August 15, 2014

Biggest Mistake I Ever Made - Learn From Me, People!

Our school offers this amazing program where you simply write a check for your children's school supplies and then a magic fairy delivers them to the school all organized and wrapped in a pretty bow. Sure it might be a little more expensive but the extra money goes to the PTA for enrichment programs for the school.  It is a win win!

It's possible the magic fairy part isn't true - I can't say for sure as I haven't seen her but after my experience of buying supplies on my own I am almost 100% positive that must be how it happens.

Last year when the order form came out for this school year I thought: "hmmm. I'm no longer working therefore I can totally take the time to purchase school supplies on my own.  The kids will get to feel the excitement of picking out their own colors for folders and such. It will be a great memory for us all and I will save money and it will be blissful and it will probably solve world peace too!"

And it was a lot like that, but exactly the opposite.  I should have known it was going to be a horrifying experience when on the first trip out it took 33 minutes - no lie - for my daughter to pick out her wide ruled notebook.  If I had to tell her one more time when she found the perfect one! "Sorry honey it's college ruled. Keep looking" I was going to unwrap the spiral binding and use it to poke my eyes out. Alas, we did find one she could tolerate.  We walked out of Walgreens feeling somewhat successful (until I realized later we bought blunt tip scissors and not sharp tip.  D'oh!)

After that trip I never again walked out of a store feeling like I had accomplished anything positive. With each passing journey I questioned my parenting skills and sanity more and more.  But 5 separate trips to 5 separate school supply selling hell holes and about $8,366 later we did have everything on the list - well kind of...

Part of my genius plan was to save money. Let me tell you that does NOT happen if you take a 2 year old with you.  Who has time to compare prices of 463 Elmer glue sticks s vs. 463 Target brand glue sticks when you are chasing a toddler who apparently has an allergic reaction to being strapped into a shopping cart?  Somehow having managed to get a box of yogurt from the refrigerated section and sneaking it to the school supply section he was happily pulling every stapler off the shelf so he could stick the yogurt behind them.  Guess what? I don't care if the Elmer's Glue sticks are eleventy million dollars more than the others - just grab them so we can get out of here!

Other things that might or might not have been happened:

Kid: "Mom, is this $20 Trapper Keeper good?"  Me: "Um, sure yeah, looks great. ALEX! Stop eating erasers and put those sunglasses back - wait where did you find sunglasses?  They are nowhere near this section!  Oh God, did you steal someone's sunglasses?"  (Come to find out later, we got the wrong Trapper Keeper.  Oh and I never figured out where those sunglasses came from.  If you were at Target on Ward Parkway and a short little blond fellow stole your sunglasses, they are in the office supply section by the dry erase markers.  Sorry!)

I might have spent $70 at Walmart and not have found 1 single school supply that was left on our list.

I might have had more than 1 discussion on what color folder is more grown up and acceptable in 4th grade but also not too grown up because after all she is still a kid and has lots of years to buy folders in grown up colors.  Huh?

I might have taken a flask with me.

I might have tried to save money on pencils for my son's list by not buying the Ticonderoga brand and realized they were not pre-sharpened when we got home and then paid him $3 to sharpen them and ended up spending way more than I would have if I had just bought the freaking Ticonderoga ones.

I might have gone into the bathroom to "change a diaper" three times in one trip. Note: "change a diaper" = cry.

I might have accidentally purchased 2 boxes of gallon sized zip lock bags instead 1 box of gallon and 1 box of some other stupid size and when I realized my mistake not cared in the slightest.  I'm sorry teachers - you guys do an amazing job and I know I'm a jerk for not caring but at that point I wouldn't have cared if my hair was on fire.

Our last supply run was my favorite. (I still never found the correctly tipped dry erase board pen.  Let me tell you the amount of sleep I'm losing over that one.) As we were walking through Office Max, I turned to my kids and made them promise that next year when I think it is a good idea to shun the school supply fairy they will kick me in the head.

That request elicited giggles from the aisle over as our former PTA president, who is also my friend, walked out from behind an end cap of 717 colors of post it notes and said, "I am so glad I was here to hear that!"  I'm glad she was too.  She is taller than my kids and might actually be able to reach my head.