A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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Two Weeks Notice

It hit me this morning. Hard. In just two weeks (and technically, very delayed from the original date), we will take our oldest son Alex to Ithaca College for his second semester of Freshman year, but only his first semester on campus.

Ithaca went entirely virtual for the Fall of 2020. Can you tell how awesome Alex thought virtual learning and living at home for his first semester as a Freshman was?

That’s probably because he was seeing lots of his high school friends post selfies on social media as they were moving into their college dorms. So he sent me this selfie of his virtual dorm room. Or, as I like to call it, the room in our house that always has clothes on the floor.

Like everyone with school-aged kids, we’ve dealt with the challenges of virtual learning. Alex’s younger brother Nick is a senior in high school this year, but he seems much more happy about the virtual learning situation.

However, that smile may only be hiding the fact that he thinks we don’t know he has been turning in assignments late or (#SoBlessed) doesn’t do them at all. Look, son, September through November is a little early to have “Senior-itis.”

At one point, I advertised that we were willing to sell the naming rights to the dining room, to help fund the boys’ college accounts. I just don’t understand why my ad didn’t generate a single inquiry, because I included a photo: Virtual study hall. Previously called dining room. Willing to sell sponsorship renaming rights to any company. Serious inquiries only.

Maybe I should have clarified that the humans were included. Or, for the right price, we wouldn’t include them.

Our boys eventually found virtual learning to be a necessary evil an unfortunate situation not something mom purposely orchestrated to make them miserable, so just get over it already.

In November, since the teenagers in the house were still schooling virtually, we decided a change of scenery was in order, and we spent a week in Myrtle Beach. The boys attended school online in the mornings and early afternoons.

Ithaca College, Myrtle Beach satellite campus

Their dad and I didn’t work, went for walks, and relaxed. We socially distanced ourselves and spent time enjoying the very sparsely populated beach.

In November, we also received news that the students were going to return to campus for the Spring semester at Ithaca.

And when we received confirmation of his move-in day in January, Alex tried hard not to express any excitement or enthusiasm.

This is my happy face, mom.

We haven’t had the heart to let our dog Mocha know that Alex’s departure is imminent. We’re not exactly sure how she is going to react to the fact that once he is on campus, we can’t visit, and he can’t come home until the semester is over. She’s likely to be devastated — Alex’s lap is her favorite.

Just like everything else about 2020 — the year that knocked us upside down, sideways, and backward — there will be nothing “normal” about this mom getting to take her oldest son to college for his Freshman year. We have to drop him off, not help with moving any of his things in, and leave immediately once everything is offloaded. Thanks, ‘Rona.

Nor will there be anything as cool as this story and video of one of his football teammates being dropped off last year.

I’m hoping the coolest thing about the drop off is me. Because while I’m thrilled and excited for him to start the next chapter of his life, I feel like I’m not nearly cool enough to keep my heart from melting. Even though I’ve had 18 years, 10 months, and 10 days to get used to the idea.

It just feels like I’ve only had two weeks.


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I’ve Got An Announcement to Make

There are a number of things I never would have thought I’d hear myself mutter in 2020. Those include, but are certainly not limited to:

What the fuck is a murder hornet?”

Oh, please. You know you’d vote for murder hornets.

“I need more fabric paint to decorate/personalize my face mask and headband.”

Glitter gold and royal blue fabric paint. But nothin’ for those grey roots starting to peek through.

“Look, I need the steps. Let’s go inside and pick up the food, instead of being so lazy and doing curbside delivery.”

Image courtesy of SafetySign.com. Because who says there isn’t money to be made in a pandemic (see also masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper)

“I haven’t filled up my car with gas in 2 months and I still have a full tank. And nowhere to fucking go.”

Image from the Chicago Tribune, courtesy of Paul Sancya/AP

“Well, we’ve watched everything else. So, sure, we can watch John Tucker Must Die – it’s such a masterpiece of American cinema.”

If you ask me, we should watch Bridget Jones’ Diary again.

