I Quit. Again.

This post has not one thing to do with cigarettes; It just seems fitting.
Cartoon by Natalie Dee.

A long time ago, I was co-president of a PTA.  I was vice president, too.  I was elected to be THE president, but I moved to another country just to dodge that bullet.  In my 4 years on the PTA, I've sat on every committee at least once.  I've worked every fundraiser, at least once.  I've presented at every open house, I've attended every meeting, I've whored myself out to the neighboring businesses, I've helped hire teachers, I've twisted and turned the school's budget with the principal and a few other numbers-savvy mothers, I've flyered every door in our school's catchment...you name it, I've done it.

My PTA's budget was never less than $45K.  By K, yes, I mean thousand.  The last budget I worked on was $56K, and that didn't include the PTA stuff.  That was just the check we had to hand over to the school.  We never came in under budget, and ours was considered a low income school, with very low attendance.

I am a godsend in the world of PTA's.  I show up at your meeting, you get on your knees and that sweet little pink baby Jesus for gracing you with his divine intervention.  I was trained by the best.  I kick PTA ass.

The PTA here doesn't get that.  Sure, maybe I laughed heartily and out loud at the very first meeting I ever attended when they freaked the fuck out over an $11K budget.  Yes, maybe I shouldn't have snorted my coffee through my nose after 10 minutes of listening to them bitch about why the school district wouldn't cough up the other $5,000 they needed to buy brand new, state of the art computers for the lab.  Maybe I shouldn't have said through my chuckles that I raised as much as their entire year's budget  in one fundraiser alone the year before, and that fundraiser had a Grammy nominated recording artist perform at it and made the local newspapers for its sheer coolness factor.

Maybe I shouldn't have then tried again and accidentally flashed the married, to a girl and to God, president.  Maybe I should have said, "No thanks!" instead of, "Oh hell no" when the ladies of the PTA finally invited me to a get-together, because it was a sex toy get together and A) they all wear Pooh Bear sweatshirts and B) they all really love Celine Dion and C) none of them still have all their teeth*.  *help...me* Maybe I shouldn't have whimpered in the corner after the treasurer totally pulled her shirt up over her head and shoved her boobs in my face over coffee at her house one day because, though she didn't bother to tell me, she'd just had a reduction and was quite proud of her new funbags.  I didn't even know her name at the time.

Maybe I shouldn't have been visibly pissed when I was the only person out of 10 who showed up last year for the late-night, day before the big fundraiser of the year cram prep session with three starving kids in tow, only to be told the next day what an amazing job What's Her Fuck did getting everything ready at the last minute, and with almost no help at all, bless her poor over-worked heart.

Whatever it is that has gone wrong with me and this PTA just has.  They just are not my group of people.  I have tried.  I just don't click there, and that is okay with me.  Not everyone clicks everywhere, you know?  I had a hell of a lot more time and energy to devote to really melding with my old PTA, and I got lucky to find some very like-minded people in that bunch, people I will remain close friends with for the rest of my days.  That doesn't happen just anywhere; I know and respect this fact.

So, why I keep quitting and unquitting this fucking organization, I will never fully understand.

Some will recall that a few weeks ago, I agreed to help police the drop-off/pick-up area at the school.  It was either that or bring a 2X4 and a sawed-off shotgun to pick up my kids every day.  Seriously, no parking means NOT EVEN YOU, ASSHOLE.  I've been wearing a really super sexy orange reflective vest every Monday and Friday, morning and afternoon, directing traffic at school.  I've done this while my 3 year old has run in and out of traffic, while my boys have shoved each other into the creek, through a huge snow storm, on a sheet of ice 3 inches deep, all by myself.  It's sucked, but I said I'd do it, so I did it.  Until Friday, that is.

Friday I was directing traffic and 3of3 ran to the school to get her brother (his classroom door is the first outside the school, she was safe.)  Except she didn't go get her brother.  She vanished.  I didn't think too much of it; there are enough people in that school who know who she is and where I was that I knew she'd resurface.  Except she didn't resurface.  Once I realized that her brothers didn't know where she was and I couldn't see her anywhere, I started running around the building looking for her.  I freaked right the fuck out.  We have bears and cougars and shit around here, you know?  NOT COOL.  I ran up towards the front doors and the PTA president hollered over to me, "Hey!  Your kid is running around the school screaming for you."  Like she was annoyed or something.  So, yeah, you know where she is?  "Um, YES, she's by the library and she's crying. *huff*"

She. Huffed. At Me.

I went tearing into the school and found my daughter, my THREE YEAR OLD daughter, bawling her little eyes out in the hallway and the only people trying to help her were my 4 year old neighbor kid and a woman with no arms.  Not kidding. To their credit, the 4 year old was trying really hard to calm my kid down and the armless woman was genuinely concerned and almost frantic.

