We just returned home from school shopping. It was mostly a pleasant experience, with the exception of one heart-breaker for the sixteen-year-old, which I will post about in a few minutes. I want to share with you what I learned (or was reminded of) today.

1. I am soooooo happy that, two years ago, I went totally overboard on school supplies when they were on clearance in September, because with the exception of one unexpected (for this year) purchase, I only spent $30 to complete the supply lists. (Technically the older boy doesn’t have a list yet–he’s a junior this year and we get the supply lists from each teacher after school begins…but he knows basically what he needs so we made our own list.) I keep a big plastic container full of all the supplies I’ve purchased on clearance: pens, pencils, post-its, paper clips, folders, you name it: it’s there. Yay!

2. I learned that, before making the back-to-school budget, I should really look closely at the supply list and remember that my kid is in Accelerated Math and needs extra supplies. The one thing that wasn’t in that big plastic container that busted my budget? The graphing calculator the thirteen-year-old needs for Algebra. I initially didn’t see that on the list when I made my budget, and when I did…BOY HOWDY was I ticked. You see, graphing calculators are the expensive ones. I got his for $100.

3. I am happy that I made the boys try on and count the pairs of jeans that they have (that fit). Because I did that, we didn’t need to buy any. I had them do the same for shirts. Ditto. The younger boy could use a long-sleeved shirt or two, but we didn’t get any, because of number 6, below. Short sleeved shirts? We’re good.

4. I am also happy (see the trend?) that I have two boys who will dress up when asked but really don’t care to be a trendsetter, fashion-wise, on the first day of school. My mom always made a huge deal (in a good way) out of what we would wear on the first day of school, and it was new, most of the time. My boys (maybe it’s a boy thing?) could care less.

5. On the other hand, I had a chuckle when, at JCPenney, we had to stop in the dress shirt and tie department to check out the clearance ties. My boys, probably due to the Bar Mitzvahs and having to wear dress shirts and stuff so much for Saturday services, LOOOOOOOOOVE ties. I think that’s awesome. They like ties like some women like shoes. The older one picked out a green plaid number, and the younger one picked out an abstract (black background with tan, gray, and brown squarish outlines). Total cost of the ties? $6.00. FOR BOTH. We were all amazed.

6. I learned that, though the salesman told me that “No, it’s still just too early”, JCPenney and probably most other stores are not putting out too much of their fall, long-sleeved clothing yet because they still have a crapload of summer stuff left that is just not going away. (Ugh: the Economy!) Don’t tell me it’s still just too early, Mister. I’m not shopping with a baby: I’m shopping with teenagers. I’ve been shopping for school for what, eleven years now? I KNOW that I have been able to find a nice selection of long-sleeved clothing at this point. For goodness sakes, in about a week or two I’ll start seeing Christmas stuff!!!!!

7. When shopping for gym shoes, I learned that my younger son is very picky about shoes and crabby while shopping for them, just like his mother.

8. I also learned that my older son would be happy if he has to order custom shoes someday because his feet are too big for the ones in the store. He was ticked off because he hasn’t gone up a size since the last pair of shoes (he wears a 12 to 13, depending on the shoe) we bought. For the record, he said that if his feet DO get big enough for custom shoes, he will pay for them himself. Ha.

9. I learned that I shouldn’t sit down on the floor at Sears, to measure the kids feet (there were no salespeople around: what a surprise), just three hours after I teach a legs class. Getting up was a challenge.

10. I learned that, although I’m excited for the back-to-school routine, I really am going to miss being around my awesome kids for much of the day. Well, sometimes I’ll miss it. (hee hee)