So Long St. Tim’s

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June 15, 2017

 

Dear St. Timothy’s School,

Our relationship started in the fall of 1995.  My wife took a job with you, her second “real” job.

It was 2002 when our first, DJ, walked through your doors as a timid kindergartener.  Although her mother worked at the school, that did not stop DJ from holding onto her skirt and shedding a massive amount of tears at drop off for a significant portion of the year.

Fifteen years later, as our youngest finishes the eighth grade and we end our time with you, I reflect.

You have produced three honor roll students, two Mary’s in the Christmas pageant, one head cheerleader, at least one Student Body President (my memory fails me), a soloist at graduation, several runners (sort of) and a couple of Headmaster Award winners.  Each kid with varying personalities and talents were challenged.  Each left feeling as if she was capable of tackling the world.

When we were at our lowest, you surrounded our family – wrapping us in your safety.  You hired the teacher who bought our youngest new tennis shoes in the middle of the school day because I was so buried in grief I hadn’t noticed the sole was falling off.  You employed the art teacher who still meets my sophomore in college for lunch when she returns to town and the literature teacher who confessed that Stephanie was one of her all-time favorite kids.  There was the teacher who confessed to my child who wet her pants that she sometimes did the same; the one who brought To Kill A Mockingbird to life and the one who texted me with excitement when my kid cut 40 seconds off her mile in track.  Oh, and the one who didn’t get mad when our family went to school early to cover his car in post-it notes.

You allowed us to heal in an unconventional way – singing Christmas Carols in your hallways to an accepting audience; inviting Uncle Jesse and me to referee the staff/student annual basketball game; taking pictures when two alumni and a father arrived at the first day of school last fall dressed in old school uniforms.  You let us be us – supporting, giving space when appropriate, holding kids’ and father’s hands when needed.

I’m not sure, but I can’t imagine there are many schools that so readily allow kids to feel so safe, so comfortable that they can truly be themselves.  You have done just that for my girls.

I am forever indebted.

Thank you to all:  teachers, staff, administrators, parents and students for what you have done to build a most solid foundation in my kids and for helping to rebuild my family.

Danny Tanner

Late. Again.

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I was literally looking down the snout of my long nose at the poor parents who would not have their acts together this year.  I mean, I generally run late, but I have NEVER held up a bus for a school trip.

Last year it was a friend of Michelle’s.  I can’t remember where they were going.  Maybe to spend the night on the battleship in Wilmington.  The charter bus was packed and no Kimmy Gibbler.  All the kids were on, waiting.  I texted her mom.  Are you guys awake.  You know the bus leaves at 6:30.  It was 6:34.

She sent back and expletive – not for me, for herself.  I let them know she was running a bit late.

I had compassion, but I’ll have to say that on occasion when I get it right, I am so very proud.  I sort of relished in her misery.  I was actually THE parent with HER phone number who got to text and tell her they were late… because I, in fact, was on time!!  I seldom get to do that.  It was quite a treat.

I despise the parents who always get it right.  Their kids are on time.  They don’t forget things.  Their registration form is already in and they had their doctor sign the medical form.  More than once Nurse Huber has scolded me in the halls of St. Timothy’s for my lack of compliance.  I deserved it.  There are just so many rules.  I do not like rules.

Anyway, we were driving up Six Forks Road listening to my new favorite song, Sunday Candy by Chance the Rapper, headed to school for the eighth grade trip to Washington, DC.  I do like to drive up to school blasting new tunes.  Michelle, Stephanie and DJ keep me up to speed on musical trends.

I felt good.  It was 6:25.  The parking lot was less than 2 minutes away.  We could park, grab her bags and walk up the steps to the drop off spot and still be on time.  Score!

As I was waiting to turn off the four lane road into the shopping center parking lot, my phone rang.  It was an unfamiliar number.  It took a second to register.

Son-of-a-&*%#$.

I didn’t answer, but I knew.  I screwed up.

We parked quickly, grab the bags and scurried up the steps.  And there they were – every stinkin’ eighth grader on the bus, and worst of all, many of the parents, standing there wondering why the kids had not yet driven away.

