The Duplicitous Reverend Awdry

Busses, airplanes, trains, emergency vehicles, hot air balloons – anything that can move in a big way catches our boys’ interest. So going on a train ride was a huge deal. Almost as significant as our bus trip earlier this fall.

Little was beside himself with excitement and insisted he wear his Thomas back pack. Going on a “TRAIN! TRAIN! YEAH, MOMMY!” was almost more than he could handle. I admit that I was pretty pumped, too. Now I was going to see what all this Thomas fuss was really about. We’ve had no less than four Thomas-themed birthday parties and so many Thomas-related toys around here that I already felt like quite an expert, but one can always expand one’s horizons.

It’s true that you really learn best by experiencing and doing. And you know what I learned? Thomas, Sodor, Sir Topham Hatt, and all those other engines are a total hoax.

IMG_2491I was a bit disappointed when we boarded that, first of all, we were on a diesel engine (we all know diesels are bad news) and second, that none of the trains spoke to me. I thought maybe we just had to wait to get to our magical destination, so I sat back on my vinyl seat to enjoy the ride. But, no, the deception continued on for the rest of the trip.

Hey, this is not Shake Shake Bridge! This is just an underpass.

No competition about who is the most Useful Engine and gets to take all of us to the Farmer’s Market?

Aside from myself, not once did I hear:

“Fizzling Fireboxes!”

“Bust my buffers!”

“Oh, the indignity!”

What’s up Rev. Awdry? You promised us talking engines. Engines who are friends. Engines who strive to chug the fastest, to stay shiny and clean, who cherish a fresh coat of paint. THIS WAS NOT DELIVERED.

Oh, sure we had a great time. The boys did not seem disappointed by the lack of eyeballs on the front of the trains and cars. I think I was the only one looking for Cranky the Crane.

The train ride was fun and we got to see a lot of nice local sites. But I was holding out hope to see some real-life train animation. And none of the conductors or staff looked even a little bit like Sir Topham Hatt (maybe that should have been my first clue).

My one consolation was that there was a bit of Confusion and Delay. But that was mostly caused by Biggest and his issue with choosing pants. Not exactly magical. Not at all. I get to see that every other morning.

Thanks for nothing, Reverend.

Let’s Get on the Bus

No childhood is complete without a ride on the bus. The city bus. So being responsible and caring parents, we recently packed a backpack full of water, snacks, and spare diapers and hopped in our van to begin our latest family adventure: Moyer Bus Day.

It was raining quite a bit that morning, so Bearded Husband kindly dropped the five of us off at the depot while he parked the van. As I herded my crew into the main foyer, we got to see the security guard shoo away the “greeter” from the front door. Good times, I felt very safe now.

The Bigs were quite excited to note that we would be using an escalator. An escalator. We might not need to take them to Disney after all. The thrill of riding the escalator was only matched by their anticipation of using it again upon our return.

With bus passes in hand and our route mapped out, we went to find The Number 7 (real bus talk, guys, that’s how you say it). Littlest was quaking with fear, but I reassured him and hopped on. We found six seats facing each other and waited and watched.

Stay with the group
Stay with the group

I forgot. I forgot what it’s like to ride the bus. I forgot about the cross-section of society that you can observe on the bus.

First I spotted Vacant Staring Guy. I smiled at him since he was staring, but got nothing so then I had to focus on not looking in his direction (but I could still feel the stare, the vacant, vacant, stare). What’s your story, VSG?

Next onto The Number 7 were The Nails. These girls had the longest fingernails I had ever seen. Even though I knew they were fake, I was in awe and kept looking. Now who was staring awkwardly? How did they get such amazing texting abilities? How do you anything without hurting yourself?

The final addition to The Number 7 entourage arrived at the first stop. This was after our 4 year old took a short fall off his seat when the driver jackrabbit-started at the same time he peeled around the corner exiting the depot. Man down!

Bluetooth was having a loud and detailed conversation with who I hoped was his addictions counsellor. In our brief time together, we learned that Bluetooth really wanted to kick his habits and stop the methadone.  Detox would help, but he needed a clean start so he wouldn’t fall back into old habits when he returned from up north. No Twelve Step program for him because he wanted nothing to do with any higher power. To his credit, Bluetooth kept his language clean and only raised a few uncomfortable questions from the boys. Mommy, what’s rehab?

Guys, this was only 4 minutes into our bus ride. FOUR MINUTES.

I forgot. I forgot what the bus can be like.

Boys, look! There’s the hospital where you were all born. Oh, I see a Tim Hortons. Yup, I saw that firetruck, did you? Well-timed questions can help diffuse awkward moments like full disclosure about substance abuse.

We had a great time schlepping through the rain and checking out some local sites. Another highlight of Moyer Bus Day was eating lunch at Taco Farm. Our oldest said, “Like, it’s not my favourite place ever, but I’d eat there again.” That is high praise coming from him.

We're going to walk in the rain and you're going to like it.
We’re going to walk in the rain and you’re going to like it.

Fed and rested, and grateful the rain had subsided, we walked to the bus stop. The anticipation was still in full force and the boys kept craning their necks looking for The Number 7. It arrived and we all piled back on. This time the bus was fuller so we scrambled to find seats. And this time, if was the 6 year old who took a short fall on the steps when the driver peeled out before he was seated.

The boys gasped and grinned and I had a smile plastered on my face enjoying their excitement. We shared a seat with a young urban professional and I broke the ice by pointing out, “This is their first time riding the bus, in case it wasn’t obvious.” Awkward chortle, chortle.

He smiled back, looked at the two boys sitting with me and replied, “I vividly recall my first time riding the bus. It was so memorable.”

I forgot. I forgot what the bus can be like. It can be an amazing adventure and that’s exactly what I hope our boys will remember.