Tag Archives: transportation

A Capable Child

Good morning Everyone!

Yesterday, I showed you what had happened to the connecting road outside our neighborhood on Monday due to the heavy rain.

Road Washout

Width and Depth View of Washout

What I didn’t mention was the havoc the heavy rain caused in the school bus pick-up schedule.  School opened at 10 on Monday due to the rain, so when the bus didn’t pick Kayla up, I didn’t think too much about it.  I just figured it got held up by standing water somewhere, although I did think it a little strange when we pulled up to the school and the bus that should have picked her up was also unloading students.

School Bus

School Bus
Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

On Tuesday, however, when the bus didn’t show, I told Kayla I would call the transportation office after I finished an appointment I had in a city about an hour away.  Imagine my surprise, then, when I received a call from the Director of Transportation for the school district about an hour later (apparently out of the blue) telling me that he had thought our road was closed for access as well as the road where the culvert was and the bus would be sure to pick Kayla up on Wednesday!


Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

If you have been around offices of any kind, you will know that the person to go to when you want something done is the secretary that has been there the longest.  That person always knows how to go about things.  Apparently my child has figured that out instinctively.

School secretary

The Person Who Gets Things Done!
Photo Credit: http://www.clickartonline.com

Whether she thought I would forget to call due to my absent-mindedness, or she just happened to have the opportunity to stop by the school office that morning, Kayla told the school secretary – the one that checks people in when they’re late – that the bus had not picked her up for the past two days.   The school secretary called the transportation director, who investigated and called me.

The bus was there five minutes early the next day.  Maybe I should have Kayla handle all of my scheduling issues!

Have a great day!


How FRED killed the Caboose

Good morning Everyone!

Whether or not I paid attention anytime else in my life, I did pay attention in Kindergarten and First Grade.  Really, I did.  And in my first classes, we were taught about trains.

CSX Freight Train

CSX Freight Train

Trains are fascinating to me even though I have never ridden a passenger train anywhere. (I don’t think riding the steam train around Disneyland counts.)  There’s something mesmerizing as you watch the giant cars trundle by, each one filled with something different, bound for who-knows-where, and many of the box cars(at least in the U.S.) decorated with spontaneous and colorful pieces of graffiti.


A Traditional Caboose

In elementary school, I learned that every train had at least one engine, the cars behind it and a caboose.  The caboose was one of my favorite parts of a train – not only does the word itself have a delightful ring to it, it usually had a unique shape and it was like having a period at the end of the sentence as far as a train was concerned.  Traditionally, the caboose was red, but over time many railroads began to paint the caboose to match their corporate colors.  Still, red or no, it remained the caboose, proudly marking the end of the train.

Burlington Northern, caboose

Burlington Northern Caboose

I can remember when most trains had a caboose.  One day in the 1970’s, some poor engineer in Illinois nearly had a heart attack when a car driven by my grandfather and carrying all three of us girls raced it all the way to a crossing.  By the way the train was wildly blowing its horn, I am sure the engineer thought we were trying to beat it over the tracks, but that was not so – Grandpa, at our request, was just trying to get us enough ahead of the train so that we could watch it go by, and see the caboose at the end.

Caboose interior, 1943

Caboose Interior, 1943, from wikipedia

A strange thing happened though, over time – the caboose gradually disappeared.  Sitting here today, I cannot specifically remember the last time I saw a caboose on a train (unless you count the steam train that travels around Disneyland, which I do not.)

Disneyland, steam train

One of the Steam Trains at Disneyland

I was caught at a train crossing yesterday, and watched the train cars flash by until we reached the end of the train – a coal car – and it seemed so unfinished without the caboose car to bring up the end.  I decided to investigate the mystery of the missing caboose, and after copious research (that translates to one google search and reading the entry on Wikipedia), I have discovered the identity of the person who killed the caboose – FRED.

FRED, train

FRED, the villain!

FRED is a device that reads all of the information that used to be gathered in the caboose and transmits it electronically to the front.  FRED also emits a flashing red light to mark the end of the train.  FRED has about as much personality as a blank wall in an unfinished house, yet it managed to kill of the caboose in the name of progress and profits.

I think someone needs to bring charges against FRED, don’t you?  The ghosts of a thousand thousand cabooses (or is that caboosi ?) demand it!

Abandoned caboose

An Abandoned Caboose in the desert

Have a great weekend everyone!