School Supplies

I never have been school supply shopping with my kids.  Up ‘til now, we’ve always bought The Kit.  You know The Kit.  It’s a school fundraiser that allows you to go online and buy one convenient pre-packaged set of all the school supplies you already HAVE (somewhere), for an exorbitant cost.

But this year, since I lost my exorbitant cost affording mechanism in the office closure, AND since we already have a lifetime supply (somewhere) of 6-inch Fiskar scissors and opaque rulers-with-inches-and-centimeters, I figured I’d save me some of that there money – all by using what we have and/or shopping for just the missing parts – instead of going The Kit route.

First though?  BEFORE shopping, you have to figure out what you already GOT in order to figure out what yew gotta GIT, Varmint.  We got us some drawers and drawers filled with crapped-up writing instruments.  So I started there and then planned to fill in any 5-subject notebook gaps at Walmart.

Pay no never mind to the fact that the finding and sorting of the fifty THOUSAND Sharpies we have scattered throughout the house subsequently morphed into an organizational effort of Herculean proportions.  We’ll just call that “Spring Cleaning ‘Cept In The Summer,” shall we?  It needed to be done and now all the drawers in the house are clean and organized.  Howdy, Fellers, y’all wanna see my clean drawers?  The upside of that effort is we’ve confirmed we have fifty THOUSAND Sharpies in every color of the rainbow.  The downside??  None of them are ‘2 extra-fine tipped black’ ones like on the 5th grade school supply list, so we have to buy more.  See?!  ALLLLLL worth it.  [When I say that thing about it being worth it, does it seem like my teeth are clenched?  ‘Cause they are.]

And clenched teeth always make my Spidey-senses tingle.  Which means that a clusterbomb is about to go off in the immediate vicinity.  In other words, the fill-in-the-gaps shopping trip is gonna go down HARD.  REEEEEAL HARD. 

So when we arrive at Walmart, I’m not surprised to find that the entrance looks eerily similar to the Mouth of Hell.  Scratch that.  With the boxes AND BOXES of school related minutia stacked up on either side of the entrance, it ACTUALLY looks more like a School Supply Gauntlet.  It’s an inescapable tunnel of school supplies that beat on you until you burst out the other end – dazed and bloody, barely alive.  IF you live, that is. 

But you know me, always trying to avoid a descent into madness, so I put on my fun face and say to the kids as we walk in, “Oh!  They knew we were coming.  Look at all these colorful binders.  Both of you kids need binders.  Grab ’em and go!”

Sissy replies, “These are all one inch. 
Mine need to be one-and-a-half inch.


Sonny replies, “MINE can be one inch. 
But these are all colored and mine need to be white.”

Crap!!  And what is this, Racist Binder Time?!

And so it goes until it’s an hour later and I’m sixty bucks in the everlovin’ hole and we can’t find a Mead Black and White Composition college-ruled notebook to save our lives.

Red and black?  Check.  GREEN and black?  Check.  Black and white zebra stripes?  CHECK!  Hey, technically it’s black and white and I don’t CARE if they’ll give you a demerit because of it, just GET IT!  But it’s wide-ruled, not college-ruled.


Turns out I HATE back to school shopping.  And I don’t think I saved myself any money by NOT buying The Kit.  And it sure as S**T didn’t save me my sanity.  Won’t do that again. 
Kits next year for SURE.

P. Frickin’ S. – why did we have to BUY book covers?!  Why can’t my son just A) USE the hot pink argyle-patterned book covers his sister had leftover from last year…or better yet, B) just MAKE book covers out of paper bags like I did when I was a kid?!  When I posed these questions to him, he looked at me like had just suggested he WEAR hot pink paper bags to school the first day.  So we bought some slinky-fabric book covers in manly colors for $1.98 each.  GAAAAAHHHHH!! Twelve paper shopping bags, a bitten pencil nub, a blue Bic pen and perhaps a few obsessively coordinated folders and notebooks comprised my entire back-to-school-supplies when I was his age.  And I turned out fine!  Just FINE!  F. U….i. n. e.  FINE!!!!!

Sucktown, U.S.A.

My car has this nifty feature that I wanted to tell you about.

