It All Adds Up

Sixty dollars?!?

Are you freaking kidding me?

I’m starting to think I should’ve encouraged my kids to drop out in kindergarten when I had the chance.

You see, when my oldest son was in kindergarten, he took a swing at a fellow classmate on the playground…

For not getting a turn on a swing.

Oh, the irony.

The ensuing suspension was clearly a sign that we should’ve quit while we were ahead.

At any rate…

I (half) jokingly offered to buy this now high school-aged child of mine two middle school yearbooks for the price of one $60 high school yearbook.

Good deal, right?

He respectfully declined.

Apparently, more is not necessarily more.

School is expensive.

And everything is exponentially more expensive once you reach high school.

It’s not enough to own a single pair of Nikes.

A child must cram a minimum of two extra pairs of shoes into his backpack every day.

Just in case Converse or Vans suddenly become more popular 2/3 of the way through the school day.

OMG!

Look at those shoes!

They’re sooooo 2nd period!

Uh, yeah.

Okay.

What do you mean your phone is soooo outdated?

Since when is last year considered The Dark Ages?

And everything has a fee.

Activity fees.

PTO fees.

Booster Club fees.

(What exactly is it that we’re boosting?)

Even volunteering comes with a price tag.

Along with the obligatory background check, they now insist on taking your full set of fingerprints.

In exchange for a cheerful mug that boasts the numerous virtues of volunteering.

I’m still not convinced that was a good trade-off.

Clothes are expensive.

Books are expensive.

You need money for what?

More school pictures?

More broken earbuds?

More pencils?!?

Again?

What the…

Did you eat that last batch?

Speaking of eating…

Food.

Oh my goodness.

The amount of food growing kids require is beyond belief, especially with those never-ending growth spurts.

What do you mean there wasn’t enough food in your lunch today?

What did you think- it was all just one big snack?

My mountainous cart is always one bag of cheese puffs away from overflowing and toppling over whenever I go grocery shopping.

There seems to be some unspoken challenge in our household for attempting to eat $200 worth of groceries right out of the bags.

Bonus points if they can pull it off in under 24 hours.

When are you going shopping again?

Sigh.

I’m seeing stars as money fails to conveniently drop out of the sky.

(On a positive note, I have been saving money recently while tripling my wardrobe in the process. My boys and I are currently close enough in size that some of their shirts fit me quite nicely.)

Money, money, money.

Down the toilet.

Along with my sanity.

Fluuuuush!

~Happy Saturday, my friends! Have a safe and happy weekend!~

Oh, if only money rained from the sky...

Oh, if only money rained from the sky…

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Sadistic Shopping Frenzy

God, no.

Not this again.

How is it already that time again?

I’m just not ready yet.

And I’m pretty sure my kids aren’t, either.

Want to know the secret to blowing through loads of money in a matter of hours?

Have kids!

Have lots of kids!

And then cram those crazy kids into the car and go shopping for their gazillion back to school needs!

I don’t even want to think about how much we’ve already spent.

And I only have two kids, not a whole busload of them.

Yeesh.

With a week and a half until school starts, we hadn’t gotten around to shopping for most of the necessary school supplies.

Until yesterday.

Prior to yesterday, we’d only managed to shop for underwear, socks, and shoes.

And very little else.

Because last week was far too soon to even think about all this back to school nonsense.

And because I’m clearly a glutton for punishment, we went to Walmart.

Or, more specifically, we went to Walmart twice.

In one day.

So much for one-stop-shopping.

The only redeeming thing was that we’d gone to two different locations.

Walmart #1  had most of what we needed…

 But it didn’t have much of a selection of binders.

Who knew it was so difficult to find the perfect binder?

One that zippers shut and doesn’t pop open and create an explosive mess?

Is that too much to ask?

And we just had to have pens in a minimum of 5,000 different colors.

And that mini automatic pencil sharpener…

Because who in their right mind enjoys the tedious task of sharpening six dozen pencils in one sitting?

It was either that, or pay five times the price for the convenience of pre-sharpened pencils.