As Michelle and I took the walk of shame, they got their answer.

I couldn’t think of another reason that those parents would stand around outside of the bus except to harass the last person.  The bags were packed, their kids were aboard.  The windows on the bus were tinted so they weren’t gonna wave goodbye.  No, they stood there to find out who the sorry last parent was going to be.  And it was me.

I kissed my kid on the forehead, tossed her bag toward the open luggage chamber at the bottom of the mammoth vehicle, and quickly walked toward my car.  I did not make eye contact with the other, more timely, adults.

The thing I’m most embarrassed about is that I, on my way that morning, seriously thought to myself: I wonder which family is going to hold up the bus this year.  I sort of chuckled to myself as I considered the others who are as disorganized as me.  It won’t be you buddy.  You’re actually early.  You’re such a good dad.

I was congratulating myself on Ridge Road and then got the phone call one street over.  Two exits down the beltline can make all the difference in the world.

 

Last First Day

STS last first day

I don’t cook these ideas up on my own.  They usually start as a small seed and then, the fam tends to play off each other and sim sala bim:  magic!

I have been a parent at St. Timothy’s School for 14 years, and actually, Lisa worked there before we had children.  Our family’s history there goes back to 1994.  This year, Michelle, my youngest, is an eighth grader.  When she graduates, we all graduate.

There are some pluses to this forward movement:

No more BINGO night!  This annual fundraiser crams 2,000 people in an unairconditioned gymnasium that was built for 50.  The Donovan family ALWAYS wins something.  In 14 years, we have never even left the place with a Chic Fil A coupon.

No more meet the teacher events!  I have met them.  I have socialized with some.  I can tell you the books we will read in eighth grade lit.  I know that my kids will write an essay for the Daugther’s of the Revolution and some lucky sucker will get chosen to represent our school on the district level of this prestigious contest.  Aren’t these daughters dead yet??

Overall though, leaving this place is going to be difficult.  We have a lot of feelings and memories tied to this sweet place.

So, DJ, Stephanie and I decided that on Michelle’s Last First Day of school at St. Timothy’s, we should celebrate.  We weren’t as concerned about recognizing her as beginning our year-long emotional exit strategy.  The Headmaster may have to peel my fingers off of the playground slide at the end of the graduation ceremony in May.

Our first, simple thought was that the older sisters would join Michelle and me at morning drop off on the first day of school.  And then, the what if’s began…

“What if… we all wear old uniforms to school that morning?”

“DJ, can you fit your butt into your middle school skort?”

“I’m insulted you would ask.  I can.  It’ll just be a mini-skort.”

“Dad, you can wear a kid’s sweatshirt.  It’ll be funny.”

“What if we make a poster that says:  Happy Last First Day at STS Michelle?”

“What if we take apples to the teachers?”

“What if we snap pictures, take a box of Kleenex and pretend like we can’t let her go?”

“Pretend?”

When she woke up that morning, I told her that her sisters had decided to go with us to drop her off.  That they wanted to see their former teachers.

She seemed excited.

When they barreled downstairs in her uniforms, with red and blue bows in their hair, she seemed a bit hesitant.

“Are you guys going inside the school with me?”  I could tell she was worried.

“Heck yeah!” her siblings replied.

“Dad, you’re not going to wear that sweatshirt.”

“I’m a bit chilly this morning.”

“It’s over 80 degrees!”

She was fine when we paraded through the office.  The faculty were all in.  When we walked outside toward the courtyard, where the entire STS middle school gathered waiting for the classroom doors to open, DJ yelled out at the top of her lungs:  “This is Michelle Tanner’s Last First Day at STS!  Let’s all celebrate y’all!”

Michelle, who is typically in the middle of our antics quietly whispered to me, “This is awkward.”

A familiar voice from the crowd, one of Michelle’s best friends, responded, “Michelle, your family is weird.”

We beamed with pride at the comment.

