Back to School Blues

It’s that time again.

Back to school time.

Yippee.

More like back to gaaah!

Can you feel the enthusiasm?

Yeah.

Me, neither.

Nobody wants to get out of bed bright and early for school.

Including me.

Especially me.

The novelty has already worn off.

And it hasn’t even been a full week.

Sure, my boys have been complaining of acute boredom for the last ten weeks.

But rarely is a child so bored that they eagerly anticipate returning to school.

My younger son seems especially over it already.

By day two, his alarm clock lay on the floor in pieces, its batteries scattered haphazardly.

It’s no fun for me, either.

There’s the stressful challenge of packing lunches they’ll actually eat.

And having to make sure they’re sanitary enough to be seen in public.

And worst of all…

Homework.

That’s no fun.

For anyone.

Not only that…

Yesterday, we had to do a second round of school supply shopping.

Because once obviously was neither fun enough nor expensive enough.

Or sanity-endangering enough.

Hooray for Walmart and their disorderly heaps of leftover back to school crap!

I mean, supplies.

And so it’s back to battling the clock.

And traffic.

And Walmart.

Yikes.

But now that the kids are back in school, it’s a great time for me to work on catching up on all the things I’d fallen behind on this summer.

Like cleaning.

And writing.

And reading.

And more cleaning.

Oh, who am I kidding?

I’ve somehow managed to fall behind in life as a whole.

I’d probably settle for catching up on sleep, at this point.

But there’s no rest for the weary.

Or the worried.

It’s hard to sleep while my mind gallops off like a crack-addicted race horse.

By the same token…

It’s also hard to accomplish anything that way.

So much to do.

So little motivation to do any of it.

But, hey.

At least my kids are being more productive at the moment.

They’re probably learning something  at school.

Maybe.

Hopefully.

So long, lazy days of summer.

Hello, back to school madness.

If nothing else, it’s back to devising ways of embarrassing my kids at school functions.

I suppose that counts as being productive.

Right?

~Happy weekend, friends! And Happy Birthday to my favorite mascot boy! Woo hoo!~

Augh! Not this again! Didn't summer just start?!

Augh! Not this again! Didn’t summer just start?!

Taxation Without Education

Where, exactly, are my tax dollars going?

I posed this question to my older son during a game of Trivia Crack after he answered yet another question incorrectly.

His response?

Umm…up your butt?

Hmm.

That’s kinda what I was afraid of.

Incidentally, I just received our 2018 property tax statement.

Let’s just say it ain’t pretty.

Which is precisely why a friendly lunch note reminder seems to be in order:

If nothing more, it’s a helpful lesson in alliteration.

In my son’s defense, though:

I hadn’t learned that yet… I don’t think.

Sigh.

After answering 11 consecutive trivia questions correctly myself, he offered a bit of praise:

You’re not as dumb as I thought!

Thanks.

I think.

Guess you won’t be seeing either of us on Jeopardy anytime soon…

~Happy Friday, friends! No person in history has probably ever been overjoyed about paying taxes. But on that note… Where education is concerned, investing in the future is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment. Have a fantastic weekend!~

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…

Magnificent Mascot Marvels

A promise is a promise.

In honor of my son’s big debut as his high school mascot, I promised him I’d create a special post dedicated to…

Mascots.

Celebrating the vast variety of school mascots.

Highlighting some of the most delightfully far out there, what the hell were they thinking mascot creations.

Presenting the funniest, most unusual school mascots!

Fighting Artichokes

(Scottsdale Community College ~ Scottsdale, AZ)

Sure, Artie the Artichoke looks awfully personable for a so-called fighter. But make no mistake. Every bit as vicious and prickly as a cactus, artichokes are far more dangerous than they appear.

Fighting Okra

(Delta State University ~ Cleveland, MS)

Fear the okra! This fierce (and fiercely detested) vegetable is the school’s unofficial mascot. With as much as okra is reviled, it’s easy to see how this absurd representation could, in fact, be perceived as intimidating.

Fighting Pickles

(UNCSA ~ Winston-Salem, NC)

Sensing a theme here? Unlike some of the previous fighter vegetables, this tutu-wearing pickled cucumber looks far better equipped for a dance off than an all out brawl.

Meloneers

(Rocky Ford High School ~ Rocky Ford, CO)

Sticking with the theme of disgruntled green produce, this muscular melon is not one to be messed with in a town full of… you guessed it.

Cornjerkers

(Hoopeston Area High School ~ Hoopeston, IL)

Jerky the Cornjerker. It’s a suitably corny name for the ear-of-corn mascot who represents The Sweetcorn Capital of the World.

Sugarbeeters

(Chinook High School ~ Chinook, MT)

It’s the stuff of nightmares. Is it a vegetable or a menacing kitchen gadget? Or both? At any rate, it’s disturbing. What is up with all the angry produce? 

Fighting Farmers

(Farmersville High School ~ Farmersville, TX)

With the commendable use of alliteration, Farmersville Fighting Farmers aren’t content to just sit back and let the brawling produce have all the fun.

