Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are We Broke Yet?

August is always an expensive month, but this year is especially bad. I feel like I'm just flinging money in all directions!

In order for our children to attend the excellent public schools here, we have to pay for all sorts of things that state funding no longer covers. The parents' club at each school and the local educational foundation each request a large donation per child to cover what they provide (music, art, languages, textbooks, other optional things like that). Then there's all the other stuff. For M, I was surprised by the cost of the yearbook ($105), resigned to paying for new PE clothes ($30) and an optional school sweatshirt ($40), and utterly appalled by the $75 charge for his required ID card. Oh, and we had to prepay for his school photo, sight unseen. (He came home from registration today, and informed me that, of course, his photo was hideous.)

B's yearbook was cheaper, and her ID is free, but the requested donation at the middle school is nearly twice what the high school requests. We prepaid her lunches for a semester, and we also prepaid her ballet school tuition for the next year (we get a discount if we do that).

On top of the expected school expenses, we had a couple surprises this month. First, our oven door refused to open when DH tried to bake cookies. After calling several highly recommended appliance repairman, we were informed that we had to go through the manufacturer's designated service people. We got an appointment last Friday, and found that we need a new door latch kit, which has to be special-ordered from the manufacturer. Next, our minivan's oil change turned into oil change + two new tires + new front axle. Finally, the tree in our backyard (which has been in need of a trim for a while) suddenly started dropping large branches not only in our yard, but also in our neighbors', so we made an emergency appointment with a tree trimmer.

For any appliances/cars/kids who may be listening, we're out of money, so please stop asking for more!

Monday, August 8, 2011

High School Registration

Can you believe M is entering high school? I'm still not entirely convinced yet, but today I had to go down to the high school and prove that we're residents of the district. I brought with me my driver's license, homeowner's insurance policy, and paycheck stub, to cover the three groups of documentation required. (Utility bills are no longer acceptable forms of ID). I also brought along his immunization records, just in case, even though I'd already submitted them in the spring. Good thing I did--the mom in line ahead of me was turned away because she hadn't brought her child's immunization records, and they did ask me to resubmit them in order to proceed. (Which then leads me to question why I had to submit them in the spring, if they want them again now?)

Overall, I can't complain. First of all, we arrived just in time--a rather long line formed behind us. Second, I have a friend who is having a much harder time with this (in a neighboring school district). Her nephew has arrived from overseas in order to attend school in the US for a year. My friend is very organized, and had all the required pieces of paper in hand last spring, but her school district wouldn't allow her to register the kid until he arrived. He arrived last week, so they went down to the school to register him. They accepted the paperwork, but informed her they couldn't register him until they made a home visit to ensure that he was really living with her. And they're booked the rest of this week. And they're closed next week. And school starts the week after, but he can't start if he's not registered...