So, the good news is that since the PTA president who totally knows me, knows my kid, and knew exactly where the fuck I was chose to leave my tiny little girl alone and screaming in the school and then had the gaul to HUFF at me about her being lost, I get to quit parking lot duty!

The bad news is that I didn't have the chance to take a picture of myself in that dead sexy reflective orange vest.  Which sucks for you.  However, based on my track record, I should be rocking that vest again in no less than 6 months.

*Disclaimer: I have nothing at all against people who wear Pooh Bear sweaters, listen to Celine Dion or are missing teeth.  The combination thereof, with these women, well, you'd just have to meet them.

You only have two months left, you know.

(There's free stuff at the bottom. Just sayin'.)

On Thursday, I will officially quit the PTA. I loathe the PTA.

This wasn't always so. Once upon a time, yours truly was elected PRESIDENT of a PTA in Denver. And then she moved to Canada. And then she moved back to Denver, and was elected TREASURER of the PTA. And then she moved to Canada.

I was never the vice president, but I spent two years happily filling the position of President's Bitch. I actually wrote that on a nametag at one of those Back To School Night things PTA's seem to love to throw. The president didn't think it was nearly as funny as I did, but I was the President Elect; what was she gonna do about it?

My job as P-Bitch was to do whatever the president asked me to. She told me one year they were thinking about selling school supplies as a fundraiser. This shit was right up my alley. Spreadsheets, order forms, bundles of things. I volunteered my soul services to the cause.

Here's how it went. We asked the teachers for the next years supply lists. We received 12 completely different lists for 6 grades and 2 special ed classes. We then sent out order forms the last week of school to the families and emailed the holy freaking hell out of them all summer long. All vacation, we window shopped. We watched flyers, checked online site, we stalked #2 pencils like they were Jodi Foster. The month before school started, we hit Target. We hit Target with everything we had, our Red Cards that give back 3% to the assigned schools in hand. We hit them early in the morning, and gave it to them alll day long, and 15 bazillion hours later we walked out with two trunk loads full of supplies.

We then gave our children the totally awesome super fun task of dividing those supplies into piles based on orders. We then recycled every grocery bag ever used in the history of mankind to package those supply bundles into handy dandy packs. And then we delivered them. And then we spent two months chasing people down who had forgotten to write us checks. Or bounced those checks.

Some went to classrooms, some went to homes. Some went straight up my ass for all I know, because no matter how many spreadsheets I created, the fucking numbers never matched. The first day of school, though, 95% of those kids had a full compliment of markers and tissues and dry erase markers, and 5% of those kids parents had some loud words for us.

I call that a success. We made a little money for the PTA, and only two of us had total, complete nervous breakdowns.

Um, dudes? Right after yesterday, when I was apparently born, someone out there figured out that this arrangement sucks and got into the busines of doing school supplies.

There is a company in Denver, and guess what their name is? EZ School Supplies. Guess what they're in the business of? Yup, E-Z School Supplies. I think I just cried a little.

The school supply coordinator (on their end; read: not a mother of three who wants to drink heavily by July) takes your school supply lists (provided by the teachers, the parents, or your friendly neighbourhood P-Bitch) and they SAVE IT. You go search for your school, click on your grade level, and hit ORDER. You can customize your supplies, add backpacks and water-bottles and stuff, too. In the mail a little while later comes one very snazy little school supply pack. They also provide marketing supplies for the PTA. Now, as much as I know you like those huge reams of paper and that glitter glue (don't huff it, shit burns, yo) having it pre-made is pretty freaking sweet.

And no one has to lose their mind.

The best part is that if you order as a PTA, your PTA gets 10% of the net sales rebated back.

And no one had to lose their minds. The best best part is that EZ School Supplies gave me a code to give to you for 10% off orders.

::If you scanned all that and are reading the last lines, here's the nutshell::

10% off School Supplies ordered with the code through this blog.

10% back to the PTA if your school signs up as a group.

Delivered to your door.

And no one had to lose their fucking minds.

I have this nifty little button, and it will sit in my sidebar all summer long. Click it, enter the promo number, and order away.

And I happen to have, right here in my hot little hands, a sample school supply pack that they sent me all the way up here in Canada, even though they don't actually ship to Canada. And I'm giving it away. My ten year old said it was "Wicked Cool" and that I couldn't give it away, but he still picks his nose, so his opinion doesn't matter.

Leave a comment, and tell me your worst PTA horror story. The worst that's ever happened to you, the worst you've heard, the most hideous PTA person you've ever met. Or just say, Hey, hook a sister up!  And remember, you've got some stiff competition. Winner by popular vote doesn't have to go school supply shopping at all this year. And maybe I'll throw a metric ruler or some maple syrup in the box, just for good measure.