I Didn't Even Apply But I Was Recruited Anyway

If you want to volunteer at any DC Public School, as of Fall, 2018, you have to jump through the added hoops of getting a TB test and being fingerprinted at the DCPS Central Office. Suffice it to say, most people are too busy for this nonsense, so there is a limited number of parents who can volunteer for field trips.

I received an email from M’s teacher a couple weeks ago asking if I could chaperone a last minute field trip to Nats Stadium. Apparently they applied for this field trip and were never told by the Nats people that it was a yes until a week before the date. And since very few parents can chaperone…

I agreed, mostly because I love M’s teacher as much as I love 7-11.

Right after I replied: “Dear M’s Teacher, I had one thing on my calendar that I can move and I’ll be there,” I got a text from Real Estate Dad. He said: “M’s teacher emailed to ask if we would chaperone a trip to Nats stadium but I said neither of us could as we were both busy that day.” (We were…if you count “busy” as the day of our orthodontic appointments where we’re cashing in $29 Groupons for an alleged $3000 off Invisalign.) (What could go wrong?) I told Real Estate Dad I already moved our appointments and we were going. Turns out she only needed me though. Score for Real Estate Dad. No ortho and no Nats trip.

Yesterday was the field trip. We were to report to school at 8:30. This was hard for me because I just don’t like mornings. And mornings don’t like me. But I got to be with M and two of her sweet little friends who I adore, so we expected it would be a good day.

These are some High Hopes Right Here ^^^ as We Exit Stoddert to Get on the Bus. And yes, their nametags say “Stoddert Elem” with the School’s main phone number.

These are some High Hopes Right Here ^^^ as We Exit Stoddert to Get on the Bus. And yes, their nametags say “Stoddert Elem” with the School’s main phone number.

When we arrived at the entrance to the park, they didn’t even check our bags, making me wonder why I bothered to remove my pocketknife from it. I could have used it to ward off street vagrants or alley rats should we have encountered any. We were sent through the metal detectors. There was one mom who had a trough of water who held up the line because they told her to dump it out and she refused. The guard said, “Didn’t they tell you the rules? There’s water inside the park.” She said, “I have a sick child with me, I can’t be without water.” They went back and forth a few times. He finally said he was going to pick his battles and let her through. So me and my trough went through the gate.

Real Estate Dad says I cause trouble wherever I go. It’s not on purpose. I just want what I want. The other day M whispered to one of her friends that she loves when her mom makes announcements to people, as I was telling a bunch of kids I didn’t know to get off the neighborhood trampoline. There were little kids who deserved a turn and none of the other parents would look up from their phone long enough to tell their ungracious little mini-me’s to get off the tramp. Sometimes you have to corral the crowds so things work out in your favor.

After we got inside the stadium, we began a long processional of collecting water bottles, popcorn and cracker jack bags on the way to our seats. Once we were seated, on hot metal, in the blazing sun, with now lukewarm water, the fun began.

Oh wait. No it didn’t. Some actor types came out and this shit happened:

1) Postage Stamps
2) The Postal Museum
3) The 4 Mascot Presidents
4) The History of Baseball
5) And several other things I don’t know anything about BECAUSE WE LEFT. Other moms we spoke to afterword called it a “play.”

It wasn’t fun to roast like a marshmallow while two of the three children I was in charge of were FADING FAST. One was sick, one was super hungry and one was “bored and hot.” The bored hot one was mine so I was more than happy to tell her to stuff it. But the other two were not mine, and I knew they weren’t doing well in the heat. I also knew I had to deliver them back to school alive and well.

I brought the girls up into the breezeway and went to look for food. A bunch of other parents made their way up there as well and we began chatting about this pain in the ass field trip. I said I was going to get my girls some food. I was determined too, I actually considered leaving the park because no vendors were open and our alleged free lunch of hot dogs was nowhere to be found.

I knew though that if I left the park, I’d be banished from field trips and I would be the subject of the legend about “that mom” who left the stadium to get food. Kind of like I was “that waitress” who rung up the $1800 bottle of whiskey at Ruby Tuesdays, and instead of just taking that out of the register since we didn’t even have it in stock anyway and since no one goes to Ruby Fucking Tuesday’s to imbibe on an $1800 bottle of anything, I was the subject of Waiter/Waitress Lineups up and down the east coast.

