Thursday, January 17, 2008

Overdrawn

*Update-5:25pm today as I'm about to begin an aerobics class, my cell phone rings.
"Mom? Hey, I need you to pick me up a black three ring binder on your way home. I have to have it for choir tomorrow." "You HAVE to have it for tomorrow?" "Yes." "And when did you find out about this?" "Today." Holy treble clef Batman.

Would someone please hand me a rag and some soap so I can wash this ATM sign off of my forehead? I can’t see it, but it must be there. Almost on a daily basis my child walks up to me, asks for money for some kind of school or club related issue and walks off with at least a ten dollar bill. She rapes and pillages my pockets with the skill of a pirate. I knew when I gave birth parenthood would be fraught with expenses like college, food and Wiis. I just didn’t expect all of these nickel and dime costs that leave me with nothing in my pockets but chap stick and fuzz. Some parents look forward to the day when their children move away, and they get a bedroom they can turn into an office or workout room. I look forward to the day when I open my billfold for my lunch money and find a $20 bill. Or a $10 bill. Heck, I’d take a $5.

There’s a fee for every club, a fee for books, a charge for classroom supplies and a collection for club T-shirts. This morning was a choir T-shirt. Bam! $10.25. “And you need this when? Today? Did you just find out about this or have you been forgetting to tell me about it for the last week? Oh, you just found out yesterday. Hmm. Let me grab my billfold. Hmm. Can I write a check?” My favorite fee so far this year was the $12 we had to pay for materials so Teen Angel could make a pair of boxer shorts in Life Skills class. Since August we’ve forked over tens and twenties to the school system like a senior citizen feeding the nickel slots.

Then there’s lunch money. It’s amazing how much money that child can spend on food she claims she doesn’t eat because it’s so horrible. Actually, a school lunch is pretty cheap, but it sure seems like she runs out of money in her lunch account only on days when I’m broke. She once asked me for lunch money on a particularly stressful morning when I didn’t have a dime. It was at this point I asked her if the grade school cafeteria accepted credit cards. Rather huffily, I said the lunch lady would just have to wait ‘til pay day. The lunch lady told me later that when my little second grader rolled through the cafeteria line and was asked if she had brought any money to add to her account, she told them rather righteously that her momma said they’d just have to wait ‘til pay day. Sweet.

All of this isn’t her fault. It’s the cost of sending a child to school these days. I guess I should be glad that I live a country where public education is so accessible and in most places is pretty darn good. It’s hard to remember though when I’m forking over my last few dollars to the high school student behind the counter at McDonalds and he can’t make change. Doesn’t he know I need that change? Teen Angel has a club meeting tomorrow night and it’s going to cost me $10.

4 comments:

Dorky Dad said...

So do I have to ask you for cash or do I give you my bank card? And then do I tell you my PIN or do you have those little buttons?

janjanmom said...

Nothing free ever is. Especially free education!

oreneta said...

YES!!! You get so nickle and dimed...every time you turn around...and why is it that they always tell you at the last minute like there you are Mrs. Freaking Cleaver and have nothing better to do, and nothing planned????

Sorry. I'll stop shouting now, must have hit a nerve there. Or three.

Cruise Mom said...

Oh yeah, do I hear you! My empty billfold can totally relate.