Orange folders and martini lunches

Well, we survived the first day of school, although from the annual photo of my daughter next to the school sign it looks more like she’s facing a firing squad than fourth grade. Fortunately, she was in better humor when I picked her up later.

Besides arranging after-school care, buying new school clothes and reinstating early bedtimes, there’s a recurring ritual that’s become a big pain in my backside. I shared my thoughts in last week’s Berthoud Surveyor. Other parents — in my district or not — should appreciate my frustration. ~ Suz

Do you know how I can tell school is about to start? Besides the morose look on my daughter’s face as though mourning the loss of her favorite stuffed animal, I can sense the end of summer by the school supply list posted on my pantry door. And the noticeable eye twitch I develop each time I walk past it.

School supply lists are becoming the bane of my existence each August.

The first year it’s kind of fun loading up your kindergartner with fat, bright crayons and a Clifford backpack, but by fourth grade it’s taken on a new insanity. The only upside is discovering I’m not alone in my quest for two orange, plain pocket folders.

Yes, orange pocket folders are right up there with the tiny Southeast Asian tarsier when it comes to rare, difficult-to-find creatures. There were 100s of red folders at the local WalMart but red is clearly not on the list. Orange is. While trying to control my eye twitch after the shopping trip, I was surprised and relieved to see several other mothers on Twitter from around the country also bemoaning the absence of orange folders.

The rare tarsier is not amused by orange folders or mill levies. (Photo courtesy of toptenz.net)

Aha! I smell a conspiracy. I now imagine teachers getting together, making up these lists, then sitting back to drink martinis and laugh at parents. How else do you explain the required supplies such as a four-pack of dry erase markers, one box of gallon zip-loc bags, one black felt tip pen (no Sharpies), one pad of 3×3 sticky notes, a box of non-Latex band-aids or three boxes of tissues?

These are all items on various lists throughout the school district. Some of the supplies are even brand-specific so don’t try to be cheap and get the generic crayons. And don’t put your kid’s name on most of the stuff because the whole class will be using the colored pencils, yellow highlighters or school glue (orange cap only, please).

Fine. I’ll go buy all of this stuff even if it takes three stores and a large bottle of wine to find it all, because at least now I know I’m not alone. And at least I’m not being asked by the government to bring a roll or two of toilet paper the next time I have to visit the DMV. Yet.

Anyway, I’m sure once the school district convinces the taxpayers to sign up for a new mill levy we won’t have to buy extraneous school supplies anymore. Then they can go hunt down the elusive damn orange folders.

UPDATE: I found the orange folders at Target for $1 each. The red ones at WalMart were 15¢. There are no more glue sticks in Northern Colorado, in case you were wondering. And sure enough, the Thompson School District decided to put the mill levy issue on this fall’s ballot after spending many thousands of dollars asking us taxpayers what we thought they should do. How about spending that money on orange folders and glue sticks, eh?
I’d like to thank my twitter pal in the know, @5280PRgal, for throwing some gas on my fire as well as enlightening me.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katherine
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 17:02:44

    I had a breakdown in Office Depot several years back after going to 9 stores (NINE!!) for a yellow plastic folder with pockets but no brads. I never found that folder. I’m convinced it doesn’t exist. Or, the only known ones are at the bottom of a leprechaun’s pot of gold.

    Our new school provides ALL the school supplies. I cried when they told me.

    Reply

    • suzspetals
      Aug 26, 2011 @ 09:50:12

      I am now insane with jealousy. I’m not legally obligated to buy the stuff, so why didn’t I just buy the red folders and write ‘orange’ in big letters on them? Only 8 more years to go. *sob*

      Reply

  2. dangrdafne
    Aug 25, 2011 @ 19:33:12

    All I can say is I am glad I have never had to follow a school supplies list. Cats luckily know all they need to know when you get them and they don’t need to go to school. I do find it eerie that they are orange cats.

    Reply

    • suzspetals
      Aug 26, 2011 @ 09:50:56

      I’m sure there is some odd connection between your cats and my folders. We’ll discuss more thoroughly next month;)

      Reply

  3. Maggi
    Aug 26, 2011 @ 10:35:59

    Harking back to the “good old days” until I reached the airy regions of highschool, I don’t ever recall needing anything for school, except perhaps a pencil box or bag which probably wasn’t required, but I desperately wanted. Once in high school we had to buy texts, 3-ring binders w/paper, pencils, protractors and fountain pens – no ball points allowed – they were messy and leaked. I’m sure there was more but like the good old days, my memory is not what it used to be.

    Reply

  4. Abigail
    Aug 29, 2011 @ 14:48:56

    School starts in 2 days. I still haven’t found any glue sticks stat aren’t purple. FML.

    Reply

  5. The Hook
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 06:51:27

    “Well, we survived the first day of school, although from the annual photo of my daughter next to the school sign it looks more like she’s facing a firing squad than fourth grade.”
    Hilarious!

    Reply

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