“Oh shit. I never ordered your cap and gown. I wonder if we could borrow Noah Ferguson’s?”

Thank you to the Ferguson family for the loaner cap and gown, and the awesome packaging you put it in!

“What in the ever-loving pandemic hell do you mean you don’t expect a delivery of toilet paper for another week?”

“I really wish there were more cool memes about whatever the hell this COVID-19 thing is, so that I could share them on social media.”

And my personal favorite? “Hey genius…get dressed before you come downstairs. I’m really not interested in having all my colleagues see you walk behind me again in just your boxer briefs.”

Thank goodness no one was recording our Zoom meeting

The genius I’m referring to is my oldest son Alex. He made the guest appearance in the background of a work Zoom meeting, with about 15 of my colleagues watching.

But, I’m giving him a bit of a break because he’s a Class of 2020 Senior. And his final few months of high school have gone nothing like we ever anticipated:

  • There was no Spring Track & Field season, where he would have competed in the throwing events with his football buddies Will and Ben
  • There was no Prom
  • There was no Senior skip day
  • There was no Senior prank
  • There will be no Big 33 game for him to play in, with the other kids from Maryland who made the team.
  • There will be no Senior Week (now called SWeek) at the beach
  • There will be no graduation ceremony with his entire class
  • There will be no ‘Safe and Sound’ all night party at Adventure Park

And there was no formal, fancy, grand, scrolly-font-on-linen-paper graduation announcement to send out to family and friends, touting the fact that he had achieved this milestone.

Well, it’s not that an announcement like that wasn’t offered. It was offered, but we had no idea at the time if the scheduled June 3 graduation ceremony was going to take place at all. But that didn’t stop me from coming up with an idea for something special, to let everyone know just how special we think Alex is.

I had my amazingly talented designer friend Rebecca create a non-traditional card as an announcement. So, without further ado…

I have an announcement I’d like to make:

Cover of card

Inside of card

Back of card

A final accolade came in after the announcement was printed. Because of Alex’s accomplishments and awards for football in his Senior season, he is being inducted into the Walkersville High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Globally, things we are familiar and comfortable with have changed. And for our family, things we are familiar and comfortable with will be changing when our oldest heads off to college this Fall.

Change and uncertainty be damned. The Rice family will be over here putting together something good. Maybe even something great. Please join us.

Congrats to all those in the Class of 2020!


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Top 8 Tips for Being a Volunteer Social Media Account Manager

A couple of years ago, I wrote about why I would never be put in charge of the Community sign board. The real reason, frankly, was that there were not enough symbols in the letter box for all the cuss words I would want to use.

SignBoardLetters

Yeah, I’m gonna need a lot more of these symbols

Flash-forward to a few years later, when my oldest son entered high school and I joined the Athletic Boosters. There was a volunteer opportunity to up our social media cred with a more robust Facebook page and a new Twitter account.

Easy peasy. I just post game results from the paper, shout outs to alumni, and event announcements, right?

Wrong

Here’s what I’ve learned so far when it comes to being the volunteer social media manager.

Tip #1: Be careful about posting more than one image in your twitter feed

One of the Booster accounts for a county rival posted two photos on twitter that caused an awkward appearing ‘headline.’ The red oval is where the two photos ‘combined’ in the Twitter feed, resulting in overlaps of the actual headlines, and leading to the unfortunate looking “Urbana Girls Grab Oakdale Boys” ‘headline.’

Headline merge

Tip #2: Parents will never see the posts about their own kids, so get ready for the blow back

No matter how many times you mention a sport, there will be someone whose kid is on the team and didn’t see the post. My remedy for this? I go back to every instance of me posting about that sport and tag that parent in the comments. Enjoy your ridiculous uptick in Facebook notifications, friend.

Tip #3: Tag parents on Facebook posts

Actual Facebook messenger mail I received: “I see you tagged <name of parent> when you posted about <student athlete’s> name in the paper. You didn’t tag me when <my precious angel> was named in the paper. How can you remedy that?”

