My Solution to Your (my) problems!?

Oh my readers, I have missed you all so! Life has been uneventful in times when I was free to write and completely jam-packed when I had no time to write, add to that 2 bouts of pneumonia and well…I am now able to write something! I am so happy to be writing today!!!!!

Today’s blog came to me as I was driving up to the family cabin on Thursday evening around 530pm. Yes, I know it was a horrible time to leave with 3 children and a dog for the cabin, mommy needed a break from life to try and finally heal from this pneumonia once and for all! Anyway, as I inched my way out of the house and down the road toward the cabin, this stay at home mom who normally avoids rush hour like the plague one, found herself overjoyed at being able to take the carpool lanes and frustrated about the lack of others doing the same.

I originally was looking around to see if any other families were playing ‘hooky’ and heading up to the cabin for one last go at their family cabins, just to probably ease any guilt I had about playing hooky! 🙂 Well, when I noticed not only were there NOT families, there weren’t even couples on the road, I started to scan and watch more. As I continued down Crosstown to Highway 100, I thought for sure I would see some there! Again not ONE other car, I saw, that had more than 1 person in it. I then took 394 W and got on the sane lane as quickly as possible. Finally, there would be some others with me! Nope, three of the cars I saw were loners, probably people in a hurry that just bought their way onto the sane lanes. I saw some cars way behind me and some way ahead, I couldn’t tell how many people where in those cars, but my entire trip from 100 to 494 I only counted a total of 10 cars in the sane lane at any one time, including my own. I continued to scan and it wasn’t until I was at 494 and Bass Lake Road that I FINALLY saw ONE car with 2 people in it. I quit looking after that, so I have no clue how many others were after that, but my anger boiled and my frustration level and who knows what else was set in stone. It will never matter how many freeways we have or how big they are, we will always have traffic unless people start to carpool or take buses more often…OH which brings up another point, I didn’t see ONE bus the entire drive, until I got up to highway 94 in Maple Grove, that is 20 or so miles away from my starting point before I saw a bus.

Good news is, I am still sort of pumped up about how many people were so upset about me admitting we don’t recycle, so my question is, how many of these single drivers, non bus takers recycle?! I would at least expect those lovely Prius owners or Hybrid owners who care ’so much’ about the environment to carpool, wouldn’t you?! Oh listen, I know not everyone can carpool, everyone works on different schedules, in different places, long gone are the days of people working where they live and vice versa. Everyone wants their ’space’, everyone wants a piece of the pie and everyone wants their freedom. We expect our state to continue to build new roads to accommodate us, we expect the state to continue the upkeep on those new roads, we want bigger bridges, bigger freeways, more freeways, and less traffic all without interfering in our lives and without raising our taxes.

Come on people! I remember when Tampa barely had a rush hour and when we did it literally was from 4-6pm and that was it. Now, we even have rush hour on Saturdays and our rush hour during the week seems to start around 2-230pm and sometimes lasts until 630-7pm. We are too busy to carpool, we don’t want to be restricted by a bus schedule, or heaven forbid, we might actually be seen taking a bus! Long gone are the days of our downtown executives riding the bus back and forth to work, long gone are the families taking the bus downtown to go shopping on a Friday afternoon after having dinner with ‘dad’ (or mom now).

We rush here, rush there and are always running late or in a hurry, yet if we actually just slowed down a bit, we all might have more family time, less traffic, and more peace. My husband took the bus for 4 years downtown and loved it. Yes, the winters sucked sometimes standing in the cold, but overall he really liked it and actually misses it. He used that time to do his devotions, to read the paper and just to have quiet time to himself to prep for the work day, in the morning and the family, in the evening. It was his time with God and himself and best of all, it was cheaper, always, and faster, most times, than it would have been had he taken his car. He now drives since he works less than 2 miles from home and there are no buses between our house and his work now, as soon as they finish all the road construction around us, he might even bike some nice summer days next year!

I have issues with traffic, always have. It bugs me to my very core that there is traffic in our city and I think it is crazy and could be fixed with very little inconvenience to all of you. I believe if more working parents took the bus, less would need ‘vacation’ time away from their children to relax or get some ‘me’ time. On the bus (or train for those of you in the city), you can relax and let someone else do the driving, you can read your paper, finish a proposal, answer some emails, whatever you need to do to cut off some work time so you can be with your families and your spouses and be more relaxed when you see them.

I believe if you take the bus or carpool, you can save your family a lot of money by putting less wear and tear on your car, filling up your tank less (which is good for your pockebook AND the environment too), and better yet, you might even be able to sell your second car and save all that money in insurance, gas, upkeep, and cost of having a 2nd car! Because of my husbands bus taking, we didn’t have a second car for over 4 years. We finally had to purchase a 2nd car last fall because my husbands office moved to a place where he couldn’t take a bus and was too far to walk or bike. (different office than one he is in now.)

You don’t have to take a bus or carpool every single day people, but if everyone did it even one day a week, I bet we would notice it pretty quickly on our roads and you would notice it in your pocketbook and your schedule and your peace of mind.

Hey people, you all know I am SO not the environmentalist, I drive a huge truck, I don’t recycle at home, I don’t have an energy efficient much of anything in my house. I will someday, I do honestly care about the environment, how could I not I have 4 children I am going to leave this planet to and hopefully a truckload of grandchildren! Right now though, my passion is children, not just mine but yours too. I feel we as a society have lost our priorities along the way and family seems to be pushed further and further down our priority list and money, fame, that executive job, and ‘things’ have inched themselves up our priority list.

Sorry people, but the easiest ‘things’ we can get rid of are our excess of cars, our fancy out of the way homes, our lifestyles we need to have, and a bit of inconveniences. If you can’t move closer to your job, look into the bus, the LRT, or carpooling. If you can’t move closer to your job, see if you can work a day or two from home. If you can’t move closer to your job, quit that job and find one closer! OK….that might be a bit extreme, but I hope you get my point, with some working together, we can ease some of our traffic situations, a bit of humility and we can all take a bus once in a while, with a bit of humility, we can dump one of our cars and for those of you who really can’t get rid of the 2nd car, can’t ride a bus, and can’t work or live closer, you might finally get some reprieve when the rest of us who can do all those things get off the roads in the mornings and afternoons and make your lives a bit better too, along with our own.

For you environmentalists out there, just think about this, if our busses were full, our carpool lanes were just as busy as the other lanes and our rush hour lasted only a couple hours instead of 4 or more, how much less drilling could we do, how much less emissions would be emitted?

For you safety people out there, how many less accidents would there be if there were less people texting in their cars or talking on cell phones, less people applying make-up while driving, less people trying to read a paper or a file while driving, less people driving while distracted by other things.

If we all do a little to change how we get to and from work, we all together will make a big difference and next time I want to play hooky with my children and head to the cabin, lol, I won’t be stuck in so much traffic!

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