At least there were no clowns

Apparently a large part of my new year includes doing things that are a)depressing b)uncomfortable and c)aggravating.

Saturday for example I went to the flea market for $5 watch batteries. It was a) b) c) and more! It’s not often that I see that many redneck bumperstickers, ugly ceramics and shitty plastic garbage for sale in one place.

Unless of course I go to Walmart, which I did today at lunch. I needed a crappy little datebook/calendar like the kind the insurance agencies used to give out, only now they don’t because they’re too cheap and they just send some ugly return address labels instead. After checking both CVS and Walgreens I had to go to the mart for this very important item. And of course they had them – these ugly calendars in a little plastic folder just like the ones the 90 year old ladies use when they’re scheduling their doctor’s appointments.

I tried to use the self-checkout but since I never go to the mart I didn’t have the procedure down and the scanner machine began announcing to the whole store “Unscanned item placed in bag. Someone’s a tard.” Everyone pointed and laughed – or at least it felt like it which in Walmart is pretty lousy. When the Walmart Associate came to assist me I pretended I was foreign and told her they don’t have Walmarts where I’m from.

Tonight I sat shivering in a too cold school cafeteria at a financial aid meeting listening to the blah, blah FAFSA, blah, blah, Bright Futures, blah, grants vs. loans. I spent most of last night looking over the CSS form that one college requires and trying to estimate my 2007 1040. I already knew what forms I needed to complete – but I thought they were going to give me some good advice or secret tips at this meeting.

Here’s what I was not looking for: Don’t rule out a $50,000 school because your child might get more assistance there than they would at a state college.

And: I can’t tell you what to put on the form or how to fill it out. You might want to check with your accountant or financial advisor.

Ummm. Obviously that didn’t apply to me but I looked around to find many parents nodding in agreement. I half expected them to pull out their pipes and a bottle of sherry. No doubt they will share their “how to cheat to get financial aid” secrets over drinks at the country club while I am left out in the cold with only my Kraft mac & cheese dinner to console me.

I’m pretty sure I did something else a)depressing b)uncomfortable or c)aggravating. It involved looking for parking at Arts Day Sunday and driving around in circles repeating “this is dumb.”

Happily there were no threats of clowns or clown sightings, which would have been d)creepy and e)really damn creepy.

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