School, on the first day

All your back-to-school pictures are awesome and one day my children will hate me for not having a single one of them.

School started on the first day and the a/c broke in the middle of a heat wave so we went to the beach. A heroic HVAC repairman shot the trouble for about an hour before replacing the busted thermostat with a new one. He said apologetically “The ones we sell are $200” and I said “What does that mean?” and he said “You can get a cheap one at Home Depot for $40” and I said “But then you need to come back to install it and it adds up to the same thing or am I missing something?” and he said “some people install it themselves” and there was an uncomfortable silence during which he beheld the 12 eyes of the 6 sand-caked children hanging off my shirt and read my mind and my mind was lost. He said “I can discount it for you… Like $100?” and Sarah looked at him in earnest and said, in a tone that would not have been out of place in a Jane Austen novel: “You are a very nice man!” and he smiled and repaired the A/C on the first day but we still went to the beach because we had pizza.

The next morning as we were leaving for school, Lucas dropped David’s bike on Eve’s bike and got David’s pedal desperately stuck in Eve’s spokes and after 10 minutes of trying to get it undone, as the school bell was ringing, with my hands full of grease, I kicked the whole thing and yelled to the Heavens “WHY DOES MY LIFE HATE ME?” and David was finally able to get it unstuck and we got our first late note on the second day.

David said “My teacher said I need more dividers and I need them THIS MORNING” and repeated this about 15 times until I yelled to the Heavens: “When your teacher gives you a hard time for not having more dividers than were listed on the supply list they provided, you will say “I’m the 5th of 9 children and my father is in Latvia, my mom is doing back-to-school all on her own without a/c and she’s asking for an extra day” and the teacher will prostrate at your feet and send me flowers because it takes two people to make 9 kids and I’m doing this by myself” and David backed away slowly with no sudden moves.

The ad on Facebook asked “What’s their back-to-school outfit?” and I said We’re wearing the same clothes and the same shoes we were wearing last week because they still fit and the weather is still sunny and warm. Our hair smells of seaweed and river water because we were at the beach eating pizza until it was so dark I couldn’t see the children anymore. We filled up the van listening to Taylor Swift’s Love Story, singing all the words out loud and only some of the children were embarrassed. If your Chevy Express is almost empty, you can sing Love Story from start to finish while pumping exactly $138 worth of gas and no one will even look at you weird since you’re 44 and no one looks at women in their mid-forties which is a little sad but mostly liberating. So this will be our back-to-school pictures for 2018.