At least the pencil sharpener will pay for itself soon enough.

If it lasts long enough, that is.

But at least I knew better than to wait until tax-free weekend to start shopping. 

I can barely handle Walmart on a good day.

An hour of pushing and shoving my way through Walmart is almost enough to drop me to my knees in the center of the wine aisle while hyperventilating into a paper bag.

So there we were at Walmart, smack in the middle of the chaos.

Like that’s ever a good idea.

And then those boys of mine did what they do best:

They wandered off to the electronics department. 

So much for that.

Ten minutes later, they were busy trying on new heads.

Plush mascot heads, that is.

For whatever unfathomable reason, there was an enormous bin of assorted animal heads by the checkout area.

Such an interesting choice of so-called impulse items.

Was Walmart getting ready for Halloween?

In August?

As if back to school madness wasn’t already maddening enough.

But at least I managed to buy myself some cool new notebooks. 

Because why the hell not, right?

Besides, I needed a few more notebooks.

It sure beats scribbling my jumbled, random thoughts on toilet paper in the middle of the night.

Anyway…

A few days earlier, I had taken my younger son to Dick’s Sporting Goods to look for clothes.

Usually, he’s all about Nike.

Nike, Nike, Nike.

And nothing else will do.

But he didn’t like a single article of clothing at Dick’s.

He did, however, see exactly one backpack he liked.

An $80 Under Armor monstrosity.

More heavy-duty weapon than child-friendly carryall, it resembled The Hulk, condensed and smashed into a sturdy, yet incredibly unsightly, backpack.

Its water-resistant properties and ability to take out a large rodent obviously justified the exorbitant price tag.

I would have considered spending that much on a single backpack…

If- and only if- my child would’ve been willing to walk to and from school every time it rained.

You know, to get our money’s worth.

Oh, and it would’ve also needed to last until he’s 18.

At the very least.

Sounds reasonable enough, no?

Needless to say, we left without getting a backpack.

He didn’t like anything else there…

But he did buy a plush deer.

Priorities, priorities.

I suppose there’s no need for shirts or pants when he’s perfectly content wearing nothing but shorts and his favorite hoodie, anyway.

But alas, it’s almost time again.

Back to the madness.

Back to school.

As long as we make it through the year without telling everyone to Go to Michigan, I’m sure we’ll be just fine.

~Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s August already? Where is the time going? Geez! Anyway, hope you all have a fantastic weekend and enjoy the last few weeks of summer break!~

This, apparently, is what school supply shopping looks like...

This, apparently, is what school supply shopping looks like…

Mortifying Modus Operandi

Don’t embarrass me!

Um, helllooo!?!

I’m not the one sitting there, scratching my crotch at the table during breakfast.

Is it my fault your school requested that parents join their child in class to help guide them through the increasingly intricate course selection process, complete with 4-year plans and endorsements?

What kind of monster do you think I am?

And what kind of horrifying feats do you think I’ll manage to pull off in the 60 minutes I’m there, anyway?

Attempt to spoon-feed you your lunch?

Or show up in fishnet stockings and skanky heels?

Or worse yet, come crashing into your classroom on roller skates…in my pajamas?

Hashtag whatever.

Or perhaps I might discuss puberty/body odor/your latest crush loudly in front of all your classmates?

Or do some sort of ridiculous robot dance while singing a cringe-worthy Justin Bieber song at the top of my lungs?

Or lick your messy desk clean?

Or…

Maybe I’ll just wait for the perfect opportunity to declare:

You got an F on that test? An F?!? That’s it. Mama gonna go all gangsta on yo ass!

Right.

As fun as these scenarios might appear in my mind…

I can’t even.

As a natural introvert, I can assure you I will not be going out of my way to even talk to anyone, let alone cause chaos.

And as a self-respecting member of society, I don’t typically speak like that.

Ever.

Well, except maybe when I’m hangry.

I also wouldn’t purposely embarrass my kids, but ish happens.

Besides, if anything mortifying were to happen, consider it payback for all those unfortunate incidents where I wished for nothing more than the mercy of getting sucked into a black hole.

