Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Think I Will Stick to Cupcake Duty!

Despite the fact that I am a very busy career mom, I volunteer and chaperone at my 10-year old daughters school as much as I can throughout the year. It is a simple way to let her know that being a part of her life is important to me and I know from the reaction I get that it makes her happy too. She makes me laugh by always introducing me to her friends and the other parents by saying "this is my mom, she is 38 and does not look 38 and she does makeup and hair for models in magazines and books and tv." She is pretty modest, (NOT!) What she does not realize is that by doing this she usually alienates me immediately and nobody wants to be my "friend" for the day. I am glad that this alienation no longer leaves emotional scars as it did back in high school... if it did I think I would have to remind her not to do this.... AGAIN. The kids on the other hand love it; making the parents snarl at me even more because all of a sudden I am the "cool mom".

Yesterday however I felt FAR from the "cool mom"; I felt more like the wicked witch of the judgemental west.  This bothered me because I have never considered myself as being judgmental; except for the occasional complainer who could do better in life but won't, or stupid people... I have no patience for them.Okay, so maybe I can be a little judgmental from time to time, I don't think bad or talk bad about these people.... I just want to "crush their heads" and make them smarter. (If you don't get that reference Google "crush your head", or search it on YouTube... you will learn something new to use from time to time and it will likely make you laugh.) Moving on... although I have volunteered a million times the past 5 years, I have never gone on a field trip despite her begging me to go. It just seemed stressful with that huge responsibility to watch other people's kids who may or may not behave; being a problem solver, I would end up wanting to take all the bad ones home and FIX them so it did not sound like something I should do. I would much rather go to the class parties and pass out cupcakes, or take pictures, make them giggle, or file papers. However being that this would be her LAST field trip at this school I figured okay... you gotta suck it up and go, and I did. St. Augustine bound we were at 7 am; a caravan of 4 charter buses carting the entire 4th grade class with a three hour drive ahead of us. GOD HELP US!

I am going to try and make this a cliff note version of the events of the day... but I have to keep it interesting so bare with me.

Phase 1: Dictator Bus Driver
Once we boarded our bus, we got a lecture... the law was laid down by a handsome African American man who was dressed in black slacks, a button up white shirt, a black tie, and a cute little Jazz-inspired black- ribboned fedora on his head. He not only took his job seriously, he had style (which I appreciated of course) but when he spoke, I listened he was quite passionate (and a bit scary!) "DO NOT EAT or chew gum on MY BUS", he told us, "and if your cup does not look like this (holding up his screw top coffee mug) you DO NOT DRINK on MY bus either!" We have a bathroom, but you may NOT use it unless you are about to SOIL your pants... so essentially we DO NOT have a bathroom. In the event that you have a bathroom EMERGENCY, NO SOLIDS only LIQUIDS."  He went on with  his dictator-inspired bus rules and in the end I remembered EVERY word. It was WAY too early for this kind of thing but a man with passion always gets a thumbs up in my book. Off we went.. and now I know why HE was bus #1!

Phase 2: Redneck Yells
Thirty minutes into the drive I get a text from my friend who was on bus #2 saying that a little girl was going to be sick... barf bag was in hand and I had to laugh out loud, let the day begin! YAHOOO!!!! (30 minutes after the text we had to pull over at a rest area so this little girl could get off the bus with her mom.) We got to our destination and began our guided tour of Fort Castillo de San Marcos. I realized VERY quickly that I would still fall asleep in history class; some things NEVER change! The highlight of this tour was when we were watching the musket demonstration. A group of unguided redneck youngsters with their passive parents were YELLING from the gun desk... "JUST SHOOT THE GUN!" After about 5 loud and obnoxiously rude yells to "shoot the gun!" our tour guide yelled back at them "That's enough be quiet!!!" to which one of the kids yelled back "YOU BE QUIET!"  Ahhh... gotta love disrespectful kids and their wonderful parents (this is the kind of kid I worried about preventing me from ever going on a field trip)