I thought of replying with: “Oh my word! I had no idea <your precious angel> was your child, since:  a) the school has over 1,000 students, b) I don’t know every damn kid in the school, and 3) I don’t know your family or kid at all. Perhaps if you’d join the Boosters for the mere $25 a year membership fee, it would jog my memory when it comes to tagging your ass in every post for <my precious angel>.

Instead, I responded with: Thanks for letting me know. We’re always looking for new members and volunteers – hope to see you at a Boosters Meeting in the future!

Tip #4: Tag students on Twitter posts

They love to see themselves tagged and will “like” and “retweet”. A lot. So will their friends when they see it.

Just know that you will probably have to wade through a whole bunch of …

  • @hotbod69
  • @bootygirl4U
  • @BIGlaxstick
  • @team_balls_out

…nonsense twitter handles to find some of these athletes. Hey kids – do yourself a favor and set up a handle that reads more like someone trying to impress admissions officers at colleges, and less like you are trying to impress your potential Tinder dating pool. Except for you, Jacob Wetzel. I love your handle: @wetzhispants

Tip #5: If you are posting daily athletic contest schedules, be ready for Mother Nature to %*@! with you

I hate snow and rain, which has impacted every sport so far this year, multiple times this year. Even the indoor sports. When school is cancelled due to weather, so are all after school activities. Then they get rescheduled. Over and over.  So, be ready if Mother Nature is having a bad day/week/month/season. You’ll get carpal tunnel keeping up with all the changes.

Tip #6: You are not in charge of the @Wendys or @UMBCAthletics accounts.

While it would be a life goal of mine to be the person in charge of either of these accounts (filled with humor and snark – and getting paid for it!) I am currently NOT in charge of an account like this:

UMBCWendys

I really only got snarky/funny twice. Once, when a cross-town rival taunted our football team at a game this past Fall. We had graduated amazing groups of senior football players in 2017 and 2018, including Jacob Wetzel – the 2016 County Defensive Player of the Year, member of the 2016 State Championship team, member of the 2017 Conference Champion team, and 2017 County Offensive Player of the Year, who is now at Old Dominion University. The student section from the other team brought a sign, and I snapped a photo and tweeted about it:

Wetzhispants

I give Jacob a pass on his Twitter handle; it makes me laugh every time I have used it

And the second time, when our girls soccer team was a State finalist, and a local business wished them well.

RoysStates

I know Wendy’s knows what’s up also, but there isn’t a Wendy’s in our community.

Tip #7: If a sports emoji is missing; get creative. Literally.

We are the blue and gold Lions. Every social media post for our accounts concludes with 💙🦁💛 and then the emoji for that sport. 

For the first year, there was no softball emoji, so I used a blue diamond, for softball diamond: 💙🦁💛🔷. For lacrosse, I used the net: 💙🦁💛🥅 .  I am totally geeked out that I can now use the actual emojis:

softball lax stick

 

 

We have a swim/dive team and I made a request for a springboard/platform dive emoji from Unicode. Basically, Unicode told me I have to create an image to submit for consideration.

Since I’m not a graphic designer, here’s my submission, Unicode: 🖕   How’s that for creative?

Tip #8: This is a volunteer gig, but one that matters to your community.

It’s tough, sometimes, to take the flack, to listen to the complainers, to always be asked for more of our time and energy.  However, I keep this in mind for all my volunteer work in the community:

Who was watching

💙🦁💛


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My 20/20 Vision Sometimes Gets a Little Blurry

Today is Alex’s first day of high school. I was able to obtain the obligatory first day of school picture. Evidently, once you hit high school (or teenager status), smiling is no longer allowed  cool  something you do, just so you can annoy the snot out of your mother.

IMG_1755

This is my happy face, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents of 8th graders were jammed into a school gym with no air conditioning to celebrate the milestone of middle school graduation? Editor’s note: Sorry for the quality of the video – that’s what happens when you are a lame parent and don’t think to film the entire room, so you have to steal  swipe  use some fancy technology to copy as best as possible an uploaded version to Facebook by a parent who does have their shit together  was thinking it would be a good idea.

