Friday, October 10, 2008

Cops, Drugs, Fights, Crazy Neighbors and Fieldtrips.

Hi everyone!

I’ve been incredibly busy lately. October is our busy season. The field trips for all the fall events start rolling in. It starts with the local Pumpkin Patch and ends with the Ice Show. All of these events have one thing in common. How much time can we waste while students are supposed to be in school getting an education? Sometimes, I think fun should be a part of education. I remember when I was in elementary school, one of the best assemblies we had was when a group put on a show for us. We got to see our teachers having fun and even saw the Principal (all big scary administrator) get up and “let his hair down” so to speak. The field trips this week have reminded me of what its like to enjoy the simple things. One highlight of the week was actually transporting students to a Rodeo. Some of the locals in a nearby town put on a Rodeo and invited the children along for the festivities. Activities we were treated to were some cattle roping, bull riding, barrel racing, and just general laughs. Free tee shirts and lunches were provided for the kids, and it was just a good time.

Other than fieldtrips happening, I’ve been dealing with some crazy neighbors. I promised in a past blog that I’d tell the story, but the story is long and convoluted with details, so here is the condensed version of events.

Generally, my apartment complex has quiet people, ones that hold jobs, pay their rent, and look out for each other. In 4+ years of living here, I’ve never had to call the police for any reason, but since August of this year, I have had to call them twice on my downstairs neighbors.

The story begins late August, when a young guy (18 years old—maybe) and what appears to be a live-in girlfriend (18 years old—again maybe) move into the apartment. The guy drives a tricked out late-model Chevy pickup and advertises his ownership of said vehicle with a license plate emblazoned with his name. Chevy boy and Makeup girl are literally night owls and before long the apartment is the scene of late night parties, complete with loud music, Marijuana, drinking, and fights.

My first inkling that my new neighbors were trouble was when Chevy boy stopped me as I was heading into the building and brought a Marijuana search warrant to my attention. (Yeah THIS will end well.) I had suspected they were regular party people from the constant smell of cigarette and (yes) Marijuana smoke that hung in the hallway and seeped up through the poorly insulated walls and floors of my apartment. At first I was trying to be optimistic, thinking that maybe it was mistaken for the person who occupied the apartment previously.

A few days later, I heard cussing and lots of banging and thudding from the room directly beneath me. I heard an unidentified male say, “Don’t kick me, I’ll kick you back!” The girl yelled something back to him and there was more thudding and crashing. He said, “What the f--- are you doing?!?!” I then decided it was time to call the police. Three cop cars showed and the situation got resolved.

The police were called again and again for various reasons over the course of September. I asked a local police officer at a convenience store about my new “colorful” neighbors, and the police officer mentioned to me that the neighbors were well known around town as troublemakers.

Saturday, September 27, I was woken up in the middle of the night to some loud banging, crashing, thudding, and Makeup girl yelling, “Get him out of my house!” and “Someone better call 911!” So, I did, and Drunkboy got arrested after getting in a brawl with Chevy boy who was also drunk. I watched most of this from my upstairs window overlooking the parking lot. They sent 4 cop cars that night.

My folks rolled into town for a visit and they observed my crazy neighbors. The final straw happened on Sunday, October 5 when the police were called for stolen items by the crazy neighbors themselves. It became this whole soap opera and it was like watching Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, and an episode of Cops rolled into one big happy family sitcom.

They got evicted on Monday, October 6. Chevy boy, with the help of his parents, moved out of the apartment. He looked sufficiently humiliated. His parents looked downright pissed off. Makeup girl had packed up and left on Sunday.

At least my apartment doesn’t smell of cigarette smoke anymore!

Never a dull moment!!!

The Bus Driver


ChiTown Girl said...

