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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A weapon of moth destruction

My blogging habits are obviously sporadic, at best. When I heard yesterday that Charlie Sheen’s wages were being garnished for child support to the tune of $55,000 PER MONTH, I remembered that loser was still occupying top spot here at suzspetals. Oh, the humanity! I had to remedy the situation but haven’t strung two coherent sentences together in awhile soooo I’m posting a little bit of cuteness I wrote for the paper this week. Enjoy, and I promise to be back soon with relevant and witty repartee. Hopefully.

Reprinted from the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor

It’s a tough life for a house cat with natural hunting instincts. Just ask my little indoor tabby, Jazzy, who is relegated to watching the world through a double-paned window. She fancies herself a close relative of the lions that stalk and take down their prey on “Animal Planet,” while birds and butterflies mock her daydreams.

Fortunately for Jazzy, each summer Colorado is besieged with a scourge of small, feathery, disgusting miller moths. The ferocious feline is awakened.

The predictable annual migration gives cats’ lives everywhere new meaning. I try to be happy for mine as she launches herself into the air, trapping her feathered foe between her killer paws. Really, I do. I just wish she didn’t land so loudly… at three o’clock in the morning. And unlike her carnivore relatives, Jazz leaves the shredded carcasses on the floor for me to step on. Blech.

The good news is, according to Colorado State University Extension entomologists, that it’s predicted to be a short miller season this year, due to weather patterns. The bad news marks the return of Jazzy’s wistful window watching. Meanwhile, I’ll be busy sweeping up her spoils.

Next year, kitty. You’ll get ‘em next year.