Sigh. The school preparation frenzy is done. The kids got on the bus today. Their school clothes, shoes, book bags, supplies, etc.: all purchased. I have to pat myself on the back for some creative budgeting on that one. Yesterday we hit a sale at our local Meijer that was phenomenal! K Swiss shoes on clearance, really nice looking shirts and shorts for $2 each, 10 pack of socks for $5, book bags $6 off, etc. Jess buys her own school clothes since she is gainfully employed and doesn't want to be restricted to the "mom budget" that I have in place. I did buy her socks and shoes and supplies, as well as one outfit. I told her in September once she's bored with her current school clothes, I'll give her some money to buy a few more outfits. She was pretty agreeable to that suggestion.
I was somewhat prepared despite last night's last minute rush. I had already bought their supplies over the summer when crayons were .10 a box or binders were .60 each or I found boxes of #2 pencils for .15 each. I would look around when I'd be out shopping and pick up whatever sale item was the hot deal of the week. One week Kmart had rulers for .05 each...the next week our Walmart had ruled paper for .10 a pack. Office Depot had 5 spiral notebooks for .50 a pack. I find nickel and diming the sales like that makes school supply purchases a lot more affordable. August is a time when I have to budget very carefully. Jess' birthday falling at the end of the month, along with school supplies, clothes and school fees can bog down my cash flow. But I always make it. Somehow.
I went to the kids' open houses. One district, but they're all in three separate schools. When I walked in to Jo's classroom, I recognized his teacher. I said, "Hey, I know you!" She said, "I know you, too!" Turns out, we worked at the same restaurant before I came to work at my office job. She says I was her trainer. I'm hoping I was really nice to her when I trained her. Otherwise, look out Jo...this could be a long year for you! ;) In some ways, I'm glad to see them back in school. In other ways, it makes life more hectic.
In regard to my sister-in-law, Kay, and her surgery yesterday:
It was not good news. The cancer has spread to her lymph nodes. They did a second surgery to try to remove the cancer under the arm pit, however, it seems to have spread beyond that region. They will let her know more Thursday pending the pathology report. They will need to do chemo and radiation, for sure. The cancer is more progressed than they originally told her. Prior to the surgery they told her it was stage 1. They now say stage 3. I'm not real savvy on what all of this means. I hope to have more information about all of this before I leave on my trip. If not, I'll post an update next Tuesday. In the interim, please continue praying. We are going to go see her tonight.
Other than that sad report, I am just looking forward to my trip. I have had people give me "scare tactic" talks about how bad it's going to be, how women shouldn't travel alone, how I had better watch my bags and how I shouldn't talk to people, blah, blah, blah.
Despite all of this, I'm not nervous at all about this trip. I plan on reading and listening to music, writing and napping. I already miss the kids, but I know that me being an independent woman is good for them in many ways. They see that Mom isn't afraid to branch out and be confident.
I have only taken three trips without my family during my 15 years of marriage. The first two were when Josh and Jess were little. My friend, Sheila, and I took a trip to a Christian music festival in Kentucky once in 1996 and then again in 1997. The last time I went on a trip without them was in 2005. I went to Detroit, Michigan with my friend and her sister. The Detroit trip was the first time I was ever away from Jo. This trip will be the first time I've ever traveled alone.
Do any of you have any bus stories? Have you ever traveled by bus on a long trip? What was your experience like? I'd love to hear your story!
Until then, have a super good evening.