There’s a point, deep in the isolation of a storm-heavy winter, when the toys have all been played with, the books have all been read, and the movies have all been watched. Coffee isn’t enough to keep a parent going anymore. The kids have eaten all the leftover Christmas chocolate, discovered where we hid the permanent markers, and are redoing the living room walls with a series of sloppy stick figures.
You need to get out of the house and so do the kids.
This year, Tele-Drive is making it easy. In partnership with Education and Early Childhood Development - Government of New Brunswick - NB Literacy Strategy, from Jan 24th to March 31st, 2018 they will drive you and your children to the library and any early literacy event in Albert County for the low, low price of free. This includes Literacy Express in Hillsborough and the new Parent-Child Mother Goose Program in Riverside-Albert. Catch a ride to the Hillsborough Library to stock on books and movies, or to attend Storytime and Babies in the Library with other families and have fun.
If you’re lucky, your children will be nervous about this Strange New Person driving the car (who has been vetted by a Criminal Record Check) and sit in silence. You may feel the need to check on them many times to ensure they’re still in the vehicle. I recommend stretching ahead of time to avoid pulled muscles.
Try to relax and make small talk with your driver, an Actual Adult you are not related to. They won’t ask if camels can get hypothermia or how leg muscles would work if they were arms instead of legs, not even once. Try not to cry for joy. You don’t want to embarrass yourself.
When you arrive at your destination, unbuckle the kids, let the driver know how long you’ll be, and let go. Have fun watching your children shake off their cabin fever. When it’s time to go home, your driver will be there, their cape flapping in the wind. The cape is imaginary. Only you can see it. Please refrain from bringing it up and confusing your driver.
Expect your children to be chattier on the ride home. Children appreciate super heroes who drive them to places of fun and may feel the need to share stories of the important events in their lives. It’s best to pay close attention as this may be your only chance to find out that the dog chewed on their toothbrush but they didn’t tell you because it was the Spiderman one and Spiderman is cool.
When you arrive home again resist the urge to hug your driver, unless they give their permission. It’s okay if you’re too embarrassed to invite them in because of the kids’ redecorating and the toys littering the floor. They probably have things to do. It’s also okay if you do want to ask them in for tea, but please warn them about the toy obstacle course first. For their safety.
While Tele-Drive is offering free rides to the library and to literacy activities, their reasonable rates make them easy for families to consider using them for other activities as well. Their rates are based upon distance:
Up to 20 kilometres (typically return trips within your home village) costs $10
21 to 55 km costs $15
56 to 90 km costs $25
91 to 125 km costs $30
126 to 160 km costs $35
Examples (all are from your home, to the destination, and back home again)
Alma area to Riverside-Albert: $15
Alma area to Hillsborough: $30
Alma area to Riverview/Moncton: $35
Riverside-Albert area to Hillsborough: $15
Riverside-Albert area to Riverview/Moncton: $30
Hillsborough area to Riverview/Moncton: $15
Call for prices to Saint John or Sussex Hospitals or the airport.
Should your family need it, a wheelchair van is also available for Tele-Drive to use at a charge of $0.60 per kilometre.
Take the kids to their doctor appointments, grocery shopping, upcoming Winter Carnival celebrations, a friend’s birthday party, anything you can think of. You won’t be taking the service away from anyone else, I promise. Tele-Drive thrives on being used, so use it!
Not a caregiver, but wouldn’t mind donning an imaginary cape to help out families in your community? Drivers are reimbursed for their mileage, so why not call Tele-Drive and volunteer? 875-1190. Tele-Drive Albert County is supported, in part, by the Bennett and Albert County Health Care (BACH) Foundation.
When she’s not writing articles for Connecting Albert County, Jennifer Shelby can be found writing fantasy stories for children of all ages and helping her kids with chores on their imaginary dragon farm. You can learn more about her at jennifershelby.ca and read her (mostly) fiction blog at jennifershelby.blog