Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Nuts

I'm no genius. But once in a while, I know what I'm talking about.

Take "room parent training" for instance. The "training session" was last night in the school library. Here's what I learned: room parents bake.

That's the job I signed up for. Baking. Definitely less than ten words. Oh, but not just random baking. Room parents bake what they are told to bake. Cupcakes for Halloween. Sugar cookies for Christmas. Our baking assignment for Valentine's Day has yet to be determined, but they will let us know. That's it. Baking.

Oh, and no nuts. It's the policy. There's a "no nuts" policy. They showed it to us. It's a very strict policy, actually. When they say "no nuts" they don't just mean resist tossing that handful of toxic peanuts into your cupcakes. They mean read labels, do not use any ingredients that have been prepared in the vicinity of a nut. Forget you even know what a nut is. Nuts do not exist for you. Nuts are not welcome here. Ever.

Do not even get me started.

So, this baking thing? This is going to be like, actual baking. Not from a mix, people. From a bag of flour, with other stuff thrown in. I'm not sure I can handle the pressure of being a room parent. On a positive note, though, there appeared to be some highly probable candidates for blogging about in that library last night. I can only hope for follow-up meetings, and a solid room parent turnout at the Halloween party. Serious potential indeed.

Off to work.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Of Course, There's a Meeting

So congratulate me. I'm a room parent. Whatever that means.

The "room parent coordinator" left me a message the other day that I have been "selected" to be Room Parent for Fourth Grader's class. I was really hoping for Sixth Grader's class, if only so I could have permission to show up in her classroom and bug her on occasion. But this will be fun, too.

Except I really don't have any idea what a Room Parent does.

Not to fear. The "room parent coordinator" informed me that there is a "training meeting" next Monday night for all us newbies. Are you serious, lady? I bet this is the kind of job description that can be summed up in ten words or less. But no, don't worry, I will work this meeting into my schedule somehow. The Tornadoes don't really need to eat dinner after gymnastics.

In other news, I am looking for a cure for this disease I seem to have. I don't know what the diseases's official name is, but the primary symptom is the inability to stop reading a book halfway through, even if it is god-awful. I am right in the middle of an absolute stinker. I have been picking at it for a good month now, having completed two other books in the meantime in an attempt to soften the experience. No matter how long I leave it, when I come back...it still stinks. And yet I press on.

These are the glory days of my life.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Put That Out! (Isn't That What It Stands For??)

I am about to depart for my very first PTO meeting ever. Considering Sixth Grader is...in the sixth grade...well I just never had time before, okay? Gawd, get off my back...

Speaking of Sixth Grader, I am happy to report that she is no longer "going out" with anyone. Even more happily, she did the dumping. So, let's see, the relationship began on Saturday night. Sixth Grader and her friend, A, spent a good portion of Sunday texting the boy - with a bit too generous of a helping of "love you"s in the mix, I might add - and then Monday at school she dumped him. Why? Because, apparently, A revealed that she liked said boy as well, and was a bit miffed about the whole thing. And Sixth Grader just didn't think it was worth it to upset her friend. Everyone together now: awwww. So hopefully that is the end of the eleven-year-old dating scene for the time being.

Other than that, we have spent a whole lot of energy this week just trying to get a handle on the madness that is our routine. The Tornadoes are at gymnastics practice tonight, which is the only reason I am free to see what this whole PTO thing is all about. And then I have to scoop them up, and I suppose I have to feed them something. Holy crap, I forgot I had to feed them something! I better go inventory the kitchen before I leave. Good chance they're having kitten kibble sandwiches...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Time To Move

Last September, I wrote a little post called "The Cheese Stands Alone." I'd link it for you, but apparently I do not know how to do that on an iMac. Why would it be any different than on a PC? Or perhaps I am really that much of a complete computer idiot that I cannot figure out how to do such a simple thing...in any case, "The Cheese..."was last year's Old Home Day post. This right here? This is this year's Old Home Day post. Feel free to go hunt down "The Cheese..." for a fun exercise in comparing and contrasting. I'll wait here.

Okay, so yesterday was Old Home Day. Given what an extraordinarily super fun time I had LAST year at Old Home Day, I wasn't much looking forward to it. However, since there was no way I was going to get out of taking the girls, I decided to head my boredom off at the pass and volunteer for something. True, standing at a bake sale table is not my idea of a good time. But at least there were people to talk to.

It turned out to be quite a shrewd move, actually, for two other reasons. First of all, it poured rain all the live long day. This did not slow the crowd at all - considering that a large majority of the crowd was wearing what I can only describe as "farm fashion", it's possible that they do not see coming in from the rain as a necessity of life - but luckily, it did mean that the bake sale was held under a tent. While I was absolutely freezing, at least I was dry. Second of all, manning the table gave me an ideal vantage point to spy on Sixth Grader and her friends, nestled up together at a picnic table and voluntarily arranged in boy-girl-boy-girl formation. Curious.

