The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: obama

And so it begins…

You would think that with three kids I would have experienced it long before today, but no. Today was my first time. My first time stressing over getting my kid into the right school. Preschool to be exact. 

Wait. Let me back up. 

You see, I wasn’t stressed about getting him into the right preschool because I want him to go to the right elementary school, which will lead to the most competitive high school, which will put him on the path to the right college. No. Nothing like that. 

For me, it was all about proximity and cost and convenience. Oh, and if it is a good school that builds a solid academic foundation, all the better, but honestly, not my priority. Oooh, can I say? Does that revoke my membership in the Good Mommy Club? As if. 

I have never waited in line before to enroll my kids in school. I picked Nature Boy’s Montessori school out of the phone book. It was close. They had openings. I took one. Klepto was next, so she just went where her big brother went. Not rocket science. And now it is Bucket Head’s turn, but in this economy, I am looking for something a lot less expensive than private Montessori school, and also, I’m just not ready to put little Bucket Head, my baby, my last baby, in a 5 morning a week program. I can’t do it. Not yet. 

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So I want a two or three morning a week preschool that is extremely close to home. Oh, and it would be nice if that school doesn’t have a track record for children choking to death on hotdogs or being sexually abused by the staff.

Now, how to pick a preschool… hmmm. There are a handful of preschools near my house. I’ve heard good things about all of them. I need a sign. 

Wish granted! Last week as I was driving to the liquor store, of all places, I passed a local church with a sign that said their preschool registration was February ___ at 8 AM. I remembered hearing some of the über moms at my subdivision pool talking about how they had to literally sleep out over night to get a spot for their kid at this particular preschool… its reputation is that good. I never considered this school before because frankly, I have no desire to work that hard. But, feeling kinda lucky that I had randomly driven past the registration sign, I decided to call the school and find out what the registration process was like. If you know me, you know that I don’t usually call ahead and find stuff like this out. I usually just wing it. So the fact that I made this call was huge… another sign. The stars were aligning. Fate was driving the bus and I was strapped in and enjoying the ride. 

The school politely informed me that there were only two spots available for the 2 year old Mon./Wed./Fri. class, but that there were about 30 spots for the Tues./Thurs. one. They then told me that they no longer allow overnight camping out for getting a spot in the program. Instead, they have a lottery. All I had to do was be there at 8 AM, not one minute later, and they would let whoever was in line at that time pull a number from a basket. The numbers would determine the order for when we could approach the registration table and apply for a spot in their program. Wow – how civilized! 

But, uh-oh. First of all, I’m never on time. Secondly, I never win lotteries or prizes of any kind. I learned to accept this fact long ago and comfort myself in the idea that perhaps God already feels that I am plenty blessed in my life and that it wouldn’t be fair to others to also win random drawings and lotteries. Whatever. It’s less painful than believing I’m just an unlucky bastard. 

So the cards were already stacked against me, in my opinion. However, still feeling the power of “the sign,” and the need to think positively, I decided to go. What did I have to lose?

Naturally I was running late. Being anywhere at 8 AM is a big stretch for me. But I hustled the best I could, cut some corners in the personal hygiene department, got Bucket Head dressed, grabbed a sippy cup of milk and a cereal bar for him to eat while we were in line, and set off to be a part of the preschool lottery.  

Now, have I mentioned that I live in the ‘burbs of Atlanta and that most of the stay-at-home-moms here are crazier than shit house rats? These bitches play to win at everything they do, and preschool registration is no exception. 

My first hurdle would be to make it there on time, and miracle of all miracles, we did. I found a rock star parking spot with no problems, found the correct entrance to this enormous church/preschool right away, and walked in the door holding Bucket Head in one arm, my giant purse slung over my other shoulder, and in my two hands: the sippy cup of milk, a 12″ stuffed Big Bird toy, and my keys. We walked into the multipurpose room where the registration lottery would take place and immediately every eye in the place turned and focused right on us as if so judge and say, “We’ve been here for hours! Who do you think you are walking in just under the wire?” It was 7:59 AM. There were about 40 parents in line. You could tell immediately where the front of the line was because there were about 8 chairs lined up and the women sitting in them were the most smug and obnoxious passel of professional pissy-faces I had ever seen. At that moment I was SO glad I had called ahead and learned that it didn’t matter how early I got there as long as I wasn’t there later than 8 AM! Ha! So there, early birds! Take that worm and suck it! 

A couple of minutes later, the administrators were ready to begin the lottery. The head of the school got out her microphone, I kid you not, and said: “If you are here with another adult… a spouse or a friend, you may only draw one number for your team.”

Oh. My. God. People cheat at this! I never even thought of that! These people are sick, sick fucks. What a shitty thing to do… bring a partner, pull two numbers, and then use the lower number to go up and register so you improve your chances of getting a spot in the program. Holy shit. This is the major leagues. I hope President Obama doesn’t ask any of them to be in his cabinet. Hear me now kiddies…. cheaters never win. 

The Head Cheese started down the line with the basket. A majority of the people ahead of me were actively peering into the basket and looking at the folded slips of paper as they drew their numbers. MORE CHEATING! Jesus! When it got to me, I just closed my eyes and reached in and grabbed the first thing that grazed my fingers. I was going to let fate be in charge. It was fate that drove me past that registration sign on my way to buy booze, it is fate that is going to determine if I get my child into this program. There is no cheating fate.

8:05 AM. A harried mother comes running into the room. “I’m sorry Ma’am. We’ve already conducted the lottery. You are too late. You are welcome to stay and be the last one to register, if there are any spaces left (which there definitely won’t be), but you can’t draw a number.” GULP! Oh, praise Jesus that that wasn’t me. Yowza. 

