Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mommy's Back-to-School Suckery

 "Girl with a glass of wine" by Multimotyl - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Pretty much everyone hates back-to-school time. Or at least all the sane people do - I'm not counting the assholes who hate sunshine and vacations, and who loathe late-night bonfires and beer. And I'm not counting them because those people obviously aren't real "humans."

Don't get it twisted - I love watching my children learn about the world around them. And I particularly love the times they come screaming into the house with a story about how Mikey flicked a booger in Samantha's hair, which somehow resulted in the fire alarm being set off school-wide. No, I love a good meltdown. The parts that I hate, I think, are pretty universal. Or maybe it's just me and my delicate fucking sensibilities. How does your list compare to mine?

1. I had to order a new set of checkbooks after registration because of all the checks I had to write. But this isn't about the money. I'm just too damn swamped right now to have to remember to order more checks. I don't want to sift through "Tropical Island" themes and "Proud To Be An American" themes and 18,000 others to find the "perfect" set of checks. I don't want to select the Arial or Courier font, and choose between "Peace, Love, Happiness" and "Live Life" notes to adorn my checks.  But I do because, you know...your checks convey everything you need to know about a person.  I can't have my landscaper thinking that I'm a total psychopath because I chose the plain blue checks.

2. Okay, fine. It's a little about the money. My kids attend public school, but it's been made crystal clear from Day 1 that the school depends heavily on parent contributions to provide a lot of the activities and trips for the kids. I don't mind contributing if I am able, but what continually grinds my gears is that every request for contributions is accompanied by a disclaimer that, more or less, says, "We aren't really allowed to require you to pay for this. We are obligated to inform you that this is voluntary. But if you don't volunteer your money for all of this, your kid and everyone else's kids will die a long, slow death over the next nine months, which will be nicely paired with zero music, no fun, shuttering the library, and the smell of coolant leaking from the A/C in the classroom. But no worries! It's totally voluntary!" I spent $350 at registration on literally THREE "voluntary donation" forms. Want to know how many contributions they asked for? Twenty-three. So my son is going to have to learn to love the smell of R-22.

3. Shopping for school supplies is the bain of my existence. I don't even look at brand names on the clothes I buy, but I specifically need to find the Prismacolor Scholar Colored Pencil Sharpener? What? For a super tight pencil shave for that "barely there" appearance? WTF. Not only do the supply brands kill me, but I don't even know what a "forest green, double barrel, sliding, trifold, flippy top, string bean 1/2-inch notebook" is. I mean, it sounds cool. If I could find one ANYWHERE, I might buy one for myself so it can cook all my meals and clean my house.

4. I have no idea what's going on. I look at the websites. I read all the handouts. I talk to my kids about their teachers, their day and the writing in their agendas. I still don't have a fucking clue what a Q Sis Technaturn is. Or a Charmy Ops Wagon. Or a Blackhawk Down. Oh, wait. I know that one. But you get the idea. I'm LOST for the first month or so, and that's not a feeling with which I'm comfortable. I don't want to bug the teachers too much around this time either (because I'm sure they're living their own personal hell too), so I only send super pertinent emails about homework that is due immediately. For example, my son needed to select a "reader" - a book to read thoroughly and test on for first quarter. We selected one and sent the approval slip in to be signed by his teacher. I realized today that we didn't receive the approval slip back yet, so I emailed the teacher. Our email exchange ended with my casting of some borderline pornographic references and a superbly placed mention of Kate Upton. I thought this was completely appropriate and in context, considering I am at a total loss as to how to "approve" the level of sexual content in my son's reader. See? I'm a mess.

5. Our schedules consist of eating and chaos. Nothing else. Eat breakfast. Shit gets crazy - shoes, hair ties, purses, lunches, book bags, sunscreen, glasses, deodorant, worksheets, library books, keys, gas, instruments. Go to work. Shit gets crazy there, and I try to make calls on extracurriculars and send borderline pornographic emails on my lunch break. Do the mad-pick-up-the-kids dash. Eat dinner. All hell breaks loose - homework, baths, showers, feed animals, teeth-brushing, signing permission slips, signing waivers, instrument practice, laundry, prepare for morning shitstorm. I have to sleep off my chaos hangover every weekend for a month after school starts, and there's not even any whiskey involved. How is that fair? Maybe I'll start taking shots in the bathroom when I find two minutes to actually piss in peace.

Anyone else exhausted as shit? I might need a toke off that A/C coolant line.


* Saera Jane *

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