My shift was for two hours. Other than eyeballing those sixth graders, I spent most of my shift trying against all odds to avoid any contact with the cotton candy machine. I'm sure I came across as pretentious, but listen, nobody told me anything about any cotton candy machine. That crap is blue, people. And I was wearing a brand new white fall shirt. I sold the dickens out of those brownies and cookies - or at least tried to give the appearance that I had something to do with them flying off the table. Then my shift ended, by which time my Tornadoes had been swept away in a gaggle of girls to someone or another's house to dry off and hang out until the dreaded fireworks later that night, which meant that a certain yours truly did not have to go to them. Hello, boyfriend?

Boyfriend was much more sensible this year about the fact that we had a few stolen hours to ourselves. The cheese did not stand alone this year, blogosphere. The cheese was in very fine company.

But wait. The story doesn't end there. It can't end until I tell you the Big News. Remember that whole boy-girl formation I mentioned before? Well, it seems two of said boys-in-formation were vying for the attention of a certain girl. That girl being my daughter. (And no, by the way, these were not the same two boys of "hotter than the sun" infamy. Two other boys.) It also seems that these two boys accompanied the gaggle of girls to the fireworks. Which were ultimately cancelled, due to the fact that it was still raining. But this gave the two boys plenty of time to have a little tussle, so I hear, over my daughter. And the end result of this tussle, I am told, is that Sixth Grader made a selection, and upon coming home made her little sister inform me that she now has a boyfriend. They are "going out". Whatever that means when you are eleven years old and have no financial means or transportation and your parents get to monitor your phone calls and texting activity.

So basically my hair has gone stark white in a matter of two days - and that will be the last time that we attend Old Home Day. Clearly, it is nothing but trouble.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Butter Me

Because I. Am. Toast.

The pilot week of back to school has finally, painfully, come to a close. If it weren't for the part of me that is pathetically - but hopefully not in an overwhelming, annoying way - narcissistic, I would not even be able to summon the energy to recap this week. Much of it is a blur at this point anyway. Then again, I am writing this from the far side of several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc...so that might explain the blur...

What we had here this week was a preview, really. A true back to school week would involve Monday, which, if I take a quick look at my calendar, is actually going to be pretty much the worst of the days as far as buzzing around from one obligation to the next. We were spared the atrocity of Monday this week. But we still had Tuesday through Friday to contend with, which was no picnic.

Gymnastics is back. Oh, is it ever back. This year we have three hour practices times three nights per week. If this week is any indication of how well we are going to handle the practice schedule going forward, then I think I should go ahead and put up a Subway franchise right inside my car. Then, at least, while the Tornadoes are madly scarfing down their dinners in the back seat (because the idea of waiting another eleven minutes until we get home to put food in their mouths after three hours of gymnastics is just plain crazy talk), maybe I can make a few bucks on the other kids. Gymnasts are ravenous creatures, my friends. You'll want to keep a safe distance if you don't show up with food on hand.

Then there's homework. Have I ever told you that I hate homework? I never hated homework when it was actually MY homework, but their homework I can safely say: I hate it. No, Sixth Grader, I do not know the difference between a mean and a median. Well, I MIGHT have that information stored away somewhere, but seriously, I've been working all day, you know. Seriously, Fourth Grader, I cannot spell every three syllable word for you that you want to use in your writing journal. Well, I definitely CAN spell all those words, but I really just want to close up shop here. I love the idea of sitting at the table with the girls and helping them with their assignments, but oh, the reality is so much more taxing. Didn't I already pass all of these grades?

One of the highlights of the week turned out to be an activity I was not at all sure I was going to take to, and that was my first tennis lesson this morning. Yes, I am taking tennis lessons. Yes, I am completely overextended, and yet I have decided to learn from a starting point of ZERO how to play tennis. So there I was this morning, in my silly little tennis skirt, hoping I wouldn't be the only one to show up wearing a tennis skirt and not shorts and also that I wouldn't be the only beginner too reluctant to buy a racket yet and have to, therefore, borrow one from the tennis department. Not only was I the only one in both situations - I was the only one, period. Beginner class: party of me. Sweet! I spent my first lesson learning forehand and backhand, relishing the fact that I was going to basically get private instruction at a group rate, but also wondering, "Am I the only person alive who has never played tennis?"

Now, I have to say, I'm a little sore. And exhausted. And probably should get to bed, because tomorrow I get to work at the PTO bake sale at Old Home Day. And I KNOW you are jealous of that.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things I Will Need For the New School Year: A Bubble and a Shotgun

Yesterday was the second day of school, so naturally I needed to take Fourth Grader to see a doctor.

