One of the last things on my to do list was to pay a visit to the now infamous (to me) Spring Creek elementary school.
The morning before the PTF meeting I’m in the school parking lot waiting for Eleanor. My plan is for both of us to walk in together, sign the parent volunteer sheet, slap on a Spring Creek Elementary School “visitor” sticker and do some recon.
Eleanor pulls up beside me and we both get out of our cars. I follow her lead as we walk into the school. Just as I thought, it’s easy peasy to sign in at the front desk, (I don’t think the school secretary even looked up from her computer as soon as she recognized Eleanor) and walk to the workroom. Here, like in most schools, are where you find the copy machines, paper, staplers etc and moms (I know Dad’s volunteer, but in my nine years straight of having at least one child in elementary school I have never seen a father collating worksheet packets.) allegedly assisting their child’s teacher.
The mother maybe hard at work die cutting hearts for the February bulletin boards, but she’s also multi-tasking by gossiping her ass off. That made the workroom ground zero to gauge the mood of the moms. As Eleanor and I were about to enter the workroom she stopped short. I asked her, “What’s up?” Thinking our big game – Priscilla Davis might be in there.
Eleanor stepped back and said, “Crap. I hate that mom.”
I peak over her shoulder and say, “Which one are you talking about?” There were three moms in the workroom.
“The petite one right by the copier with those stupid boots on.”
I look in again and see a woman, in immediate need of a sandwich, in riding boots and freaking breeches or whatever the hell you call those pants that fancy people who ride horses wear. (Oh pardon me, I mean equestrians) Did she ride her horse to school because I didn’t see a hitching post in the parking lot?
I ask Eleanor, “Do you hate her because she wears her horsey pants to volunteer at the elementary school? Because if so, that’s enough for me?”
“No, I hate her because we’ve had kids the same age and in the same class for like five years and she never ever remembers who I am. God, I’m so sick of it. I’ve probably re-introduced myself to her 100 times.”
“Ohhhh,” I say, “One of those. A mom with a bad case of arrogance amnesia. The old ‘you’re not important enough for me to remember therefore I’ll pretend I don’t know you as a way to signal my superiority.’ Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go in there and mess with her.”
Eleanor gave me a pained expression so I said, “Correction. I’ll go in there and mess with her. You pretend you need to make copies.”
With that we both walk into the work room and whatever conversation/gossip the three women were having stops. Eleanor says hi and I smile and nod at everyone. Horsey pants sneers and says, “Do I know you two?
I give her an over the shoulder confused look and say, “You’re joking right?”
“No, I’m not. Have we’ve ever been introduced? She then gives both of us the snobby once over. “I don’t recollect meeting either of you and I don’t think I would know you from the club or the barn.”
THE BARN! I’m biting down on my lower lip to keep from howling and suddenly the lyrics to the classic 1950’s TV show – Mr. Ed pop into my head. (No, I not that old, but who hasn’t heard the Mr. Ed song sometime in their childhood.) “ A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a horse of course. That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mister Ed.” What a huge Mr. Ed’s ass this woman is. I get it lady you ride horses. That doesn’t make you Kate Middleton.
Instead of singing the Mister Ed theme song I say in a very concerned voice, “Okay, now you’re scaring me. You do know me from the barn. I’m the dressage champion (points for me pulling that term right out of my butt.) and Eleanor and you have had kids in the same class for years.”
I then do a long drawn out “Ohhhhhhh” and all of the moms give me a weird look, including Eleanor.
This is when I stick the knife in and rotate it counter-clockwise, “I am so, so sorry. I should have realized you’re going through menopause and having those memory lapse issues my mom’s Red Hat Society always talks about. Don’t worry according to my mom it all comes back after your body gets used to the non-estrogen lifestyle. You’ll be fine. Circle of life, my friend, Circle of life.”
As Horsey Pants is turning bright red I’m grabbing Eleanor’s shoulder and turning her towards the door. We both walk out and Eleanor whispers, “Oh my God.”
I say, “I have no doubt she’ll remember you now.”
Eleanor still whispering, which was starting to aggravate me, says, “Yeah and not it a good way.”
“Stop worrying and count your blessings. I’m guessing she’ll never even make eye contact with you again. Now, where’s the cafeteria?”
Eleanor showed me the cafeteria and how the meeting would be set up. The PTF board members have the custodian set up a dais for them with microphones and a smart board. When Eleanor tells me this I look at her and ask, “How many parents come to the meeting that they need a dais and microphones? Most elementary school PTA meetings are lucky to get two dozen parents.”
“They really publicize the meetings and they take role. Your kid isn’t eligible for any awards if at least one parent or guardian doesn’t come to a meeting.”
“Shit.” I say, “They TAKE roll. (Totally dismissing the just as shocking fact that school awards are based on parental attendance at a PTF meeting.) Why didn’t you guys tell me this? I’ll need to work around that. Do they take roll at the beginning of the meeting? Is it a verbal roll call or do they just circulate a sign in sheet?”
“They take roll as soon as you walk in There will be table right here and two of the board members watch you sign in.”
“Don’t tell me they check I.D.?”
“No. I don’t think so. Is this going to be a problem?”
“Maybe, but don’t worry about it. I’ll improvise. Now show me the exits that will open and not set off an alarm.”
A couple of minutes later I feel confident that I know the school’s layout and walk back out, solo, to my car. Oh perfect, there’s Horsey Pants in the parking lot. She walks up to me and says, “Not that it’s any of your business, but I am far too young to be going through menopause.”
I was ready to just give her some more grief, but then a thought occurred to me. To pull off this scheme the Nut Ups will need parental support. This is an awesome opportunity to turn Horsey Pants into an ally.
“Hey,” I say, “You look early 30’s tops to me (Total lie. She looks 40ish on a good day.) But, Priscilla Davis has been telling everyone your going through the big M complete with drippy hot flashes. I’m sure she’s jealous of you. Seriously, everyone is. You should come to the PTF meeting tomorrow. Did you hear she’s trying to be PTF president – again? Like she thinks she’s queen of the school or something. You want to get back at her – show up.”
“How would going to the PTF meeting get back at her?”
“I don’t really know, but I heard a rumor it’s going to be good.”
“How about that big, bleached blonde, head of hair of hers is going to be ground zero for a school wide lice epidemic and that’s just for starters.”
Horsey pants gave me a full mouthed smile and I my first thought was wow, those are some bad veneers. If I were her I might want to cut back on the horsey expenditures for some better cosmetic dentistry. After I got past the slipshod teeth I smiled back and said, “So, will I see you tomorrow night?”
“Oh, I’ll be there,” she purrs, “And I’ll bring friends.”
We both go to get in our cars and as she opens her door she looks back at me, wrinkles her brow, squints her eyes and says, “Are you sure I know you?”
“Yes, I’ve been at this school for years.”