One of my favorite things to do with the kids I support, is to take them swimming. No matter where we go swimming, it always is a bit of gong show. My swim stuff, their swim stuff, extra clothes, towels, snacks and ourselves. Everything except the bathroom toilet is packed neatly into two bags, that usually weigh the wheelchair down so much, they you have to take the bags off the back of the chair before anyone is lifted out.
One summer (well, I do it every summer), I wanted to go a an outdoor pool by the lake, I like to swim at outdoor pools. Of course, the hottest day of the summer, I decide to take the two kids in my camp swimming at a pool on Lakeshore. There is me, my other staff, a young girl using a light wheelchair, her brother and a young boy using a heavy wheelchair. Both chairs have two backpack’s on the back, packed to capacity. You will understand why I explain the wheelchair sizes later.
On our way walking to the pool we stop at the coffee shop for my friend so she can start her day right. I see they have Watermelon slushies and decide to get one in the way home. We got to the pool in good time, swam, ate, played and even had a visit from Marjorie the Great, who has an Italian accent!
To get back to the bus stop to go home, we have to cross Lakeshore. It is a huge street that is cut up by four little streets with traffic lights at each one, plus a ‘watch the gap’ to make it five streets.
We start to walk East along the boardwalk to the traffic light. The bus comes from the west, and makes a left turn where we cross the road. The bus stop is about forty feet from the ‘mind the gap’. As we are walking, I look behind me and see the bus coming at high speeds. I then yell “BUS” and take off running like the mad hater. My staff behind me, moves fast, following my lead. I check quickly, all lights are green, we are a go. The boy with the heavyier wheelchair is laughing as he flies over bumps with ease. He even squeals at times. The girl with the light chair had been tilted back, because her chair hits bumps so hard and will fly forwards. Oh did I mention she had her hands up like she was in a rollercoaster. Her brother amazingly kept up with us. As we get to the mind the gap, I look quickly and decide it is safe as stopping now would be more dangerous. The bus turns the corner and I begin to wave, we are still running though. He pulls over and begins to slow down, saw us, and two wheelchairs…and then pulls away and is gone. We were so surprised and annoyed. The little girl then declares “ooo, we can walk home now.” There was no way, we were completely exhausted. The next bus came really quickly and we found out the first guy was late. We get on, tie in and ride the nine stops we were too tired to walk.
We get off the bus and walk back to the shop so I can get my slushie, it was on ourway home. The whole way the kids tell us how hot it us, how tired they are and how they want to be home. Everyone did at this point.
We hit the coffee shop for my slushie. We get ourselves in awkwardly and park. Small shop, no automatic door, but we made it. I go to the counter all sweaty and tired and say politely, “may I please have a Watermelon slushie.”
The young man behind the counter says, “We don’t have any watermelon.”
I say in a slightly annoyed voice, “you should take it off your menu then. Can I have a cherry slushy then?”
He says, “we don’t have cherry either. We only have these two and he points.”
I flip my wallet closed and walk away mumbling to myself. I say sternly, “lets go home.” I could’ve lost it, I was so close. As we turn the kids around to leave, there is a lady sitting in the back on her computer. She sees us, and without hesitation grabs the door for us and smiles. As I smile back, I read her shirt quickly. It reads, “Keep Calm and Carry On”, well now I have to.
We walked home and just lay around, kids choice. Boy it was a good day 😀
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Awesome story Marjorie.