Category Archives: Lists

In Urgent Need of Decaf In School Supply Hell

I am fully capable of helping my children muddle their way through middle school drama. I can comfortably engage in spirited conversation on a variety of important and trivial issues. I have a reasonably high IQ score.

Why is it that hunting and gathering school supplies is so far outside my comfort zone?

I know how to make a list. The stores I frequent even try to simplify things for me by setting up gigantic, idiot-proof Back-to-School Zones containing everything each of my three children might possibly need in support of their return to their schools’ freshly buffed hallways and dust-free chalkboards.

But I H.A.T.E. this chore. I have had the grade-specific, administrator-approved, itemized lists all summer long. And yet I put it off as long as I possibly could because “MIssion School Supplies” gives me a headache and makes me whiny.

Why? I’ll tell you why. In fact, I have a list.

1.) Because in each of my years as a Parent Who Is Required By Law to deliver her children back to school with specific sets of items designed to optimize their learning potential, such as antibacterial wipes and #2 pencils (no mechanical pencils, please) I have never once managed to find everything on the list in one store. Always at least two. Last year, it was four.

2.) Even though I feel certain that there must be an efficient way to accomplish this chore, I always end up aisle-jumping in order to cross things off “The List” in order, for fear of missing something, only to return to each aisle no fewer than four times in search of whatever might be the next thing on the list.

3.) Since I have three children in three different grades, multiply the steps in item #2, above, by three. Do NOT suggest to me that I try to fulfill the needs of each child all at once while in each aisle, because that’s even worse. The order of the items in each list is not at all logical or consistent, and with three lists going at once… dammit, I’m starting to twitch.

4.) Some far more organized and less manic parent has always arrived at the store earlier in the week and exhausted the supply of, say, 1-subject wide-ruled spiral notebooks, of which I must purchase seven. Sure, there are plenty of notebooks, and I suppose if I were smarter I would just grab a handful, count to seven, and be done with it. But I feel obligated to figure out which notebooks are on sale so that I’m paying $0.99 each instead of $3.99. After digging through the mess for a while, usually as soon as I start feeling like I’m conquering the beast, I realize that five of the seven notebooks in my cart are not wide-ruled, but college-ruled. I sigh heavily as I throw back the rejects, only to discover that the vast majority of the wide-ruled notebooks remaining on the shelves are of the three-subject variety.

5.) Target doesn’t allow shoppers to drink vodka while perusing the school supply section.

6.) By the time I’m finished, my very roomy cart is full to the brim:


7.) My total school supplies bill for three kids, including tax, is $163.87. My kids are very grumpy about the loot that they see hauled into the house, because I never return with the cool, multi-colored binders or Phineas & Ferb folders. I go for the boring stuff. Store brand pencils. Plain notebooks. Sorry kids, Mom is cheap.

8.) Ah, number eight. To any readers who may also be teachers or administrators, let me ask you a favor. Please tell me the truth. I’ll keep it to myself.

Folders. Some are paper and some are plastic. Some come with prongs, others have pockets.

The item on the list that says, “4 three-prong plastic folders with pockets in solid colors; avoid black.”

Level with me. This is a joke, right? I mean, I actually admire the hell out of you if it is, because it’s brilliant in its evil purity. But, honestly. I can find paper folders with prongs and pockets. I can find plastic folders with prongs or pockets. But in Store #1, there are no three-pronged plastic folders with pockets. In Store #2, I thought I found them! But they only come in… yep. Black. Finally, sweet success in Store #3. I almost wept. Different colors and everything. But. Seriously?

9.) Finally, I return home. I sort through every last eraser and sharpener, highlighter and red pen. But I know it’s not over yet. It really was a good idea, in theory, for the district to limit itself to one list per grade so as not to add to the August confusion, but we all know that there will be a second list, to be fulfilled after Back-to-School Night, when each teacher tells us what they really want their kids to bring to class.

I have heard tales of some stores that sell bundled packages of all the necessary supplies by school and by grade, and of other energetic districts where sharp-minded parent volunteers band together and offer supply kits for sale at Back to School Night.

Oh, I love this idea.

If anyone wants to help me figure that out for next year, please come find me. I’ll be at Target, buying more glue sticks.



Item #783 from Hannah’s Big Book of Stuff To Do with the Plastic Curlers that Came with the American Girl Doll that Your Aunt Got You for Christmas

Why, have your mother put them in your own hair and make what would otherwise be a regular old school day extra festive, of course.


And since we’re talking hair…

For those days when you’re feeling extra sassy, a Hannah Montana wig can come in handy, especially when gathered into pigtails and paired with pink and burgundy soccer socks worn with your big sister’s Converse All-Stars.


I Resolve

… to not resolve a single damn thing, except for the stuff that I’m resolving already.

Besides, I already belong to (and go to, even) a gym, I’m nice to my neighbors, I eat green vegetables, drink V8, and I write (almost) every day.