I found a woman who worked at the stadium. I explained our plight. She pulled out a piece of paper and said, “Um, well, hotdogs are being served at 11:40 after the kids run the bases.” I said, “IT’S 12:15!!! THESE KIDS HAVEN’T EATEN ALL DAY!”

The woman started to look a little nervous. I realize these are first-world problems and I felt bad I pushed a little too much. She said she didn’t have a walkie talkie to call anyone. I said, “Fine, you said food is at the 107 entrance?” She then looked real nervous. I grabbed my girls and said, “We’re going on a walk.” I told the other moms we still had to wait until after every single first grader in the entire District of Columbia ran the bases before we could eat. We were looking at at least an hour. In the sun. Did I mention the sun?

The girls and I started walking. We got from 131 to 119 when we encountered a roadblock. It was a giant, white, toothless guard who spoke in grunts. I found another person who worked there because negotiating with Big Poppa was getting nowhere. I’m standing there telling this new lady that we needed to get through, all the while conceding inside my brain that I have literally become my fucking mother. Despite our rocky and often non-existent relationship, I have no clue if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

The woman said she’d be right back.

It took a long time. We waited. I’ve got to hand it to her, M certainly knows her mother. She was pretty much suggesting I push past Big Poppa and make a run for it. I was like god damned it M, we can rob banks and run underage sweatshops on our own time but we have two nice girls here who I cannot and will not bring down with us, now put your counterfeiting equipment away.

SUCCESS! The lady let us go through.

We got to see some neat stuff on that walk.

IMG_9825.JPG

We finally got to the food! We grabbed hot dogs and burgers and sat down to eat while we watched every first grade class run the bases. The girls were done with their lunch for a good 10 minutes when they finally called our school. We watched from the other side of the field as their classmates ran the bases. I said, “See girls, you would be down there running the bases if we didn’t come here to find food.” All three of them said they were happy they chose the food over running the bases.

I think we all know I like to complain. It’s part of my schtick. When we got back to the school and all the chaperone moms convened, every single one of them said some version of, “That was horrible!” Some moms even ran home before pickup so they could shower (again) because it was so darn hot out there.

I texted Real Estate Dad and said, “When this trip comes up in two years again, remind me to keep Chubs home that day.”

Because I’m working hard for School-Mom of the Week this week, I finished out the day by going back to the school at night for the PTO meeting. One of the newly elected officers for next year was heading up to the school a few minutes before me, sucking down what she had in her cup. She told Real Estate Dad she was going to hide her cup in our yard because she couldn’t bring it into the school.

I really need to be better friends with her. It’s gonna be a good year next year.

And I Didn't Puke This Time!

Guess who went on another field trip as a chaperone?

Yes, this glutton for punishment. As someone who gets car sick backing out of the driveway, you would think I would stop raising my hand for this stuff.

Here’s the good news: I can finally say I’ve been to and toured Dumbarton House!

Here’s the other good news, according to their website:

This is excellent marketing right here ^^^

This is excellent marketing right here ^^^

Here’s the bad n… What? You didn’t think there would be bad news? I threw you off with two pieces of good news. (Well, three pieces if you count the implication I made above about how I didn’t vomit.) Listen up because you should know by now that bad news is practically the underlying theme of this blog. So here it is:

The condition of the bus that delivered us to and from Dumbarton House should have been junked a decade ago. I’m not even sure my snark can capture the torture that was this bus, and I’m not sure my outrage could properly be contained should I actually choose to, gasp, complain.

Here’s the floor of the aisle, if you can even call it a floor. Parts under the rubber mat and duct tape were rusted through.

Here’s the floor of the aisle, if you can even call it a floor. Parts under the rubber mat and duct tape were rusted through.

Here’s a hole in the 2nd step, which I’m about to fall through as I exit the bus.

Here’s a hole in the 2nd step, which I’m about to fall through as I exit the bus.

Oh this looks safe. This is the emergency exit on the roof of the bus. You want to know how well the duct tape prevents the elements from entering the bus?

Oh this looks safe. This is the emergency exit on the roof of the bus. You want to know how well the duct tape prevents the elements from entering the bus?