Was it only a few short months ago that my kid was already practicing his ‘we shant smile for anything when mom asks’ look, so that it took at least three tries to get a semi-usable photo of him next to the school mascot?

IMG_1372

This is as happy as my face gets, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the video compilation of pictures moms and dads submitted was played at the ceremony?

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents, grandparents, and guardians in attendance realized there was one problem?

Tshirt

You see, our 20/20 vision for these kids’ future was a bit blurry. Because tears of pride will do that to you.

Whole class

Walkersville High School Lions Class of 2020


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‘Teenage Safety’ Doesn’t Have to Be an Oxymoron

Today, my boys — and countless other kids — headed back to school. While I’m sure the Xbox will miss them terribly, it’s definitely time for them to re-engage their brains with something more taxing than figuring out whose turn it is to “kick some butt” at Madden15.

Yep, definitely time to get back to language arts and improving vocabulary.

But if the photo of them I took getting ready to head to the school bus is any indication, vocabulary is the least of our worries:

Did you wash your hands before you started annoying your brother?

Did you wash your hands before you started annoying your brother?

Our real worry might be that we need to reinforce what it means to behave in such a way that they come home safely each day. And by safely, I mean 1) in one piece, 2) with no notices from teachers of inappropriate behavior, 3) with no “where is your child’s homework?” messages, 3) as germ-free as possible, and 4) having not generated a call to me or their dad from anyone with the word ‘principal’, ‘counselor’, ‘police’, or ‘officer’ as part of a job title.

My young teenage boys tend to block out my voice — especially when the words “clean up”, “pick up”, “stop that”, “knock it off”, and “I better not have to tell you again” are used. But, I decided to review some important safety messages with them for the start of the school year anyway.

When it comes to…

  • Cell phone safety: You do not need your cell phone with you to function effectively as a 7th or 8th grader in middle school.
    • Yes, I know that your friends Jacob, Owen, Jake, Brett A, Brett B, Ben, Nick, Ty, and every other kid in your class gets to bring their cell phone to school because their parents are cool and I suck. But I need you to focus on school work when you are at school — not Snapchatting, Instagramming, Facebooking, and/or Tweeting.
    • Nice try, but you won’t need the calculator on your cell phone, because I forked out $25 for a scientific calculator for you to use in Algebra.
    • And you won’t need your cell phone to reach me in case of emergency. There is a phone in the principal’s office and the school bus drivers all have a cell phone. Besides, if I get a call from the principal’s office, it better be because you’re sick, or you’ve broken your leg, or you’ve just won the Nobel prize. You feelin’ me?
  • Food safety: You need energy, and food is your fuel. At lunch, food is for eating and will provide the fuel you need to be alert and stay focused in the afternoon. And just to be clear, food is not for:
    • throwing: the last thing I need is for you to use your PB&J sandwich as a projectile that accidentally lands on the nut-free table, jeopardizing any classmate with an allergy.
    • smashing: if you make a mess, you will be cleaning it, not the janitor. Same rules apply at home: substitute ‘your mom’ for ‘the janitor’.
    • trading: eat what ya brung (or in my kids’ cases – what ya bought).
    • taking pictures of and posting to social media: see cell phone safety above.
    • experimenting with: gross. Just gross.
    • teasing people with: see cell phone safety above with regard to phone calls from principals and/or counselors.
  • Germ safety: You are no longer a toddler shoving everything not nailed down into your mouth (with the exception of cheeseburgers and fries). This means your (most likely dirty) hands should be not touching everything within your ever-widening wing span. Here are some good rules for keeping germs where they belong, which — to be clear — is Not. On/In. You.
    • Those dispensers of soap in the bathroom: USE THEM.
    • Those dispensers of hand sanitizer located throughout the school: USE THEM.
    • Those boxes of tissues we send in at the request of your teachers: USE THEM.
    • Wet willies and spit balls: No. JUST NO.
    • Crayons, markers, and other writing instruments: OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. You never know who else has been gnawing on them, what’s at the bottom of the bookbag where they have been residing, or — heaven help us! — what they are made of.
    • Handling someone else’s cell phone: No. JUST NO.
    • Sharing drinks at lunch: No. JUST NO.
    • Coughing into the sleeve of your shirt and not into the face of your friend(s): YES! ALWAYS YES!

