Monday, August 9, 2004

Back to School

So its that time of year that all parents dread.  I guess its more bittersweet....the kiddos prepare for another year at school, which means we don't have to dream up creative ways to keep them occupied anymore, but it also means SCHOOL SUPPLIES and REGISTRATION.

Disclaimer:  I love my babies.  Those of you that know me realize this.  They're my whole world and they're the coolest people in the universe.  Thank GAWD I don't have nightmare children that I can't stand.  I'd do a million back to school things for them and I will, in the hopes that someday they'll look back on this and feel compassion in their hearts and send me to the nice, licensed nursing home instead of leaving me to die alone.

School supplies - The process:  Each year, parents go to fight the crowds at the supercenter/office supply/discount store of their choice.  This is by far either worse than or a close second to christmas/holiday shopping.  There is usually a school supplies place sectioned off for unfortunate souls like myself, who have to go purchase this huge list of supplies each August.  The aisles are usually way too close together, there are no prices on anything, and where there once may have been organized bins or stacks of things is now a huge pile of items, usually half spilled onto the floor for carts to get stuck on or me to slide or trip on.  Invariably, blocking almost every aisle are very huge women with four children hanging off the cart, simultaneously yelling "MOM.  MOM.  MOOOOOOMMMMM.  MOM!!" while waving trapper keeper folders in various colors and prints in her face.  There's no going around these people, so you move sort of drone-like in and out of aisles, with zero time to consider anything, because you don't want to get hit in the ankles by large-angry-mom-behind-you's cart. 

The list....oy.  The list always contains obscure, impossible to find items, just to make sure you're fully participating in your child's education.  This year, Emily has to get a HP graphing calculator.  She's in 8th grade.  These things are like $100.  I have the cadillac of all calculators for my profession, and mine was $89. Kayla's list consists of all brand-name items.  "Fiskars" scissors, "Elmer's" Glue-All Gel, "Crayola" Bold Colors markers, and quart-sized "Ziplock" baggies. No I'm not kidding.  She also needs 24 glue sticks.  24!!!!  Just to insure you're paying attention and contributing enough time, resources (like gasoline and money), and patience to find all this stuff.  You can never find it all in one store.  Ever. 

I was blessed with girls.  Translation:  you can't ever use anything you used LAST year again...because Mom, that's like from LAST YEAR.  (gasp!)  So, I have to get new backpacks - and not just any backpack - it has to be with either the right character or the right colors.  (NOT pink and NOT barbie.)  For Em, the extremely overpriced Invader Zim bookbag she got last May won't work because its soooo last year.  This also applies to school clothes.  Anything that was 'cute' during the summer, during last year, or even three hours ago is completely unacceptable.  They must have all new clothes for school.  As IF you didn't know that. (eye roll)

Registration involves filling out the same 20 forms that you did last year and every year prior in triplicate, standing in line after line after line to turn in said forms at different locations, and dealing with grouchy underpaid people who hate their jobs and their lives.  Keep in mind that usually the air conditioning isn't on in these buildings because school hasn't officially started yet.  This means tons of frustrated angry people turning in the same forms to the same grouchy people in 90-100 degree heat.  Ya know it wouldn't be so bad if it were spread out over like a month or so, but its always the rat race, and my kids always have the same registration day (even though they attend different schools).  This gives us approximately 2 days to get everything they need.

To you non-custodial parents out there...this is why basic child support is never enough.  You get to be disney dad/disney mom and skip all this 'fun' stuff just like you get to miss doctors appointments, puking, fighting about homework, and anything else that requires the day to day participation of full time parents. 

To those of you who don't have children....try not to point and laugh, and cut us a break when we hit you in the back of your ankles with our shopping carts

I'm taking two of my vacation days to do this.  I'm going to go, spend about $600-700 and countless hours fighting grouchy people in who knows how many stores and two different schools, in order to participate in my children's education.  Hopefully it'll have a positive effect on the economy.  Maybe consumer confidence will rise or retail sales will show recovery or some crap like that.

Back to school!!!! 

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