Not well at all.

Not well at all.

I wish I wasn’t just screwing around here, there was a ton of water pouring through the emergency exit in the roof and I’m sorry people but this is not acceptable because my hair is keratined within an inch of its life and I can’t afford for it to get a ton of dirty rain-bus water on it and not have a hair dryer and sulfate-free shampoo close by. While my umbrella kept me and the cuties dry, the water was flying off the umbrella toward other people. There was no way to win this one.

In other news, f*ck you DCPS, for not bothering to require a minimum standard of safety. I almost want to be that mom who drives my kid to every off-campus happening.

Then I remembered:

1) They go to Fillmore for their arts education every single week.

2) I don't really like rocking the bus boat bus-boat.

3) I have a job and that job entails selling houses to people. I can't sell houses to people if I have to moonlight daylight as a school uber driver.

Next field trip, barf bag and roll of duct tape go in the bag. Because you just never know.

Bananas Never Survive a Roadtrip

Today is Real Estate Dad’s birthday. I thought about not saying anything until 10 minutes to midnight like he did to me last year, but I decided not to. I mean, I don’t want anyone to think I hold a grudge or anything. Besides, he looked so good when he got ready for a meeting today that I just had to hug him.

This week was the elementary school’s book fair. EEEEEEE I love book fairs! I used to love getting those flimsy little newspaper magazines from the Scholastic Book peoples. Clifford, Miffy, Hello Cat You Need a Hat - all the good classics still exist in our house today came from that book newspaper.

I know. You want to know why I still have books from 40 years ago. Even if you didn’t want to know, I’m telling you anyway. My parents? They don’t throw anything away. Like, at all. To this day, every phone call that comes FROM their house or any visit TO their house inevitably carries with it, some version of “I was cleaning out some closets and I found (insert piece of garbage) do you want me to save it for you?” My answer is always no, but that doesn’t stop them from dumping it on me when I visit. Now when I’m saying goodbye to them at the end of a visit, I keep my hands in my pockets so they can’t hand me anything.

This hoarding thing isn’t new. The aroma of my entire childhood is eau de rotting bananas. Every time we left on a vacation there would be the last-minute-grab of things that wouldn’t keep until we got home. We all know that bananas are really bad travel companions. That didn’t stop my parents from trying. We would leave our house, get on 95 south and in 20 minutes the banana rot could overpower the burning smell of the Bronx, circa 1979.

The gorgeous landscape of the Bronx in the late 1970’s

The gorgeous landscape of the Bronx in the late 1970’s

Now that we got that whole “descended from hoarders” piece out of the way, let’s move on to the book fair. I volunteered for a shift every day because I’m a book nerd. I love reading. I miss reading. I don’t get to do it as much as I would like to because, houses need to get sold, kids need to be raised, corgis have to be walked, other corgis have to be rescued, our house needs to be cleaned, yadda yadda yadda.

I have to say I did pretty well in my customer service role. Good thing the last day was indeed the last day because I started to crash. I didn’t even shower for my last shift and I didn’t bother to change out oOffspring T-Shirt. The one with the smoking skeleton head.

Ugh…..of course some kid said something to me. OF COURSE. In front of his dad too, who didn’t look like he was anyone who would appreciate the Offspring.

“Why is that skeleton smoking? That doesn’t even make sense. Why would he have a cigarette in his mouth?”

I could not ring that book up fast enough to get Chatty Charlie the hell out of there.

Then the security guard, who was milling around with friends, wandered over to the book fair and tapped a parent on the shoulder to say, “You didn’t sign in.” This shit again.

The point of signing in is so that they have your face on camera. I get that. But the school was a complete melee. For anyone to have any sort of false sense of security that the guard is going to be able to stop a real threat is comical. I should be nice because last week she appeared to give one tenth of one shit about my grandmother’s ring that Chubs defiantly brought to school and promptly lost. But she could be playing me.

The piece de la resistance was a Harry Potter Cookbook. This thing sold out like hotcakes and there was one left which a teacher had added to their wishlist pile. Someone wanted to buy it and it was late. Since no one had bought the book for said teacher, the book fair lead was going to let her buy it.