Have a safe school year boys. This will be great practice, because wait until you see the safety rules I’m working on for your next Summer vacation.

Ready for 7th grade -- and two thumbs up for moms safety rules.

Ready for 7th grade — and two thumbs up for moms safety rules.

Ready for 8th grade, but bummed their is no advanced course in Madden 15.

Ready for 8th grade, but bummed there is no elective for Advanced Madden15.


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The Poseidon Adventure

School projects have a special place in hell, whether they originate in science, social studies, math, or history class. What the fuck ever class.  ALL. OF. THEM. SUCK.

Because…pretty much…here’s what we always learn when it comes to these damn things:

Truth. Image from Reddit.

Truth.
Image from Reddit.

My son Alex’s recent social studies project was no different than the science project he did earlier this year.  That one was an epic fail as a science experiment, but highly successful at getting his dad to cuss pretty much through the entire thing. But this time, we didn’t have the same amount of notice as we did for the science fair.

I had seen one of the other baseball team moms post this amazing creation on Facebook on a Saturday, with this comment “Jacob worked very hard this morning on his Ancient Greek House for his school project. He did an awesome job!”:

My son hasn't started making anything like that...

My son hadn’t started making anything like that…

So that afternoon at our baseball double header, I asked his mom what class it was for. She said all the kids in all the social studies classes were doing some sort of project.  I called my son over between innings and asked “is your social studies project done yet?”   His response was “Yes. I wrote my report.”

I prodded further “How ’bout the project part of it?”   “Um…yeah, I’m going to ask dad to help me with it Sunday night. It’s not due until Tuesday morning.”

So you can pretty much understand why I felt like this:

Only madder. And with more cuss words. Image from: http://thesuperzilch.wordpress.com/

Only madder. And with more cuss words.
Image from: http://thesuperzilch.wordpress.com/

So I put on a brave face:

Trying to smile through clenched teeth. Never works. Image © Copyright 2003 - 2014, SheKnows, LLC.

Trying to smile through clenched teeth. Never works.

I reminded him that his dad (who normally is in charge of this school project shit) was leaving on a business trip Sunday afternoon. I also brought to his attention that he had a double header of baseball Sunday afternoon, so just when the fuck did he think this was going to get done?

Oh,” was his immediate reply. Followed closely by “I gotta go, it’s my turn to bat.

So after the game, the family grudgingly made the trip to Joann’s to buy modeling clay. That’s because my son revealed that he had agreed to do sculptures of Poseidon and Zeus — which might have well been the latest DisneyXD show as far as I was concerned. I’ve never been really well-versed in anything Greek, unless pouring copious amounts of Zima down my throat in college counts. Zima – sounds Greek, right?

To help out my son, I went to the internet and found these inspiration pictures of the Greek gods that he could base his models on:

But let’s face it. This is more like what I wanted to see:

Shazam! Image ©2013-2014 Terachrome

Shazam-olopolus!
Image ©2013-2014 Terachrome

Alex was totally inspired by the photos and got right to work on Saturday evening, making his sculptures. He was thrilled to turn off the Xbox and focus his creative energy on something other than spending Saturday evening in a video game induced haze.

Repeat after mom: "I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project.  I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. Again."

Repeat after mom: “I will not wait until the last minute to do my school project. Again.”

It took him a solid three hours of intense work. But this was the final product:

Two old buff clay dudes. Love the pecs.

Two old buff clay dudes. Love the chiseled pecs and abs.

He ended up getting 50 out of 50 points for the project.

συγχαρητήρια (congratulations in Greek), Alex. Perhaps I should celebrate with a few Zimas.


