Back From “Quality Time” Hell…And I’ve Got Some Bitchin’ To Do

Yes, I have been gone.  For a very long time.  A long, long, long time.  And believe me, I’ve got some things bottled up that need to get out.
I used to wonder, “Where the hell did blogging come from?  Whose idea was that?” Now I know.  Blogging had to have been the brainchild of someone with children, who had a whole lot of “quality time” and very few vices with which to fall back on.  You know, somewhere out there was a thirty-year old in a housecoat she swore she’d never wear, with a runny-nosed toddler on one hip, a toad in the microwave, a dog and a kindergartener sharing Coco Puffs under the kitchen table while the Backyardigans blared in the background, and she realized there was no way she could crack open a beer without dropping the baby.  So, what’s a girl to do?  How do you cope with that “This Is Your Life” moment?  Go online, of course and rake your family over the coals for the perverse amusement of others who are trapped in the same inescapable, parental hell and searching for the one person in the world who may be worse off.  And so, blogging was born.  (Okay, that’s how it happened in my mind, I don’t want to know how it really came about so please don’t destroy my vision!).
So, what has happened in my absence?  I had a birthday.  The kids started school. One of my stay-at-home jobs is sucking the life out of me occupying a lot of my time. We got a puppy.
Let’s talk about back to school.  By now I think everyone’s kids are back in school.  My kids started in August.  The Oldest is in second grade and The Middle started kindergarten.  We spent the last couple of weeks of summer trying to cram in as much quality time as we could with the kids.  We drug them to fishing trips, movies, parties, outings, and even a trip to that damn, wretched palace of childhood glee, Chuck E. Cheese’s.  All of which I’m pretty sure was done to assuage my guilt at the daily countdown that was running through my mind, “15 days until they go to school…14 days until they go to school…13 days…”.
I barely survived back to school shopping without my head rocketing up into the metal beams of the store.  Let’s first talk about back to school clothes.  In my area, school starts in mid-August.  It is still freakin’ HOT here.  Why in the hell are my choices long sleeve shirts and jacket combinations?  Yes, I know, some people think ahead and get their shopping done early.  I am NOT a Martha, nor will I ever be.  (Martha- a noun.  Meaning: An uptight, overachieving bitch A female caretaker who consistently demonstrates significantly superior organizational, creative and culinary skills.  A member of the Martha Stewart minions).
School started on a Monday, I was back-to-school shopping a week and a half before, and that was early for me.  Not only do I not get my shopping done when the clothes I’ll need are still in season, there’s a good chance I’ll be stopping at the 24-hour super center on the way to school to pick up the new shoes and socks I forgot to buy.  Since it is almost impossible to find the short sleeve shirts we need, I’ll have to introduce my boys to the stylish world of cutting the sleeves off and rolling up the frayed edges.  Paired with a long sleeve T-shirt and we will be ready for winter when it finally arrives…in December!
What about school supplies?  I don’t know how every other region does it, but in mine the stores carry lists from every school that tells what supplies you need for each grade.  What a great idea, only why don’t those stores also put the listed supplies in the back-to-school section?  The Middle needed a box of 8 crayons.  The list said, quite specifically, “8 count crayon box.  Traditional colors. No more than 8 crayons, please”. I finally hunted down a box that only had 8 crayons, and I only had to walk to the complete opposite side of the jumbo-surplus retail hell to find it in the Office Supply section.  There needs to be a compromise.  Either stock the 8-count crayons with the rest of the school supplies or let us bring a box of 24 crayons.  They’re 5 year olds, there’s a good chance that 60% of the crayons are going to be eaten or stuffed up somebody’s nose anyway, so why not let us buy the extra crayons to make up the difference?
A week later, at Back to School Night, I was happy that I had The Baby in my arms because I was handed a list of supplies specific to each classroom that I now had to buy.  It would have been a shame to strangle a teacher in front of all those eager school children before they had the benefit of her teaching.
Now I need to mention coordination.  When they called to print up the lists for school supplies why not ask the teachers, “Hey anything else you need them to buy?  You know, so the frazzled, school-poor schmucks who are breathing with relief because their school shopping is done don’t flip out and strangle you when they get a new shopping list.”
Then I looked at the list for The Middle’s class.  The last item, I kid you not, was an empty frosting container.  Where the hell does such a random need come from?  That isn’t the kind of thing I have just laying around the house.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m no Martha.  To have a frosting container implies baking, and I don’t expose my kids to that kind of behavior (it will just lead them to have unreasonably high expectations of my maternal skills if I start trying to develop them now).  So, now I have to go to the damn store, buy a container of frosting, and eat the whole damn thing to meet my obligations.  I bought chocolate.  Wiped the residue out with my finger and licked it off.  Hey, it only said empty, didn’t say nothing about clean.
So, there I am walking out of the store with arms loaded down with school supplies.  A screaming baby in one arm, The Middle and The Oldest fighting over who gets to push the door open and then blaming each other when the automatic door opened and dumped them on their butts, car keys dangling out of my mouth, and only one thought occupying my brain.  But there was no way I could crack open a beer without dropping something.
And so…I blog.

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