So, picture this. We have a line that’s got about 10 people in it, and a woman flipping through a cookbook trying to decide if she wanted to buy it. I have everything else rung up and ran her card and was waiting to see if she wanted this cookbook. I see the line getting antsy and I asked her to just step over so I could grab the next person. She clearly got mad and said “Never mind, I’ll just buy it on Amazon.” Yowsers. I didn’t think it was wrong to ask her to step aside to look at the book, and if she wanted it we could have rung her up real fast but yeesh. She said something about not having enough time to look through it and yelled the Amazon dig again.

Lady, you don’t have to threaten me with Amazon. I’m a full on Ama-whore. There ain’t nothing Amazon is selling that I ain’t buying. Like where would you ever be able to get something like this? (Don’t forget to read the comments - that’s where the gold is.)


Yes, but does it have a thermometer?

Yes, but does it have a thermometer?

Class Mom on Crack

The real estate market has come to a skidding halt. There. I said it.

Summers and Holidays are always slow times, but come September and January, all the agents out there prep themselves for the return of the market. We never quite know what it will bring. Will it pick up where it left off before the vacation season? Or will it swerve a bit and throw all of us off from what we expected.

We did have a ton of rain in the end of the summer. Then we did have a weird and oddly warm September and early October. Then interest rates did rise. But all these are just excuses. You can’t just pin the blame for a sluggish market on one factor. Here’s what it is - we replayed 2003 - 2006 again. Rates dipped unbelievably low, people dove into the market, and lots of future demand was pulled to present day. The people with houses to sell had already locked in low interest rates. They had no incentive to sell. Many of those people moved on up and chose to rent their current abode, building the beginning of their real estate portfolio.

I’ve still been busy, but it’s slowing now in time for the holidays and I plan to catch up on my corgi rescue and school obligations. In fact, I went on a field trip with Chubs!!

(Note to my other snarkies, Mouse-Mom was supposed to be a chaperone but she didn’t come because her kid was sick. Sort of like when she got us all sent to the trailer classrooms then stopped sending her kid to school because she was allegedly sick. Probably from the trailers, you dumb ass.)

(Yes, I realize I am going to hell.)

(I will see many of you there.)

Here we are on the bus to hell! Oh wait. This is the field trip I chaperoned.

Here we are on the bus to hell! Oh wait. This is the field trip I chaperoned.

I sent my parents and brothers a picture of this momentous occasion. They were all shocked I could even find the bus since I refused to ride it when I went to school. I am sorry but there is NO REASON for a bus to pick you up almost an hour before school when the school is 7 minutes away.

I also wo-manned the Costume Shop at the School’s Fall Festival. As one of the Pre-K moms, I was on an email chain a few weeks ago where we learned of a delicious surprise. The Pre-K class is responsible for the costume fundraiser. Pre-K has to collect costumes from the school and sell them at the Fall Festival to raise money. I winced as the Lead Class Mom replied, “Well, we don’t want to break tradition…” while the other Class Mom and I huddled behind her and cried our pain.

My mom used to help a lot in the schools. I don’t know how she did it. Oh wait. She didn’t work more than full time and run an animal rescue. Right.

Here’s me at the Costume Shop.

Here’s me at the Costume Shop.

And here’s where my husband lost all respect for me.

And here’s where my husband lost all respect for me.

After I class-mommed it at the field trip and the costume shop, I had to staff-appreciation it. I found this cool crafty idea for Principal’s Appreciation Month.

Each student would make a petal and each class would assemble their petals into a flower. I would have 19 flowers I could put in a flower pot for the Principals. Thankfully, the former Staff Appreciation Chair slapped me hard and said “Just do one per class, it will be so much easier” and thankfully she was right. I’ll be phoning this staff thing in by June, I’m sure.

Unfortunately I had no idea that teachers can’t follow instructions and I only got 13 of the 19 petals back. Oh well.

As I was walking out the door to go affix them to the Principal’s door, Real Estate Dad said to me, “Remember when you used to be fun and now they know you by name at Michael’s Crafts Stores?”

Ugh. Like a knife in the side, Real Estate Dad. I won’t soon forget that. I will be punishing him today by taking him to a corgi costume party in Annapolis.