So just remember this:

I could be worse.

I could be much, much worse.

After all, I’m a badass black belt, dirt bike-riding, humor-writing Mom.

I’m cool AF.

Yaasss, I’m totally killin’ it.

So don’t be salty, bruh!

(Is that a thing?)

~Happy Friday! Thanks for stopping by and slinging some serious slang with me today. Have an amazing weekend!~

It's tough being a teenager. And an adult. Hell, life is rough for everyone.

It’s tough being a teenager. And an adult. Hell, life is rough for everyone.

8 Shades of Madness: The Back to School Edition

(A Not-So-Helpful Guide to School Readiness)

Don’t panic… but when’s the last time you actually looked at your calendar?

It’s still on June!

Do you realize that school starts in less than a week?

You need all kinds of… stuff… and things… for school.

And now the fun really begins.

1) School Supplies

The list gets longer and more demanding each year.

A two dollar generic binder?

Yeah, right.

Like that’s really gonna fly.

This year, you’ll need a $20 Five Star zipper binder that your kid will yank the zipper right off with his teeth by the second day of school.

Oh, and they insist on red and blue folders only.

You bought yellow?

Really?

And neon orange polka dot composition notebooks?

The list specifically says black marble composition notebooks!

And they say that reading is a lost art.

2) Clothing

Your kids have outgrown all of their clothing over the summer.

The boys’ shorts could easily pass for Daisy Dukes, their jeans fit like Capri pants, and every last shirt has mysteriously morphed into a cropped top.

The socks are either orphaned, mismatched pairs or holier than a slice of Swiss cheese.

As for the girls and the two things in their closets that actually do fit?

Sooooo last year.

Their skirts are all bordering on indecent after sudden growth spurts.

(Expect a phone call from concerned school administrators on that one, with a polite “inquiry” about your questionable ability to serve as a role model for your children. What exactly is it that you do for a living, again?)

3) Tax-Free Weekend

Sounds promising, right? Who doesn’t like saving money, after all?

And it truly is a fabulous concept, in theory… if your idea of a good time is reenacting Black Friday, school supply style.

So instead of fighting over the newest PlayStation that’s on sale, you now find yourself in a big box store, shoving your way through endless aisles of school supplies while vying for that last pack of Crayola crayons.

Until common sense kicks in and you realize that knocking someone out with a left hook in front of a selection of Care Bear and Sesame Street backpacks is probably not worth going to jail for.

4) Drained Bank Account Syndrome

You know how people are always saying having kids isn’t cheap?

Well, guess what?

They’re right.

5) Locker Practice

As kids get into the higher grades, they are assigned a black hole with a lock to shove their 80 pounds of books/unwanted homework assignments in.

Of course, it’s the dreaded bottom locker.

By the way, when’s the last time you actually had to open a combination lock?

So now you’re on all fours and panting like a crazed dog in heat, in an unsuccessful attempt to “demonstrate” how to open your child’s sadistic locker.

You finally get it after 28 frustrating minutes and 37 infuriating attempts.

And you are then rewarded for your effort with the equally enjoyable task of trying to cram a shelf evenly into that locker, because you know from experience that a lopsided shelf is as useful as no shelf at all.

6) Schedule Pickup/Teacher Assignment

Ah! The joy of walking with your child through their daily schedule, from class to class, a few days before school officially starts.

One class is undoubtedly outside in the portables, and somehow you take a wrong turn and end up lost in the parking lot, which is greater than or equal to 6 football fields in dimension.

7) Wakie, Wakie!

Having to get up early/go to bed early has been a challenge lately.

Some mornings, you’re all still in bed at 9:00.

And school starts at 7:45?

Ha!

This ought to be good.

Time to invest in a rooster, perhaps?

8) Misery

After grumbling all summer about the incessant insanity and begging for school to start again soon, you’re actually secretly sad that school has started.

The carefree days of eating ice cream for breakfast and hanging out by the pool have come to an end.

Silence is so overrated.