With that little spectacle out of the way, it was time to see what number I drew. Deep breath. I slowly unfolded my slip of paper, feeling like Charlie carefully peeling the wrapper off his Wonka Bar. Would I find the last Golden Ticket?! I took another deep breath and looked at my number. 

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Holy Shit! That is my lucky number! And, it is low enough that I might actually get a spot in the highly coveted MWF 2 year old class!!! Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful if Bucket Head could go to preschool three mornings a week instead of just two? It would be perfect! Three mornings a week for him to learn and grow and play with kids, and three mornings a week of freedom for me! Oh, it’s too good! Wait, don’t get ahead of yourself girl. Just be grateful you’ll probably get into the school at all. 

“One and Two – please come to the registration table.” The process was quick. The first two women enrolled their kids within minutes and then they called my number.  I gathered up my child, his sippy cup, the remains of his cereal bar, his Big Bird, my purse, and my Golden Ticket, and approached the table. 

“How old is your child?” the registrar asked. 

“He’ll be two next month.” I replied.

“There is one spot left in the MWF class. Would you like it?”

Oh. 

My. 

God. 

I got it. I got the spot. The one of two spots that people have slept out on the sidewalk in previous years to get. And I got it. 

“YES!” I blurted, feeling like she had just asked me if I would like to continue breathing… as in, der. 

That was it. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. I filled out the enrollment form, wrote my registration check, and left… walking on air and totally in shock that I, the most unlucky, most unprepared, least punctual person I know would walk in and out of that room in fifteen minutes holding a Golden Ticket for next Fall. All is right with the world today.

Hopefully it is a good school. Oh who cares?! I’m in! It’s close. It’s way cheaper than Montessori school. And I have one more item on my To-Do List done. And all because I drove to the liquor store and saw a sign. Shoot… like I need any more motivation to shop there.  

Until we meet again!

-Iris

© 2009 The Bearded Iris

Show Me the Money

If yesterday’s Wall Street blood bath has your panties all in a wad, don’t panic.  This does is not a “run on the Savings and Loan.”  Please leave George Bailey and his new bride alone.  They deserve that honeymoon and should not be harangued by you and your general anxiety disorder.  Just sit back and relax, honey. Iris has some unconventional financial tips that can bring your blood pressure down and please your partner all in one fell swoop.  

1.  Take it from me (and Suze Orman) that a coffee can is NOT the place to stick your money.  Yes, it is always a good idea to have a wad of small bills around in case of emergencies, or for playing “stripper” with your man on special occasions…like Tuesdays, but the majority of your money should remain in FDIC insured accounts.  Don’t be a Chicken Little.  This is not the time to lose your head and do stupid things.  In fact…I’m no expert on this, but I’m thinking now would probably be a good time to BUY BUY BUY.  It is like a fire sale on Wall Street today.  Have at it!

2.  Quit your gym membership.  Have more sex.  It is fun and mostly free.  If you do it correctly and often enough, you can improve flexibility and burn lots of fat.  Plus, you can do it in the privacy of your own home (although outside of the home can be fun too) and you don’t need any special apparatus or matchy-matchy outfits.  Wait, I take that last part back.

3.  Stop buying and wearing panties.  You’ll never have those pesky VPLs (Visible Panty Lines) and you’ll cut down on your laundry, which is also a very hip and “green” thing right now.  Let it breathe…it will thank you later.  See also: tip # 2 above.  No panties = easy access.  

4.  Don’t eat so much.  Think of all the cashola you’ll save at the grocery store!  Plus, you’ll have fewer calories to burn so you won’t need to work out so much.  Once you lose some weight, you’ll feel better about yourself too and can stop spending all that money on therapy and antidepressants.  And you’ll feel sexier, which will make you want to shag even more.  It is a self-perpetuating cycle of thriftiness.  This is a win-win-win solution, people, and it goes hand in hand with tip # 2.  Try it.  

5.  Save money on prescription drugs by stealing them from your friends.  

6.  Set up as many automatic payments as possible with your online banking service.  You’ll save oodles of green on late payment fees and imagine all the extra time you’ll have for things like, oh I don’t know, sex and illegally obtained prescription drugs.  

7.  Don’t pay for things you can get for free like movies, music, cable TV, and sex.  Be creative.    

8.  Get rid of your phones.  Everyone has a cell phone these days…just borrow one from a friend when you need it.  Borrowing a phone today is the equivalent to asking for the time, or bumming a smoke, or using someone else’s toothbrush on a one night stand…no big deal.  People really don’t mind.  

9.  Cut back on the number of extra-curricular activities you force on your over-scheduled children.  In addition to the monthly tuition payments you won’t have to shell out for music lessons, sports teams, tutoring, foreign language immersion classes, and horseback riding clinics, you’ll save on gas and the future psychiatric treatment that your children are most certainly going to require.  

10.  Quit contributing when they pass the basket at church.  If you are embarrassed, do what I do and just stick an empty envelope in there every week.  That way, the judgmental holy rollers in your pew will still think you’re a big spender, but you can use that money toward something more practical, like organic milk or push up bras.  

11.  Be open minded.  A box of wine is economical and better for the environment.  And after the first couple of glasses, the taste really grows on you.  

In conclusion, you don’t have to be a financial wizard to save a little money, just a teensy bit of creativity and a pathological lack of shame.  Oh, and don’t forget to vote Obama.  Who do you think got us into this mess?  Hmmm, let’s see, could it be?  The Republicans?  Oh yes, that is ringing a bell.  Just say no to 4 more years of this shit.  Please.  I beg of you.  Now put your computer away and go shag someone.  Listen to Iris, sugar, and make love, not war.

 

Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character. ~S.W. Straus

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