Pretzels

(New Berlin High School ~ New Berlin, IL)

Finally, a non-produce mascot! Mr. Salty clearly boasts pretzel pride. After all, who wouldn’t be proud to be a…giant pretzel. On second thought, this is neither fierce nor motivating. And now I’m craving carbs.

Dots

(Poca High School ~ Poca, WV)

The Poca Dots. Get it? It’s actually rather clever. This polka dot bears striking resemblance to a red M & M, albeit it a rather menacing, discontented M & M who wants nothing more than to beat you up with his stubby little arms.

 

Monsoons

(Valley Vista High School ~ Surprise, AZ)

This isn’t quite how I envision a mythological almighty Thunder God like Zeus. But this bug-eyed, purple toga-clad dude is certainly intriguing.

Winged Beavers 

(Avon Old Farms School ~ Avon, CT)

Speaking of mythological creatures, perhaps this mascot was meant to be a spin-off of Pegasus, the winged horse. On second thought, it looks more like a buck-toothed Gargoyle with a lacrosse stick…

Unicorns

(New Braunfels High School ~ New  Braunfels, TX)

Well, it never hurts to believe in magic. Enough said.

Galloping Ghosts

(Kaukauna High School ~ Kaukauna, WI)

Would a ghost really gallop like a horse? Probably not. But in all fairness, Levitating Ghosts doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as this alliterating appellation.

Keggy the Keg

(Dartmouth College ~ Hanover, NH)

The unofficial mascot of a prestigious academic institution, Keggy is a perfectly impressive Ivy League school representation, don’t you think?

The Stanford Tree

(Stanford University ~ Stanford, CA)

Yet another unofficial mascot, this animatedly charming tree gives the distinct impression he’s been hanging around with Keggy a wee bit much.

And there you have it.

Vicious fruits and vegetables.

Captivating mythological creatures.

 And an assortment of exceptionally nightmarish innovations.

With any luck, you now have some highly inspired costume ideas for Halloween!

~Happy September, friends! Hope you all enjoyed this wacky compilation. Have a fantastic weekend!~

Back to School Motivational Deficiency

Well, now.

Isn’t that fascinating?

I just read somewhere that there are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language.

Whoa.

That’s a lot of words.

And with so many word choice possibilities…

I can usually think of something halfway intelligent to say.

Something clever.

Something catchy.

Something smart-assy.

Especially when it comes to writing.

But school started this week.

And, like my boys, I wasn’t really feeling it.

I’d been sick as a dog all week from all the summertime stress.

I mean, fun.

Yeah, summertime fun.

But sending my favorite monsters off with one of my infamous motivational lunch notes for the first day of school was simply a must.

What can I say? I miss my favorite crazy people when they're at school.

What can I say? I miss my favorite crazy people when they’re at school.

Ummm…

Okay, so it wasn’t very subtle.

And it’s only a whopping two words in length.

But I’m not gonna lie.

I kinda like my kids.

(Shhhh! Don’t tell them!)

In the meantime, I’ll be drinking mimosas and sharpening boatloads of pencils while they’re at school.

Gotta get my money’s worth out of that automatic sharpener, right?

Oh, who am I kidding?

I managed to sharpen exactly 32 pencils before my hand cramped up to the point of being virtually nonfunctional.

And then I had to get back to attending to the never-ending mountain of laundry.

Ah, well.

So long, summer fun.

It’s back to business, as usual.

Sigh…

~Happy Friday, friends! And… Happy Birthday to a very special 15 year-old (you know who you are)! Have a terrific weekend, everyone!~

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…

Go to Michigan!

Go to Hell!

Evidently, this simple three-word phrase is heavily frowned upon in some places.

Especially in Bible Belt country.

And especially when used by a child.

In school.

(Gasp!)

How do I know this?

Well, from recent experience, of course.

I honestly don’t believe that is, by any stretch of the imagination, the worst thing a person could possibly say.

At the same time, I also don’t personally go around telling all my friends to go to hell…

Plenty of people struggle to speak a single, coherent sentence without the added flair of numerous, strategically placed curse words.

I am not one of those people.

Yes, I do occasionally use such words here on my blog for comedic impact.

But not in my everyday conversations.

And certainly not when speaking to my kids.

My child-free brother, on the other hand, ironically tends to pepper his speech so heavily with curse words that nobody even seems to notice anymore.

Including him.

Or my kids.

It’s like our brains have been trained to filter through to register only the important information.

In fact, I asked my sons whether they ever notice their uncle cursing.

After careful consideration, they both answered at once:

No!

But then my older one paused for a brief moment before correcting himself.

Well, there was that one time, on Easter.

One time?

And on Easter, of all days?

Seriously?

But that was more a question of curiosity, on my part.

Besides, my poor Easter-cursing brother lives too far away to be all that big of an influence.

If anything, YouTube is by far the bigger offender of the two.

It’s paradoxically helpful and a bad influence, all at once.

