There is a service the PTO provides where you can pay and have the supplies delivered to the school in time for the first day, but I am not one of those moms who dread the back to school shopping. I actually enjoy it. I love cracking open a new pack of 50 cent markers or sharpening pencils or stocking up on more glue than a preschooler could use (or eat) in a year.
Of course, I get a little frustrated (OK, pissed as hell) when the list calls for the large glue sticks and the small ones are on sale or when I can't figure out the difference between a poly folder or a plastic folder. But when I get a little anxious I just throw a couple more large pink bevel erasers into the cart (you can never have too many large pink bevel erasers in the house) and it's like Xanax for me.
|Mmmmm. I can feel my anxiety dropping just looking at these beauties.|
I like to shop at the discounters (Wal-Mart and Target) for school supplies rather than the high-enders (Staples and Office Max) but you gotta move fast, because they get picked over faster.
I knew I'd be out of town the last few weeks and I was worried all the "good" stuff would be gone before I got back. I thought I'd go ahead and get the shopping done before I left. I'm never this on top of things. I'm always the mom looking for tropical colors markers the night before school starts. (There's always classic colors left, but no tropical colors.)
So when my kids and I ducked into Wal-Mart so I could pick up some gummy bears (only Haribo will do) for my plane ride and we were met at the door by the display with all of the local schools' shopping lists, I decided to be the "organized mom." I grabbed the list and started throwing discounted crayons into my cart with wild abandon.
After about five minutes of power shopping Adolpha realized that I was buying the supplies for Kindergarten and second grade! Durrr. We did those grades LAST year! I shook my rattled brain and emptied out the "baby" school supplies and got started again. Phew! That was close. I almost messed up. Organized mom almost became goof up mom!
Now that I was on the correct grade, I noticed that the first grade list seemed fairly normal, but there were a few odd ones. Remember, we did first grade a couple of years ago. I don't have a terrific memory, but there were a few things that seemed new to me. For instance, each child was required to bring a 2-pack of Expo dry erase markers in BLUE. The blue was capitalized like the teachers meant business and no substitutions would be accepted. The kids and I scoured the aisles, but could only find 2-packs in BLACK. The blue ones were included in a (not on sale) multi-pack with an eraser. Grrr. I decided to save that one for the high-ender stores (the Hubs was insisting on making a run to whichever one was offering backpacks for a penny - because apparently it's back to school time for him too and he needs a new backpack). Maybe they would have blue 2-packs.
Another thing I noticed was Band-Aids. Preferably Band-Aid brand, but most definitely latex-free. What the what? Am I outfitting the nurse's office now too? Calm down, I mumbled to myself. Maybe the teachers have decided they need Band-Aids in their rooms because they were sending kids down to the nurse too often for ridiculous shit. (You know I know all about that!) If a package of Band-Aids encourages more learning time then I'm for it. I threw in two packs of latex-free Band-Aids (both kids had them on their lists). But just the basic ones. No fancy characters or shapes and sizes. There's no need for that nonsense.
I got most of the stuff on Adolpha's list and then focused on Gomer's.
He's a third grader this year and shit's about to get real now. Sure, he still needed crayons and washable markers, but now he needed "big kid" supplies too. Like highlighters and red pens and loose leaf paper. I searched high and low for a good 20 minutes for index cards - LINED. Of course I could only find UN-lined index cards. The item on his list that really stymied me was: "two black felt-tipped markers - NOT Sharpies."
Hmmm ... I started searching. I could find red felt tipped markers, orange felt tipped markers, but no black. I could find a ton of Sharpies, but the teacher was pretty insistent on her feelings about Sharpie. Son of a bitch. I'd have to get those when I got the blue Expo 2-pack (which he also needed).
He needed a crap ton of colored 2-pocket, no prong, poly folders: red, blue, yellow, green, purple, and orange.
I did mention that I go to the discounter stores, right? They've got a lot of red, blue and green, but they don't get too many of the fancy colors. I dug around in the Trapper Keeper section and found a discarded yellow that someone had obviously hidden to come back for later (see ya, sucker), but purple and orange were really giving me a hard time.
I added those to my Staples list.
I made a run to Staples and bought an over priced purple folder (still couldn't find orange) and said "screw it" while I purchased black Expo markers (sorry teacher, I tried).
I got home and dumped all of my bags in the front hall with a huge sigh of relief and I went on my trip feeling like a super duper organized mom who gets shit done (except for that pesky orange folder). I was proud of myself for not waiting until the last minute when there's nothing left except protractors and rubber bands.
Last night I was in Target and I saw an orange folder. It was right beside Target's display of school supply lists. I grabbed a copy to check and see if there was anything besides the orange folder that I was missing. I noticed the list was different than the one I had grabbed at Wal-Mart. It wasn't nearly as long or as demanding - no black NON-SHARPIE felt tipped pens or LINED index cards or BLUE Expo markers.
How strange, I thought. Target is going to be in trouble, because they screwed up the list.
Don't ask me why I assumed Wal-Mart's list was correct and Target's wasn't. Probably because Wal-Mart's seemed so authoritative.
This morning I pulled out both lists and the bags of supplies so that the kids and I could go through and make sure we had everything since obviously there was some weird snafu with the two lists.
I was about half way through the Wal-Mart list when I saw the name of the school on the top of the paper.
I won't tell you the name of my kids school or this school, but let's just pretend my kids' school is called Woodland Elementary. The name at the top of the paper in my hand? Woodside Elementary. Are you fucking kidding me??
Yeah. I bought everything on the WRONG list. I drove all over town and killed myself looking for BLUE Expo markers and orange folders and my kids didn't need any of it. I'm an idiot.
Guess what is not on the Woodland Elementary school list? A purple folder or blue Expos or Band Aids or any of the other crazy stuff that I've been looking for.
Guess what I get to do today? If you guessed return a bunch of crap that I don't need you'd be right.
This will teach me for trying to be an organized mom who can multi-task and get ahead. I'll never make that mistake again. Next year, the night before school you'll find me pawing through the discarded glue sticks and tape dispensers offering to sell a kidney for the last green spiral notebook.
By the way, Gomer still needs a yellow plastic folder with two pockets and prongs. If you see one let me know, OK?
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