August 06, 2007

Poke a Pencil In My Eye

Today we went back to school supply shopping. The kids LOVE it. I have grown to loathe it.

In the beginning, I was excited as they were. Mmmm… well… maybe until about three years ago. I’m an office supply addict; I love them. I refrain. So shopping for back to school supplies tapped into my inner office supply junkiness.

At the beginning of the year it’s the smell of brand new crayons, all straight and unbroken, smelling of fresh crayon wax, and all pointy. Pencils are long and straight and sharpened to a point. Pens all have caps and will write readily. Folders are crisp and clean.

But it is the end of the year I have come to dread that leads to this perpetual spending of money on things that don't last.

At the end of the year, crayons are broken and dirty and chunked up. It’s as if someone threw up crayon in my kids’ pencil pouch. Pencils are chewed on, ground to stubs or halfway, and are missing their erasers. Pens don’t work or blob ink and half the caps are missing. Folders are torn and dirty…if they even made it to the end of the year.

The folders I throw directly into the recycle bin. But the crayons, pens, and pencils? Gah! Most of the crayons get either thrown away or into this big plastic bin we have that, no kidding, must have 11 years of crayon puke. From when my eldest was in pre-school at the ripe age of two, when the crayons were those mongo sized, super chubby crayons, to just last year when they were the normal crayola kid sized, pack of 8 or 16, depending on how delusional I was with office supply delirium when I was purchasing.

Let me tell you… that is a lot of crayon bits. A LOT. I think I’m waiting for someone to tell me they need 50 pounds of old crayons to make candles for the poor and destitute. The thought of throwing them all into the landfill slightly sickens me. How many crayons make it to our landfill every year? Good grief.

The pens get thrown away, mostly.

The pencils? They get thrown in a basket in our kitchen. This year I said, “OK, I’m done. We are NOT purchasing ONE PENCIL this year. I will sharpen every stinkin’ one of these pencils, purchase those little eraser topper thingies and you all WILL use these pencils. The goal is for me to have NOT ONE PENCIL in this house when you all leave for college? GOT IT?!”

I know. Freaky. But it is my mission. I need to find a home for these lost broken crayons and my kids are going to use every last flipping pencil in this house before I buy another.

I told my husband at dinner, “With the tax free week, and the 15% off I got at Office Max by shoving the bag full of supplies…”

Boys: Dad! You should have seen how much stuff Mom shoved in those bags! Holy crap!

Me: … the bill still came to $120. I think I saved us $5 by not buying pencils.

Tomorrow is uniform shopping. Ka---- CHING! Ugh.

Thank God for hand me downs...

Posted by Boudicca at August 6, 2007 09:24 PM | TrackBack

Got a pencil I can borrow? :-)

Posted by: Harvey at August 6, 2007 09:40 PM

I have probably 50-75!! Come on down!

Posted by: Bou at August 6, 2007 09:42 PM

Good grief - I am *finally* trying to get to a place "mentally" where I can just throw all that stuff away at the end of every year and not feel guilty. That would be great. Gah...

Posted by: Richmond at August 6, 2007 10:37 PM

Bou: I'm sure you've seen this, then?

Posted by: Peggy U at August 7, 2007 01:14 AM

Yaa... I don't think I'll be shopping at Office Max again. Bad experience again at that place. Ugh.

Posted by: vw bug at August 7, 2007 05:17 AM

"Tomorrow is uniform shopping. Ka---- CHING! Ugh." And don't forget to buy the pencils.

Posted by: GUYK at August 7, 2007 06:10 AM

a link you might find helpful with all those crayons...

also crayola offers craft ideas on their site, though those are too complex and requiring of artistic talent for me.

Posted by: S at August 7, 2007 07:23 AM

Having boy scouts you could do the crayon candle things and get rid of all of them and make the boys take them home to their mothers, whom I am sure will love you for it but at least you don't have them anymore!

Posted by: Quality Weenie at August 7, 2007 11:18 AM

Melt the crayons, add an equal amount of cheap shortening, let it cool. Viola! Bullet lube for black powder bullets.

Posted by: Peter at August 7, 2007 11:58 AM

As my hubby sings.... "It's the most wonderful time of the year...." Heh.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 7, 2007 12:32 PM

For you, pencils.
For me, spiral notebooks.

I just can't bring myself to throw out perfectly good paper.
Yet, those spirals are so bent, you can't turn a page.

I gots piles o' those.

Posted by: Roses at August 7, 2007 09:15 PM

I have no kids and therefore no back to school supplies. But damn, how can you pass up 12 pens for a $1? I have two twelve packs in my supply drawer from years ago. By the time September rolls in, they are giving the supplies away.

Posted by: Jerry at August 8, 2007 01:22 AM

S- I found that site! i am seriously contemplating it...

Roses- I don't throw notebooks away either. Tehy are used for scrappaper. We should have scrap paper for the next 30 years.

Jerry- That is true! I can get all those pencils for nearly free!

Posted by: Bou at August 8, 2007 09:01 PM