White Shirted

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ah, so where was I? Ah, yes. Stuck in a Curriculum night being lectured by a woman who was rapidly pissing me off.

First, because she conveyed no warmth to the parents of incoming students...looked at my spouse and I like we were the village idiots when we asked a question to clarify the list of school supplies And her endless harping about the school uniform shirt.

Now, I Admit it. I did not buy the school uniform shirts last year.

At first it was simply because I wanted to speak to the uniform guy and make sure that I was buying the right size shirts. Emily has been whipping through sizes in the past two and a half years at an alarming rate so I honestly just wanted to make sure I bought shirts big enough to get through the year.

I called him. I called again. And again, and again. After leaving numerous messages and waiting nearly two months for a return call, I gave up in November and simply bought a bunch of white polo type shirts. Screw him, I figured. It was not killing me to not give this man 250 bucks for ten white shirts she would trash in minutes.

No one asked me last year about why Em didn't have the school uniform shirts. She was in a white shirt (without the school logo) and her blue bottoms every day, so it isn't as if I was dressing her like a Bratz doll and sending in to wreak havoc on the uniform code.

Within two days of the new school year, however, my kid is having a full on panic attack because her new teacher is telling them over and over about the UNIFORM and how SHE MUST HAVE IT, OR ELSE. Ddduuuuuuudddddeeee. Chill out. I will order the shirts. School starts on Monday and by Tuesday I have sent in the order form for the school uniform shirts.

"Did Mrs XXX see your order form? Is she going to chill it with the Uniform shirt talk now", I asked Em on Tuesday afternoon.

"Yes, she sent it to the office. Do you know when they will be in, cause she said soon she was going to start checking to make sure we were IN our required uniform and we would be in trouble if we weren't..."

"I can't control how fast the shirts get in, but Em - she has seen your order go in. She KNOWS you have ordered shirts. We can't do anything else but that - if you get in trouble then she will be deeply sorry she went down that path..."

Emily is quiet. My voice has that rattle. The Mother rattlesnake rattle through which my next move is clear. Pulling over, and marching up the stairs with daughter in tow to have a little "talk" about these shirts with Mrs XXX.

Em wisely drops it. Until that Friday, when she bounds out of school and hands me the still sealed envelope with her uniform shirt order. "Mrs XXX gave this back to me and said the office said you have to call or order online. Can you do that as soon as we get home, cause Mrs XXX said she was going to start checking next week to make sure we had our uniform shirts on... "

Oh friends. Oh My.

I will just pause a moment in my re-telling to let you ponder my reaction to this tidbit of news.

Let us suffice it to say, I first went online and attempted to locate a internet ordering option for these shirts. By 4 p.m., when I had found NONE WHATSOEVER, I first called the school and left a very clear message on the school answering machine.

I then called the Shirt company and left an even Clearer message on that voice mail, with my added critique of their customer service from the previous year and the promise that I would be sharing my impression of their company with ALL the other parents I could speak with, the principal AND the Home/School Parent Representative.

Then I fumed. And spluttered. I am generally not a threatener of action, but a Do'er. I don't do well sitting on this energy. So I wrote my first email to the Home/School Parent representative explaining my history with the shirt people and now my frustration at having my daughter freak out about these shirts because her new teacher was vaguely holding some nebulous punishment over her head.

The very kind parent rep wrote me right back, offering her suggestions for actions, her understanding of my frustration and offering her phone number if I wanted to speak about this further.

Sufficiently soothed, I went about my plan. Letters to the principal and teacher were written, copies of the emails to the parent rep were included - I am nothing if Not thorough in my documentation. Monday morning, the letters went into school, with my email address and cell phone number attached.

I hear nothing. I ask Em if she gave the teacher the letter.

"Yeah, I gave it to her", Em shrugged.
"So? Did she say anything to you after she read it?"
"Yeah, she said she felt like my mother was scolding her..."

Oh Mrs XXX, that was a bad move. Perhaps in hindsight, we will agree that this was a fatal move, but the game has not yet finished so we can not make those endgame pronouncements. The CORRECT answer, Mrs XXX, would have been for you to reassure my daughter that you understood that we were trying to get her the school uniform shirts - and that she would NOT be in trouble. But Nooooooo. You chose to subtly criticize her Mother in front of her while giving her the whiff of your disapproval at being "scolded". I mean you ARE the teacher after all, right?

