The season for shopping for back to school. I don't know what is wrong with me this year. Usually I love shopping for school supplies. I have a confirmed obsession with buying office supplies and saving them for a rainy day. Most years I am giddy over all of the good deals I can get on crayons, paper, pens and glue. I always make sure to buy extras of the really cool stuff so I can use it for stuffing stockings when the time comes (my Mom, one of my sisters and I stuff each other's stockings at Christmas every year. Its great fun to actually be surprised by what I get instead of just stuffing the leftovers in my own stocking). Its also nice to know that if I need a box of 24 crayons I don't have to run out and spend $1.20 or more on it (Small town living) because I have already stocked up on an assortment of crayons ranging from 12 to 20 cents a box. Last year I think I must have bought 20+ boxes, and I thought I would use them all, but somehow we didn't and when I counted what I had left over from last year and added them to what I bought yesterday, I somehow came up with 34 boxes of 24 crayons. This is AFTER I took out the crayons the boys have to have for school. I guess I don't need to be so stingy with my crayons this year. We will certainly have plenty of crayons for making our own crayons when we feel like it.
Thinking back over the last few weeks, I have been excited to go shopping for school. I think it must have been something to do with taking five boys with us to WalMart (it is over an hour away to get to the nearest one) on a quest for cheap jeans and cheaper school supplies. The three younger boys have gotten to the stage where they want to pick everything out themselves. Surprisingly enough the older two don't care so much if they have their favorite cartoon character on their rear end and they are also perfectly willing to let me pick out the least expensive sneakers I can find. The other three however, were pickier about their shoe choices, and didn't want to wait and shop somewhere else for less expensive shoes. (Okay...I didn't spend more than $16 a pair for shoes, but I am usually a deal shopper and try not to pay more than $10-so it seems like a big difference to me.)
This year we will have four of the boys in school. This means that there are more school supplies to get, and unfortunately the WalMart we went to was less than well stocked. I did manage to find some crayola crayons in their regular home since the ones in the school supply section were gone, but some of the other good deals were empty, and there was only one pair of jeans in #2's size that I was looking for. They were out of quite a few things we were wanting to get, and when you have to travel more than fifty miles you don't really want to try to come back later. I should have listened to Carrot when she said WalMart is bad. We should have driven the extra 15 minutes to Target...but we were lured in by the cheap underwear, socks, jeans and school supplies.
It wasn't only WalMart's lack of friendly staff (there were not nearly enough registers open for the amount of people in line) and understocked shelves that got me down. It was having the boys there. Don't get me wrong, they were actually pretty well behaved, but there were a few moments where I just wanted to cry. They were trying to be helpful, bringing me things they thought they needed for school (which they did, but I needed to see the prices). It is very distracting to have up to five little boys showing you different things all at once. I won't even go into details about the near fist fight in the snack foods section of the store, except to say that two of my boys in particular don't get along very well with each other, and shopping with both of them is nearly always a disaster. Considering the amount of time they went before they started arguing, I thought they did pretty well.
Maybe next year I will take a day to shop on my own. I hate giving up a Saturday of family time though. Saturday is our day to get things done, and to spend time together, and a shopping trip to Longview always ends up taking most of the day because not only is there evil WalMart, but there is also Winco, land of affordable groceries. By the end of the day I was tired, and I wished for peace and quiet, but I am still glad we chose to spend the day as a family. It was worth it.