It’s tempting to climb to the top of the staircase and dropkick a lamp on to the tiled floor below or go outside to pick a fight with the neighbor in an attempt to replicate the very chaos you’ve just spent the entire 12 weeks of summer trying to avoid.

~Happy Friday, my friends! I had originally written and posted The 8 Shades of Madness almost exactly a year ago to the date, when Comically Quirky was still brand new and I had, like, 5 followers. Total. So…with back to school right around the corner, I couldn’t resist sharing it again. Hope you enjoyed, and have a great weekend!~

Go ahead. Give it a try. I triple dog dare you.

Go ahead. Give it a try. I triple dog dare you.

Expressions of Gratitude

Adiós! Au revoir! Arrivederci!

It’s the best time of the year for parents and their children.

And most especially their poor, beat down and worn out teachers.

School is (almost) out for the summer!

What a relief that is, let me tell ya.

No more homework.

No more last-minute projects.

And most importantly…

No more dreaded phone calls from teachers/principals/concerned administrative staff about borderline acceptable human conduct from the little darlings.

What’s not to love about the end of the school year?

But if you’re like me, you probably feel a sense of obligation to thank all these people for putting up with your sweet angels for a whopping 180 days without resorting to diving head-first off a cliff.

So I decided to create little gifts for all of the teachers and staff members who have had the, uh, pleasure of working with my boys throughout the year.

Through brainstorming, I came up with some decent possibilities:

  • Dart boards of the latest class photo
  • Piñatas (to vent a year’s worth of pent-up aggression)
  • Chocolate ( a timeless classic, but not very innovative)
  • Gift cards to local liquor store
  • Counseling/Therapy Sessions
  • World’s Okayest Teacher paraphernalia from the World’s Okayest Mom

I also browsed the web for other ideas, and in my quest for finding the perfect gift idea, I came across some real gems.

Like the I teach, therefore I drink wine goblet.

And a Chill Pills colorful candy jar.

And a pencil thong pouch.

(You read that right. Seriously, a thong-shaped pouch for… pencils. For your child’s teacher. Because that’s not weird or anything.)

But among the truly absurd, I found a real winner.

“Our child might be the reason you drink, so enjoy this bottle on us!” 

The world’s most perfect sentiment ever, in the form of a customized wine label.

Bulls-eye!

Seriously, is this not the best concept ever for a teacher gift?

Now if only gifts of alcohol weren’t so highly frowned upon.

Yeah, back to the drawing board…

I probably ought to be handing these out like candy.

I probably ought to be handing these out like candy.

Cracking the Glass

My boys both brought home their much-anticipated school pictures last week. Somehow, these are by far their worst ones yet.

I’ve seen characters in horror movies with more pleasant facial expressions.

Hell, even Chucky the Killer Doll looks more sociable than these two.

What gives?

It’s like the photographers don’t bother waiting for a kid to be fully in position before snapping the picture.

And what are these photographers using for prompts?

“Suck on this lemon for 30 seconds, then smile!”

“Just heard your teacher say something about a pop quiz today…?”

“Whoa, did you just see that bat zoom by?”

Not only do school pictures get more expensive every year, there are also noticeably fewer pictures in the packages. Which, quite frankly, when they look that dismal, may not be such a bad thing.

But still, it’s the principal of the matter. There used to be enough pictures to wallpaper an entire bathroom . Now, what you get barely covers one of the small floor tiles.

And of course, you must commit to buying these things sight unseen. What kind of nonsense is that? It’s insane!

Speaking of insanity…

The photo packages range from $19 for the I Don’t Really Love My Child That Much package, which gets you a single 5×7 and four wallet sized photos, to the self-proclaimed Best Value! package, with a total of 19 photos, a cd with exactly one image on it, and three key tags, all for just $69!

If you really love throwing money away, there are all kinds of frivolous add-ons. Did you know you can add a sheet of 20 stickers for only $9!

Right…

Ultimately, I went with a more middle of the road package that clearly demonstrates I love my child a reasonable enough amount.