It seems she made it all of ninety minutes on that first day before making her way to the nurse's office. She loves to go to the nurse's office. Her excuse, on this first journey, was that she had a cough. So the nurse gave her a cough drop and sent her back to class, refraining from calling me to report the visit until the end of the school day. "I'm sure you were expecting to hear from me today," she said, and she was right. I think out of 180 days of school last year, the nurse called me on about 150 of them for one reason or another. The majority of those reasons were comical. Fourth Grader is remarkably germ resistant and rarely gets sick. Can't walk a straight line without smacking her head on something, but remarkably germ resistant.

The Day Two call was a little less jovial. The nurse's concern over Fourth Grader's cough had escalated. She grilled me - in a friendly way - about the length of time I had noticed this cough going on and had neglected to rush her to the ER to be thoroughly sanitized. FINE, I said. I'll take her to see the doctor.

So last night we went to After Hours care to have her looked at. The After Hours care doctor concluded that it was most likely a ragweed allergy. To my comment that the school nurse practically insisted that I drag Fourth Grader in to have this cough checked out, the doctor said "I'm sure she just wanted to confirm that it isn't Swine Flu." I have never met this doctor before in my life, but somehow we managed to then perfectly synchronize the rolling of our eyes.

On the way home from the doctor's office, Fourth Grader exclaimed "Oh shoot!" It had dawned on her that she was supposed to pass a message along to her sister after school and had forgotten to do so.

"It's from (insert sixth grade boy's name here). He wanted me to tell her that she's hotter than the sun."


"Oh?" I said.

"Yeah. And then (insert other sixth grade boy's name here) came over and said she's pretty much the hottest girl in school."


"What's wrong, mama? You seem upset."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

And It Begins

So my laptop is still in the shop, and I have no real inkling of when I am going to get it back. I really miss my laptop.

Not that its absence has kept me away from the Internet. No. Much to the chagrin of Sixth Grader, I have spent the past few evenings basically hogging the brand spanking new iMac that I bought for the girls to share a few months ago. Admittedly, I have spent most of my Internet time on Facebook - I know, I know. I go through spurts. A week or two sometimes passes without so much as a glance, and then I become quite regimented about updating my "friends" on my doings. Except that I pay for my indifference, and that cost turns out to be the cumulative indifference of these same friends. Then I get a little cranky about being ignored, which eventually morphs into an attempt to woo my friends' attention back by generously sprinkling comments on their walls. Eventually they pay attention again, and I reach what can be reasonably considered equilibrium, and the whole cycle starts all over again. Just a big circle of feeling inadequate, that Facebook.

Anyway. School started today. The girls managed to get up on time, and get to the bus stop a full five minutes early. More than enough time for them to pose for a few pictures for me. Those eager, shiny faces with their summer-kissed smiles, and bright new first day of school clothes, and clean, bulging backpacks not yet scuffed or lousy with unruly papers and crumbling granola bars hastily half-eaten on the way up the driveway because they didn't get up on time and couldn't manage any actual breakfast. Yep, I got it all on record. Then I sent them off on the bus, rushed into the house to upload their pretty pictures to Facebook - seriously, I am in the throes of the obsession stage right now - and drove to the school for the big First Day Celebration.

First Day Celebration used to mean that the parents got to go into the kids' classrooms and help them settle in, stay for the pledge of allegiance, and then have coffee and donuts in the cafeteria. Now we are not allowed to enter the building. Now we basically gather around the front door of the school while our kids line up behind their new teachers, and we stand there while the principal plays Kool and the Gang on a boom box and announces each teacher's class, prompting them to begin marching into the building with their students looking really not as celebratory as the name would have you believe. Then we are dismissed. That's it. So I drove like a bat out of hell to get to the school in the opposite direction of my job to stand there for five minutes and watch kids walk into a building.

Now that they are home, I am riddled with papers to read and forms to fill out and decisions to make about how much I would like to volunteer this year. I'm thinking I would like to volunteer quite a bit more than I have in the past, so I have some choices to consider. Library assistant? Book Fair? Chaperone? I'm leaning toward Room Parent. Room Parent for Sixth Grader. Oh, she'll love that.

Seems she's also going to have to love homework, because it is, in fact, back in her life this year. According to her teacher's "Hi, I'm new here and I don't know why I chose sixth grade for my first year of teaching, holy crap there is going to be a lot of drama" letter, she can plan on 60 - 72 minutes per night. Per. Freaking. Night.

And Fourth Grader, now in the ranks of the upper grades, gets to enjoy book reports, science projects, the spelling bee, band, student council - um, I think it's time for a nice evening cocktail, don't you? Yes. I gotta go...