>> Wednesday, September 9, 2009
school supplies. that's innocent enough right? just something we have to do every year, some moms even look forward to shopping for them. me, i prefer to get excited over the new clothes, shoes and backpacks. but of course i do buy new supplies every year.
there is a lot of pressure in something so simple. i certainly don't want to mess up on the supplies and have the teacher think i can't follow directions. some years the school supply lists have been incredibly long. this year they weren't so bad. i have heard stories about a very expensive calculator that some kids are required to have. and i really hope that is just a school supply urban legend.
but i have to tell you a secret. please keep this just between us as i wouldn't want people to think i am crazy. the secret? i have some sort of school supply trouble, maybe a hex or something. see why this could raise an eyebrow among non-believer's of hexes and murphy's law? for many years we got the supplies easily enough. sometimes having trouble finding a specific item-but usually we'd find it or something similar eventually. i was always putting forth effort, so i don't think that is where i caught the hex.
i have to confess that i purposely skipped over one request year after year. tennis balls. yes, you read that right, tennis balls. i'm sure you are asking why on earth?!... me too. the purpose of tennis balls is to put them on the legs of chairs so they don't scrape the floor. now i would have gotten the tennis balls except for a couple of things. first of all any that i could find came in packs of 3. between my girls there are 8 chair legs so that would be 3 packs of tennis balls. but have you seen the cost of tennis balls? i never did find a generic brand. and that money could have been spent on a new pair of shoes. and really chair legs have scraped the floors for ages. but i digress...
perhaps that is where i went wrong. because the past two years i have been absolutely tortured by school supplies. ok maybe it's the creator of the school supply lists. or maybe it is karma. whatever.
school supply trouble number one: the year that we could only find our school's particular list in spanish. every place that had lists only had the spanish version. and the school had not yet become techno savvy enough to put the lists online. we passed over the opportunity to shop for útiles escolares a couple times. our thought was eventually we'd come across the english list. i even asked the store clerks if they could please find me one i could understand. they'd walk away and never come back.
time was ticking and we were faced with just doing the best we could with what we had. the list. in spanish. i figured i might do ok as i had studied the language in high school. but when i looked over the many, many items i realized this was going to be very hard. nobody else seemed to be struggling. they were following their lists and picking out supplies. i peeked at their lists and of course they were always from another school.
i became resourceful. i grabbed a list from another school, really how different could it be? we ended up with pencils as el número dos actually meant something to me-#2 pencils! beyond that i was really stuck. i could figure out glue, but was it a stick or in a bottle?
then i had the brilliant idea, find a translation dictionary in the book department! that helped a bit with items like tijeras, paper, erasers, colored pencils, tissues. we were crossing items off the list pretty swiftly. but then the well went dry and there were still several items we needed. i tried looking up all sorts of things based on what the girls usually need. no luck.
in the end, i had to do some people profiling and find a person who might speak spanish to help us. do you have any idea how embarrassing it was to go up to a complete stranger and ask if they by chance spoke spanish and could help us with a school supply list? but i did it and was fortunate to find a kind family to help us finish off the list.
school supply trouble number two: or the pencil debacle of 2009. i can giggle about it now, but at the time pencils were no laughing matter. each girl got a new pack of pencils for school. now it's important to note that we have a lot of pencils here at home. but for starting the new year off on the right foot i still buy new pencils.
apparently one of the packs of pencils was defunct. as in there was no lead in the pencil. now i'm not sure if this was a couple of pencils or all of the pencils. the story changes. the daughter in question told her teacher and asked to borrow a pencil. and with that she was supposed to tell us so we could get her new pencils. but that must have slipped her mind.
what ended up happening is just crazy. and it's pencils for pete's sake! the daughter never told us about her pencils. and she didn't grab any pencils from home to take to school. but she must have continued to ask her teacher for pencils. and this teacher must have thought i was really peculiar, why would i not get pencils for my sweet child?
one afternoon papa (my dad) comes to visit and hands me some pencils. i was confused. he tells me that the teacher told him we needed pencils. confusion quickly turns to embarrassment. embarrassment quickly turns to anger. of course i can provide pencils, they're pencils! where is this coming from?! poor papa gets blasted. i'm left like a crazy woman mumbling pencils? i don't get it? pencils?
in the end the story is unraveled. the daughter had bum pencils, either some or all. she borrows pencils from the teacher. she never tells us. she never gets new pencils from home. papa happens to send an email asking how the first week of school went. the teacher replies and then because apparently we were not responsive to the request of new pencils, she asks him to please get some new pencils. papa delivers new pencils to a very confused me. i then become very defensive because apparently nobody seems to think i can get pencils since this is the first i have heard of it.
that evening we had a mass collection of pencils from around the house. i count the pencils. the perfectly good and most brand new pencils. in total there are 63. yes, 63 pencils. not including the pencils that papa brought over. this was followed by a family lecture about responsibility and communication, apologies to papa, and an explanation to the teacher. thus we have the pencil debacle. pencils.
and that is the trouble with school supplies. surely i have a hex. i must.