March 13, 2009


More difficult than scaling Mt. Everest is getting three kids to school on time. I have, however, significant motivation to do the impossible: her name is Lorraine.

Lorraine is the secretary at my daughter's elementary school. Starting in late February, she wears a sweater vest decorated with three-dimensional Easter bunnies, but don't let the 1980s homemaker facade fool you: Lorraine is as friendly as a jackal.

Roughly once every three weeks, Mt. Vesuvius erupts at 8:50am at my house in the form of a missing shoe, a temper tantrum, or the unexplained need to change one's clothes for the third time in one hour. On these mornings, I park my car in the school's fire lane and drag four children into the front office to do penance before St. Lorraine.

"May I sign in my daughter please?" I ask after waiting at the counter for what feels like a century. My five-year-old twin boys have already written their names on seven visitor badges and have attached them to their shirts.

After Lorraine finishes her personal phone call/applying lipstick/rearranging her collection of angel figurines on her desk, she heaves a loud sigh of disapproval and hands me a tardy slip.

Even though my kindergartner is only 2.5 minutes late for school, I'm still required to publicly confess that I don't have my act together by filling out the form, signing it, and listing a reason for her lateness. By this point in the school year, I have exhausted all of the standard excuses. Plus, Lorraine is starting to question their validity.

"You were really 'out of town' for five minutes?" she asked in February.

Lorraine's growing suspicions that I have been less than forthright with her in the past have shamed me into telling the truth. While it used to take only a few seconds to fill out the tardy slip, now it takes me several minutes--and the front and back sides of the form--to describe the events leading up to and causing my daughter's late arrival. Usually my epistles include the phrase "I'm going to count to five" followed shortly by the phrases "I'm sorry you made a bad choice" and "against their will."

"This is all avoidable," smirked Lorraine on Tuesday, "If you could get out the door five minutes earlier."

I wanted to thank Lorraine profusely for coming up with a solution to my problem that I hadn't thought of myself, but I also didn't want to hold up the line. As I exited the building, I whispered words of encouragement to the handful of nervous mothers who were waiting for their turns to meet their maker.

When I got home, I decided to do something nice for Lorraine, to demonstrate my appreciation for the sensitivity and compassion she routinely shows parents who mornings are plagued with natural disasters and children who like power struggles. I missed the nominations for this year's faculty and staff recognition awards, so I had to settle for a candy poster.

I wonder what Lorraine will think about my gift. The fact that I took all of the candies out of their packages--leaving only their wrappers--may give her a clue.


Triplets+3=Crazy said...


That's awesome!

Maree said...

LOVE it! Leaving only the wrappers should get the message across. LOL!

Emily Heizer Photography said...

I'm with "Triplets"



Awesome. She will most definetly get the message.


Amy said...

LOL... I think she'll get the point. :P

Esther said...

You go, girl! (I'm sorry, I know that's so '90s, but, well....) Maybe you should invite Lorraine to your house to help. Like the Super Nanny. Let her experience the chaos by herself.

Esther said...

P.S. Come visit me tomorrow--I'm posting pics of my prize from Scribble It. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

That's fantastic.

Perhaps you should ask Ms. Snooty-Pants to come over in the morning to help you get everyone out the door. OR suggest she write a self-help book for overwhelmed mothers. OR to stick her figurines where, well, you get the point!

Little Lady Cakes said...

I love it.

It reminded me of a baby shower game (sigh) and that means double vengeance!

P3 said...

This has happened to me so many times... I feel the same way. I think I'm gonna try the poster :)

Unknown said...

Too funny, great award! I love how you add humor and sarcasm to the mundane and yet dizzying things that happen to us daily!

What's worse in my son's school? The kids can actually have detention for tardies! Please people!

Unknown said...

Oh. My. Word. "Leave five minutes earlier"?! Has this woman ever experienced a kindergarten-aged meltdown? I had an argument with my eldest her first year of school (about her socks! apparently they 'felt funny') and her hissy-fit lasted well over half an hour.
Sorry, but I'm not factoring in an extra half hour or hour into our morning schedule to allow for hissies. Leaving early only helps in the case of running into traffic, etc. What a dimwit! - send the poster!! I guess it's a good thing you don't have Zero bars in your region; it may have been too tempting to use in your note. :)

Gina said...

We had a bitchy secretary for a while at our school too. Every day I thank my lucky stars she is gone. I totally should have made her a candy-less candy poster.

lynsie said...

I SO hope you seriously give her the poster. Even if you end up with "hell to pay", sounds like she'd give it to you anyways. Your story reminded me of something that happened between me and my mom when I was in Jr High. I would constantly stay up late and then sleep in and miss the bus. My mom tried EVERYTHING, even pushing me out to the bus stop (which was literally at my front door) in my pajamas with shoes in my hands. I finally STOPPED GOING TO SCHOOL. How does a 14 year old stop going to school you may ask? I ran away, well kinda. I spent my days at a secret friends house whose mom was too drunk to notice that we didn't go to school or anything and I would sneak back in each night and eat and get clothes, etc-. Eventually my mom got a knock on the door from the police, THEY WHERE THERE TO TAKE HER TO JAIL. You must understand my mom + jail = not a chance. She IS molly mormon. Anyways, they where arresting her because I was not going to school. I felt so bad. I think that was the moment I finally realized that my actions could really affect others. My poor mother!

NOBODY said...

This is the best post I have read in a really long time. SO HILARIOUS.

Julie {Angry Julie Monday} said...

OMG that's awesome!

I'm a new reader! Love you!!