If you really think about it, the poor kids are totally set up for disaster on Picture Day.

Against all logic, it takes place at the very end of the day at least 99.9% of the time. After P.E., lunch, recess, and that 20 minute fire drill on the windiest day of the entire year.

This ingenious set up guarantees bloody toothed grins after face planting on the playground, black eyes from taking a hit to the face during dodgeball, hair sticking up in seventeen directions, pants split down the crotch after a morning bus stop dare gone wrong…

And, of course, there’s always the trademark red Kool-Aid stained mouth that makes it looks like the little vampire guzzled a vat of blood for lunch.

Oh well. Not all is lost.

The timing is actually fairly good, seeing as how my kids sort of resemble spooky ghouls and goblins in those photos. Maybe I can use them for Halloween decorations…

Say Boo!

A school picture is worth thousands of  words.

A school picture is worth thousands of words.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…Failure!

Got school-aged kids? Then you know all too well the one word that strikes fear into the hearts of kids and parents alike.

Here’s a hint: It’s scarier than a candy-hoarding corpse on Halloween.

Homework.

There. I said it.

And now I’m breaking into a cold sweat, even though there’s not a single unfinished assignment anywhere in sight.

I didn’t particularly like homework as a child. But I find it even less tolerable now.

Science? And so the suffering begins.

Math? Oh, the misery.

Writing? Woe is me.

A five page research paper on cows? Just kill me now.

You need to do research for a project on “Susan B. Something”? For the love of God, it’s women’s suffrage, not women’s coverage!

Oh yeah. Been there, done that. Way more times than I’d care to count. I already did my time.

But apparently, not everyone feels the same way.

I stumbled upon an interesting topic of discussion on the radio last Friday as I was driving my boys to school.

I was intrigued. But it made me wonder…

Anyone here guilty of doing their child’s homework for them?

I’m not talking about merely helping.

I’m talking practically yanking the assignments out of their hands and hunkering down with a generous shot of your liquor of choice while plowing through seven pages of multiplication and two-step word problems involving Gertrude and her friend Jasper’s adventures stealing corn from Psycho Samuel’s cornfield.

Jasper? What century is this assignment from?

But back to the homework. And the radio show.

A woman had called the radio station with an immense concern. Her son’s teacher wanted to meet with her.

Not too unusual. It’s a boy, after all. Boys are notoriously rowdy and full of mischief.

Well, it turns out she’d been doing her son’s homework for him. Not helping. Doing it.

Doing all of it.

And the problem with this would be…?

The kid was failing 4th grade. He had no clue how to do any of the work, thanks to her.

What a shocker!

While not uncommon for parents to help their kids out with homework, help is the imperative word here. Applying new concepts by doing the work themselves is the key to success, after all.

Although…

There are definitely times when it would be wonderful if you could just cook dinner uninterrupted, without having yet another paper shoved under your nose with more questions that you have no clue how to answer.

Oh, but what’s the fun of cooking without the threat of burning down the house because you’re too distracted trying to figure out what the hell happened to Pluto?

What about the nine planets we all learned about in school? Now there are only eight?!?

Size clearly matters, even in space. Who knew?

But this all seems so trivial when you consider the house wouldn’t be on fire right now if only you had done the damn assignment yourself in the first place.

What I want to know is how anyone ever managed to get by before Google. There are numerous assignments that require knowledge I personally no longer possess.

(I’m struggling to remember what I had been doing 15 minutes ago.)

Remember that show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

I was evidently not smarter than a 5th grader when that show premiered in 2007. I can almost guarantee I’m even less likely to be now.

Besides, my kids spend seven hours a day at school, for crying out loud! Shouldn’t they be the experts on all things academic? Shouldn’t they be teaching me?

At any rate, this is where Google comes in. Google has answers that I clearly do not have.

So I often (shamelessly) tell my boys, “Let me think about that one and get back to you.” Then I make my escape and get down to business.

I’m sorry, hang on a second…

You need to build The Liberty Bell?

Out of what? By tomorrow?

We don’t have an ounce of modeling clay to work with…but we do have five packages of spaghetti.

