Thursday, October 24, 2013

It Was a Cold and Foggy Morning...

It seemed appropriate since we were driving through the town where Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds was filmed that I begin with that title. And if you're thinking that the photo above doesn't exactly fit the title, you would be correct. That picture was taken last year during camp week, and it was the picture in my head before we left camp of what the day would be like.

I was wrong.

Our day looked more like this:

Yes, it was a bit cold, but it was still a wonderful day. I'd love to be able to share with you everything that the kids learned while traveling around Bodega Head, but I took some time for myself yesterday and walked around just enjoying the brisk temperatures and the sounds of the surf.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Wheels on the Bus

Good Morning from Day House!
Why is it that every class feels the need to serenade the teacher with "The Wheels on the Bus"? Is it just because we happen to be on a bus and it's the only bus-themed song they know? Or is it because each previous year's class tells the current class, "Oh, yeah...Miss McMillan loves that song!"

They lie!

Oh, and someone remind me to "thank" Taryn for reminding Garrett about it. Garrett, of the many weird voices. That was special.

As we pulled onto Contra Costa Boulevard yesterday morning, I heard Natalie say, "I think that's my dad on that motorcycle." Before I could even blink, a number of girls were yelling out the window, "Lars! Hey Lars!" When the gentleman turned around and looked their way, all of the girls hid from him and started laughing. About one block later I heard Natalie say, "Oh, wait, that's not my dad." This was met by cries of "But he turned around and looked!" "Are you sure?!"

For future reference, ladies, if you shout out long and loud enough from a bus, eventually everyone will turn around and look.

About five minutes later, I heard those most dreadful words: "I think I'm gonna throw up."

Oh, delightful.

Sixty seconds later...

"Just kidding...I'm fine."


Oh, it's going to be that kind of ride, eh?

Now, as a teacher, you never want to hear your name said repeatedly in something of a frantic manner. It usually means nothing good. So when I heard "Miss McMillan! Miss McMillan!!!" from the back of the bus, I popped right up and said, "What!?"

"Can we borrow your Sharpies?!"

[Count to ten, Miss McMillan...breathe...]

What do you need Sharpies for?

"Payton's asleep!!"

No! Absolutely NOT!!!

I believe this was followed by my first trip to the back of the bus just to assess the situation. And rest assured, Payton arrived at camp mustache-free.

Note to self: Do not walk to the back of a bus wearing a Red Sox tshirt, especially right before the World Series. This just prompted more yelling: "Red Sox!!" "Cardinals!!" "Red Sox!!" "Cardinals!!"

And the teacher starts to chant: Chocolate! Chocolate!!

Just before 10:00, I heard Erin say, "She fell through the seat!"

What do you mean she fell through the seat? Like into another dimension or something?

You know, I don't think middle schoolers should be allowed to give me that "Ok, seriously?!" look. I mean, do they hear some of the things that come out of their mouths?!

And to finish this part of the story...Julie was apparently laughing so hard that she fell onto the floor between the seats. Julie's fine, of course, but we really need to work on our prepositions.

Quick question: How many of you remember as a kid trying to get truck drivers to toot their horns by pulling on that invisible chain in front of you? This was usually done when the truck driver was actually able to see you, right? NOT when they were driving by on a freeway going the opposite direction, right Dillon?!

As we started driving through some rather marshy areas, I heard someone yell out, "Ohmygod! It's snowing!!!!" I didn't even look up.

That's salt.


Now, I'm not saying this next event was planned or anything, but at exactly 10:15, I heard a fairly quiet, "1...2...3..." and then the entire bus erupted (think volcanic!) into a very loud, very enthusiastic chorus of:


I do believe that was a first. So I calmly turned around and responded with my rendition of:

Somebody is on my list! I have absolutely no idea who, but I will find you. Gah!

Literally 30 seconds later, someone yelled out "Cow!" which led Willow to start mooing...repeatedly. The next several minutes went like this:

"Oh my God, it's a llama!"

Willow: "Moo!"

"Miniature ponies!! Miniature ponies!!!!!"

Willow: "Neigh!"


Willow: "Baa!"

And the teacher asks God a silent question: Why, oh why, did you have Willow sit right behind me?!

I think now would be a good time for everyone to truly experience what it's like to be the teacher on the bus. Have a listen:

Record and upload voice >>

And now for a brief musical interlude. Some of our featured selections for this bus trip were:

  • YMCA (I love when they go old school!)
  • Home on the Range (seriously, where did they learn that one?!)
  • Beautiful by One Direction (I believe there were several One Direction songs along with several conversations about the group)
  • Old McDonald Had a Farm
  • Ding, Dong The Witch Is Dead
  • The Alphabet Song (ok, seriously! These kids will sing anything!)
  • Living on a Prayer
  • Don't Stop Believing
  • Jingle Bells
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Seriously? Christmas songs? At one point, I thought I heard Matthew yell out "Somebody help me!!"

Me too, kid! Me too!!

Each class always has to add their own twist on the bus ride and this class decided that "Are we there yet?" was it. It was yelled out in unison, it was chanted, and it was even sung! Yes, there's now an "Are we there yet?" song...apparently.

During our ride up to camp, various articles seem to find their way into the aisle. I try to keep the aisle as clear as possible, so every now and then I give a look-see. So when I discovered a baseball hat lying in the aisle not far from me, I called out, "Whose hat is this?" From the back of the bus, Matthew responded, "It's mine."

Why is it all the way up here?

"Well, you said we couldn't get out of our seats."

I appreciate you following the rules, but that doesn't really answer the question. Did the hat walk up here under its own power?

As I picked up the hat, Matthew yelled out, "Ohmygod! Don't throw it out the window!!!" Did he honestly think I would? Rather than hand it right back to him, I started to put it on my own head.


I don't know why this was a fate worse than having it tossed out the window. And then his classmates started giving me fashion advice:

"Try backwards!"
"No, sideways!"
"No, not that far sideways!!"

Towards the end of our delightful journey, I heard Willow say, "Let's see if we can be quiet!" This was met by a resounding "NO!!!" from her classmates and a great big


from the teacher! Willow was undeterred, of course. A few moments later she tried, "Let's play the quiet game!!" Rather than comply, Julie and Erin started playing a new game. It's called Annoy the Teacher and it goes like this:

"How much longer?"
"How 'bout now?"
"How much longer?"
"How 'bout now?"

If played properly, the teacher starts to make a rather frightening growling sound. So, when Julie called out "Miss McMillan!" I wheeled around at her and growled, "WHAT!!??"


Yeah, I'm sure that will make a wonderful addition to the yearbook.

A few moments later...


That's not snow. It's a manure cover.


Ok, who started the U.S.A. chant? And why is Erin saying "us - a"?

Around 11:00 I thought to myself, "It's's too quiet."

Big mistake.


Hello, Fate...are you tempted?

More singing and chanting ensued...with gusto! And then I heard someone yell out, " tasting!!" Um, do I need to have a chat with someone's parents?!

Note to self #2: When someone asks "Are we there yet?" (for the one millionth time!) don't answer "yes"! No matter where you are on the journey, the entire bus will explode into screams of temporary joy...and then even louder cries of disappointment.


And thus ends my sixth Tale of the Bus Ride. May your lives be all the richer knowing one simple thing...

It was me...and not you!