One Friday per month during the school year, I arrive at school sometime between 5:30 – 6:00 am to head west, 300 miles on a school bus that tops out at 58 mph (safety comes first).  The bus is filled with 25-50 teenagers.  Their sport? Talking, literally.  I coach the Speech and Debate team, and they, more so than the average teen, thrive on the sound of their own voices.  Just imagine . . . I know.  These six hour bus trips can be painful, even to the imagination.

We generally return to the school anytime between midnight and 6:00 am the following Sunday morning.  I spend these Sundays with a Speech & Debate hangover – truly.  It feels like a full-blown hangover without having enjoyed even one drop of Merlot.  Such is the life of a coach in rural Nevada.

My one standby that goes on every trip with me (along with an orange flavored 5-hour energy drink for Saturday afternoon) is my denim quilt.  I am like Linus on these trips, dragging my blankie around with me everywhere.  This quilt is heavy, flannel, scrappy, and warm, the last being a bus trip requirement.  Often, at 3:00 am in February, the bus driver will get sleepy on the return trip home and she’ll crack the window to let in a breath of fresh 5 degree air.  This most often happens when the heater isn’t working quite right.  Northern Nevada in February is cold.  My quilt is required to ward off frostbite.

I’m starting another one next week.  The neighboring High School’s coach, who is my traveling companion and buddy on these excursions, has decided to use up the bins of pre-cut denim she has stuffed in her basement to create her own snuggly denim masterpiece to drag around to tournaments.  We’ll be a matched set.

When I made my quilt, I spent hours cutting up the piles of old jeans I’d saved for years without any preconceived notion of what I would do with them.  She had an assistant do all her jeans.  Apparently her friend has a developmentally disabled daughter who needed a project, and her piles of jeans became perfect squares ready to stitch.  She’s such a great friend that she’s sharing her denim, so I can make another one.

I’ve got piles and piles of cotton strips cut at random widths and lengths; she’s got the denim and muslin foundations, and we’ve set a date to begin.

Even better? Our first bus trip is not until mid-October.  We’ve got plenty of time to finish!