Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Indecision and Essentials

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I went out to purchase school supplies today.

I meandered through the shelves at the local retailer—those burgeoning with the items that seemed to spell August; additionally, they served as a bittersweet reminder that vacation was nearing a close, and home visits would soon be in order—perhaps tomorrow.

Why is it that I seem to get so excited when shopping for school supplies?

I thought about buying a lunchbox today. Really. I was reading another blog early out, and what the author said reminded me of a lunchbox I had when I was a kid…I hadn’t thought about that thing in a score of years. I found myself feeling somewhat sentimental, but passed by the Eclipse, Transformer, and High School Musical lunchboxes without so much as a second glance.

I would not be tempted today. I’d just buy the essentials for school, and then bug out. No sense in making irrational purchases, after all.

I began to dig through spiral-bound notebooks, packages of Crayola markers, and multicolored pencil sharpeners. These were all unceremoniously dumped to the cart as I passed down yet another aisle.

Vividly bright three-ring binders seemed to gently whisper my name as I walked between the towering shelves. Packages of purplish glue sticks beckoned to me—hoping that I would add them to my cart. New scissors and hole punchers glistened from behind their shiny plastic—tantalizing me with their sheen.

I quickened my pace and shut my ears to the call of these items. I reset my resolution button, and passed by these items with an upturned nose. There would be no impulse purchases for me today, thank-you-very-much—only school supplies that were essential.

I moved over to another aisle and noticed the small Mead spiral notebook, the type that can be easily carried in a large pocket, or simply in one’s hand. I glanced at the one I carry with me wherever I go. Its pages were chalk full of blogging ideas, reflections and ruminations of life, and important information I didn’t want to forget.

I’ve already filled three of these things to breaking point, and I began to think about how I was already well on my way to filling up the fourth one. I looked at the shiny, obsidian cover. I took it from the shelf and flipped through the blank pages; a proverbial trove of possibility slid through my questing fingers, just waiting for me to fill it.

I set the notebook down and began to walk away. Before I reached the end of the aisle I stopped. I turned. I picked the notebook back up and looked at it again.

No, I told myself. No purchases of things I didn’t need; just school supplies.
I stood there, my resolve weakening by the moment as I held that little spiral in my hands.

That’s when I thought about Joey. Didn’t I need a place to continue writing his antics and exploits? Didn’t I need a place to write the important events going on at school? Why, wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to get a backup notebook in the event that something happens to the one I have now?

After another second or two of indecision, the scale was tipped and I dropped it into my cart; after all, the notebook was an essential.

32 comments:

A Lark said...

Essential School Supply = anything sold super cheap at WalMart in August that you might possibly need during the rest of the year. Stock up!!

Kristina P. said...

I remember those days as a kid, being so excited to get new school supplies, and yet being anxious about starting school.

Cheeseboy said...

This is beautifully written, but an unfortunate reminder of something I am not quite ready for.

Also, you do home visits?

Teachinfourth said...

Janelle - You're right, if you do need anything you should get it now. The prices are just right.

Kristina - It's funny, I still get excited about school supplies.

Abe - Thanks, that's high praise. I always try to get my school shopping done early so as to get the deals before they run out of stuff.

As for home visits, yes I do do them. ( I just said do do!) I have done these for the past two years. The kids love it, the parents are impressed by it, and I find out important information before school starts. It usually takes somewhere between 3 to 5 hours in all and not all of the students are always home. If they aren't home when I come by on mail their information out to them.

Corine said...

LOL - You crack me up! Actually... it cracks me up because it sounds like me. :O ~ Only, with me it is not only the school supplies that I absolutely love buying, but also the fancy journal type books that I simply can't resist to save my life (from Ross... only from Ross); I usually have an extra or two at all times. When it comes to school supplies I rationalize ALL THE WAY and usually end up with a 2 yr supply instead of a 1 yr supply! :O But hey... it all just smells so good! And besides, it's cheap this time of year, and most importantly... I deserve it. :D (See how many reasons there are to buy? :)

Lars said...

I LOVE shopping for school supplies. Now days it is more along the lines of office supplies but I still get excited when I wander down the school supply isle. Your post reminded me of trapper-keepers.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Wow, home visits? You are one of the rare teachers... I remember when I was in kindergarten, my teacher coming by w/school work.. At that age I was forever getting a cold...I remember one visit where I was feeling a bit shy because it seemed strange to see my teacher in MY home... Funny how I could only picture my teacher in a school situation...

tammy said...

I have the same reaction as I'm shopping for shoes.

And clothing.

And home decor.

Really, it's all necessary. At least that's what I tell my husband.


I love that you do home visits. It probably gives you a little insight to see a child's homelife a little too.

Mamma has spoken said...

I have done home visits before. It's true it does give you a sense of what's up with the students.
Funny home visit story:
Had to go to a seedy trailer parker for a home visit with another teacher. When we drove in, there was a group of adults standing around one trailer which happen to be the trailer we needed to visit. As we got out of the car with our clip boards in hand (we had some paperwork the parent needed to sign), they all scatter so quickly, we couldn't tell where they went. We went to the door and knocked. A woman answered the door, signed the needed papers, and told us how relieved she was that we weren't probation officers!
As for school supplies, I haven't even begun to buy anything. My mind refuses to think about it...

