Friday, August 11, 2006

I don't want to be accused of insider trading...

But a little hint, buy stock in Target. I took The Tribe shopping for school supplies yesterday, all four of them. We got pencils, notebooks and a handy little lecture from the checkout lady about the sorry state of public schools and how dismally our students rank among the world's intellectuals. I bit my tongue, smiled and nodded because I've long since come to understand that there are people who are asking for your opinion and there are those who want only to give you theirs and because 1) I had FeLady's virtual voice in my head reminding us that kids only spend about 10 percent of their youthful lives at school and 2) sometimes the price of freedom is to allow parents to be neglectful and stupid in their choices for their kids vs dissident parents being thrown into "re education" facilities, and 3) America has produced some of the world's greatest thinker's, inventors and contributors to society and I imagine a good deal of them completely whiffed standardized tests. I can think of a dozen people off hand, Bill Gates comes to mind, who don't hold a college degree or other moniker of achievement.

My new motto: Quit bitching, get off the fence and become part of the solution.

While shopping with The Tribe isn't quite as big a deal as this guys feat, it's an endurance event all it's own.
Imagine four excited puppies all talking to you simultaneously, each asking a dozen questions at once and you are mentally sifting and collating, spewing answers left and right while trying not to overwhelm any other shoppers in the vicinity. Some items like pencils we can buy in bulk, others require individual attention. Some work with the sale prices, others are intuitively rejected with the knowledge that the cheaper item will break and you will be scouring the desert of "Holiday" season aisles in an attempt to find a replacement that is now priced at four times the current cost. Then there are the "add on" requests which occur at a rate of one every thirty seconds. "Can I get this pencil shaped sharpener for my teacher?" "I need this horse shaped pencil eraser" "Can I buy a candy jar for my desk" "Where is the glue?" "I need glue" (actually you need glue sticks-15 of them. HG and I figured they are going to glue all the kindergarteners together so they don't lose anyone) "I need this mirror for my locker" etc. This year had the added feature of HG embarking for the most part on her own, which explains the highly fashionable folders and spirals that emerged onto the checkout conveyor. Why buy a plain ten cent folder when you can make a statement with a bejewled, color coordinated spiral? HG was nonplussed when I informed her she would be paying the difference for her add ons.

"No problem, I'll just subtract it from what you owe me for babysiting" Which is an amount rapidly approaching the national deficit, largely due to the fact that HG has an accounting system that would impress the fellows who concocted the work comp system.

"I'm not even going to say your total out loud" Sales clerk lady intoned.

Why not? Say it out loud. Yes, I have four children. I am buying a year's worth of educational supplies for them. I have this in my budget. Trihubby and I worked hard, and we pay for our kids lives. That is what parents do. Heck, we even doubled up on most of the supplies to donate to a "supply drive" at a friends church. We saved and budgeted for that as well. It doesn't bother me that my list included hi lighters and a jump drive. Yes, I will be returning to Target for snow boots etc in about 2 weeks. I have that budgeted as well. These things do not overwhelm me.

Actually, they satisfy me. Immensely.

And if the budgeting scheme wasn't calculated correctly, I can always sell this guys forhead as marketing space.

I always know when there is a new camera in the house, suddenly goofy pictures abound.

I may have four times the supplies, but, I also have four times the laughs, the hugs and the general satisfaction that life is good.

3600 yard swim today
8 mile tempo run tomorrow
70 mile bike Sunday

Happy training and happy trails.


Chris said...

Good to know that if I ever get in a pinch, I can always get in touch with your personal loan shark - HG. I wonder how much the juice is on her loans?

I'm glad you guys had a good time at Target. And I'm even happier to see that the new camera is working great. I think we were all missing pictures of the tribe.

Have you considered one of the sponsored rides this weekend? I think I'm going to do the MN Tri Club (*gasp*) ride on Sunday. Steve and Jenny will be there? Although I sort of doubt that the group will all stick together, so I don't know how useful it'd really be...

christine said...

you made back to school shopping sound fun... i didn't know that about bill gates.

Cliff said...

I think Eistein failed math tests when he was in school. :)

TriSaraTops said...

Loved the post, Trimama! :) Sounds like the Tribe had fun.

mipper said...

Totally know the feeling. Then I moved to Utah. 4 is nothing here. I don't even get a second glance and many people are stunned at how I can feed my family of 6 on less than $140 a week. Of course, i have no teenagers yet...

I like HG. I would have totally gone for the bling and sparkle. She's my kind of girl.

Fe-lady said...

Sorry my voice is haunting's actually more like, uh, seven percent! (From age 5-18.) Seems like way more hmmm?
But it IS important and BIGGER than life to our and teachers and everything that goes with it. I ALWAYS made the first days of school a big deal and even went book shopping with my daughter this week.(second year of college) Two books. $127.00. I kid you not. But she is EXCITED about some of her classes and that makes it all worth the while!
And if our public institutions suck so much, how come everybody and their brother and sisters want to get an education in the United States? HMMM? And how many Nobel prize winners are from the US? (Don't have the answer, but I know it's alot!)
I BELIEVE in public schooling and good parenting...both.
Love Target! :-)

Bolder said...

show your son the logo for

tell him we are interested in his forehead

we think he's the right demographic.

greyhound said...

That was so cutely funny. I'm glad there are still parents out there that are going to make the world a better place by the kids they put in it.

OH, and can I give your son a business card? He might want my representation in negotiating with Bold and Roman over the forehead advertising.

Iron Pol said...

You probably shock many people by the fact that you even have four kids for whom you must shop. When Mrs. Pol and I point out that B-Boy and Monster Girl might need other siblings, they think we're nuts. "You have a million dollar family, why not stop?"

To which I answer, "If they make a million dollar family, we might just go for two million."

Good parents are a huge part of the equation in producing good kids. Schools can help or hinder. But too many good kids come out of bad situations when they have good parents.

BTW, every time we go to a parking garage, we aim for the first floor. Your voice echoes as loudly as Fe-Lady's.

stronger said...

School supply shopping was always my favorite part of back-to-school. We'd organize our supplies for days leading up to the first day of school.