As we worked the crowd, she slowly slipped away disappearing into her circle of friends.  Our attentions moved from her to others we’ve seen grow up over the past 9 years.  Hugs, pinched cheeks, photographs, blown noses and fake tears.

At the end of the day, I asked if we totally embarrassed her.  She said no.  Our behavior was not unexpected.  She also said, “It was pretty cool to have you all there.”

Perhaps one of the best things about this small, intimate school environment is that kids and their families can be themselves.  We’ve known most of Michelle’s classmates for years.  They’ve walked through our rough times, and we’ve walked through theirs.  There is a ton of safety and acceptance at our school – and for that, I am thankful.

I love some Michael Coors

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It’s that time of year again.  Time to find the costume for the Winter Formal.  It’s in two weeks.  Both DJ and Stephanie have dates, which is no easy feat at an all girls’ school.  Appropriate clothing may be a more difficult challenge this year.

I took Stephanie to six dress stores last weekend.  If it had arm and neck holes, we tried it on.  Salesclerks give me the oddest stares.  I know they wonder why this dude is the sole adult with teenaged girls in their boutique.  I want to wear a sign across my chest:  Wife died, shut your pie hole.  Instead I try to act like I know what I’m doing, like Clinton from What Not To Wear:

“Texture…nice.”

“Shuuuut-Up!”

“Fit IS everything.”

“A line, much better than the B line.”

After a frustrating Saturday, I sent DJ on the prowl.  Within 30 minutes of their departure, I got a text with a pic of THE dress.  I thought Stephanie had it on backwards because the zipper was in the front.  Why would you need a zipper in the front?  It’s not a jacket.  You ain’t gonna need to get it off in a hurry!

Whatever…

This weekend we tackled shoes.  I took her to a store I thought was called DWI – but it’s actually DSW.  There were so many shoes there it upset my stomach.  I was overwhelmed.  I felt dizzy.  I didn’t know where to start.

I felt like a bird; I headed for sparkly shoes.  That’s what she used to like.

“Dad.  I haven’t worn sparkling shoes since I dressed up like Snow White, Halloween of 2004.”

Although she told me, I kept being drawn to shoes with jewels on them.

“Dad – DO NOT PICK OUT ONE MORE SHINY SHOE!  I AM NOT WEARING SEQUINS TO THE DANCE, especially on my feet!”

I pulled boxes off the shelf,she tried them on.  I then took pictures and sent them to DJ.

She responded to my first text:  “Put them back now!  They actually made me throw up a little bit.”

They weren’t that bad.

We finally settled on two pair, both returnable, both by Michael Coors.  I liked that cause he makes beer too.

When we got them home, I was told one pair looked like a 50-year-old lady and the other like a Hay Street prostitute.

“Well she must be good because these puppies were expensive.”

The crazy thing is that when DJ returned from her first dance at St. Mary’s School, I asked her if her feet hurt.  Her response?  “Oh no.  We took them off the minute we walked in the door.”

I’m gonna send her behind in bedroom slippers.  Shiny bedroom slippers.

Sunday Post 172: Before the Dance

When I was a kid, the entire neighborhood hung out at our house. I think this occurred for two reasons:

1)      My parents were cool and embraced a gaggle of kids tromping through our garage and back yard.

2)      We didn’t have too many other options.

The Martins owned a funeral home and that spooked those of us not in the business of dead. Mr. McDonnell had been in Vietnam, and he ran his house like a marine platoon. If Tracy didn’t get home in time to feed Viking, their horse sized greyhound, he’d put her butt on restriction for a week.

Mr. Mask was a principal, and no one was interested in that. Glenn Fair’s parents were older and perhaps agoraphobic ’cause we lived in that neighborhood for seven years and I only saw his mom once.

There were the Appletons who were very nice, but I’m fairly certain they were high a significant amount of time.

In the summer, the kids would congregate in our garage, sometimes before my brother and I even got up from the breakfast table. My mom would check on us periodically throughout the day and fairly regularly would bring out homemade popsicles. They’d melt faster than the candles at the Christmas Eve service – we had red Kool-Aid stains on our arms from June – September.

