Michelle's Front Page

A love affair

August 17th, 2011

I love office supplies. When my mom finds a great brand of pen, she emails me to tell me about it. I’m the dork in the office who uses funky colored paper clips bought at her own expense instead of the standard boring silver ones provided. When I quit working, I was still using a paper and pen calendar because I loved my pretty red leather Franklin Covey organizer too much to give it up for an electronic gadget. (Although my mom now uses a pretty system, also paper based, that I covet because it is so pretty.) My desk was always stocked with a large pencil cup (always a large OU mug – gotta represent for my alma mater), well out of the reach of “borrowing” fingers, jammed full of fun pens and pencils in every shade. I only signed things in black ink when it was absolutely required. I kept a smaller cup filled with stolen hotel and drug rep pens for other people to use. There were always a variety of note pads in easy reach – some had cute shapes, some cute sayings, and some had pretty designs but they all made me smile.

When I was in school, the best day was the first day of school (okay, that is a lie…the last day was the best day but the first day was a close second). I picked out all of my school supplies with care. I loved organizing my new supplies whether they be a big new box of crayons, pencils, scissors, and glue in the prettiest pencil box I could find or a few years later my super cool purple trapper keeper in my red Jordache messenger style book bag. I just made me happy to see all of those pretty supplies which seemed to hold so much potential at the beginning of each year.

I tell you all of that to tell you this: my daughter’s kindergarten class is likely using the Communist Manifesto starring Dick and Jane for a reading primer. I was given this extensive and very specific (colors and brands and sizes) list of items I was required to purchase for her. I was rather taken aback – would they really use 5 boxes of crayons (Crayola, 24 ct) and 9 glue sticks (Elmers, .77 ozs) and 24 pencils (Ticonderoga, sharpened) over the course of the year? After spending over $100 when I added in a lunch box and back pack, I had the required items. Then I learned that she wouldn’t even get to use the items I purchased. Everything goes into a community basket in the classroom. The only items she can claim ownership of are her backpack and lunch box.

While my little bleeding social worker heart is happy that if a family is unable to afford all of the items on the list that child will never feel inferior because we all bought more than was needed and pooled it all together, my office supply loving self is sad that Sabrina doesn’t know the fun of lining up her new supplies and looking at them daily in anticipation of the beginning of the new year. The list seemed excessive and the lack of ownership seems to encourage a lack of love and respect for the supplies. I guess she will have to console herself with the new box of 64 crayons (sharpener included) I bought myself her to use here at home.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 12:37 pm and is filed under parenting. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “A love affair”

  1. heather Says:

    I have a very similar love of office supplies. Post-job, I have the pretty stuff in my desk pencil cup and the crap pens in the kitchen for everyone else. Also, I don’t sharpen a lot of my pencils, so that they don’t walk away with my (somewhat careless) hubby.

    I bought Jack a 64 pack of crayons last year and was so proud when he fell in love with them like it was Christmas morning. The sisters I never allowed to touch them! 🙂

  2. rachel Says:

    I’m right there with you on pretty office/school supplies. I loved back to school shopping as a kid! I remember thinking last year that some of the moms were mean to go school supply shopping without their kids. Then I saw your and Crystal’s lists this year and I totally get it. There is no joy in that supply list. I still fondly remember my trapper keepers and the years when my mom would give in and let me get the pretty colored pens or paper. But there is no reason why the at-home supplies and desk can’t be as pretty and fun as you want. Somehow I doubt boys care about that stuff so I don’t see a pretty desk set up in my future with Ian. He doesn’t even like to color. Can I come over and share your big pretty box of crayons?

  3. Jane Says:

    Another fan of office supplies here, too. See that red pen in your pic? My favorite! I have it in blue and black, too – with BOLD point refills. I always sign in blue so I know I have my original documents. I have a little crayon fiend here…She likes to take them out of the box and fan the out in a deep bowl or cup so she can see the pretty colors! Sigh. Yep. Heaven.

  4. Adina Says:

    I would cut someone for a box of mini binder clips. Could they be any cuter? LOVE THEM. I worked at a Sexual Assault Center after graduate school and the office manager gave me a box as a going away present when I left. Also, loved my Trapper Keeper. Reading about the lists makes me sad too. I love school supplies. I loved buying my books for college (yet not paying for them). I still use a paper and pen planner. I carry it in my purse/diaper bag. Even if my husband wasn’t a super-cool-cell-phone-Nazi, I’d still keep a paper one.

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