T said...

of course you NEED that notebook - we wouldn't want you to forget any of your moments/ideas!

I always forget my notebook and my brilliant ideas have all been lost in the ether.

And I'm impressed by the home visits... I'd love it if my kids got a quick visit from their teacher!

Ack! I'm not ready though... good thing that as a tutor I get an extra week or two...

Vanessa said...

Every year at this time I get severe anxiety about having to get my classroom ready, how many kids I will have and how I'm going to pull it all off.

And I haven't taught for 6 years. I really need to take it down a notch.

Rachel said...

I love school supplies!! And office supplies. I don't know why. I was just talking to my sister recently about when we were kids cleaning my dads office. I loved going into his supply room and 'shopping'. I'd come home with post it notes, spiral dictation note taking notebooks, cool pens and pencils, paper clips.... I'm sure my dad really appreciated not only having to supply his office but his daughters 'needs' as well. Isn't that what dad's do though?

Kuddos on the home visits. Years ago one of the teachers came and did a home visit. None have before or since. I figured it was because she got wind of how disfuctional I am and came to see for herself if she needed to call DCFS! :D She didn't call. Must've been the good show I put on for her.

Melyssa said...

As a college student I *still* get that way about school supplies. I'm glad to see that when I'm a teacher the office supply store scented excitement won't go away :)

Glad you bought the notebook - nothing like blank pages of possibility to remind you that there's lots more you'll need to remember and share.

Amy said...

I, too, so love cheap school supplies at this time of year. I can never get enough glue sticks for my classroom and right now they are two for a quarter at Walmart. If I buy them later they are something like $1.09. Ouch! Gotta stock up now!

I love that you do home visits. I use to do them all the time when I was a Head Start teacher. I should do them again! You really do get to know the child/family!

M-Cat said...

Why is it that I get giddy in an Office Depot store? THe markers, the pens, the folders, the notebooks. All things to organize.

I don't even teach school, and I love the freaking school supplies!

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

Oh yes, I smell earasers in the air at Target.

My middle son is in the PLACE program and gets home visits. I love it. I wish my oldest son's teachers would do it. I think they are a great idea.

Siggy said...

Um...I wanna be you when I grow up!

Shannon said...

I think you may have needed two notebooks - better go back.

Marnie said...

I'm 40 and I still get excited when I stock up on my supplies. I am the daughter of school teacher and I was taught you can never have enough highlighters, pens, paper, etc. you name it.

There is something about putting pen to paper! It seems more official :0) I'm glad you got the book, I would have done the same.

Richard & Natalie said...

I love the smell and feel of a brand new notebook- especially when they are only $0.15.

And home visits are #1 in our book.

Krista said...

Definitely a necessity! Best to get everything while it's cheap because if you get good ideas later when things aren't on sale, they are much more expensive! Get your thoughts while you can still afford them, before the districts start making more cuts!

Powdered Toast Man said...

Anything to do with blogging is essential.

tiburon said...

What I wouldn't GIVE to get my hands on your notebook. I stared at it curiously the whole time we were at lunch.

BTW - my word verification word is NOLCH. Which sounds like a bodily function

Emmy said...

Oh this so speaks to me. I love love school supplies. When I was 11 and started going to the mall with just friends, we always went in Walgreens where I would happily browse the office and school supplies.

Lydia said...

Way to go will power!

To me the back to school displays signify a new year starting more than January 1st. I usually meander through that section every time I go to the store just to see the new boxes of crayola products. And I'm pretty sure I was tempted to buy a $.25 box of 24 at least 6 times in the past few weeks.

Christina said...

i know! what is it about school supplies. i was hanging out by the scotch tape last night thinking, this so uncool, but it makes my day!
lol

jayniemoon said...

I love school supplies. I love it when they go on sale for super cheap and I can't help but buy them. Jed found a totally awesome plastic lunchbox for a prop today at DI and told Parley he could have it--he is thrilled.

You still have a few years (3) before you should move to Wasatch for when Hazel is in 5th grade. Just want to get you thinking. Then WE could have a super visit when you came over to visit her!

Make Do and Mend said...

School supplies are wonderful. I remember my mom marked all of our supplies with her Sharpie marker. She hid the Sharpie markers from us kids, probably a wise idea.

I'm glad you got the notebook.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

I agree - it was an essential and even if it weren't, it's just a teeny, tiny impulse buy. It's not like you threw a new flat screen in the cart.

There's a fabulous Empire Strikes Back lunch box here: http://www.lunchboxes.com/standard-size-lunch-boxes.html

Teachinfourth said...

The Empire Strikes Back! Now that's a lunch box I could totally go for… of course, I should probably check out what else is there. Thanks for the link.

Nancy C said...

Beautifully written...there's that freshness of new supplies, new thoughts, new inspirations just waiting to come to life.

The world is full of possibility, and fresh starts.

Jason, as himself said...

I feel the same way about buying school supplies. I love the days just before school starts, and I love the first day of school. Then reality sets in, and some years the joy has ended there, but most years I enjoy teaching all the time.

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