Friday, August 15, 2008

Getting Registered for School

I am in the slow process of getting Gary registered for school. Tuesday we filled out forms. Today he had an appointment with a counselor to get a schedule of classes. Next week in the afternoon he will have to go again, although this time without me, to get his ID, agenda, lunch tickets, etc.

He decided after a couple of real practices with the football team that it wasn't for him. I tried to encourage him to continue, although I have never been a fan of football. I don't mean that I am opposed to other people enjoying it. I am not ethically opposed. It has just never interested me. But I don't like for kids to quit things they have said they were going to do. When I left the high school he was to go back to the team, get his helmet and finish practice. He showed up a bit later, having bicycled home, and said that he just couldn't make himself go back.

The coach is into the old fashioned hard-sell approach. Two kids who missed a practice were wearing a different color jersey because they had "let the team down." When someone complained that they were tired, the entire team had to run another lap. He said he had been yelled at enough in his life and wasn't interested in doing it any more.

So he isn't in football anymore.

While we were in the counselors office he did got out his phone and started texting the couple of kids he knows who go to this school. He then asked questions like, "Can I take Creative Writing as an elective?" and "Can I get into English in first period with Mrs. Smith?" The counselor was not fooled, but neither of us minded if he arranged to have classes with people he knew.

He is a good influence on Brian, I've decided. Gary has no problem riding the public bus. He does not feel entitled to taxi service from me, although he appreciates rides when I give them. To him the public bus is freedom. He was nervous about riding it the first time, now he takes it all the time.

I was getting myself pretty worked up about making Brian use the public bus for school. Mornings should work out fine, but the afternoons are close. He has just barely enough time to get from the school to the bus stop and if he misses it there won't be another bus coming down that road for an hour. Today Roland and I debated staying in afternoon carpool, or asking the bus company if he could ride any one of the busses all the way back to their parking lot, which is half a mile from where Roland is now working. We mentioned these options to Brian and he said in his new, teenage, independent voice, "I can get the public bus, Mom. You know it has a bike rack. I can get from the school to the stop in like a minute."

So we are going to drop out of the car pool. I am hoping the other families will put their kids on the public bus too. If they do then we can have a cooperative arrangement for nasty days in the winters.

I do hope it works out for him.

I'm not sold on the bike-riding though. I'm not sure how he can ride a bike with a trumpet and a school bag.


  1. When does School start?

    Sounds like things are going ok!! I cant see the trombone and a bike going together eck!!!!

  2. What about putting a rack on the back of his bike and attaching foldable metal baskets to it? Like this (check out the pictures):

    I have exactly that setup on my bike, so I'd be happy to answer questions about it. The baskets are sized for standard grocery bags but I can easily fit a backpack in one, and I've carried other largish objects (like a tent) with no problem, so hopefully the trombone would work. Or you could lay the trombone across the top of the open baskets and use bungee cords to strap it on.

  3. Sarsmile -- I think that would work if he moves to the trumpet. Thank you for the suggestion. The trombone case is about 4 feet long, so I just can't imagine anyway to carry that on a bike. A trumpet is much smaller though.

    Is it difficult to take the whole contraption off the bike when you don't want to use it? It looks perfect for carrying what he needs to for school, but sort of "mom-ish" otherwise. I think he would like it better if he could take them off his bike periodically.

  4. That's funny that it looks "mom-ish" to you - I'm so used to thinking of it as "cheap-college-student-ish". All of the stores near campus sell them and probably half the bikes here have them. I do see what you mean, though.

    There are actually two parts to it. One is a standard rear-rack. I had the bike store install that, so I'll have to look at it to see how it's attached. My guess is that it might take 10 minutes and require a screwdriver - not too complex, but maybe more than he wants to do regularly? Not sure how handy he is. Anyway, the rack by itself might be less bothersome to him and he might be happy to leave it on - it's the baskets that look "mom-ish" to me.

    The baskets are designed to be clamped permanently to the rack, but I wanted to be able to remove mine too. I bought a few heavy-duty velcro wraps (from the bike store, I think they were intended to attach pumps/tools to the bike shaft) and used those instead, so now it's pretty quick to take them on and off. If you know anyone handy (or even just creative) I'm sure you could fashion something that would work. You might even be able to find some hooks at a hardware store so that you could just hang the baskets off the rack without having to wrap the velcro.

    The baskets also come with a (permanent) metal fastener that's supposed to go lower on the basket and keep it from being able to slide around or swing out away from the wheel. I never bothered with that - on any reasonable terrain the baskets don't move enough to be bothersome - so really all you need is some way to connect the top of the basket with the parallel metal cylinder on the side of the rack.

  5. I should also say that I think these are pretty common - if there is a bike store near you I would guess they might have them. Definitely the rear-rack, and maybe the baskets too. That way you could check them out in person and see what Brian thinks before spending the money.

  6. It's more expensive, buy my DH got attachable bags for his bike. One he uses for the gym and even his gym shoes will fit in it. This one snaps on top of the rack attachment. The others are a set of two bags we use for grocery shopping. One or two gallons of milk will fit in each bag. These bags hang on the side like baskets would. Except they are bags and much more manly. There's also a messenger bag type that attaches to it (thank goodness he declined a THIRD option lol). Something like a trumpet could also be strapped to the rack attachment.

    So, go to the bike store, tell them what you want to do, and they'll give you a recommendation or two and show you all sorts of options!

  7. wow...thanks AnnMarie and Sarsmile. This is good info. There are certainly some good bike stores. After we do a "trial run" so he can decide if he wants to ride we will definitely check it out and see what we can get for him.


  8. Another possibility for carrying a brass instrument while bike riding is a gig bag - I had one for my French horn which made it a LOT easier to carry around on campus back in my undergrad days. A caveat though: a brass technician I know referred to these bags as "job security" - but I never had a problem and still sold my horn 10 years later for what I'd originally paid. It would be even easier for a trumpet!


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