Monday, September 3, 2012

True New Year

September is almost here and it’s transition time again. The leaves are changing, the kids are headed back to school and Matthew Perry is making yet another weak attempt to return to primetime (When will he learn?).  In our home, we refer to September as "True New Year". There is a sense of excitement that a new school year brings, when we shift from the schedule devil we know, to the devil we don’t know. In many ways, adapting to September's new schedule is like a signing up for your first step aerobics class (Remember when?) -- first week, just get your kids to school on time, figure out how to get them picked up. Step back and forth. Second week, dance starts. Back and forth and grapevine. Third week, back to school nights and jiu-jitsu stars starts. Back and forth and grapevine and add the arms. Fourth week, swimming begins. All that and step up and down. Fifth week, guitar begins, whatever board meeting you're supposed to go to once a month is scheduled, projects are starting to come due, and kids have the audacity to make inquiries about Halloween costumes. Back and forth and grapevine and add the arms and step up and step down and TWIRL. 

Straight on til December.

Because besides being transition season, September is also cheque-writing season. Cheques for swimming lessons, cheques for guitar lessons, cheques for agendas, cheques for Pizza Day, Sub Day, AK47 Day, dance lessons, protection from the Mob. It never ends. Plus, guess who drives them? Every September, I schedule the inevitable existential breakdown I have each year in which I question whether my university education prepared me for my job as a full-time chauffeur. Answer: not so much.

This year, though, rather than deal with it by swigging wine after hours and bitching to people who do the same, I intend on taking a page from financial guru Suze Orman: I will  show the kids how to write the cheques themselves. Nice, huh? You want the money, you write out the cheque. This will be a great way to help them to understand how much cash we spend on their extra-curriculars and it will give my hand a rest, as well as the portion of my conscience that tells me that it is important that kids figure out how much the "extras" really cost. Harsh , maybe, but a good way to help them understand that my cheque book has its limits.

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