment on Alberta's education situation...
I'm in Grade 9 in Edmonton and we have two English classes, each with 38 kids. Our gym class has over 80 kids in it!
Although the school thankfully arranged for a third class to be formed soon, the fact that we even had to go through this makes me really angry...

mellowlee said...

If you ever come to Vancouver Barbara, we should go swimming in the ocean, and then go get ice cream at Casa Gelato...curry icecream YAY! And then go to the Commodore for a show :)

hilary m. said...

Ahhh, my high school will probably be the same as my junior high, I forgot that it's one of the only junior/senior's in the city. I'm probably staying there, maybe taking AP or Honors. My other choice is IB at Western or Churchill, but it would only be partial IB with nothing to do with Math or Science...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

38 kids in your English class, Becky? That's ludicrous! How are you expected to learn anything?

That sounds like an ideal date, Mel! You know I've never swum in the ocean, or been to the Commodore, or eaten curry ice cream, for that matter. But I have vomitted in Stanley Park.

Eva had some friends who took IB at Western, Hilary, and loved it there. They kept trying to convince her she should transfer. How comforting to be able to go to the same school all the way through, though.

mellowlee said...

Ooooooh, ya, let's skip Stanley park ;) haha!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You are on, Mel!

WolfHeart RavenHorse said...

I love school now....not when I was in school however! hehe I think that is why I take so many courses. I love learning! What a nerd I am too, so you are in good company.

Eva is a prett independant kid, I know she will be great however she needs to get to school.

Katie missed the bus this morning....just called...that's a little tricky when I am at work, hubby and I drive in together....so had to wake up Alee to get Katie to school...not good! lol Alee is not a good person in the morning! lol Big bribes has to be given! Just ugly! lol

WolfHeart

kees said...

I have a stationary fetish too. It's bad isn't it? All my best to Eva for starting school :D

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh Bev, that is not a good start to the school year for Katie! I hope that was a one-off!
I have to admire Alee for taking advantage of the situation, though.

I have scads of pretty little new notebooks in my closet, Kees, in the event that one day I need to start another list, or if I need an emergency gift.

She's Crafty said...

I love to pretend that I don't live in the suburbs. That's part of the reason that when I "go out" I look like I should be downtown. Good spirit to have Eva, enjoy the train!

Back to school, miss the excuse to have new clothes bought for me!

She's Crafty said...

You absolutely must go to "the Commodore" at some point ;)

I fact, I was just there last night. I was having a great ol' time. Until the bouncer told me not to stand on my chair. LOL!

And I love pens!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sounds like the Commodore is a fantastic place, Sarah, even if they don't let you stand in the chairs, the bastards. I think you and Eva have a lot in common... Good thing you have lots of downtown-worthy clothes.