First, let me just say that ALL of my field trips have educational value. I don't know how things are done where you live, but the Chicago Public School system only allows "educational trips." Now, naturally, there are those that find their way around this with various loopholes, but I am not one of them. Any trip I take my babies on is an experience. Most of my students have never been off their (crime-infested, drug-ridden, dirty, nasty, scary) block. Just going to the library is a new experience for most of them. I try to take them to places I know their parents will never bother to take them too, such as Navy Pier, The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Children's Musuem, The Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium, ok, ok, I'll stop. I think you get the point ;-)

I take trips that will enhance my curriculum. I don't take my kids out of the building simply to see "How much time can we waste while students are supposed to be in school getting an education?" They are getting plenty of education on these trips, including basic social skills. Most of them have no idea how to act in public, nor do their parents for that matter!

When WE go to the pumpkin farm, our "lesson" starts the minute we leave the building. We learn about bus safety, we learn about the trees we pass during our drive, we discuss Fall and the leaves on the trees, etc., we talk about how a working farm operates, and what they can expect to see when we get there. We discuss each animal we see, what their babies are called, what we get from each animal (milk, eggs, meat, etc.) We have fun making the sounds each animal makes. We learn how the farmer takes care of the animals from the farmers themselves. We take a hayride around the farm and discuss each section we see. We talk about corn before we go into the corn maze, then look for ears of corn still on their stalks. We talk about apples and how their grown, then what they're used for all before we get our taffy apples. We use the pumpkins we get for several activites. We estimate how heavy we think they are, then actually weigh them back at school. We estimate how big around we think they are with string, then again actually measure them. We estimate how many seeds we think are inside, then count them when we cut the pumpkins open. If I'm having a good day, I'll bring my toaster oven to school so we can toast the seeds (or I do it at home, and bring the seeds back) so the babies get somewhat of a cooking lesson, and see how the pumpkin seeds they love to eat are made. Some years, we have pumpkin pie, some years pumpkin bread. I could go on and on. But, I think I've ranted enough for one day. ;-) The bottom line is, it's those teacher that DO use field trips as simply a day away from school that give the rest of us a bad name. I don't appreciate being lumped into one big group with them, that's all.

Whew! That's on to your nutty neighbors!! When my (ex)husband and I were first married, we lived in an apartment. We had some upstairs neighbors that must have been related to these nutjobs. We called the police several times. One night, the drunken boyfriend of the teenaged daughter pelted our bedroom window with rocks, thinking it was her window, despite our telling him repeatedly he had the wrong window. That was one of the nights we called the police. At least your neighbors seemed to be unsupervised teens. Our neighbors were a whole white trash family, with the mother being the worst one of all. After one night where the police were called, she proceeded to carve "PIG" on our neighbor's door (she was a police officer) and "SPIC" on our door. I'm Italian, so go figure!! Classy folks, let me tell you!

The Bus Driver said...

Thanks for your comment. I guess my frustration lies with my county and I did not mean to offend you. There are MANY teachers out there who use fieldtrips as educational experiences. But, what is the value in going to see a "Disney on Ice" show? While I drive the bus, the teachers SLEEP! Now I KNOW not all teachers sleep during their jobs, but the point I'm ranting on is the fact that instead of taking them on a nature walk, or to a science museum, or on a history tour of a nearby city, we go to the ice show.

I HAVE taken educational fieldtrips with teachers who believe in educational items. YES the pumpkin patch is educational, however, the education lies with the teacher and tour guide/volunteers. There was one field trip I took with a pre-k class. The teacher said "Ok we're going to look for Nature" -- I wasn't aware "nature" was missing. I can only hope they talked about trees and plants, and bugs and... the list goes on, but saying "nature" to a group of pre-k kids is going to go right over their heads.

Again, I'm not saying ALL fieldtrips are bad or ALL teachers are bad, its just my simple experience.

ChiTown Girl said...

I completely agree with you. Somehow (don't ask me, I don't get it!) the pre-school teacher at our school managed to get a trip approved every freakin' year to the Disney on Ice show. How the hell is that educational? Fun, yes, educational, um...not so much! I'd love to know how those teachers (the ones who SLEEP on the bus!!) are still employed. That's just ridiculous! No wonder you have the opinion you do regarding field trips!