WARNING: When Feathers and Operating Heavy Machinery Don't Mix
By Tara Lee Higgins - March 20, 2008
Originally posted to Egg Swappers
Had my boss killing himself laughing yesterday. It all started because of “Crazy Hair Spirit Day” at the public school, my preference for chicken feathers, and dah provincial gov’t highway authorities.
I’ve known in advance from reading the school newsletter that Friday was a theme day. Many of you know I am a semi-reTIRED accountant (oh, I do not miss April and T1-tax time!) that drives school bus. So in order to make the kids happy & festively interesting, I went off to the dollar store earlier this week and bought two wigs…one was robin’s egg blue with silver tinsel and the other, well of course!!, was a multi-coloured “chicken” feather wig (sorta reminiscent of an “old lady’s” bad hair day cap). Now the feather wig sorta molts, so I decided to wear that one on the a.m. run, the long Smurf blue wig on the p.m. bus run. That way I could clean up the feather leakage between runs.
In the mornings, most of the kids are still pretty much asleepy (especially on Fridays— long week of early mornings for the lil’ bugs), the feather wig liked to creep up and off my skull, so the blue one was a better choice for later in the day. Besides, I had fueled and swept out the bus the morning prior and didn’t expect much more than to drive the bus, get the kids to school and go back straight home.
Friday school days here are usually early as in school lets out one hour earlier, and with the immanent snow forecast (I hear SK is getting a meter of the white wet!!), I had planned to mix poultry feed having hauled in bags and bags (species specific pelletted rations combined with whole oats—good for plumage, wheat—never more than 1/3 mix as too “hot,” and rolled corn—less dusty than cracked) into the Duece Coop—great snow day project.
BTW, anyone else watching the correlation between bio-fuels, world hunger (entire countries are selling off their grain crops for big $ while their countrymen starve & riot in the streets) and the pending huge increase in grain prices…scary or what!! They’re telling us prices should drop in 4 or 5 years as the market “adjusts” to the new demands…but how many of us are going to be able to weather out the storm with those kind of bird food price increases, let alone the thought of people not being able to feed themselves…yikes! Me NOT happy, but I digress...
So I don my hat & wig of many coloured feathers with complimentary dangly chicken earrings, guzzle my one “give me life” coffee, schoff down a banana and head out the door with Rick chuckling in the background about my appearance to warm up the bus (no snow yet to sweep off, but she was starting to fall at 6 a.m.—hard to imagine as we were basking in 20 above a week before). After my pre-trip inspection and while the bus continues to warm up, I secure two stuffed toy ducks (one that insanely quacks, the other vibrates like it is having a seizure) and a plushy chicken to compliment the “crazy bird bus lady” ensemble.
The kids LUVed the bus birds & the chicken hat…the first set arrive with a blue tinted Mohawk and pretty blond braids with blue highlights. At each stop, more “crazy haired” students board and by the time I reach my second to last stop, we are full of wild hairdos and happy chatting children (many discussions entail deciding if their hair style is more “stuck finger in light socket” or “fell in a blue tinged mud puddle”).
The snow has increased now to the point where I shut the bus off and go around the back to sweep off the student loading lights which are beginning to become obscured by the snow caking to them. My feather cap is starting to slip down the back of my head, but no matter…the crazier the get up begins to look, the more “thematic” it will be. Besides, I have one last pickup and off to the school…then home again to begin my day of critter chores.
So we arrive, without incident to the school and as I park in the bus lane to unload the students at school, I mentally note three pickups parked just beyond the “bus only” area…the kids all file off with me waving multi-coloured pom poms, a pair of quacking and crazy shaking ducks—“Off to have a fun FRIday…see yah all this afternoon fer the ride home…Early Friday! Yah!!”
Well, the three vehicles turn out to be Department of Transport employees’…it is our turn I suppose, to have the school buses (commercial vehicle inspections) inspected— happens about twice a year when they select three random buses to go over. So much for a non-incidental morning bus run…I sorta felt like Sylvester standing in front of grandma with Tweety Bird in my mouth stepping out of the bus and into the limelight…”Pettooeee…cough, cough…What bird??”
The bus and I breezed through the inspection with absolute A-one OK, not a single infraction past the point I made their lives very difficult. Now think about this…how hard did I make the DOT’s job to remain professional…here is a bus lady, wearing a creeping off the head chicken feathered bonnet? The one guy is telling me, put on the flashers, apply the brakes, headlights; low/high beam, heaters, etc…all the while having to look me in the eye, past chicken feathers on my head. Course the longer I wear the cap, the more disheveled my appearance becomes…now some of the feathers are floating about in the air…I sure I was quite the vision of bockiness!! LOL
Let’s just say, of all the days to look like a crazed chicken fancier…I have to have the bestest of luck to engage in a vehicle inspection the day I look my craziest (well OK…they do not have the opportunity to view my get ups when it is bird pen clean out days…but whatever). Anyway, for all those wondering what good PR goes on for the poultry fancier…just look out my way for positive incentives to bug your fellow man.
I even asked (VBG—I am SO bad…) the inspector if there was anything he liked to suggest that I do differently. His straight faced reply? Keep doing exactly what I was doing…naire a mention of any attire changes or ?? <wicked laughter>
Bock, bock, <floating purple, yellow, green, red, orange…feathers dancing before yer eyes>…Hey Tyler…not so sure I wanna participate in any more school “Spirit” days…sorta jinxed myself (or not, maybe the D.O.T. let me go as they did not want me embarrassing myself any further in public??).
Anyway, professional drivers pass commercial vehicle inspections every day…but how many have bragging rights to carrying one off dressed in a chicken outfit!??! “Top that one Rubber Duck. Chicken Truck over & out.”
Tara Lee Higgins – Higgins Rat Ranch, Alberta