Friday, August 15, 2008

It Was the Best of Times... It Was the Worst of Times..

Back to school.

I am enjoying my last two weeks recovery at home in peace and quiet. Beginning at 6:15 and ending at 7:30AM, my children trickle out the door, headed to their institutions of learning. I drag covers off, I push breakfast, I brush hair, I approve, or disapprove outfits, I ponder the meaning of 'rhetorical reasoning,' with confused teenagers. During the day, I can nap, I can talk on the phone, I can eat without exclamations of "ew!" or "can I have some?"

The downside: we've shelled out over $1,000 in the last two weeks. First, of course, is the published school supplies list, then shoes, clothes, etc. School supply list: it sounds so simple.. don't be fooled! Each year there must be at least one item on the published school supplies list that is next to impossible to find. In print it will seem so simple, listed as "red felt tip fine point marker, blood red only." Once you're on the hunt though, you realize this item might actually exist only the imagination of the teacher. To obtain this item you may be forced to drive 100 miles, trade a kidney or meet a dark stranger in an even darker alley. This is nothing compared to what happens next.

You've obtained that final, mythical pen or composition notebook. You've lovingly packed each backpack with exactly what each supply list detailed. You've purchased enough Kleenex, band aids and hand sanitizer to open your own hospital in a 3rd world country. You sleep the sleep of one content that she has accomplished the impossible; properly equipping five children, 1st grade to high school with all they need for school. One short day later, your peace is shattered.

One by one, your children walk through the door from their first day of school with looks of consternation and suspiciously 'listish' looking pieces of paper clutched in their hands. It is the 'secret/surprise' school supplies list, the one that teachers save until AFTER you've already purchased $500 in supplies the teachers said they needed! This list details exactly how much money you wasted as item after item you lovingly pursued and purchased is chucked in a box because "the teacher wants us to have a different one, Mom. I have to have it by tomorrow, Mom. Or else."

I swear, it's a conspiracy!

The secret school supplies list can ONLY be released after you've spent every penny you have on the things the school and teacher originally said they needed. The secret school supplies list MUST be purchased no later than the 2nd day of school or your innocent children will be locked in a dungeon and flogged with last year's moldy textbooks. The secret school supplies list contains items even MORE expensive and exotic than the published school supplies list. You and every other parent in your district wander, dazed, confused and downtrodden down the same aisles and byways you thought not to see for another year. You sell a kidney to obtain the graphing calculator, mortgage your home for those particular markers. Bloodied and bruised, you return home with the items which are taken off to school without a further comment. At last though, it's done. No more notes come home demanding obscure and outrageously expensive items never before necessary in any school setting.

You're done hunting, done spending...

Until Homecoming.


Chris said...

This reads more like an adventure from "Lord of the Rings"! Even I'm tired!

MamaChristy said...

Just writing the post made me need a nap! Chris, I miss your posts. I know what it's like, looking for inspiration (and time) to write. If you ever find either again, I-- for one-- will be grateful.

Aynde said...

what get me is the crap on the list that has nothing to do with school.

like - 1 bag of candy.