Entering Fort Castillo de San Marcos

Phase 3: The Voice of Fingers on a Chalkboard!
Our next guided tour was a trolley tour through St. Augustine...and Linda was our trolley driver. A very sweaty little old lady who was as kind as could be but had the voice of a squeaky wheel. As she welcomed us aboard I could not help but look at my itinerary to see how long we would have to listen to her voice... an  hour, LOVELY! However, despite her slow motion shrill voice, she WAS the most educational tour guide of the day; she kept my interest and I actually retained some of what she said. The most upsetting part was that there were a lot of great picture opportunities that were ruined, being that we were moving and power lines, cars, and kids fuzzy heads were blocking my camera.
(Here are two pictures I managed to get from the trolley)

Memorial Presbyterian Church built by Mr. Flagler in memory of his daughter Jennie Louise 
who passed away on her way to visit him
 The famous "Magnolia Avenue"  
this exact view was used in one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump

Phase 4: If you give a kid a gift store....
We ate lunch outdoors in the Old Jail picnic area just outside the gift store which the barrage of kids swarmed like hornets as they chewed their last bites of food. You would have thought they had never seen a gift shop... never in their lives had they EVER seen a spoon with a town's name, a cheap set of handcuffs, a fake leather whip, a pirates hat, or a stuffed frog just to name a few of the things that were purchased. These kids had money and THEY WANTED TO SPEND IT! I of course, being the "Dave Ramsey mom" that I am, I told Baleigh that the only practical thing to buy would be a Christmas tree ornament that she could keep forever... and since that did not excite her at ALL, she decided to forfeit my offer to pitch in and she spent her entire $4 of her own money on a bracelet that had no meaning at all. I had a "moment" in this store as I watched these little children spend money just to spend money... thank GOD they are too young for Visa cards! It made me want to sit them down and give them a crash course in Financial Peace University. (Most of the parents there needed it too).

Phase 4: Jailtime...
It was time for the tour of the old jail... and I must say that was pretty cool. To see how they had to live and hear what the inmates had to eat and do was pretty awful. Not to mention the gallows that were in clear view... a harsh reality of what once was. Kind of creepy I must say. The kids were totally freaked out.

My daughter's teacher being arrested for cussin' and spittin' in town

Phase 5: ZZZZZZZ......
Our last event of the day was a guided tour through the Florida Heritage Museum. Once again I was reminded how much I hated history class. The most entertaining part was when the guide asked the kids if there were any questions as he finished his lesson on the first Indians to inhabit Florida and a kid raised their hand and said "Why is he naked?" of course all the kids, (and parents) laughed. It was by far for me the  most boring hour of the day. And the kids were getting antsy and harder to contain.

The Naked Indian
(covered in tattoos)

Phase 5: Dinnertime and LOAD EM UP
Subway was catered in  for all the kids and parents but being that I am now gluten and dairy free for health reasons I turned my head as I dipped my sweet potato tortilla chips in hummus, and finished with my dessert of dairy free yogurt, and was happy it was time to go home. Many of the kids went BACK into the gift shop being that they had money left, so instead of taking all their money to open a savings account... I volunteered to take the ones that were not going in back to our bus and call it a day.

Baleigh being tough... perhaps a future warden?

Final words:
As we drove down the lost and lonely highway back to Spring Hill, I witnessed the parents next to me giving their child (who was sitting with my daughter behind me) food... only to be called out by "Dictator Andre' " and had to chuckle. He literally picked up his CB intercom microphone and said... "If I catch ANYONE else eatin' on MY bus I am going to pull over" HAHA This was right after I made Baleigh come sit with me after catching her trying to eat her lays potato chips explaining to her she was not allowed to eat on the bus. I was the GOOD parent... the UN-COOL chaperone mom who would not break the rules. I beamed with pride as these parents were scolded because they left me sitting at the picnic table like I had scarlet fever after I kindly refused the dip stix candy they offered my daughter after lunch saying that she was not allowed to eat them; and when they asked me why I was eating hummus for lunch I smiled and said "life is all about the choices we make and my health is something I care about." Oh well... love me or hate me I am honest and blunt to the core, here's to thinking different! I think I will stick to passing out cupcakes from now on!

Have a great night everyone!