By Wednesday, the shirt guy finally returned my phone call ( since I can only assume the principal has now called Him and warned him to call this crazy mother NOW) and leaves a message. I called Thursday around noon, sitting next to Terrance on the couch to keep me vaguely calm.

Shirt guy makes HIS opening move. Which is to start yelling at me, Immediately.
His opening shoutfest is :

To which I - still calm - explained I was AWARE of that since it had been sent back from the office the previous Friday. At this juncture he begins Yelling:


with me trying to ascertain just what the fuck he is talking about - cause I have NO IDEA. I am the one who has experienced rotten customer service and NOW I am having some man scream at me that my check is no good?!?!? WHAT?!!

My voice starts to raise. I start to shout and Terrance reaches over and grabs the phone from my hand...just about at the point when I am going to tell this man EXACTLY what he can do with his overpriced shirts, and the offer of my assistance in placing those shirts in my suggested areas. Terrance shuttles me into the bedroom and closes the door so he can speak with this man without me doing my best "Girlfriend on COPS" impression, shouting over his shoulder that I am going to Kick this mans ASS.

Terrance speaks with the man and tells him exactly what shirts we need. The man informs Terrance that he will be at the school on Tuesday to deliver the shirts and Terrance tells him we will bring cash for the shirts. I fume. We agree that Terrance will go and get the shirts alone, as we can all see that putting this man and I in the same room would be unfortunate.

Emily is told her shirts are being delivered on Tuesday. She can sleep easy knowing that she will be in compliance with the school uniform policy.

Tuesday comes and I stay far away from the school. I get the phone call from Terrance. He has been and seen the man. He has brought the money for the shirts.

He does not have the shirts.

What? WHAT? We told his man exactly what we needed on THURSDAY and he did not bring the shirts AND he TOOK our money????!!!

This was the evening before the curriculum night.
Things were not looking promising.

13 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

Jusus Fucking Christ I love you. THAT made my whole day.


Unknown said...

You have me on the edge of my seat. Damn, I hope you are able to post more soon.

As the stepmom of an 11-year-old I've had to deal with way too much crap from school. I'm generally willing to make a fuss, but I wish I were as fearless/Mama-crazy as you.

Nancy said...

You are the bomb, Dawn.

I cannot wait to hear the rest of this story.

Goddess of Madness said...

At this point I would be in the principle's office with a sharpened stick up his ass asking how this issue would be rectified

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I cannot WAIT for the rest of this story.

Anonymous said...

WTF is that? The above comment is from Madge.

Gina said...

I can't wait to hear the rest of this story. I am forever fighting these ridiculous battles with my kids' school and I have to admit, I take comfort in hearing about someone else going through it - especially someone who - like me - threatens to kick someone's ass.

Lisse said...

Reason # 324 why I will never do private school.

All this over a stupid school logo?

Anonymous said...

Is that what the suspiciously ominous cloud to the west really was??? I have two barely-adult children and have done battle with this sort before. I rather look forward to the next installment.

Anonymous said...

Is that what the suspiciously ominous cloud to the west really was??? I have two barely-adult children and have done battle with this sort before. I rather look forward to the next installment.

Dawn said...

Oh Lisse, this IS a public school

An English Montreal Public School....

Cathy said...

I'm not a parent but I have worked in a daycare located in a Catholic school that required school uniforms. What some of the parents did was get a shirt from the year before if they had one, or a used shirt from another family- cut out the emblem/logo and attach it to a safety pin or a brooch backing (from a craft store. Pin it to a regular polo shirt and it's a uniform shirt- saves you money and stress.

Jaelithe said...

Oh, Dawn. Thank you for reminding me I was absolutely right to go all rattlesnake in a meeting with my son's teacher yesterday.

(She doesn't understand, despite my explaining it to her thrice now, how a sensory disorder with a motor skills deficit and a delayed pincer grasp might affect a child such that he would have difficulty sitting still and coloring for half an hour in a classroom with 20 other noisy children. She thinks he just "doesn't want to do it."

And she started the meeting yesterday by saying she thinks I'm "hostile."


(Dawn, will you please be my kid's teacher? Please?)

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