There is a color system at Gus’s school, to measure one’s behavior on any given day. Green is good, yellow is a warning, red is a note home, and blue is “teacher’s choice”, which is worse than a note home (and, come to think of it, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?), and basically I don’t understand how they came up with the colors.
At first I thought the system was based on a stoplight. (Why the system has to be based on anything, I don’t know. That’s just how my brain works. Hmm. Your face is weird to me. What is it based on?)
So I thought it was based on a stoplight. Or as they call them in the South, redlights. (Even when they’re green. I know. And they call sneakers tennis shoes, regardless of whether you’ve ever picked up a racket. I KNOW. And they call sodas "cokes", even if they are Sprites, which, just GAH. I KNOW, I KNOW. I NEED TO MOVE BACK TO CONNECTICUT.)
So as I was saying. I thought the behavior system was all “Green means go. Yellow means be careful. Red means STOP what you are doing. And Blue means YOU BROKE THE STOP LIGHT. THAT IS HOW BAD YOU ARE.”
But then I found out about purple.
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as purple until one of Gus’s friends got a purple for going above and beyond the call of goodness. (Her father informed me that she gets purples all the time, and I was all, SAY WHAT? It is all we can do to get a green up in here. Also, I did not point out to him that it’s not really going above and beyond if you do it ALL THE TIME, but I was afraid it would make me sound like a jealous color hag. Which I’m not. No sir. Not at all. MY KINGDOM FOR A PURPLE.)
Purple is the holy grail of second grade.
And yesterday? Gus got … no color.
According to his notes, he went above Above and Beyond, so he could hardly bring himself to put a purple dot on his folder, because that would not do justice to the above and beyondness of his behavior.
(Give me the purple dot.)
(IS THIS A SYSTEM OR NOT?)
But I’m happy for Gus. I pressed him a little to find out what accounted for this more-than-purple reward (let’s call it Indigo), and apparently all it took was picking up some markers that someone else forgot to put away.
The way he told it, though, those markers might as well have been the Lost Boys of Sudan.
And they were just LYING there on the DESK. And no one was DOING anything about it, so I WALKED *very quietly* over to where those markers were, and not saying anything, Just doing the right thing, I picked them up, one by one, and put them back in the marker cubby. So yeah. The teacher said I made her day. It was pretty amazing.
Pretty amazing indeed.
Perhaps you haven't been sleeping, wondering whether or not I called the plumber.
Well I did.
And then I quickly remembered why I don't.
You can read the full story in "My Plumber is Trying to Kill Me."
Then come back and tell me I'm not the only one.
You might love them. I can't stand them. The $25 City Saver books are the bane of my suburban middle class existence.
Not a big fan of the whole save-money-by-spending-money-at-places-you'd-never-otherwise-go! concept.
"Enjoy one FREE collard greens appetizer when you purchase a collard greens appetizer of equal or lesser value at Ye Olde Antebellum Steake House. (And be waited on by ACTUAL slaves.)"
Whatever. It's for THE CHILDREN. I know. I wrote my check.
But I refuse to sell these books to my friends and extended family. (Namely because my friends are all trying to sell them too and my extended family is not that into bowling. There are sixteen bowling coupons in this book. If you like bowling, this is the book for you. But obviously you don't, or the bowling alleys wouldn't be slobbering all over themselves to give you free coupons.)
So bowling and meat, basically. There are probably a thousand hamburgers and sausage biscuits in your future if you buy a City Saver. The book should have a buy-one-get-one triple bypass coupon. (Surgeons take note for next year.)
But meat's not all!
You can also get a three-month complimentary MAILBOX rental at the UPS store (with 12 month rental agreement), because HOT DANG as a mom and a woman you can never have too many mailboxes. They're like shoes, really. Except you put mail in them. Instead of your feet.
You can enjoy $5 off 18 holes of The Most Boring Game in the God Damn Universe, in any Tennessee city you've never heard of, and get a complimentary order of hot wings (MEAT!) at a Sports Bar in A Mall after!
Or! Half off the purchase of two tickets to the Nashville Opera. Which. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha COME ON.
And then there are the pizza offers. Get one free medium cheese pizza with purchase of any Super Deluxe Ham Cadillac & Gorgonzola Cranberry Pizza*.
I know I sound like a jerk and that you personally have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars with your City Saver Book. I know.
But hating this book is one of the few pleasures it affords me.
Our showerhead is dripping. Has been dripping. Drip … drip.
We’ve tried to fix it. Google. You Tube. Gaskets and tape and bad instructions that assume you know things a person who Googles LEAKY SHOWERHEAD couldn’t possibly know and drip drip drip.
We need to call the plumber.
Not a big deal. His name is Jonathan. Phone number is on his magnet on my fridge.
At first the drip was unbearable.
Drip, drip, drip, couldn’t sleep one more night with that wretched drip PLEASE figure this out tomorrow, will you PLEASE, I will.
And then tomorrow was last week and three soccer games and a cross country meet and two rehearsals and a wedding and a crisis at work and life life life.
Drip, drip, drip.
Just shut the bathroom door. You can hardly hear it.
And then shutting the bathroom door becomes the thing we do. The whole family is conditioned to shut the bathroom door against the drip. United. One nation under a leaky showerhead.
(Drip, drip, drip.)
We hardly hear it.
It could be a drip. Or a buzzing light. Or a board that rattles in the floor. Or a sombrero the boys left on your dresser that you knock off with your hip every third time you pass it and you keep putting it back on the dresser because WHO HAS TIME TO LEARN? Or it could be a coworker. Mostly nice, but then not so nice.
And at first it is unbearable.
Pick, pick, pick.
And then time passes.
And you can hardly hear it.
(Pick, pick, pick.)
Until there’s a price.
There is always a price, eventually
you will be standing there clutching your cosmic water bill wondering how hard it would have been to just
call the plumber.