Monday, August 07, 2006

Buying School Supplies

We went shopping for school supplies this weekend. Kansas City stores didn't charge sales taxes Saturday or Sunday, so, not surprisingly, we weren't the only ones in Walmart.

Parents held the supply list in one hand and pushed their cart with the other. While kids chose their Walt Disney-themed folders, the parents tried to interpret the list, which was a lot more complicated than when they were kids.

Mothers cornered sales associates in the paper aisle and grilled them.

"So loose leaf and notebook paper are the same thing?" they asked. "Loose leaf is notebook paper. So if I get notebook paper I'm fulfilling the loose leaf requirement. Would you be willing to bet your life on that?"

I guess it's better safe than sorry. You don't want to be that parent. The one referred to as "some parents" in every school newsletter.

"Some parents have been sending soda pop in their children's lunches. Please note that each can has 143 tablespoons of sugar in it, making childhood obesity a likely outcome. Thank you."

"Some parents are deeply in debt in cafeteria lunch money. If you need to be on the federal free and reduced lunch program, why don't you just ask? Thank you."

"Some parents bought the wrong kind of glue specifically described on the school supply list. Please note that our school has a free literacy program for parents who cannot read. Thank you."

So fathers inspected glue as it went into the cart.

"Does that have glitter in it? I don't see anything about glitter here. Get the Elmers. The Elmers. No that's 6 oz. We need 7 oz."

Well, I'm sure schools are actually very nice about accepting slight variations on school supplies.

But let me tell you, the kindergarten school supply list has grown exponentially. In my day, it called for a sturdy twig and a patch of dirt to scratch answers on. Well, maybe not in my day. But in somebody's day I'm sure.

Now you need two boxes of classic markers, one tropical, 3 rolls of film, a ream of xerox paper, two boxes of 24 crayons, a nap pad, wet wipes, paper towels, 12 giant pencils, two posterboards, two glue bottles, and 16 large glue sticks. I just hope Johnny knows how to glue stuff by the end of kindergarten.

Actually, I am happy to see so much on the list. As a former 5th and 6th grade teacher, I know that the little kids' teachers were always running out of supplies and having to buy new ones with their own money. It makes sense to spread the cost out among parents.

Johnny chose his notebook. Cars. No dolphins jumping over the planets. No a tiger standing on the moon. No cars. He went with the dolphins.

Finally, we went to the shoe aisle to buy Justin some new tennis shoes. He wanted Dr. Schoell's in size 11 1/2 with "Are You Gellin'?" soles.

They only had them in black, which Justin okayed over the phone. I assumed they looked like the shoe displayed on top of the box. Lace up low/high tops--like what basketball players wear. So I just threw the shoe box in the cart and went to check out.

Only the next day did I see them.

"Honey, you got me old man shoes," Justin called from the bedroom.

I came in to see black velcro tennis shoes with big soles. Several of the older retarded men I worked with in Arizona had shoes just like it. Which they paired with lime green or pale blue polyester slacks. I could never understand why their mothers bought them clothes like that. Now here I was buying them for my husband.

"They're really comfortable," he added, walking out the door to have a beer with our neighbor.

"I can take them back," I said.

"No, these are great," he said.

He was gellin' like a felon.

It's just a good thing Justin's not in school anymore. The kids on the playground would have a field day with those shoes.

I can just see the school newsletter now.

"Some parents have sent their sons to school wearing hideous black velcro Dr. Schoell's tennis shoes usually worn only by old men. Please note that this contributes to teasing and low self-esteem. Thank you."


Anonymous Mom said...

Only Justin, and maybe your Dad and Luke would wear ugly shoes and not care what anyone thinks. Remember when your Dad got mailman shoes. I told him he'd be laughed out of court, but he thought they were great. His dad had some just like it and I thought they were bad on him at 90! My dad bought me ugly shoes in 6th grade at Bob Jones Outlet, where he got a case of mixed shoes for the 10 of us kids. Mine were brown oxfords with white hairs growing out of them. I was horrified! Luckily my friend Kitty loved them and let me wear her spauldings and she wore mine. I wonder what they're gluing in Kindergarten these days?

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Peggy said...


May your boys have the same extaordinary self esteem your husabnd has when they grow up. My brother-in-law the esteemed barrister has been know to wear green suede NIKE's just to annoy his children. Maybe Dr. Phil can do a show on that!

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've missed your blog!

10:13 AM  
Blogger Sondra said...

Johnny is getting school supplies and Justin is buying old man shoes; Seems the grains of sand are moving to quick through the hour glass!!

10:22 AM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

Ahhhhhh! Just dropped off our school supplies and met the teacher today. Fortunately, in first grade it is acceptable to deviate slightly from the supply list without any serious repercussions.

Do you have any idea how many different styles of dry erase markers there are?

8:29 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

Oh I am laughing so hard I'm crying. That was the funniest one yet !!! I had a hard time with that silly list too... never found the "tropical" markers did you ?

4:16 AM  
Anonymous alexis said...

i keep rereading this one because it is so dang funny-- i'm crying!

if only i could pass out a supply list like that to my students. ha! i'd be rich. this year i've only spent $100 of my own money so far.

you crack me up bridget.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am crying, too! so funny!!! i want a pair of black velcro shoes! in 7th grade, my dad bought me a pair of gray and green nikes...i had a size 9 back then and was only about 4 foot something...real cute!!

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Tom G said...

I'm catching up on your blogs. They are always entertaining.
The boys and Denise got me not only velcro shoes but the tan fake leather shoes like papa has. I've wanted to wear them to family events recently but didn't wan to upset papa. Brett also got me some wrap-around sunglasses. Now all I need is a walker!

11:22 AM  

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