DCPS Will Land Me in an Early Grave

Things I don't have time for: another school committee.

Things this idiot just volunteered for: another school committee.

When I heard the history of said committee, I felt like I couldn't not help. I shared my interpretation of how DC Public Schools work (or rather, don't work) with a parent of older children.  They congratulated me on figuring it out quickly, as most people never realize the clusterf*ck that is DC Public Schools. 

There will be more to come from me on this as I learn that the powers that be just don't care. I don't mean at the school level - I'm talking the downtown "OSSE" level.

Speaking of not caring, the Pre-K class is still in the West Wing, aka the trailer park. They were supposed to be there 2 weeks. We're now in week 3. My most recent outrage came as a result of learning that the parent who started all this "I saw mouse poop" drama and demanded the students be relocated - her kid hasn't been at school for a week. So, uh, thanks for getting all our kids sent to this stupid ass trailer while your kid stays home. In what is not a trailer, I assume. . Traps have been set all over the place and not a creature has been caught, not even a mouse. Yes. You read that correctly. Not. One. Mouse.

And now a storm is a-coming. So, I'll be keeping Chubs home for most of this week because I'm not playing this game. I saw the Wizard of Oz. I know what happens to trailers in natural disasters. I'll put Chubs to work. She can help me write an offer for my client, who is too smart to pay list priced for yet another overpriced listing.

The rain this week is killing real estate. I have a pretty cool studio listing that has gotten very little traffic because while people will house hunt in the snow and ice, they won't do it in the rain. It's sort of interesting but it's how I got my house in Glover Park. We were coming off of 10 straight days of rain several years back. I was 8 months pregnant with Chubs and had no desire to look at this house as I was convinced it was underpriced and would sell in a bidding war. But it didn't. Thanks rain! We got a good house and a good deal for all parties.

And for the file marked "Awesome Things Other Real Estate Agents Have Said to Me," this week we have this gem. I called a listing agent to ask a couple basic questions and was met with a string of "I don't know's." Finally he said, "Clearly I know NOTHING about this listing, you seem to know more than I do."

Yeah. That's our industry, people. There it is. Blech.

 

School, Corgis & Realtoring ~ Hitting Snags

I'll start with the good.

M: Mommy, when we say the Pledge of Allegiance at school, the Principal makes everyone wearing a hood take off their hood. Why?
DCREM: Because it's a sign of respect, and the Principal is right, people should take off their hats.
M: Then we sing the National Anthem.

I'm not sure why, but when M told me this, I was so happy I felt my smile spread slowly across my face. Like the Grinch.

It was news to me that they still say the Pledge of Allegiance in school but I'm pretty happy to hear that tradition is still going strong. M buzzes around the house singing the National Anthem and it's several kinds of awesome. Real Estate Dad said she learned it on "America's Got Talent" but M claims they sing it in school.

The littles are still in the trailer park. Or as the school calls them, "The Demountable Classrooms in the West Wing." Nah. They're trailers. In the parking lot. Trailer Park. Supposed mass-trapping of mice occurred this past weekend but the scores are in. Zero point Zero mice were caught. Now the mice story has evolved to "last year a child was bitten by a mouse." This, too, is becoming all kinds of awesome. There is not enough popcorn for this show.

And then, Realtoring this week. Yes I know that Realtoring is not a word! It is when stuff like this happens.

Some asshole obviously needs to borrow my Labelmaker. I love that Labelmaker.

Some asshole obviously needs to borrow my Labelmaker. I love that Labelmaker.

By the time I worked through each of those keys my clients could have had their loan underwritten. What a nightmare. I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to toss that many keys in a lockbox. Jerks.

Then someone flew half way around the world to surrender a corgi to the rescue. No. Literally. Flew from Korea to surrender a corgi. A board member picked up said corgi at the airport, and not even like an hour later the prior owner wanted the corgi back so it could be given to her friend. All these conversations back and forth necessitated the "a lawyer is going to have to weigh in here." Lo and behold, one of our board members located a corgi-loving litigator who brings his corgi loaves to the office and lets them run around. Yes, this is really a thing. And we are loving it!

So this is what is currently making my world go round. Kids. School. Mice. Corgis. Keys. Real Estate. That's all I got for you.