Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Life And Times Of A Frustrated PTO President

So you know that whole thing about me being the PTO pres?

Yeah, not a good idea.

I consider myself, overall, to be a rather optimistic person. The grass is always greener wherever I am, my cup is half full, etc, etc, but my brief time as the PTO pres has led me to believe that there are evil forces working against me and their name usually ends with ___________School District.

Who knew?

I spent most of yesterday (6.25 hours to be exact) working my way through the crazy world that is life within a school district. There are rules and regs at every turn, and just when you think you've made some progress, a new series of rules and regs jumps out and frankly scares the crud out of you.

My goal yesterday was to get T-shirt order forms copied and placed into every teacher's mailbox so they could go out today with the infamous "Wednesday Folder," a concept I believe in wholeheartedly but is one that is making me claw my own eyes out.

The task seemed simple enough but as one would expect, a few obstacles were thrown in my way.

First of all, our school houses the district's Spanish immersion program which is one that I am fascinated with and that two of my four children are currently enrolled in. I find it fantastic but that is neither here nor there. The obstacle it creates is that every flier that comes from our school must go home in English and Spanish as we have a ton of native Spanish speakers in our school. This would not be a difficult task if A) the district would allow us to use it's translation services or B) the district allowed us to us it's print shop services.

Because my grasp of the Spanish language ends with "pollo enchilada," (or is it enchillada a la pollo? See what I mean?) I am not much help in the translation department. Luckily, I am married to the tallest, whitest, Spanish-speaking gringo in the world, so this hasn't been too much of a problem. After several emails back and forth with him, I manage to get my order form translated. Muchos gracias.

Now I am left to copy. The PTO isn't allowed, under section VII, subparagraph II of the "Ways to Make Karen Hate Us Handbook" to make copies at the school. So I march mine and Austin's not-so-little fannies to Kinko's and get copying.

Ready for this?

1 1/2 hours and $173.82 later, I am finished. Apparently, 850 double-sided copies is literally worth it's weight in gold. I even had to pay to have them all cut apart, or else I firmly believe I would still be standing at Kinko's sliding my lime green fliers through the papercutter right. friggin. now.

After I had loaded everything back into the car, I set out for the school where the real fun began because those 850 fliers where arranged into two piles of 425, and I needed them in groups of 30 to go to the teachers. So I stood, with the help of my sweet friend Tracy, and counted to 30 approximately 274 times. Something like that.

And while I did that, my four children ran about the school as if they owned the place and I became THAT MOM. The one who has no control of her offspring and apparently doesn't know how babies get made.

As Tracy and I patiently counted away, a few teachers came through the lounge and remarked that it was a bit late to be getting them fliers if we wanted them in the Wednesday folders.

I quickly shot them the look of death, wiped the sweat from my brow, and carried on.

The good news is that when my two children returned from school today, I checked their folders and lo and behold, they did have a T-shirt order form in them! Hooray! Victory!

If I hadn't spent all my money at Kinko's, I could actually afford to get my kids some shirts too. (Not to worry, reimbursement pending...)

So my question now is, if it was this difficult just to get the order forms OUT, what will it be like when we start getting orders IN?


tharker said...

It really does sound like the district has a "How to make Karen hate us" handbook, and they are following it to a T. I am so sorry for the fiasco yesterday.

I really should have gotten out of my van after talking with you and helped you count to 30...approximately 274 times. Yeah. Sorry, I suck!

Next time tell me to get my carcass out of the van!

My children's order forms are all signed and ready to go into the PTO box manana. How's that for Spainish???

tharker said...

Except that I spelled Spanish wrong. Nice.

lindsay>boo said...

Yeah, that was a horrible day yesterday. My favorite line of the post was, "I became THAT MOM. The one who has no control of her offspring and apparently doesn't know how babies get made." Just know that your wretched day wasn't for nothing---it made quite the entertaining story to read and now all the kids at our school will {hopefully} be wearing school shirts and showing some spirit.

