Monday, March 11, 2013

F in Paperwork

Before you ask, this horrifying graphic is a pointing finger. Even though it's shockingly pink and looks like a mutated foot with the big toe serving as the pointer and a spare toe wrapped around as a thumb, it is what you get when you try to find free clip art.

The message remains the same, though: When I point the big toe of my mutated foot at someone else, I have three toes pointed squarely back at me. (I know, I know. My stubby toes would have to be broken in three places each to actually curl this way, but work with me on this.)

Today I got a message from the bursar's assistant at Small College. The e-mail was friendly and upbeat.

"Hi, MomQueenBee. I just wanted to shoot you a reminder that you have a balance on your student account. If you have any questions or concerns please let me know and I'll be happy to help."

Ha, ha, ha! I thought to myself. Obviously they don't realize that I'm a GROWN-UP, and not a STUDENT, and that I don't pay Small College--Small College pays me! So I replied in the same cordial tone.

"I'm sorry, what is this about?"

"No problem…we’re showing a balance on your account of $289.28."

And with that, the rusty cogs of my memory engaged. Back right after Christmas, when I was more rested than I would be later, I was talking with a faculty friend about a class she would be teaching. It delved into how we use language, and before I knew it my fascination with words stampeded right over my calendar and signed up to audit the class. After the class began, I turned out to have a job at which people expected me to WORK on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (hrmph) and I missed class after class. I worried about this to my friend.

"That's okay," she told me. "Just drop by when you can."

"When I can" turned out to be at varying odd hours of the week, but never on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and I finally gave up. 

Except that I didn't exactly drop the class. I just stopped even pretending I could attend, and merrily assumed (tra-la-la!) that the little wood elves who take care of all the other paperwork in my life also would take care of this. I should have known better. 

For their whole lives but especially during the past eight years since Boy#1 left the nest, Husband and I had preached to our children the importance of paperwork. Ignore it at your own peril! we declared. Your scholarships will disappear! we told them. Your applications will be denied! we warned. Your life will be so much harder if you don't remember that when you are in college paperwork is EVERYTHING! we drilled into them. 


Because even though I am friends with the academic dean and he's a good guy and probably will waive the drop-add deadline for me, I kind of forgot everything I had preached to the Boys about the first basic rule of how to succeed in college and that is why the three stubby toes are pointing right back at me.

Give me an F in paperwork.

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