Schoooooool’s Out for Summer…

31 May

I sat outside waiting for the bus to deposit the boys at our stop on the last day of school.  Over the past week or two I have listened to numerous mothers claim to be “so excited” that school was almost over because they just “can’t wait” to get some “quality time ” with thier kids!

I am not one of those mothers.  

Don’t get me wrong.  I am always genuinely glad to see my boys get off the bus at the end of a long day apart from them… but frankly, it usually doesn’t last all that long.  No sooner do they cross the threshold and they start bickering with each other, arguing with me about homework, sneaking illicit snacks, and systematically destroying the house I spent all day cleaning…  And on this day, the last day of school, it was slightly terrifying to think that they wouldn’t get back on that bus for another ten weeks.  So as I watched them disembark and start to slowly trod across the grass toward me, I admit I sort of had to feign enthusiasm.  I threw up a feeble:  “Woo hoo!”  and started to sing my own middle aged mom version of Alice Cooper’s “Schoooooool’s Out for the Summer!!”   My younger two looked amused.  My fourth grader (ahem) — my fifth grader– shot me daggers as he stomped by and grouchily barked: “STOP EMBARASSING ME!!”

I followed the boys into the house and reminded them that we had big plans to head to a pool party at a friend’s house in 45 minutes, so whoever was hungry should have a snack and then should help me start pulling swimsuits, towels and sunscreen together.   Right about then the TV flipped on and thier minds went completely blank.  Schoooooool’s out for the summer… 

Snapping the TV off, I remind them that we are supposed to be getting ready for a party…  big fun… friends… swimming… boat drinks and the like…  naively assuming that this would motivate them to rally and cooperate to get ready.  Nope.  Feet dragging, muttering, sniping at each other, each boy disappeared into his room.   Several minutes later I hear another TV snap on somewhere in the house.  “What the…”  I wonder as I wander toward the sound of cartoon voices.  “Seriously, guys. POOL PARTY! Woo Hoo!  Let’s get ready to go!”  

In the kitchen I start going through backpacks in search of report cards.  My middle son comes back into the kitchen and sees me eyeing his end of the year grades with a pleased look on my face.  “Give me $10 bucks!”  He bleats, demanding an instant reward for the O’s on the page.

“Excuse me, young man, but your reward should be the feeling of accomplishment you derive when the grades you earn are an appropriate reflection of your effort and intelligence.  Your motivation should be your desire to do your best.  You know, Eleanor Roosevelt once said:  ‘Whah whah whah whah whah whah whah.’  Suffice it to say, I am not going to pay you for your report card.”  

Clearly my eloquent speech really hits home and he responds: “Whatever, Lady” and snaps on SpongeBob on the kitchen TV.  Just then my oldest son storms out of his room:  

“You didn’t sign me up for basketball and now the team is almost full!”  

“What?  It is?  Well, I called the coach and haven’t heard back.”  

“You never signed me up!”  

“OK, well, I did try, and don’t worry, we’ll get you signed up.”  

“Well the team is almost full!”

“Easy does it, son, I tried to get the information, I never heard back.  Just relax.  We’ll get you on the team.” 

“It’s almost full!” 

It dawned on me then that I was being sucked into the vortex of one of those circular, over-dramatized arguments that tweens are prone to provoke.  It also dawned on me that I had already spent nearly $600 on “Summer Basketball” plans for my not quite 11 year-old son who was now yelling at me for not getting him signed up in time for an ostensibly nearly full YMCA team that I had no information about despite doing my maternal due diligence.  It further dawned on me that he still needed new basketball shoes.  Make that $650 dollars.  And he was still yelling. 

            “You never signed me up!” 

I was starting to get a little ticked.  “What do you want me to do?!?  Alright everyone!  In the car!  On the double! We’ve got to go sign up for basketball RIGHT NOW!  Let’s get to the Y!  WHY?  Because John says so!” 

The look in his eyes told me that my little tirade had me inching toward the cliff called Crazy, so I switched gears:  “Would everyone please just get your swim suits on so we can go to the POOL. PARTY.!”   My oldest son headed off to get his suit, in the bathroom off the kitchen that he now claims as his own since we converted our former guest room into his tween bachelor digs.  Gasping for air and clutching his throat he dramatically staggers backwards out of the room choking out the following totally unnecessary and obnoxious proclamation: 


“Oh for crying out loud… get your suit and swim shirt so we can get out of here.” 

