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Now We Just Need to Save Up for the Water Feature

“So I can get a locker chandelier.”

That was my daughter’s response to, “Why do we need to go there?”

Which was my response to, “Okay, let’s go to the Container Store.”

Which was her response to, “Let’s take care of your school supply list today.”

My daughter, Dimples, is starting middle school.  I was only slightly reassured to see that the middle school supply list is shorter than the elementary one  (and, apparently, Trapper Keepers do not pose the same threat to 6th graders that looms over elementary school students).  The reason for the tempered relief was that I have already been notified by parents of older kids that the middle school supply list means diddly squat.  Dimples’ teachers will give her completely different demands as soon as she hits class, so I will most likely exceed last year’s national defense budget by the end of the first week of school.

I don’t expect any of her teachers will require a locker chandelier (fully equipped with a motion sensor), however.

I used my standard test to see how desperate Dimples was for this item, “You will have to spend your own money, then.”

“Okay,” she replied without hestitation.

So, I begrudgingly made the trek to the Container Store so I could watch my daughter spend her Life Savings on a light fixture for her locker.

Alas, to Dimples’ great consternation, there were no white ones left on the shelf.  According to the helpful salesperson, those always sell out right away.

This concerns me a bit, about the fate of humanity, that it is such a priority to purchase white locker chandeliers each summer.  But not as much as I am bothered by the next statement.

“Oh, look, I can get this rug for my locker, instead!”

The rug, which is plusher than my bath mat, and a lovely hot pink color, is apparently just the thing for the trendy locker floor.

I try to imagine the purpose of a rug in one’s locker.  Will her textbooks be doing yoga as they await their turn in class?  Does her P.E. uniform need a companion with which to exchange fungus and odors?  Is this the reason I did not get asked to the 6th grade dance – because I did not have a plush, pink rug in my locker?

And, even more importantly, will the next purchase be a tiny locker vacuum for the tiny locker rug?

It turned out that Dimples decided the rug did not fit with her vision for the interior design of her locker.  She settled for a moderately priced, hot pink magnetic organizer to dress the space up.

But her disappointment was palpable.

The next day, I was at Target by myself, and I meandered over to the school supply section.  Buried under some packs of college-ruled looseleaf, I found one white locker chandelier.  Of course.  And, it was less than half the price of the one Dimples had planned to obtain.

Should I surprise her with the decor she coveted?  Or should I remain loyal to the voice in my head that declares the ridiculous impracticality of  installing a motion-detecting light fixture in a space only slightly larger than my glove compartment, which she will visit for approximately 5 minutes each day?

I think you know the decision I made.

You know you want one.

You know you want one.

How the Heck Does Trapper Keeper Stay in Business?

So, what was on your school supply list when you were a kid?  Pencils, notebooks, the usual, right?  Yeah, me too.

I went to Catholic school, so getting clothes was a minor stage of the whole Back-to-School Shopping Blitz.  Because we had uniforms, the school supplies were where we could really show our personalities off.  But, the nuns got wise to this pretty quickly.  Our list of things we could NOT buy for school soon surpassed the quantity of things we were required to buy.

Erasermate Pens were one such item.  We weren’t allowed to write in pen.  But that was because you couldn’t erase it.  So, what was the rationale, I wonder, for banning the brand new invention of pens with erasable ink?  I’m pretty sure the Sistahs are the reason that remarkable innovation isn’t in the drawers of every office desk today.

Another way to get yourself detention at my school was to walk in with a Trapper Keeper.  Those amazing organizational tools were the bane of every teaching nun’s existence.  The Party Line was that the bulk of the darn things pretty much made it impossible for them to co-exist in the same desk as our massive textbooks.  But I think that Sister Mary Quite Contrary was more fearful of the far too many sinfully secular designs that appeared on the covers and each interchangeable piece.

It killed me not to get a Trapper Keeper.  Every year, I would wistfully pull one out of the display case, showing my mother The Dukes of Hazzard or the less controversial horse racing through a green field, and begging her to buy me one – pretending to be completely oblivious to the Trapper Keeper Commandment.

No sale.

Now, it’s 2012.  My daughter is 9.  She goes to public school.  We have spent 3 exhausting days looking for clothes and mandatory school supplies.  And even though she has a lot more freedom to make a statement with both her fashion and her various notebooks and writing utensils, she does not feel that is enough.

We have gone to three different stores looking for the perfect nail polish color for the first day of school.  Yesterday, I spent an hour in Sephora as she painted each nail on her hands a different color.  Oh, she knew which one she wanted by the fourth, but she needed to finish up the job once started, apparently.

Erasermate should invent some erasable nail polish pens.  Now, there’s a bestseller.

God, I wish there had been a Sephora around when I was a kid.  Those nuns would have had a lot less time to worry about Trapper Keepers…

Anyway, why, you may ask, did I allow my child to spend an hour decorating her digits, and to buy a $10 bottle of nail polish when that is not on any school supply list and she is not starring on a reality show?

Because, even now, 35 years later, I still have a little bit of Catholic School rebel in me.

And, even now, 35 years later, you still can’t bring Trapper Keepers to school.

2012-2013 School Supply List (PUBLIC SCHOOL!)

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