Saturday, September 1, 2007


Okay, so I waited once again for the week before -- make that 5 days before -- school starts to get school supplies for my four school -aged children. Every year I vow to begin in June or July or at least by early August to begin purchasing the billions of colored pencils and markers and glue sticks and folders and pens for my kids. And when you start early in the summer, at least when those first ads hit the Sunday paper, you get better deals and better selection.

But no, I did not once again do that; instead I wait for the day of the open house at my twins’ school, Cedar Oak Park Primary in West Linn last Thursday, when they can bring in their school supplies and meet their new teachers.

So, we decide to go to Fred Meyer in Clackamas as I figured Target would be the most sold out of items -- I have learned this from past experience. I happened to be watching my friend Nancy’s son, Jonas, 8, for a few days so he tagged along with me, the twins, age 9, and Augustin, 4, and the store is packed. And Augustin wants to use one of those carts with the large pink plastic cars where he can ride in the front and I say, Okay, and that turns out to be a disaster. He gets into the car part of the cart which weighs like a thousand pounds and one of the twins decides to climb on top of it and the other twin decides to try to climb into the car as well, and Jonas also gets on top and now the thing weighs like 2000 pounds and the kids are really really loud and then Augustin starts screaming, “Get out Wesley, it’s too much,” and Micki the other twin says, “It is my turn,” and so he climbs in and that lasts a few seconds before Augustin begins screaming again, “It is too much in here, get out,” and all the while I am trying to shop. I figure while I am at Fred Meyer I better get a few groceries, another chore I had been avoiding.

After the 10th time of telling the kids to calm down, I see an empty shopping cart and I say, “Abandon Ship!” everyone out of the shopping cart, we are moving to a new one. They try to talk me out of it with, “We’ll be good,” but I remain firm.

So, with a new shopping cart and new instructions to hold on to each side of the shopping cart and “do not lean on it and do not play in it and do not touch each other,we are off to get the school supplies which is in a totally different part of that store, as far as New York is to Oregon it feels like.

We finally find the area and see all the other late moms and their tag along kids. And here I am, with a list a mile long, trying to find pearl erasers and Fiskar scissors and certain crayons and specific this and exactly that, and I am looking at shelves and they look empty and my 4-year-old is running all over the place and the twins are bugging him again and he screams really loud once again, “don’t bug me,” and these kid-less people are staring at me with that “why don’t you control your kids” look.

I see a couch and I say to Jonas, my friend’s kid, “could you do me this huge favor and sit here with Augustin” – he calls him Gus – “and read him this book,” and Augustin runs to the couch and jumps on it, and I say, “No jumping on the couch, sit here Augustin,” and so he does. And Jonas reads to him, which works for a while, while I continue searching for supplies.

I ask a Fred Meyer worker where the rest of the supplies are and she shows me a whole separate area, a bit away from the couch. We begin checking things off the list but I will not buy 12 glue sticks when they are like $3 for four of them. I will go to Costco for the rest. And while I am there I also look for items for my high school students, though they seem to need less, just a notebook and paper and pens. Jonas comes over to tell me he has finished the book he was reading to Augustin, and the only other ones on the shelf are violent or have no photos in them, so I find more children’s books for him to read to Gus and he does and soon comes over to show me how much Gus knows in the book and the twins are getting tired of looking for school supplies and it is getting close to the open house time and I see another mom from my kids’ school and her daughter has the same teacher, Weaver, as Wesley has. And I am trying to act really calm and really, deep down, I am thinking, why oh why did I wait so late again to get school supplies for my kids? Wesley worries that we did not find everything on the list but I assure him, it will be fine. We will find it at a different store later. For now, I just need to get out of here. Before we miss the open house, the very reason we chose this day to school shop. I suppose it was a good motivator, otherwise, I may have waited for the day before school starts to buy supplies, and by then the stores may have already been totally sold out of school supplies and they may have decided not to reorder, and instead to focus on the next big event, which will be Halloween. I better not wait till the last minute for that event.

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