To activate it, first you must go shopping at Walmart for a few groceries.  And then, since you’re quickly running out of time before you need to pick the kids up at tennis practice, cave and buy all of the icecream-the-kids-have-been-begging-for-all-summer long.  Think to yourself: won’t I win allllllll of the nice mom points when I come skidding up to the tennis court in my twelve-year-old Honda Odyssey minivan, loaded down with frosty treats?!?

Next, place your temperature-sensitive purchases into the passenger side of your car because that’s the side in the shade and the temperature is 90 degrees.  Oh, and don’t forget to place your purse, your phone and your keys into the front seat while you’re at it.  We’ll call that the “secret sauce” of nifty feature activation.

It’s right about the time you’re playing Good Citizen and walking your cart to the cart corral that the nifty feature ACTIVATES! 

Lock.  Lock, lock, lock.  LOCK!!!

There.  All of the doors of the car are now locked.  It’s a “timeout” lock.  If the car has been unlocked – but the driver’s side hasn’t been accessed after a certain period of time – the car locks itself up again.


Welllllllcome to Sucktown, U.S.A. 

Population?  One.  Me.

What.  The.  HellamIsupposedtodonow?!??  I could call someone if my PHONE WASN’T LOCKED IN THE CAR!  I could unlock the car to get my phone IF MY KEYS WEREN’T LOCKED IN THE CAR!  I could ignore the whole mess and go shopping some more IF MY PURSE WASN’T LOCKED IN THE CAR!!!!


So I hot foot it back into Walmart and up to the Customer Service Counter.  I did originally consider begging a cellphone off of someone in the parking lot.  But that seemed weird.  I seemed weird.  Also, there’s always the possibility of getting cold sores with that approach.

Once I was at the counter, I had to explain what happened.  And ask if I could use their phone to call my husband.  But first, could I use their internet and a computer because I’m a total a$$ and have NO IDEA what my husband’s cell or work number is since it’s programmed into my phone…but I could look up his work website and get the phone number that way.  I’m smart like that.  And no, no kids or pets in the hot, locked car.  Just a bunch of melty ice-cream.  But thanks for asking. 

Problem Numero Uno with that approach was that they didn’t have a public computer or internet access available.  Problem Number Dos was that the public access phone was already being used by a customer who was trying to get someone on the horn who habla’d Español.  It seemed like it was gonna take a while. 

So the lovely, lovely customer service rep I had been speaking with let me borrow her personal cell phone to do my research and make my call.


And when I finally got Hubby on the line, I started to explain the whole mess and realized that the ice-cream was melting even faster as I did that.  So I closed with speedtalking, “I’m at the Walmart by home.The kids need to be picked up from tennis.The ice-cream is melting.I’m locked out of the car.JUST COME GET ME COME GET ME NOW!!!!”

I thanked the lovely Walmart Customer service rep again as I handed back her phone.  Then I walked out of the store and realized I hadn’t given Hubby a triangulation point. 


Knowing hoping Hubby is as clever as I am and would know to check outside the front entrance of the store for me, I settled down on a pallet of Miracle Gro potting soil to wait.

While I won’t go into further detail here, lemme just say that there is some crazy s**t that goes down in a Walmart parking lot.

Also?  I gotta get a job at Walmart because the 20-items-or-less cashier I always see there in the morning drove away from her shift in a LEXUS!  WTF??? 

By the time Hubby FINALLY pulled up (he said ten minutes on the phone; it was actually TWENTY! not clever enough, I’m afraid) I had convinced myself that people thought I was the saddest, most cut-rate ho EVER; Havin’ to hook her wares from “home base” on a pallet of potting soil.

So when I saw his car come ‘round the corner, I hiked up my shorts, crooked my leg and got into character.  The whole scene actually gave off more of a “gotta hinkle off to the bathroom now” rather than an “I’m lookin’ for my next John” vibe.  But now’s not the time to critique my acting ability. 

I said nothing, just hopped in as he slowed down.  I pointed at a lane in the parking lot and he drove me to my car and unlocked it using his set of keys.  Then drove away shouting, “Fuggedaboutit!  Don’t even mention it.  YOU’RE WELCOME!”

Isn’t he funny?!  He’s sooooooo funny!

But you know what’s NOT funny?  Sucktown, U.S.A. 

It SUCKS!  Don’t go there.  So beware of nifty locking features on your car.  BEWARE!