07 February 2009

Finding a New Normal

On December 10, 2008, transit went on strike. On January 30, 2009 just as the federal government was about to debate back-to-work legislation on the premise that transit was an essential service, the City and the union agreed to end the strike and put the matters into binding arbitration. The strike lasted 51 days. By the time we resume partial service on Monday we’ll have been without buses for around 61 days. But who is counting?

Over the past two months we’ve heard transit horror stories. There’s been lots of opinion about whose fault this fiasco is – the City or the union. We’ve also heard some great things about people making connections and friendships and building a sense of community.

The last two months have been incredibly rough and stressful on our family. By no means have we had it the worst, and we’re not one of the many horror stories, but I am so excited for Monday morning because I can resume pre-strike routines and will endeavor to appreciate the things I’m grateful for.

1) I will not have to write Chauffeur on my resume.
We have one car and I have free guaranteed parking at work. This means since the transit strike, I’ve been getting up to drive both Wifey and Bella to school every morning and then driving back from downtown to wait at home with Bubaloo for his bus. My morning commute will now return to being a delightful 5-10 minutes in a single car ride. No more 30 minutes to 1 hour of driving two people where they need to go followed by 1 hour of waiting for a bus or driving Bubaloo to school because his bus doesn’t show up. My family can now get where they need to go. And, they can do it on their own.

2) My moving-clock will be delayed.
Our neighbourhood is okay. It’s turning over. There are not a lot of kids, and the kids who do live here our kids have managed to alienate. The schools are kind of sucky. On the bright side we do live close to parks, a bike path, have great after school care and are 5-10 minutes from Downtown by car. Location is key and to make our house work better for us we just need to pay down debt so that we can fix up the basement and have more space and a second bathroom. Before the strike we actually contemplated moving to Orleans. Thanks but no thanks. I get a headache thinking about traffic and the possibility of having to spend 1/3 to 1/4 of my waking hours in the car each day.

3) I will be happy Mommy.
I am a morning person, or so I thought until the transit strike. It turns out I need to have one cup of coffee, a shower and thirty minutes of quiet “me time” to not be a mega bitch in the morning. I’m so glad that I perhaps will be able to avoid barking orders every morning as my blood pressure goes through the roof. I will endeavour to count to 10 a lot more and will have the will power to do so.

4) I will appreciate how others benefit from transit.
I like that we’re a one car family and that we live in a city with a town-like feel. I like that I can espouse those values because my family members are the ones making these two things happen. I don’t personally like the bus or take the bus unless I have to (I’m not patient and it’s unbearable to me to take 45 minutes to do what I can do in 10 minutes with a car), but I’m thankful that my family members do like transit and like to use it. I am happy that lots of other people use transit so there are fewer of us on the road. In return for getting use of the car each day, I’m the one who responds to all kid emergencies and makes sure that the kids get to all regularly scheduled doctor, dentist, orthodontist and school appointments.

In less than 48 hours, our city will resume to being a mobile city. While I’ve been in denial, I’m also hoping that the teachers don’t go on strike this month. My head really will explode if that happens, too.

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