I want my house to feel like the home I grew up in. I want my kids and their friends to be comfortable coming over and hanging out.

Last week Stephanie finished middle school. She’s been at St. Timothy’s School for nine years. It’s a significant milestone for her – and for me too.

The school sponsored the eighth grade dance tonight. I’ve made it a habit to check in about a week prior to a big event to see how the pre-event social scene is stacking up. Sometimes there’s an invitation from another kid to get ready together at their house. Sometimes not.

When I think one my kids might be stuck flat ironing their hair with me or asking me if a particular pair of shoes looks good with a chosen dress, I start to panic. It’s then that I begin inviting kids to our house.

A babysitter was at my house late one afternoon when a pack of kids were coming over for a sleepover. She said, “My mom would never have allowed me to have a big sleepover.”

I guess that not all parents feel this desire or obligation to be a hub. But for some reason, I prefer it.

Maybe it’s because I never want my kid to feel left out. Perhaps it’s because I know Lisa would have done so. It could be I just saw it modeled and monkey see, monkey do.

It is really one of the easiest things I do – it cost me a couple of pizzas and some ice. But the return is a connection to my kids and to their friends which is priceless.

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Cupcakes, get your cupcakes

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Cupcake Days were established by our school PTA before my kids started attending there.  They are a longstanding tradition.

Each month, one grade has to bring in two dozen of the sugary boogers.  The PTA parents, I’d guess mostly moms, organize them and sell them to the kids after lunch for .50 each.  Used to be .25 but two years ago the price doubled.  Damn inflation.

Last Wednesday, I drove up at 7:45 AM, our usual drop off time, and there they were, the 5th grade Stepford moms:  aprons on, cart on the sidewalk, boxes of the delicious delicacies stacked one on top of the other.

“Geeeze!”  I had forgotten.  It was on my calendar.  Doesn’t do you any good if you don’t check it the night before.

“Dad, can we have our cupcake money?”

I scrambled through the ashtray.  I had six pennies and one nickel.

“Probably wouldn’t let you have one anyway since your sorry father forgot.”

“It’s OK dad,” my middle daughter assured me.  “I’ll borrow .50 from a friend.”

I lost the Sunday School book last week and my entire class had to change curriculum.  Now this.  I’m losing my mind!!!

I scurried home, showered and threw on my work clothes.  Snatched four quarters from the porcelain pig that DJ made when she was in sixth grade; if you’re a criminal, that’s where the Tanner Family booty is kept.  Darted to the Harris Teeter and nabbed two dozen, frosted in primary colors.

I hate buying the cupcakes.  I spent $18, and I’m afraid that I’m going to throw a kindergartener into a diabetic coma.  The red dyed butter and sugar concoction heaped on the top of their little cakes is 4 ½ inches high.  It can’t be good for you.

What’s more, I could give the school the $12 they will make from sales, save $6 and perhaps a small child’s life.

I wish I could stand on a soap box and be critical of the whole cupcake thing, you know, healthy eating and all.  But I’m afraid that someone in the cafeteria might start taking an inventory of my kids’ lunches.

“Dad, why do you keep putting bananas in our lunch boxes?  We don’t eat them!”

“It’s not for you baby.  It’s for me.  I put them in there so that I can pretend that I’m a good parent, encouraging you to eat well, concerned for your wellbeing.  Never bring them home.  Just throw them away.  Let’s pretend you eat them.”

“That’s weird.”

“One day you’ll understand.”

After dropping off the change and double pound of lard, I fought the beltline traffic to work, my guilt left on Rowan Street by the front doors of the school.

When I arrived home that night, Stephanie, the one who had so graciously given me a bye 10 hours earlier, met me at the door.

“Do you know what this is?” she inquired holding an unusual coin between her thumb and Mr. Pointer.

“It’s money,” I responded, not understanding the significance.

“Yes.  It is a Euro, money from another continent.  It’s the one that Pops brought back from Germany last month.”

“Verdammt…”

“Do you think that our school accepts euros to pay for cupcakes?”

“Nicht.”

“I don’t know what that means but the answer is no!”