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Mad Scientist

Back in December…or maybe it was November…our oldest son came home and announced that he had a big science project due. He needed to come up with an idea for an experiment, get it approved by the teacher, conduct the experiment, record the results, and present the whole thing on a poster.

I took the news like any quick-thinking parent trying to get out of crap like this and said, “what a the perfect thing for you and your dad — the chemistry major — to work on together. Let me know how it goes.”

My husband found the experiment they were going to conduct on a website, and my son got approval from his teacher to proceed. Since the project was due February 10, there was plenty of time to ruminate about the experiment and how they would present the results.

The premise of my son’s experiment was this: which fruits have the most vitamin C? The experiment would have him determine this by dropping freshly-squeezed fruit juice into an iodine solution, and note how many drops it took to turn the iodine solution clear. The premise was that the quicker that happened, the more vitamin C in the fruit.

Or something like that. I was annoyed that lime juice was going to be wasted on some stupid middle school science experiment, when I could have mixed it with tequila to show how many drinks it takes to make mom begin slurring her words. I love that experiment.

They won't find my DNA on the limes. Maybe the tequila. Image © Dan Piraro

They won’t find my DNA on the limes. Maybe the tequila.
Image © Dan Piraro

So, my husband and Alex started the entire project early. And by early I mean right about noon on Sunday, February 9.

And here’s what we were able to observe during the experiment:

–>The amount of time you have to conduct your experiment is inversely proportional to the number of f-bombs dropped when it doesn’t go as planned.

–>It will take a husband approximately 4 minutes and 17 seconds to tell his son to “just go play the #@$%-ing xBox and let me do this so we can finish it faster.”

–>The more a wife asks “can I help?”, the more her husband barks back “no, I’ve got this, so just stop asking.”

–>Having a chemistry degree won’t stop you from bitching outloud at no one in particular: “this @#$%-ing sucks. Stupid ass iodine solution needs to be diluted more to make this @#$%-ing project work. That @#$%-ing website was totally @#$%-ing wrong. This @#$%-ing blows.”

–>Not having a chemistry degree makes hearing the bitching that much more enjoyable.

Which led me — if no one else — to conclude from this experiment, that:

–>My husband should have started this experiment sooner because these things are never problem-free the first time you try to do them. 

–>It will be at approximately the 4 minute and 17 second mark into the experiment when I will have to begin to resist the temptation to say, “I @#$%-ing told you that you should have started this earlier.”

–>When I stop asking “can I help?”, I immediately feel no remorse about focusing on HGTV and the House Hunters marathon.

–>Not having a chemistry degree won’t stop you from bitching outloud at your husband (in particular): “You know what really sucks? Not being able to hear why this couple is so dead-set against house #2, because of all the @#$%-ing bitching you are doing.”

–>Not having a chemistry degree still makes me smarter about the actual time it will take to conduct a kid’s science experiment, than the person who actually graduated from college with a chemistry degree.

And this whole experience leads me to one very important conclusion. There’s a damn good reason they call them mad scientists.


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Dear Punxsutawney Phil,

I’m going to skip the pleasantries and get right to it. Look…you fat, furry fucker…I am done with winter. D.O.N.E.

Fat. Furry. Fucker. Image (c) Keith Srakocic/AP

Fat. Furry. Fucker.
Image (c) Keith Srakocic/AP

People are going nuts, due to you seeing your shadow and predicting 6 more weeks of Winter. Here’s what your prognosticating has brought upon us:

Former pro players who show up for a boring big football game, dressed like they are the odds-on favorite musher for the next Ididorad.

 Did Joe think it was a good idea to skin his golden retriever? And then wear it? (c) AP Photo/Matt Slocum


Did Joe think it was a good idea to skin his golden retriever? Who’s gonna pull the sled now?
(c) AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Musical geniuses, who raid their girlfriend’s kloset.

This guy, who definitely borrowed his girlfriends coat. And boots.  Source: Bauer-Griffin Online

Is that Kim’s koat? Those are definitely her boots.
Source: Bauer-Griffin Online

Drivers who think they are auditioning for Fast & Furious 12: Sick Semi Spin-outs.