Damn it, YouTube!

But anyway…

This past Monday, I received a somber phone call from the assistant principal informing me that my little darling would be spending the entire day in in-school suspension for this uncharacteristic transgression.

I had to marvel at the severity of the consequence.

And, of course, I also had to question how that statement had even come about in the first place.

Oh, that!

Yeah.  

So-and-so said “hi!” to me in a weird voice.

So I told him to “go to hell”!

Right.

Because I can’t imagine any other plausible way to respond to such an appalling greeting.

And the best part?

That’s actually the kid’s real voice.

And, the child seemed to find this response humorous enough to laugh.

Geez.

The joys of middle school.

The struggle of trying to figure out who you are.

The struggle of trying to discover where you belong.

The struggle of simply trying to fit in.

This, evidently, is where the smartypants humor kicks in.

Who doesn’t love the class clown?

I know I’m a sucker for humor.

If someone makes me laugh, they’re my friend for life.

There’s no escaping my friendship.

Ever.

That’s pretty much all there is to it.

At any rate, I had to attend a conference at school the next morning.

And I had to put on real pants before going, because it seemed like it would probably be a good day to do so.

Perhaps I should’ve worn my World’s Okayest Mom shirt, too, but I didn’t think about it beforehand.

At least I didn’t burst out in laughter at any point during the meeting.

But I wonder if I should’ve pointed out that Hell is also a place in Michigan, and so perhaps my child was merely recommending a vacation idea…?

Or perhaps not.

Oh, well.

At least this makes for good writing material, right?

So…

If Hell is a place in Michigan…

Is it okay to tell someone to go to Michigan?

Sigh.

On a side note, maybe we really ought to go to Hell…

Hell, Michigan, that is.

Hey, you have to admit, it does sound rather intriguing…

~Happy weekend, everyone! Hope you all have a heavenly break from it all!~

Go to Hell! I mean, Michigan. Yeah. Go to Michigan!

Go to Hell! I mean, Michigan. Yeah. Go to Michigan!

Spring Break Stupor

Spring is almost here!

Sure, it’s still technically winter.

But it’s already Spring Break.

Ummm…

Yay?

The house looks like a tornado zipped through it.

The laundry is piling up to the ceiling.

And being the unofficial official referee of this crazy clan is taking its toll on me.

Mommy needs a drink.

If this is a preview of what summer holds, I may be tempted to run away with the circus.

ASAP.

What’s that?

Joining the circus is no longer an option?

Damn you, Ringling Bros!

Damn you for not keeping up with the times and taking away that last glimmer of hope.

Sigh.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love Spring Break.

No, actually…

I love some parts of Spring Break.

No homework.

No teacher emails.

No phone calls from the principal.

I’m pretty well convinced we are on the school’s speed dial system.

So yeah, I’m a fan of any type of school-related break.

Besides, sleeping in is always a nice luxury.

Even if it is only until 7am.

Hey, it’s progress.

Anyway…

On Day Oneboth boys managed to land themselves in time out without any electronic privileges.

But then they behaved well enough later in the week for us to actually get out a few times.

And so I found myself going places I’d rather not go.

Like Chuck E Cheese.

Home of the Yuck E Cheese pizza.

That inedibly nasty excuse for pizza always sits in my stomach like a sinking rock.

What’s in that crap, anyway?

On second thought, I’d rather not know.

And then there’s Dave and Buster’s.

Two hours and a zillion dollars later, we walked out of there with our prize:

A Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game that we could have purchased for $19.99 at any big box store.

But if we stayed home, the whole eating around the clock cycle of fun would’ve continued, à la Hungry, Hungry Kiddos.

Let me tell ya, that gets old really fast.

Between the demands and lack of gratitude from at least one child at any given time, it’s been a most rewarding week.

Get back to school already, will ya?

Spring has not quite sprung…

Daylight savings is about to begin…

And we’re running out of food and sanity.

Wait.

Break’s almost over?

Already?

Noooooo!!!

~Happy Friday, everyone! If you’ve also had the pleasure of being on “break” with kids this week, I hope your sanity is still intact. Have a wonderful weekend!~

Spring Break is fun! Spring Break is awesome! Spring Break is...ugh, never mind.

Spring Break is fun! Spring Break is awesome! Spring Break is…ugh, never mind.

Magical Motivation

Do you believe in magic?

Well, if you don’t want mass unicorn deaths on your hand, you best heed my advice:

Consider this a warning...

I tell ya, I am sick and tired of perfectly good food being wasted.

So I had to find a way to appeal to my youngest child’s sense of compassion for all of nature’s fine creatures.

Real or otherwise.

It’s not a mushy love note.

Short, sweet, and right to the point, it just states a simple fact.

A fact that may well be subject to opinion, but still.

I don’t care how old you are, killing mythological creatures is never cool.

So, for the love of God, shut up and eat your lunch.

A unicorn will thank you!

~Happy Friday! Hope you all have a magical weekend!~

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.