On Rick Springfield, barbed wire necklaces, goldfish, and school fundraisers.

One day a couple months ago, RJ's dad called him.

"Hey, how would you guys like front row seats and meet and greet passes to see Rick Springfield?"

Ummm, lemme think about it for like .675 seconds.


At this point, I was already humming "Jesse's Girl" under my breath and planning what to wear with my hot hooker boots and secretly hoping that Ricky might fall in love with me, just a little, and maybe write a song about me and I was already thinking that "Bobby's Girl" had a nice ring to it when I heard RJ, who was still on the phone with his dad, say "Oh, well I guess we can't go then.  That's the same date as zj's school's Fall Festival."

Well, damn.

RJ and I don't always agree on much everything, but the one thing we always agree on, so much that we don't even have to discuss it, is that the kids come first.  Always.  Even if it means I don't get to become the next ex-Mrs. Springfield.

Since I couldn't, ya know, have a life-changing experience with Ricky that night, I did what any other crazy Mama with aspirations of taking over the PTO would do.  I signed up to volunteer at one of the booths.

My assignment came, and I was scheduled to work the sand art booth from 6-7pm.  Piece of cake, surely.

The night of the Fall Festival arrived, and after a quick moment for me to mourn the loss of meeting my Ricky, the entire J family piled into the car and took off.

To give you a little background here, let me just say that zj's school would be considered a rural school.  And that's on a really, really good day.   Most days, I think, it would be considered a redneck haven or possible a white trash mecca.  As a girl with a little, ok a LOT of redneck experience, this doesn't concern me at all, but RJ is usually a bit taken aback at first whenever we walk into these situations.  Plus, since I've gotten away from the redneck lifestyle a bit over the years, so it usually takes me a few minutes to re-acclimate.   It had been a LONG time since I'd seen that many wallets on chains, Confederate flag shirts and people openly chewing tobacco in one place.  Well, since my last family reunion, anyway.

We checked things out, let zj play a few games, and then RJ agreed to take the boys to get something to eat while I worked my stint at the booth.  As I was walking away, I turned around and joked "No blue hairspray and no goldfish, please."

This is what is known to you literary types as FORESHADOWING.

I got to my assigned station a couple minutes early.  It was one little round table, a shitload of colored sand, some funnels, and it was piled three deep with kids.

"Um, I'm here to work?"  I said to one of the two people who was working the booth.

"Oh, thank god.  Here's the extra sand, here are some funnels, and here are the things they can choose from to fill.  It costs four tickets.  Have fun!"

And with that, she took off toward parts unknown.

The other grown-up there, presumably a teacher, said, "I have to leave in a few minutes too, but I'll be right back."

Famous last words.

She also took off, never to be seen again, leaving me with hundreds of kids who all needed help getting their funnels into the little openings of their necklaces or bracelets or whatever so they could overfill them with colored sand - "Why isn't there any more pink?  I WAAANNNNTTT pink!"  "Suck it up kid.  Life's full of disappointments.  You'll get used to it.  Just look around." -  and then unsuccessfully close the tops so the sand spilled out all over the cafeteria floor, making the whole area look like some sort of weird psychedelic acid-trippy beach.

THIS is why I'm not a teacher.

At 7 on the dot, my replacement showed up, and I gave her some basic instructions, but because I'm THAT person I couldn't just abandon her, so I stuck around for another 45 minutes just to make sure she could handle it.

When I finally walked away - "Are you SURE you can do this last 15 minutes by yourself? The teacher promised she would be RIGHT back.  She should be here ANY minute now."  - to look for my family, this is what I found:

One with rainbow-colored hair.

One with blue hair.

Some lovely prizes - because nothing says school fundraiser like neon orange barbed wire jewelry and four wheel drive tattoos.

Oh, and one more thing.  

Well, actually, there are TWO of them.

One for each kid, or course.


  1. Ah, yes, the Fall Festival. The only way to make it better is if it's at a Catholic school and there's a beer booth which leads to your partner-mom AND your relief-mom never showing up because they're plastered and then all the big kids try to overturn the bouncy-castle by jumping against the same side at the same time . . . or so I've heard. Good luck with those goldfish.

  2. @Angie, I would have paid BIG money for a beer booth. I mean, they could have built the J Family Commemorative Library with what I would have paid for a drink that night. Also, the effin' goldfish are STILL alive, if you can believe that.

  3. The SAND ART BOOTH? I'm questioning your sanity.

    Never, ever the sand art booth.

    See, if you were Catholic, you could (wo)man the beer booth and be happy while you supported the school during the fish fry/picnic/fall festival.

    You need to convert.

  4. I'm glad the fish are still alive!

    You do know the life span is 15-25 Y-E-A-R-S! Depending on the kind AND no matter what you have them in they will grow to about a FOOT or more in length..........

    Just sayin........

  5. @Dianna, you may be right. I always thought Catholics had the best all-around deal.

    @Janet, sadly, we are now down to one. Now to kill, I mean care for, the other one. The thought of foot long fish in my entryway is freaking me out a little.

  6. they die from ammonia poisoning :( If you want to humanly kill off (I mean, end suffering) a few drops of clove oil will do the trick. Make sure to leave fish in for @ 30Min. otherwise he/she may come back....


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