Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentine Vexation

I'm annoyed.

This is nothing new. Irritation and I go together like Darcy and Elizabeth. I'm actually a very tolerant person, but there are certain things that set my teeth on edge. Failure to think things through on someone else's part, resulting in inconvenience, expense or danger on my part, is one of them. This, unfortunately, is neither uncommon nor infrequent.

This Wednesday is, of course, Valentine's Day. I'll forego my customary rant about holiday commercialism...and get right to the crux of my aggravation. This week is also Teacher Appreciation Week at my children's school.

Becaus that makes perfect sense, right?

Why in the world would the people or persons responsible for this event choose a week already fraught with the potential for marital disaster and fiscal irresponsibility in the face of sheer desperation?

Aside from having to think of somethly wildly romantic that I haven't already done in our thirteen years of marital bliss, (that's not only 13 Valentine's Days, but 13 anniversaries, birthdays, father's days and Christmases...that's SEVENTY EIGHT gift giving occasions, people) plan it, execute it, prepare myself bodily for it and figure out how to pay for it without tipping off I have the added pressure and expense of providing a gift every day this week for the teacher.

Don't get me wrong. I am completely in support of the concept. Teachers are overworked and underpaid, especially considering the huge and lasting impact they have on our children. A good teacher can inspire and motivate in ways that a parent never truly can. A bad teacher can cause irreperable damage to a child's confidence and self-esteem. Aside from us, teachers are the most important people our children will encounter during their formative years.

Diminutive One's teacher falls squarely in the middle of that range. She is neither exceptionally good nor exeedingly bad. But she is dealing with Diminutive One day in and day out and that in itself is deserving of some recognition and recompense.

So it's not the concept, but rather the excess, which seems to be creeping into every aspect of life these days, that sticks in my craw. I don't begrudge teachers some much needed pampering, even though I, the woman who pushed an absurdly large child from my theretofore unscathed woman parts, only gets one stinkin day out of the whole year. But is a whole week of gifts really necessary?

Today I must send a flower.

Do you know that a single red rose costs $5.99 at the grocery store? I don't get flowers anyway. They die. Quickly. I'd rather have a book. We bought a Dove chocolate rose instead. $3.49, which is still ridiculous for a single, hollow chocolate rose, but at least it won't die.

Tuesday I must send a special snack; sweet for girls, salty for boys.

A no brainer, but that's another $2.99 out of my pocket.

Wednesday Dimuntive One must present his teacher with a homemade Valentine.

This sounds like a rather inexpensive venture, right? But by the time you buy construction paper (because of course I have 47 sheets of brown and orange construction paper, but no red), glitter (because the glut of Christmas crafting a mere two months ago has completely depleted our supply and resulted in an oath to never ever purchase any more glitter ever, until the end of time), glue (because the existence of glue and/or tape in this house is fleeting at best) and paper heart doilies (because apparently, folding paper sideways and cutting out hearts is not as fun and challenging as it was when I was a kid)...I have invested about 5 times that for which I could have simply BOUGHT a card.

Thursday the children are to wear their teacher's favorite color.

Again, it seems like this would not require any kind of expenditure on my part. But her favorite color is pink. I have boys. They do not posess anything pink. I am a redhead. I do not wear pink and have nothing whatever to loan them, even if they would deign to wear something of mine to school, which I assure you they would not. Which means another item that I have to buy, which my child will take off about 4 seconds after he gets to school and will, most likely, meet with some terrible but tragically unavoidable accident at some point during the day.

Friday the children are asked to present the teacher with a special gift.

We have graciously been provided with a list of things his teacher likes: candles, bath and body products, scrapbooking, exercising, reading, the type of books she enjoys, and which retail and eating establishments she prefers. In other words, we are not to buy cheap crap. I actually have no problem with this. I'd rather buy one good gift then send 5 essentially meaningless and useless gifts. We chose Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt, because it has the word "teacher" in the title, and because it fortuitously found it's way into my cart at the grocery store.

So, let's recap: $3.49 chocolate rose, $2.99 bag of Chex Mix, $47.25 $10 on craft supplies ...$4.99 for a pink t-shirt from the girls department at Target and $11 for the book.

That is a grand total of $32.47.

That might not seem like a large sum. And, I suppose, in comparison to all that teachers do for our children, it's trifling, really. But we are a single income family. And though we are luckier than most, we still have to watch our budget carefully. It will be all I can do to embezzle enough money from the joint checking to finance something lurid and clandestine with my husband...This is a BAD week to be spending money on someone who doesn't give me orgasms.

Still, there is no question that I will. Because for a lot of years, I was the kid with no gift for the teacher. I was the one who never had an apple to place triumphantly on her desk (because teachers can never get enough apples) or a globe to present to the class (because everybody has an extra globe lying around).

My kid won't have to know the shame of that as long as I am alive to write bad checks.

But I don't have to like it. And I can write about it on my blog.

So there.


  • At 8:52 AM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    So. Right. There. With. You.


  • At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ta dah. I get it - both sides of it. Well said, B.A.

  • At 10:22 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I'd be annoyed about that too, for many reasons: the price tag, the fact that you have to do this for a week and the fact that her favourite colour is pink. Now, I love pink and I don't have anything against putting my son in pink, but I can't see little boys itching to put something pink on. Couldn't she have picked a more...unisex colour, like blue? Or grey? Or purple?

