Thursday, May 6, 2010

Not as Snarky as Intended

I know it's been a while since I've posted and that's largely because nothing photo-worthy has happened. I have some more great baseball shots of Smunch. But they look just like last month's baseball photos. And I tried to get some shots of the beautiful little chickadees nesting under our eves, but they weren't very cooperative.

Besides that, it's been a weird couple of weeks. See, a while ago, our PTA president, W., tried to recruit me for a volunteer position as the liaison between our elementary school and a parcel tax renewal/increase campaign. It's a cause I really truly support...because I'd probably be drawn and quartered as a PTA board member if I did not. And, because I have two kids in elementary school and I know how bad the buget issues are. But politics really isn't my game. And after talking to a woman who had held this sort of position before, I realized very quickly that this wasn't a job for me. Setting up calling nights, cold calling people. It's just not my thing. I don't even answer my phone when the caller ID says "Unavailable" or "Out of Area". Why would I make those calls to someone else?

So, I politely told our PTA president that I just couldn't do it. She was gracious in accepting my refusal, but she was stressed. "Oh, it's fine," she said. "I'm just stressed because I need to find someone to handle school supplies next year as well."

School supplies? Well, that's the kind of coordination effort that is up my alley. And, feeling badly that I didn't want to help in the political realm, I offered to take the school supplies job. I think W nearly died of shock at her good fortune. Not only did she get someone to take on school supplies, but she found someone else for the parcel tax job shortly thereafter.

So, school supplies... This is a job that requires working with a fantastic vendor, School-Pak, in Wisconsin and with the teachers at school. All I had to do was get their supply lists for next year, then arrange with School-Pak to provide those items for each child whose parents wanted to avoid the shopping trip and pay to have their child's supplies shipped directlly to school. Oh yeah, and to coordinate that delivery and get all the supplies to the different classrooms before school starts. Easy, right?

Well, no, but in fairness, I knew what I'd signed up for. See, before I was a mom, I was a writer, which means I have a lot of experience trying to get documents out of people who have no time for you. And I'm O.K. with the back-and-forth involved. Fortunately, School-Pak is so accomodating and forgiving that at least that part of the job was easy. It's teachers who are difficult.

Now, on the whole, I love our teachers. I've only met one I didn't like and she's long since gone. Fired, actually. But trying to get teachers to agree with their teams on what they're going to need for the next year can be a little daunting.

One wanted different pencil boxes than the others on her team. (We don't know which kids will be in which class, so that's not really possible.)

One grade wanted to make sure all their pencil boxes were the same color so as not to offend the senses when gazing over the classroom. (I could hardly believe School-Pak was willing to make that accomodation, but they were, even though the boxes normally come in assorted colors.)

One class wants their supplies delivered in November instead of August.

No one thought to collect the money from the incoming kindergarten parents with their registration this year (I hadn't been recruited yet), so I'd need to somehow convince them to pay up for their kids' school supplies. (Oh, that's what that "registration fee" was for!?)

And halfway through the process I was deluged with reports of wastage in the supplies program and parents who didn't want to purchase yet another pencil box and pair of scissors that would come home at the end of the year. (A valid concern, but nothing I was prepared for or equipped to address at that point.)

I had to request several samples to ensure the quality was up to par. That was kinda fun. I put lists together. Checked, cross checked and priced things...because oh, not all of this stuff would be purchased from School-Pak. Some needs to be purchased at Costco...and in my infinite wisdom, I decided that much of it would need to be purchased in person because I wasn't willing to have everyone pay for the exorbitant shipping costs for more than 100 cases of baby wipes.

Finally, in the past week, I've been able to get through all the number crunching, set some prices and go over the lists one last time...partly thanks to the fact that Mam came down with Strep on Friday night. As she lay motionless and painfully feverish on the sofa, I pored over spreadsheets and made some final changes.

The Strep was brutal. Three days of fevers over 105 in the midst of a recall on Children's Tylenol and Children's Motrin. Naturally, we'd given her three doses of recalled Tylenol before word of the recall hit my inbox.

And then it was a frenzy to get something she could take. The generic stuff was O.K., but largely swept off the shelves by parents better informed than I. Daddy found the last bottle of generic acetominophen at our local CVS.

After suffering through Friday afternoon's softball practice with a headache (which led me to suspect she was coming down with something), Mam missed the kindergarten tea party, her softball game and her elementary school's night at the ballpark.

She made a midnight visit to the ER with Daddy on Saturday (when he had a hard time getting her fever down and I was at the ballpark with Smunch)...where they failed to test her for Strep.

She missed a good friend's birthday party (for which I'd helped make the cake) on Sunday with another rip roaring fever. I took her to the pediatrician on Monday, where she was promptly diagnosed with Strep and sent home with a prescription for Amoxicillin. She still missed three days of school and now that the fever is gone, she seems to have a cold. Little germ monster.

So, today is a big milestone and perhaps a new start to blogging. All those school supplies lists are live, online for parents to order. Mam went back to school and appears to have an insatiable appetite for food all of a sudden.

Thank goodness that's over!

1 comment:

Barrett, Melinda, & Angel Trinity Adams said...

wowzers, you've been busy girl! Poor mam, glad to hear she's feeling better. Sounds like your new "Job" is a bit crazy, but if you enjoy it, then that's awesome!