Monday, April 14, 2014

A Music Teacher's SoCal Adventure, Part One: The Burb

This weekend was the annual choir tour for the choir kids at my Large Suburban High School, and this means that I was In Charge.

This also means, I was Constantly Stressed.

It's a huge responsibility, being in charge of 16 teenagers as you shuttle them from point A (in this case, our community in Northern California) to point B (several hundred miles away in Southern California). I don't take it lightly.

To cut tour costs, we had two parents drive their minivans, and I was to rent a third minivan (the district gets a special rate from Enterprise) to drive. I've driven Mom's minivan plenty of times, so I wasn't too concerned...until Wednesday, when my rental arrived. Seems the minivans were all gone, so I got a free upgrade. To a Suburban.

Photo Credit
I drive a Mazda Protege, which is several feet lower to the ground and a lot more compact. Just climbing in and out of this beast was a challenge when I was tired.

So naturally, I spent some time on Wednesday night thinking, "How am I supposed to maneuver that thing all the way to Irvine tomorrow? With six kids in it?!"

Fortunately, I managed fine. Freeway driving was easy once I got used to the size of the car, and while I never quite mastered the fine art of parking it, I also never bumped into anything, scraped up against anything, or otherwise caused any mayhem. Thank goodness for backing up camera features.

It was a long drive, and the kids were excited the whole way. I had six girls in my car, and we listened to music, laughed and talked. There were two planned stops--the first to stretch our legs and use the bathroom, the second for lunch--and one unplanned "Uh-oh, a lot of us really have to go..." stop that took about five minutes.

We arrived in Irvine at our hotel around 4:30, giving us time to unwind before going to a nearby Hometown Buffet for dinner. After an hour at the restaurant, it was back to the hotel, where the kids had some time to hang out at the pool, relax, and unwind before bedtime.

After room checks, I settled in my own room, which I was sharing with a mother who came along. We were chatting when my phone chirped with a new text. It was from a student.

"Did you call the police?"

I blinked at my phone, alarm spreading through me. I read it to Michelle, then said, "Do I need to?!" before calling the student and asking, "Is everything okay?!"

"Oh, yeah. We're fine. We just saw a couple cop cars in the parking lot and were curious. Do you know what's going on?"

Deep breath. "No...I imagine everything is fine, though. After all, there are a lot of high school students in the hotel this weekend."

"Oh, okay!"

"Good night, then...all of you try to get some sleep, okay?"

"Yeah! Goodnight!!"

Happily, this was my biggest "yikes" moment all weekend.

Next up...beaches and singing and the best rubber duck story EVER.

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