“Hey, Stephanie?”

“Yes?”

“Did you see any kindergarteners in Nurse Huber’s office today?”

“Not when I walked by.”

At least one thing went right.

La Discoteca

smedeshall

I just discovered that my daughter is smarter than I am.  I knew it was coming.  Last year she put together some science mumbo-jumbo she’d learned in class to determine that her soy allergy was also acting up because she ate blue cheese.  Apparently they have some bacterial, ameboid, genome connection or something.

The only thing I learned in Mr. Seymour’s biology class was that the crush I had on Janice Templeton was stronger than I had ever imagined.  She sat right in front of me – whew.  That tight red sweater.  Oh, and Mr. Seymour’ derriere was out of proportion to the rest of his body.  Fascinating to watch.

I had to go with DJ to Parent’s Day on Friday at St. Mary’s. I think she would have been fine to go alone.  However, I would never pass up the opportunity to hang out with my baby.  We’re like peas and carrots.

Our first stop was Honors Biology.  We, well she, used the Bunsen burner.  I had hoped to heat up my coffee, but nooo, we had to put on these goofy goggles and burn wooden sticks with various elements from the periodic table dipped on their end.

Did you know cadmium makes fire turn green?  It’s fantastic.

I got no use for that Periodic Table.  You can’t even eat off of it.  And by the way, what is cadmium and what does it do?  I’ve never used the stuff myself.

The Environmental Science teacher invited parents to email her if we wanted to be guest lecturers.  I do.  I want to talk to this all-girls school about using less toilet paper.  It could save the planet.

But the most interesting class I attended with my 16-year-old was Spanish III.  El profesoro began by telling the parents that our participation that day would reflect on our children’s grades.  I have a smart one, so I knew that she could take a zero for just one day.  However, his enthusiasm drew me in.

We had to recite a Spanish tongue twister:  Juan junta juncos junto a la zanja.  Im not sure, but I think it means “John isn’t going to the jungle for a zebra.”

He then called me out.  “Senor Tanner.”

“Si?”

And then he threw out a slew of words I could not comprehend.  My answer?

“No.”

Apparently that was not good enough.  He wanted me to make up a sentence about my daughter from the list of vocabulary words he had presented at the beginning of the class.

Some of the words weren’t working for my sentence, like fea (which means ugly), la discoteca (night club) or loco (crazy).

My ugly daughter goes crazy at the night club.  Nah – not appropriate for Parents’ Day. 

I settled with “Yo orgullosa mi daughtero.”

“Don’t use that Fred Sanford Spanish with me Senor Tanner!” my professor scolded.  “Just adding an O at the end of a word.  That won’t cut it in here!”

“Pero el professoro, ‘daughter’ wasn’t on your definition list.”

The rest of the day was nice.  I got to see DJ dance which always makes me happy.  She’s just got so much on the ball.  A heck of a lot like her mother I think.

The Spanish teacher seems like fun.  I think I’m gonna invite him a la discoteca – buy him una cerveza o dos.  Maybe insuro an A-o.  Come to think of it, it would we wise-o to also include el calculoso professoro too!

Not a Creature was Stirring…

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The eight grade fall dance was coming.  I knew we had to act fast!

“Stephanie, do you want to host a sleepover the night of the dance?”

“Yea Dad!”

“We’d better get an email out quickly before some other parent decides they want to have twelve thirteen-year-olds over for 20 hours.  We don’t want to miss this opportunity.”

I actually don’t mind hosting.  I’m up late most nights anyway and… if you sit quietly and listen, you garner so much information in a really short period of time.  Which is good for a clueless father.

It took me, my afternoon sitter and another mom to get the dozen, and their stuff, to the house after school on Friday.  The excitement was palpable.

As the girls ate dinner, I was affirmed when one girl chirped up out of the blue, “I’m mean, like, abs are nice but some guys just take it too far.  I don’t like it when those muscles are all stickin’ out and stuff.”

How refreshing to hear.  I hope that 48-year-old women feel the same way.