Kelly said...

Uh...Yeah...I thought I had it bad because I always feel like kicking our school's copy machines. I can't believe they wont let the PTO use their machines! CRAZY.

Oh, and I can totally envision you and your "look of death", I would've done the same.

Thank goodness for Senor Brad.

Cindy said...

Umm. Hi. Remember me? The friend that literally lives a hop, skip and jump away from the school. The one who has offered, over and over, to help in a PTO crisis. Well, my friend, in case you don't know the definition: that was a crisis and I would have been happy to help out with kids, or counting or whatever. PLEASE CALL ME!!! I'm never too busy to keep you from pulling your hair out. I'll be at the school in the morning. Do you have anything I could pick up and handle for you while I am there???

Jacob and Annette Rose said...

Ok... so I am laughing so hard I'm crying and trying to read it all over to Jacob, which caused me to laugh even harder. Probably because I can totally see that being me, and you are SO. FRIGGIN. FUNNY. when you tell a story. What a nightmare. You are a rock star though to get all of that done. Are you going to run for re-election next year?

Dandee said...

You are a saint. There are no more words.

GREENLAW said...

very entertaining read, although i'm sorry it's at your expense! :) i've been at the school WAY more than usual this year as we have 3 there... i'm SO glad i'm not in charge of the GIGANTIC carnival happening in 2 weeks! mucha suerte con todo! :)

AOlson said...

We got our order forms in our enevlopes too. Thank you so much for all of your hard work. They are filled out and ready to deliver to your box.

I would have LOVED to have seen the "look of death". So funny!

I'm with Cindy. I am literally right next to the school. I CAN DO STUFF TOO.

hatch said...

Karen I only wish our kids went to the same school! As annoying as the whole --------- School District rules are at least it would be fun working with you. You crack me up.

Good for you for giving the look of death to those teachers. Sometimes they can be so crabby about stuff. I just volenteered to be the box top mommy! Thats as ambious as I want to be with the whole PTO thing. The copy policy is so annoying and expensive. Would it be worth it in the end for the PTO to purchase there own machine? Anyways sorry to hear about your day, but thanks for the laughs.

stylist to the stars said...

Karen- Let me know what I can do to help. Maybe going out after the kids are asleep? Dividing up papers? Delegating? Taking down the school district?

Ms. Kristen said...

Very impressive! You are numbero uno PTO presidente!
I loved the visual of your children running around the school! ha! At least they were inside the building! They could always come to visit Ms. Kristen while you do your work! Serious!

Sarah said...

It's totally annoying how difficult things have to be sometimes. I don't understand why they won't let you copy there, especially if you brought you're own paper and stuff. Good luck on your future projects!

HLMeeks said...

Oh, thank you. This was wonderful.
Just a note to tell you I just bookmarked you (at the TOP!)on my list of Blog file links.
I only spent $53 and two hours at the copy place yesterday, but we have a small school, and I'm not done papering the world about this fall's Book Fair, yet. Thanks again for your perspective!

Michele said...

Rethinking that, "I'm actually enjoying it" comment? Frankly, that's a load of BS that you can't use their copiers. My dad read your blog and said, "She's just like your mom. When you want to get something done, ask the busiest person."

PRP said...

Thanks Mark!

Anonymous said...

I'm pres. of our school's PTO this year too and it's certainly a learning experience!
Keep your chin up---I keep telling myself we have to find a rhythm at SOME point :)

polka dots said...

Wow! After all that, every kid better order a shirt!

Randi said...

I had to laugh at this! It's so true how thankless being on the PTO can be sometimes! Way to go for getting it done, though.

(And now I'm off to get *back* to the school for the jog-a-thon, as well as a committee meeting, etc... with 3 non-school kids in tow -- I feel your pain!)

Kelly Mammon said...

What is up with this school??? Do they not know that everything you do is for the betterment of this school and the children that attend it? I feel so bad for you that you have to deal with a school that gives your group no credit for trying to help them out.