Thursday, September 13, 2007

Back-to-School – or is it Reality Bites “Back?”

The back-to-school frenzy officially took hold in my household when the girls came home from camp a month ago. First, though, we had “re-entry” to life with rules, boundaries, showering – thank goodness -- and yes, air conditioning! Oh, did I forget to say parents? That, too. So once the five of us got reacquainted (I am including our pup, Maggie), the hunt for the clothing and school supplies began.

Some might consider it an adventure – the concept anyway. But it has become more a right of passage to dress the part – up to the “affordable minute” -- from accessorized head to sneakered toe (Converse or Vans, of course!) -- and the back pack or side slung bag is a must, in the right color. We went for black for the freshman, Sydney, and lilac for the 6th grader, Carly. It works. But, what to do about capacity – do we buy the double zipper, plus the three compartments inside, with the exterior water bottle (“mom, that’s for hikers”, said my little one, Carly). We decided on the one with organizational features and not worry about thirst-quenching. Sydney went for the quintessential simple black one – two exterior zippers, one front compartment and a few secret stash places on the inside. Carly’s was straightforward, and a lot less money!

Next on our list was school supplies. We searched high and low for the cool, the chic, the just right for each kid. So to Office Max, Staples, Office Depot and Target we ventured, and a few zeros later, procured the perfect combination of striped, plaid, argyle, solid saturated color, multi-zippered, spiral or perfect bound, sticky, but not too much, not-to-dry and wet ink white-out or white tape, a variety of folders, binders, index cards, pens, pencils, dividers, accordion organizers, dictionaries, thesauruses, locker magnets, combination locks, protractors, calculators, graph and lined paper – oh, and, composition books! I probably forgot a few items, but you get the gist.

Here’s just some of what was selected:

Amassing the supplies in living color

Carly went for the fluorescent flowers against the black
Syd went for the stripes with coordinating pastels

All told, it took nearly a full week to gear the girls up. We had fun, we had a lot of laughs – and I was able to give them a little lesson in design trending along the way. Was it any surprise that some of the patterns and prints we saw in the clothing stores were also applied to the packaging or covers of our school supplies? “We are such a fashion-forward industry,” I tell them! Well, they’re all set! Me? Another story.

It all gets quiet the night before. Girls tucked in, and magically everything is all ready when the kids awaken. Syd’s out the door first…Carly’s backpack must be in the kitchen!

Now, I have all the rejects to return…better have the receipts, better know what I bought from where, better have my patience to do it within the 10-day-mark. Get ready, get set. Because once these are restocked, I’ll be off for the Halloween extravaganza. Scary thought.


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