Monday, September 7, 2009

Back to Fool Shopping

I'm onto them. 8 years and three kids into the public school "back to school" shopping ritual and I've figured it out. They don't actually want us to buy anything on the damn list. They just want us to go stark raving mad trying. It's like a fraternity hazing. A process.

I sauntered into the third Target store today and was barraged by the massive school shopping frenzy. Moms pushed carts aggressively, rude teens shoved each other to grab at notebooks and calculators and whipped looking employees skulked around with electronic tagging guns, apologies at the ready."Sorry Ma'am, were clean out of gluesticks here too."

Up until that very moment I'd been sorry summer was over. Wishing for a few more pool and beach days. Not with those kids around! My 9 year old quickly located the "fine point" sharpies in the office supplies aisle. Almost at the same time my 12 year old found sharpies in the back to school aisle. I picked up a third package of "fine point" sharpies on an end cap. And guess what? They all had radically different sized points. Of course all three were labelled fine point, though. Arguments ensued. I added duct tape and Margarita fixings to the back to school list.

If you think locating the last of the tinted gluesticks and the right sharpies, a mere 24hrs before school's in session is tough, you should get a load of the rest of my list. This year the teachers at my kids Waldorf style school have served up an especially fun last minute scavenger hunt for us parents. Items include:

1. Logo/Media Free Hat. Skip Target for this as well. Not. A. Single. One. Unless you can make an argument that Spiderman is neither logo nor media. I'm considering hand sewing a wad of hand felted wool over Spidey and calling it a "Die Spinne" hat. Five bucks to the first teacher that susses out this is German for Spider Man comic books.

2. Indoor Shoes. Think you know what this means? Then please, by all means enlighten me. I can tell you what it does not mean. It doesn't mean light soled shoes that won't mar the gymnasium floor. We don't have a gym. It doesn't mean slippers or crocs, according to the teacher. It doesn't mean shoes that you change into on a snow day when you leave your boots dripping in the hallway. We have portables. No hallways. Also no snow. This is So Cal. I did the only sensible thing. I bought Uggs. I will have to slap a wad of hand felted wool over the logo now and call them "Die Uggs".

3. Two Large Metal Washbasins. Technically this was not on the regular list but on the "wish list". My husband signed up for this one about five minutes before he realized he had no effing clue what a washbasin actually was. Arguments also ensued about this as we scoured Ikea top to bottom for anything metal, basin like and washworthy. We each fought valiently for our planter and mixing bowl to achieve washbasin status but ultimately left empty handed.

4. A Metal, Logo/Media Free Mug. This item took the cake this year as most annoying and difficult to find. Last year it was a very specific white natural rubber german eraser that could only be found at one obscure art store in the OC. But the metal mug is this year's winner. First let me explain why the metal mug. Because plastic is POISON. This was what the teacher told us at the meeting. No plastic anything in the classroom. We had to go forth and find a lightweight unbreakable metal mug. She held up a rustic but festive enamelware example of wholesome drinking vessel goodness for us to observe and invoked Ikea as a wholesome euro-friendly location to find such a treasure. Note: I'm sure they had these mugs at Ikea right next to the washbasins. Five year agos. After exhausting Ikea, two camping goods stores, Home Goods, Target (again, no glue stick and no metal mugs) we finally happened upon a metal mug at our local Dick's Sporting Goods store. It was expensive but there comes a time when you are willing to pay ten bucks for a wholesome cup just so you can hit the drive through before putting your kids to bed an hr past their bedtime on the first night of back to school.

I turned the beautiful, healthy, non-poisonous, made in china, metal mug over and read "Caution, This Mug Contains Chemicals know to cause cancer, including LEAD"

On second thought, I'm going with the BPA free plastic. Slap some felted wool on that. Call it "Diecommonsensse"


buttercup said...

Is this for real? I can't believe that these are on your back to school list. makes me glad that we don't have to buy anything. The school provides it all. And what we can donate as parents (completely optional) is easy- Kleenex, dry erase markers, etc and Target has an overstock of it all because we don't have to buy school supplies here.

Angry Julie Monday said...

I swear that this is a test to see how committed you are...seriously they are fricking nuts!!! I will have to tell all my friends about this one. They won't believe me though.

Shuggilippo said...

I'd put money on it that there's some sort of teachers only yearly ritual to see who can collect the most obscure items from their students/parents.

The contest ends at the ringing of the last bell on the first day of school and the winning teacher wins an unseemly amount of cash. Sneaks.

kelly said...

oh boy i'm scared now! my little guy is still in pre-school, which means NO list. is this what i have to look forward to? i'm with shuggilippo & angry julie... it's definitely a contest. my question is, what do you think "their" prize is?

This is Carrie said...

Thanks for the good laugh. The world needs you to keep a personal blog again!