A situation of this caliber is best handled by an expert.

Where exactly can I find that homework-monopolizing mom?

Never mind. She’s booked until June, just trying to keep up with her own kid’s homework.

Oh well.

As the saying goes: When life hands you homework, make paper airplanes.

Even Garfield hates homework.

Even Garfield hates homework.

8 Shades of Madness: The Back to School Edition

(A Not-So-Helpful Guide to School Readiness)

Don’t panic… but when’s the last time you actually looked at your calendar? It’s still on June! Do you realize that school starts in less than a week? You need all kinds of… stuff… and… things… for school.

And now the fun really begins.

1) School Supplies

The list gets longer and more demanding each year. A two dollar generic binder? Yeah, right. Like that’s really gonna fly. This year, you’ll need a $20 Five Star zipper binder that your kid will yank the zipper right off with his teeth by the second day of school.

Oh, and they insist on red and blue folders only. You bought yellow? Really? And neon orange polka dot composition notebooks? The list specifically says black marble composition notebooks! And they say that reading is a lost art.

2) Clothing

Your kids have outgrown all of their clothing over the summer. The boys’ shorts could easily pass for Daisy Dukes, their jeans fit like capri pants, and every last shirt has mysteriously morphed into a cropped top. Their socks are either orphaned, mismatched pairs or holier than a slice of Swiss cheese.

As for the girls and the two things in their closets that actually do fit? Sooooo last year. Their skirts are all bordering on indecent after sudden growth spurts. (Expect a phone call from concerned school administrators on that one, with a polite “inquiry” about your questionable ability to serve as a role model for your children. What exactly is it that you do for a living, again?)

3) Tax-Free Weekend

Sounds promising, right? Who doesn’t like saving money, after all? And it truly is a fabulous concept, in theory… if your idea of a good time is reenacting Black Friday, school supply style.

So instead of fighting over the newest PlayStation that’s on sale, you now find yourself in a big box store, shoving your way through endless aisles of school supplies while vying for that last pack of Crayola crayons. Until common sense kicks in and you realize that knocking someone out with a left hook in front of a selection of Care Bear and Sesame Street backpacks is probably not worth going to jail for.

4) Drained Bank Account Syndrome

You know how people are always saying having kids isn’t cheap? Well, guess what? They’re right.

5) Locker Practice

As kids get into the higher grades, they are assigned a black hole with a lock to shove their 80 pounds of books/unwanted homework assignments in. Of course, they end up with the dreaded bottom locker. By the way, when’s the last time you had to actually open a combination lock?

So now you’re on all fours and panting like a crazed dog in heat, in an unsuccessful attempt to “demonstrate” how to open your child’s sadistic locker. You finally get it after 28 frustrating minutes and 37 infuriating attempts. And you are then rewarded for your effort with the equally enjoyable task of trying to cram a shelf evenly into that locker, because a lopsided shelf is supposedly as useful as no shelf at all.

6) Schedule Pickup/Teacher Assignment

Ah! The joy of walking with your child through their daily schedule, from class to class, a few days before school officially starts.

One class is undoubtedly outside in the portables, and somehow you take a wrong turn and end up lost in the parking lot, which is greater than or equal to 6 football fields in dimension.

7) Wakie, Wakie!

Having to get up early/go to bed early has been a challenge lately. Some mornings, you’re all still in bed at 9:00. And school starts at 7:45? Ha! This ought to be good. Time to invest in a rooster, perhaps?

8) Misery

After grumbling all summer about the incessant insanity and begging for school to start again soon, you’re actually secretly sad that school has started. The carefree days of eating ice cream for breakfast and hanging out by the pool have come to an end.

Silence is so overrated. It’s tempting to climb to the top of the staircase and dropkick a lamp on to the tiled floor below or go outside to pick a fight with the neighbor in an attempt to replicate the very chaos you’ve just spent the entire 12 weeks of summer trying to avoid.

Go ahead. Give it a try. I dare you.

Go ahead. Give it a try. I dare you.