From the archives: The Tax Deductions head back to school

By Jon Dawson/Staff Writer

My beloved tax deductions headed back to school this week. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all teachers for everything they do. Also, I will preemptively apologize for any shenanigans or minor property damage caused by my six-year-old. I don’t know what to say other than she takes after her mother.

TD No. 1 starts middle school this year and TD No. 2 is in first grade. During the weeks leading up to the first day of school our kitchen table looked like we’d hijacked a Staples truck.

Speaking of school supplies, the Trapper Keeper has evolved quite a bit over the years. What was once a tri-fold cardboard binder with a Velcro snap has now evolved into a memo pad straight out of Blade Runner. These things now feature a phone charger, stock ticker, odometer and refrigerated food pouch. In third grade it took my friend Kevin Morgan until Christmas break to figure out how the Velcro flap worked. I may need to enroll in a night class to have enough wherewithal to add paper to the blasted thing without accidentally launching a missile from a grain silo.

Whoever decided to manufacture erasers that looked like mini-Twix bars, I gotta tell you that’s not funny. When you’ve been eating salads and smoothies all week and wander through the kitchen around 11 p.m. looking for a little reward, there isn’t enough milk in a warehouse full of Holsteins to wash the taste of eraser out of your mouth. To add insult to injury, a contract was ruined this afternoon after I tried to erase a mistake with a Milky Way.

All summer TD No. 2 has jumped out of bed at 6 a.m. like a shot, while TD No. 1 has usually joined the land of the living by 7 a.m. As the first day of school approached, however, The wife noticed that both of these freeloaders started sleeping till 8 a.m. It’s almost as if they’re practicing being difficult to get out of bed for the next nine months. I’m a planner and I admire their ability to take initiative, but their predisposition to use their talents for evil concern me.

In an attempt to serve the community, I’d like to use this public forum to give parents some tips on how to best get those sleepy, cranky, uncooperative kids going in the morning.

I’ve been told it’s cruel by pretty much everyone I’ve described it to, but a few times I’ve used Santa Claus to get kids out of bed. All you have to do is rush into their room and yell, “Santa left presents! Santa left presents!” At 6 a.m. they’re so out of it they don’t know what planet they’re on, much less what day it is. I’ve pulled this on both of my kids once, and I gotta tell you there is nothing like seeing them trip over their own feet running into the living room to be greeted by their school books tied together with a red bow. Who knew a lip could pooch out that far or that two adults could laugh that hard for that long without hyperventilating?

Another great way to get the kiddies motivated on a school day is to lift their mattress to a 45 degree angle. This will either cause the miscreant in question to slide onto the floor with an attitude adjusting thud or grab onto the mattress for dear life. Either way, you’ve got their blood pumping with the authority of a dozen cups of coffee. After waking up to something like that, your little angels will be so eager to get to school they may start sleeping in the car to save time.

Lastly, the beginning of a new school year is always a blender of emotions for all parties involved, but especially for mothers. The thought of their littler ones growing up has caused more than a few tears to be shed by many moms over the last few weeks, but this too shall pass.

Within a few days, that little one whose unrelenting march to adulthood caused you to get a little emotional in the diaper section of the Piggly Wiggly will come to you needing help with their homework. Homework that you nor your husband who doesn’t fully understand how Velcro works will know how to do. Those tears of sorrow will be converted to perspiration spawned of desperation.

Eventually that little cherub will figure out how to do their homework, will show you how they did it, and you will put on an Oscar-worthy performance as you confidently nod and say, “I knew how to do it but I wanted you to figure it out for yourself.”

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