My children won’t be better behaved next year, the bathroom sink will not be shinier, I won’t clear out the clutter littering the basement, and I’m sure there will be even more dust bunnies under my couch.

However, 2008 will be the best year ever. I believe!

This Is No Longer Timely, Nor Is It Topical, But I’m Posting It Anyway

The gingerbread stylings of Hannah, Abby and Sam




Christmas Eve letter to Santa, as scribed by Abby


Kids on Christmas morning, awaiting their official release from the hallway. Please note the absence of daylight.


All She Wants for Christmas Is A Whole Bunch of Stuff


Hannah’s Christmas List, as presented to me on two Post-Its.

Let’s review.

1) Amacin-girl doll or dolls

American Girl doll. 100 bucks a pop. Keep dreamin’, kid.

2) micer fones

Microphones. Hannah and her sister have taken to writing, producing and performing various episodes of “The Abby and Hannah Show.” Think Donny and Marie on helium. The microphones, of course, will provide better sound quality. I’ll have to see how much they cost, but I do like to support their creative spirit.

3) A drum set

Um. No.

4) A Sled

The classic Christmas request. She has forgotten that we already have three. I suspect I could put a bow on one of the inflatable sleds in the basement and call it a gift, and she won’t know the difference. Done.

5) MP3 player

Do they make these in Santa’s workshop?

6 and 7) Webkinz body spray and Webkinz trading cards

I have to hand it to the Webkinz people for their marketing genius. Webkinz started as a line of little stuffed animals with a website home, and now they have an entire product line that’s constantly sold out everywhere.

8) Wii


9) A blanket from Nonnie

I love this one. “Nonnie” is my mom, and she has made maybe twelve blankets for Hannah so far. Some were made with Hannah’s input on color choices (purple mixed with hot pink mixed with bright orange. Which actually, is very similar to the blanket my mom lovingly made for me when I was four or five.) All of them are beloved and well-used. Hannah certainly doesn’t need any more than she already has, nor does my mom have the time to churn one out every year, but I love that Hannah has it on her “most-wanted” list.

10) Winter close

Um, Hannah has so many winter clothes that I can’t close her drawers. Of course, this isn’t about what she needs. This is about fashionista couture.

11) Snow spray

I wasn’t sure what this was, so Hannah described it to me as “That stuff you put on windows to make it look like they’re all snowy.” There are currently ten inches of snow in my yard, with up to eight more expected over the next two days. We don’t really need the illusion of more, plus I know that if a spray can of “snow” enters my house, it will end up on the rug, on the cats and all over the bathroom, so… *buzzer!*

12) Yarn

Aw, I love it when she’s crafty. Yarn it is.

13) Cha cha cha chida

It’s amazing that after all these years, Chia Pets still have what must be the largest TV advertising budget in history. If I can find one, she’ll get one.

14) Alarm colck

I’m not sure why she wants to subject herself to one of these awful Time-Keepers from Hell before it’s absolutely necessary, but I suspect it has something to with whatever is on the Disney Channel at 6:00 AM on Sunday.

Notes from The Hallway


1) Sam’s first school dance is history. I am happy to report that I am breathing again.

2) There are no action photos, since the gym was pitch black, except for the occasional migraine-producing strobe light provided by the DJ.

3) If Sam did dance, I’m fairly certain that the dancing was of the jumping up and down variety.

4) He spent more than half his time in the cafeteria, away from the loud music and near the fruit rollups.


Sam eating fruit snacks while putting up with his mother and her camera.

5) Girls (many of whom appeared to have tragically collided with their mothers’ makeup bags) outnumbered boys, at least 3:1.

6) More than dancing, the preferred activity of the evening appeared to be walking. Walking the halls, walking to the bathrooms, walking back and forth between the gym (darkness, scent of sweatsocks, extremely loud music) and the cafeteria (snacks, pizza, water bottles.)

7) Helpful Hint #1: If you are the guy assigned with the task of delivering 40 large pizzas to a middle school dance attended by 322 uncomfortable, giggly, hungry pre-adolescents jacked up on adrenaline and Mountain Dew, bring your own security detail.

8) Helpful Hint #2: If you are a parent chaperone and you are in the hallway between the gym and the cafeteria when the DJ announces that the $2.00 pizza slices have been marked down to a dollar, stay out of the way.

9) Query: Have 8th grade boys always had facial hair? Is Sam really only a year or two away from that??

10) Sam informs me that he likes this song. However, he thinks it’s called “Burgerlicious.”

I’m thrilled he had fun. I’m also glad it’s over.

*exhales, collapses*

For This, I Give Thanks

1.) Love
2.) My children and their health
3.) Words
4.) a) Chocolate, b) venti iced quad nonfat cappucinos, and c) mashed potatoes (not necessarily consumed simultaneously)
5.) Outstanding teachers
6.) Four-leaf clovers
7.) Curly-girl hair care products that actually work
8.) Those who value kindness
9.) Big Papi
10.) Laughing until it hurts

What are you thankful for?