  • At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok - this would drive me absolutely batty and I am the wife of a teacher.

    For teacher appreciation at our school, the parents fix a nice breakfast and man the classrooms having the kids make a nice craft for the teacher while they enjoy breakfast with their collegues. It seems to be a win-win situation for both the parent and the teacher.

  • At 11:44 AM, Blogger Sandy. said…

    Unfortunately, my boys will be the ones without gifts for their teachers. When my daughter was in school, that was a different story - there was only one of her. But with seven boys, it just ain't happening.

    I'm with you - as much as I value and appreciate teachers, I just don't have that kind of extra cash laying around. The ones that go above and beyond or do something in addition to teaching to the masses get a special thank you letter from me - with a copy to administration as well.

    At the end of the year, we try to give each of them some summer plants in a terra cotta planter as well.

    In our area, there is also a movement to acknowledge EVERYBODY at the school . . . principals, secretaries, lunch room workers, counselors, special ed teachers, PE teachers, librarians, speech teachers, art teachers, recess duty folk, crossing guards, computer teachers, music teachers . . . on and on it goes.

    Stop already. Ack!


  • At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay, I am a teacher and I thingk that is TOO much. Every student is supposed to do that? I think teacher appreciation week is a great idea and we should teach kids that they need to respect and appreciate their teachers, but I don't think it needs to be dictated that much. Heck I don't really even want that much stuff- how many kids are in the class? Gotta be at least 20 something.

    Here's how I would change it- if I was even going to keep it close to that theme. (Really I think just bringing a card or something once during the week would be enough- should have assigned days by last names or something so she would get something everyday).
    Bring a flower or draw your teacher a picture of a flower. The treats I don't get unless they were for the class to share. I might say that it would be a good idea for everyone to bringa cheap bag of pretzels or something the teacher can give to kids as treats. Definitely, she should have picked an easier color or two. I'd have said something like my favorite is bright colors, or a rainbow. Stupid teacher! The Valentine - well you should have just let him draw with markers on plain white paper. I swear that would have been okay. And 20 something gifts on Friday? Too much.

  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger Kendra said…

    marHoly cow, that is quite "demanding" of Teacher Appreciation Week! I agree that teachers should be respected and appreciated (being a former high school teacher, I know how rare either one of those can be sometimes), but to expect gifts every day for a week? That's a bit much.

    I feel bad for the kids whose parents honestly cannot afford to do all that...TPTB should really think about things like that before setting up these gifting rules for Teacher Appreciation Week.

  • At 1:11 PM, Blogger CPA Mom said…

    "This is a BAD week to be spending money on someone who doesn't give me orgasms." I literally Laughed Out Loud there. So true, so true.

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger Pam said…

    I was a stay-at-home mom too and remember well being nickeled and dimed every other week.

    Love your attitude, love your blog!

  • At 10:04 PM, Blogger Kevin Charnas said…

    Every.Single.Day??? What the hell?

    Yes, I agree that they're underappreciated, but damn.

    And Valentine's Day? You wouldn't know it by my recent post, but we actually both hate it...

    So, ah yeah...basically, I agree with you on everything. :)

    I think that the only things I ever really gave my teachers were ulcers. But IT'S BETTER THAN CRABS!!! i always say...

  • At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've never heard of such a thing and I'm completely appalled by it....

    An entire week??? Isn't that a bit over the top?

    I agree teachers are important in our kids' lives, but so are the people who pick up our trash, for example. No offense to the teachers, but I really don't get it.

  • At 3:18 PM, Blogger Jess Riley said…

    How %*(&^% ANNOYING!!!!! Good lord, I can hardly drag myself to Hallmark to buy my husband a Valentine's Day card and you have a list of complicated tasks and purchases to complete every day this week?!!!

  • At 3:53 PM, Blogger Amie Adams said…

    I love our kid's teacher, but I am notoriously bad for missing these types of "appreciation" events. I try to make up for it at different times (end of the year with a gift and a nice letter).

    The son doesn't seem to mind...I think it's a boy thing.

  • At 5:24 PM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said…

    It'd be far better to simply appreciate teachers *in general* than to be *compelled* to appreciate them through the purchase of gifts. Gah.

  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger Foofa said…

    Sounds crazy to me. Way too much for everyone to do. Can you imagine being the teacher and taking all that crap home? Plus, why can't the boys and girls have the same kind of snacks? That seems a bit archaic. Personally, I'll take a salty snack over something sweet any day.

  • At 5:16 PM, Blogger luckyzmom said…

    Wacko. Where do your kids go to school? Surely not public school. Is this the schools requirement or the teachers requirement? Things have sure changed since my kids went to school.

    On a different note, if people weren't buying up all the stuff that is sold for all the holidays, the stores wouldn't be selling it.

  • At 12:27 AM, Blogger Slackermommy said…

    The special gift day really annoys me. Why not just a poem or a hand drawn picture? It's asking a lot of parents to purchase a gift after a week of giving on top of Valentine's Day. Who came up with this Teacher Appreciation Week. How about we declare next week Mother Appreciation Week?


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