One mom who ran by the house to drop her kid’s outfit off said, “You’re a brave man Danny Tanner.”

“I’m not afraid of no eigth grade girls.  I ran a Y day camp for five years.  They got nothin’ on me.”  And they don’t.  I can dish out as much as they can, maybe more.

As we neared the school for the drop off, two SUVs packed with adolescents, panic ensued in both cars.

“It’s only 7:02!  We can’t get there yet!  We have to be fashionably late.”

I had just pulled into the driveway of the school when I got the word.  “Stop!”  We pulled over, a good football field from the drop off point.  The windows flew open, One Direction’s The Best Song Ever cranking from my Dolby speakers, turned up to max decibels.  Bodies were hanging out of the windows, one or two popped out of the sunroof.  Of course, I couldn’t let a beat like that pass by – I too jumped out of the car and got my groove on, a couple of other parents passing us by in wonder – or disbelief.

When we picked the crew up, and the car doors closed, I think the dance was summed up by one of the wisest of the crew, “Boys are jerks!”  It was then qualified with, “You’re a man Mr. Tanner, you don’t count.”

“Yeah.  It’s always more fun getting ready than actually going,” Stephanie pitched in.

“I asked Bobby why he didn’t ask anyone to dance.  He said it would mess up his mojo.  I told him, ‘You’re at a small, private school.  Any mojo you had went out the door when you made the decision to attend this institution.'”

As the girls got into their PJ’s, one asked, “Mr. Tanner, do you have a wash cloth so I can get all of this makeup off?”

“Yea.  I have a paint scraper and a chisel too if you need it.”

About 10 PM I pulled Stephanie into my bedroom.  “At 1:30, the girls need to be quiet.  If they’re not, I’m coming out of my room in my underwear and yelling, and you don’t want that do you?”

“Ah, no.”

“Great!”

About 1 AM, it was like the night before Christmas – not a creature was stirring, not even Kimmey Gibler.

Oh, my car still smells like cotton candy.

Sunday Post 129: I Prefer Married

You’d think after 3 years I’d stop finding stuff that surprised me about being a widower (I still can’t believe that is an adjective that can be used to describe me).  I just realized that I am not involved, in the least, at DJ’s school.  I guess I’m not really involved in Stephanie and Michelle’s school either.  But because I know a lot of folks there, I sort of feel like I have an in to what’s going on.  But with DJ, I am clueless.

Lisa did that.  Although she worked, she also helped with the PTA, assisted in the kids’ classrooms, gave the teachers a break at lunch, and sometimes drove for field trips.  In the process, she met other parents.  Those relationships led to connections for me.  She did the same thing at the swim club – she volunteered for swim meets.  She met other moms.  She signed me up to be a timer or a kid-pusher.  I felt a part – because of her.

Last week I cancelled our pool membership.  We never go anymore.  I don’t know anyone there.  I just found myself sitting on a lawn chair reading a magazine, missing Lisa.  Why pay $200 a month for that?  I can miss her in my own yard for free.

Lisa controlled our social calendar.  “We’re going out on Friday with the Smiths.  Wear khaki’s and your navy jacket.”

“Who are the Smiths?  Do I know them?”

“You’ll recognize them when we get there.  He’s bald – first name is Jack.  You manned the mechanical bull at the school carnival with him last year.”

“Oh yea.  The time you signed me up for a two-hour shift without my permission.”

“They needed help.  I knew you’d just be standing there.  Didn’t hurt you did it?  And, you made a new friend.”

“Who?”

“Jack Smith.”

“Oh.  Yeah.  Jack.”

Yes – she volunteered, built our relationships, set our social calendar and even told me what to wear.  Now I have to sign up – I hate to sign up!  And what’s worse is now I have to do it on-line through some “Sign Up Genie.”  By the time I get around to volunteering, there’s nothing left but taking out the garbage after the event is over – a one man job no doubt.  No friend there.

