05:11:15 pm on
Thursday 18 Jul 2024

School's Back
Jennifer Flaten

Pop! Like Pavlov’s dog, the sound of the toaster sends me running into the kitchen to grab my breakfast. It’s the breakfast favored by non-morning people, a pop tart.

Will it make you queasy if I tell you I wash it down with Diet Pepsi, don‘t judge? Just as I grab for my portable pastry the lights in the kitchen go out. Well, this is new.

Screams of despair from the living room let me know that the circuit also includes the television. Why is the television on the same circuit as the kitchen? I am beginning to think monkeys built the house. Unskilled, demonic monkeys are they 

There is a point where a quirk becomes less quirky and more irritating; I think the house and I are headed for an “It’s not me, it’s you” talk.

I hastily head down to the breaker box. The kids haven‘t got television or pop-tarts. I must remedy this soon or it’ll be a mutiny.

Not surprising I can’t tell which breaker flipped--Its dark in the box and there are spiders.

After saying a prayer to the god of fuses I flip, what would seem from the schematic, circa 1952, to be, the right breaker.

Nope, not yet; after flipping just about every breaker, twice, I locate the right one--yeah, that would be the one that isn’t labeled kitchen. The whoops of joy let me know we are up and running again.

Good now that electricity flows once again I can sharpen all the pencils the kids need for school.

Just kidding, each year the school supply list insist pencils arrive at school sharpened and each year I decline to sharpen them at home.

Yep, I am a closet anarchist refusing to sharpen pencils. Hey, I am from Wisconsin this is as close to civil disobedience as we get. If it doesn’t involve beer, we don’t get too upset.

Although I am sure, there is a black mark in my parent file with a note that I refuse to follow directions. 

Honestly, what else is the first day for, if not sharpening pencils? It isn’t as if the kids actually learn anything on the first day.

No, that is not right; they learn the supply list wasn’t complete and we need more supplies (immediately, if not sooner). 

Oh yes, they also learn new ways to hound their parents for expensive items like laptops and iPhones. Usually, it consists of whining “but I can use this for homework.” Imagine that line back in abacus times, “but Dad, it’ll make math so much easier.” Betcha it, in fact, was Arithmetic.

Anyway, their little brains are still soft and squishy from summer.  It’s true. How else do you explain why the kid, who devised a complex math formula to allocate her allowance to various things she wants to buy, only gets 30 out of 80 addition problems correct on her first timed test.

Besides, I am in deep denial that school is in session. School means assembling lunches, getting some place on time every day and doing homework.

Well, okay I am not actually doing the homework, but I am supervising and that is just as tiring.

I have to answer loads of questions about math--my favorite answers are “ask your teacher and “check the book.” For the last time, no, I don’t know why anyone chose to call Wisconsin’s drift less region, the drift less region. I wasn’t even aware there was a drift less region; might it be the “shiftless” region. I know several areas that would qualify.

How easy that was? I didn’t even need a pencil.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

More by Jennifer Flaten:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.