Yikes! AP Photo/Butch Dill

Yikes!
AP Photo/Butch Dill

Hoarders.

In reality, it should read tequila, limes, and salt. www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

In reality, it should read tequila, limes, and salt.
Credit: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

Religious zealots.

I'm converting to Baptist ©2011-2014 Coricle

I’m Team Baptist
©2011-2014 Coricle

Skittish school administrators, who post messages like this a minimum of once a week on our county’s school system website :

Again?

Again?

Parents, who are starting to read messages on the county’s school system website this way:

Like parents don't know this is really the reason schools are closing

Like parents don’t know this is really the reason schools are closing

People who see ice here:

Instead of here:

Ice in Margarita

More ice in tequila. Less ice in trees.

Sincerely,

Lady who is dangerously low on tequila, limes, salt, bread, milk, toilet paper, and patience.  And not necessarily in that order.


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What I Learned at Back to School Night

This year, my oldest son began Middle School.

We already know the first day of school photo was an epic fail on my husband’s part. But it seems that Alex is adjusting well to Middle School in spite of such a traumatic start to his tween educational experience.  In his assessment, “I really like Middle School. Classes are shorter so the day goes by faster. It’s like we aren’t in school as long as last year. That’s good because Mrs. Witt’s science classroom is hot as crap.” Then my youngest son Nick chimed in with “Don’t you mean ‘hot as balls’?”.

It’s obvious that the public education system has really honed my boys’ skills on the use of similes. Proudest. Parent. Ever.

The Smith family is not impressed with Nick's simile skill.

Unfortunately, the Smith family is not impressed with Nick’s mad simile skillz.

Back-to-School night was last night. Because my husband, Alex, and Nick had football practice, I was flying solo for the Middle School orientation.  I’m pretty sure we missed the Elementary School Back-to-School night, so Nick is shit out of luck but Nick is going to have a great year in spite of that!

Back-to-School night taught me you’re never to old to learn. And here is some knowledge I gained:

  1. If I decide to wear shoes like this to work, I should definitely change into flip flops or flats before evening activities. My feet have about a 12 hour limit on the amount of torture they can suffer on a given day.

    I need to heal from my heels

    I need to heal from my heels

  2. Showing up 10 minutes early is still 20 minutes too late to get a decent parking spot.
  3. For the orientation presentation, getting there 20 minutes early secures a bunch of lucky bastards parents a seat in the uncomfortable folding chairs set out on the gymnasium floor.
  4. Getting there 10 minutes early secures me a seat on the splinter-prone and more uncomfortable (by infinity-to-the-10th-power) bleachers in the gymnasium.
  5. A gymnasium full of parents on a late August evening is hot.
  6. And not the “Channing Tatum” kind of hot.
  7. More like the “a few people in here could use another swipe of Right Guard” kind of hot.
  8. I need to update my things-to-buy-when-I-hit-PowerBall list to include air conditioning for the Middle School gym. And a big supply of Right Guard.
  9. People who bring their kids to Back-to-School night really should keep their kids with them. Especially the parents of the gaggle of middle school girls sitting behind me, who talked through the entire presentation the Principal gave.
  10. I am able to incite a humongous number of eyerolls when I turn to a gaggle of middle school girls and say: “Could you guys please stop talking? I would like to hear what the Principal is saying.”
  11. I feel completely old, entirely uncool and particularly grumpy when I am the recipient of tween eyerolls.
  12. I liked it better when my son had one teacher in elementary school. Visiting 7 classrooms and meeting 7 different teachers just makes my feet hurt even more.
  13. About mid-way through Back-to-School night, it dawned on me that my husband’s decision to coach youth football was just an elaborate ploy to avoid Back-to-School night.
  14. The parents who were in shorts and t-shirts seemed much more happy to be part of Back-to-School night than parents who were still in their work clothes and heels.
  15. I am never wearing heels again.
  16. Next year, I’m going to coach a football team and my husband can attend Back-to-School night.  In heels.