Pulling his shirt up to cover his nose and mouth, he cautiously inches forward toward the bathroom, face set in a grimace and arm outstretched like he’s determined to enter a burning building to save a child.  “Would you just get over it and flip the fan on?” I implore him, my tone exasperated, my eyes rolling back in my head.

Unfortunately we keep all the boys’ swimsuits and shirts in that bathroom, so once my older son staggered back out clutching his suit I had to send my middle son in to fight the noxious fumes and retrieve his.  Oh. The. Drama.  No sooner does he dart into the offensive chamber then the screaming starts:  “Aaaaah!  Aaaaaah!  Aaaaaah!  IT’S HORRIBLE!  IT’S HORRIBLE! YOU’RE TRYING TO KILL ME!!!!”  he shrieks as he sprints full speed out of the room, clutching his bathing suit in his flailing hands.  In the meantime my oldest son, airway still protected by his stretched out t-shirt, appears out of no where and tapes a hastily fabricated “KEEP OUT OF MY BATHROOM!! YOU STINK!!” sign on the door. All this fuss over their little brother having used the potty?  I go in to turn on the fan and air out what can’t be more than a little stinky gas. 

Sweet mother of god. 

“Toxic” doesn’t touch it. “Repellent” is not even in the ballpark.  To this day I cannot comprehend what sort of vile atrocity that small child could have eaten to cause such an unholy stench. Seriously, the corrosive fumes nearly singed my nose hair.  I flip on the fan and fumble under the sink for the anti-bacterial room spray, spraying the room liberally and then taking a few huffs myself in a vain attempt to purify my nasal passages.

Turing my attention back to the gruesome scene, I am determined to find the source of the smell.  It was then that I compiled the clues that allowed me to get to the bottom of it (so to speak).  I spy an empty toilet paper roll.  Fecal matter on the faucet handle.  And a brand new, formerly white swim shirt crumpled on the floor… It doesn’t take a detective to know that ‘putting poo and poo together makes gore.’ Sticking my head out of the room and inhaling deep agonal breaths, I gasp to my two older boys to get their younger brother, the Poopetrator of this crime against humanity.

Andrew, oblivious to the odor, but keenly aware of the pained look on his mother’s face, hesitantly approached the bathroom door.  “Son!  If there isn’t any toilet paper, you need to ask mommy to get you some! You made a big mess and didn’t tell anybody. That’s not OK! Do you know what the word ‘BIOHAZARD’ means!?” He hangs his little head and turns to leave the room.  That’s when I see it.  A skid mark on the back of his lower leg.  I exhale deeply and escort him to the bathtub.  The clock catches my eye.  The boys got off the bus at 12:40.  It is now 1:00. 

We are only 20 minutes into Summer Vacation.     

I’ve already had to turn off the television 27 times, deliver a commencement-style address about the virtue of intrinsic motivation for academic achievement, settle a contentious basketball arbitration, and channel my inner Nancy Drew to solve the ‘Case of the Exploding Bowels’ not to mention donning a respirator and HazMat suit to clean it all up.   And we still don’t have our swimsuits and sunscreen on…  

Only 109,440 minutes of summer left to go…

Sweet mother of god.


4 Responses to “Schoooooool’s Out for Summer…”

  1. inkyarn May 31, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Too funny!

  2. Julie poplawski June 6, 2009 at 6:46 am #

    I am with you sister.. last day of school = saddest day of the year.

  3. gina June 8, 2009 at 12:04 am #

    I love your blog!! My sister directed me to it today and I got a big kick out of your blogs!! I am totally with you on the last day of school. I seriously never understand those mom’s who LOVE summer break!! 🙂 You are a great writer!! I will check in again! Thanks for the laughs!! 🙂

  4. t June 17, 2010 at 12:30 am #

    I can’t believe how well you hit it on the head for me. As of today I was feeling exhausted and done by summer and it’s only June 15!!

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