Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back to School Shopping

I have a problem with back to school shopping. It is not the shopping itself, it’s fun filling up the cart with boxes of new crayons, markers, and pencils. My problem is with the list. I ALWAYS lose the list.

The first year (2001) I did back to school shopping I had a pretty good excuse. Jake was entering kindergarten, Nate had just been added to the ranks of the diaper free and I was humongously pregnant with Max and Rebecca, people would literally stop and stare. I was at six months, but I looked more like 10 months. As a result I was a little bit distracted and very forgetful. I have a dim memory of having to go back to the car to fetch the list that I had left on the seat and stuffing it in my purse. After the obligatory stop at the bathroom (new initiates to diaper free living have to visit every available bathroom, which was fine with me since I needed to go every hour on the hour) we swirled through Wal-Mart’s grocery section to pick up a few things and then headed over to the school supply aisles. When we reached our destination I discovered that the list was gone. I checked all my pockets and my purse twice, no dice. So with a sigh I retraced my steps, still no list. I then checked out the racks of supply lists for all the local schools and of course the slot for OUR school was empty. Fortunately I had another copy of the list at home and returned another day.

In 2002 I had another good excuse. This time I had the addition of two 9 month old babies to my entourage. As I recall that was the year that somebody ate the list. I’m pretty sure it was neither Jake nor Nate. I do remember finding little soggy pieces of paper that I tried to piece together. That year is kind of a hazy memory due to the grinding exhaustion of having twin infants in the house. I ended up having to stop by the school for a new list.

The following year, 2003, I had two toddlers to contend with. Max and Rebecca did not want to be in the stroller or the cart. One of them grabbed the list out of my hand and the other ripped off pieces of it. I was able to get halfway through my shopping before I had to throw in the towel.

Last year I swore to myself that I WOULD NOT LOSE THE LIST (or rather lists. Nate was entering kindergarten and that has a separate list from the other grades). I placed them somewhere safe and promptly forgot where they were. Fortunately that was the year that our school finally started updating their web page and I was able to download new copies. I can not rely on the racks of supply lists located in all the local stores, because the slot for our school always seems to be empty and they usually do not have the kindergarten list available.

This year was going to be different. We went right after a nice snack of ice cream so that everybody would be happy and cooperative and I only had one sheet to contend with. I was able to snag a cart that would hold three children and got the three younger members of my entourage strapped in. List in hand I made my way to the back to school supplies. Jake and Nate were excited over picking out their school supplies. We got almost everything on our list. They were out of highlighters (well I could have gotten a bulk package of 12, but we only needed 4) and we held off on getting new scissors for both Jake and Nate and a new ruler for Jake. I was pretty sure we had those at home and I wanted to check before getting new ones. I then went to get some peas and beer for dinner before heading to the check out. After I unloaded the cart at the checkout I reached into my purse to look at the list one more time. It was gone. It wasn’t in my pockets and it wasn’t in the cart. It had simply vanished. Once again I had lost the list.

At least this time I had gotten to the check out before losing the list. I guess you could call that an improvement.

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