The school functions stink without a spouse.  She was always there for me.  I always had someone to talk to.  Now if the conversation ends with the person I’m chatting with, I’m alone.  My crutch is gone.  I have to seek out some other poor soul or hover around the ham biscuits like I haven’t eaten all day.  “Sure am hungry.  No time to talk.  Gonna hit the food table… AGAIN.”  I’d rather have a root canal than attend a party without a spouse.

And yet, my kids miss out too.  My lack of involvement hurts their ability to get connected to other families.  My desire to avoid the social crowds without my security blanket keeps them from the family events – you know, the ones where you all pull up together and then your kids leave you until it’s time to go home.

I have to do better.  I need to join a committee; maybe lawn beautification or something.  I need to find another single soul at school who needs some party company too.  Maybe we can hit the carnival in tandem, serve punch together, man the mechanical bull.

I can do it.  But I sure do prefer married.

End of Year Assembly

certificate

Last year at the school’s end of year Award’s Ceremony, I sat in the balcony.  I got there late, and the chapel at the kids’ school is small.  There are about 20 chairs upstairs by the organ.  The thing I like about not being in the main sanctuary is I can day-dream, check my phone or doze off when things get slow, and no one up there notices cause they’re all asleep too.  It’s reserved for the working parents who were on a conference call and had to act like thier cell phone was losing reception when they pulled in to the school parking lot.  Incedentally, there were no spots left so we all had to park a two mile walk from the school.

This year was better than last.  The former Spanish teacher gave awards to every 3rd, 4th or 5th grader who could say “uno.”  It took foooorever.

I like it when the person up front calls the kids’ names quickly and in alphabetical order.  Some say the child’s name and then wait for them to shimmy out of their pew, walk down the long aisle, get their hand securely on their certificate and go stand on one of the long risers to pose for their mug shot.  Once they are fully in place, they call the next child’s name.  The process then begins again.  It also takes foooorever.

Nah, I want them to call them out rapid fire.  Perhaps have another adult poised to pass out the white pieces of paper with the school emblem emblazoned on the top for a quick smile and handshake.

Even better, yell out the name and toss the certificate on the floor in front of the altar.  The kids could dive for them which might make the assembly a little more interesting.

I absolutely hate it when they have a long list of kids to recognize and they don’t call them out in alphabetical order.  Then you have no idea how many more are left before you can escape.

For example, I know that 6th, 7th and 8th grades each will have a list for A/B Honor Role and for A Honor Role.  That’s 26 letters of the alphabet times six lists for a total of 156 potential first letters of last names to be called before I can scoot down the steps, congratulate my kid and head to the nearby Starbucks for the coffee I missed cause I had to be at school so early.

“Jane Abernathy…Jerry Adams…Bonnie Blalock…”

Only 155 more letters possible.

At the end of the sixth grade A/B recognition, I only have to sit through 130 more letters.  And boy, when they skip from Harris to Smith with no other kids in between, I’ve knocked out ten letters within less than a second.  I feel so much progress!

At one of these annual ceremonies, the Daughter’s of the American Revolution give out an award for the best essay.  Shouldn’t they now be called the great-great-great-granddaughters of the Revolution?  Who is still in this group?  What do you write an essay on, the corset?

I was surprised to Google and find out that there are 170,000 DsAR in our country.  That is many more than I originally estimated – which was 3.

I don’t think middle school kids in the band should receive an award.  I think it should go to their parents.

Oh, and don’t believe all the hype about overweight, out of shape kids.  Virtually every child at our school passed the Presidential Physical Fitness test, including Michelle.  Come to think of it, maybe the standards have waned a bit.  When I was a kid, you had to bench press your mother, run in to double dutch and high jump across the jungle gym to pass.  I don’t know what the criteria is now, but if my kids got it, I’m guessing it’s not the same.

When we got home and told DJ of Michelle’s award, she said, “That’s unusual.  A Tanner has never been recognized in P.E.  Neeever.”

I am proud to announce that Stephanie was one of only 5 kids in the 7th grade to get straight As!  Seeing her up there was worth weeding through the other 123 letters of the alphabet that preceded her announcement.

Actually Michelle had them too, but they don’t call them out in assembly until middle school.  Oh well, maybe next year.