Friday, October 31, 2008

Baking for the PTA

I got home late.

I hadn't eaten.

The kids were wound up, not yet in pajamas and their lunches weren't made.

[Sisyphus? I know how you feel!]

K wrangled the kids into their sleeping garb and read them stories while I ate cold cereal and packed up the next day's lunches.

Then I remembered....

"Sh*t! I have to bake!"

[I got suckered by the Pre-K PTA.]

I agreed to bake a cake for the Fall Festival.

When I agreed to bake, I decided I would make my Grandma K's Lemon Pound Cake with Walnuts (without the walnuts because nuts are banned from the land of the short people).

I e-mailed my Dad and asked for the recipe and, once he sent it, I purchased the ingredients.

It wasn't until I stood before the pre-heated oven and the greased bundt cake pan that I actually READ the recipe he sent.

[Which, unfortunately, confused me greatly.]

I tried calling my Dad at home and on his cell phone.

[Dad access = FAIL.]

I tried calling his sister, my Aunt Dorothy.


Next, I called my cousin Gary and his wife Judy answered.

This is how she answered the phone,

"Hal-low?  What? Wait. Listen, I'm forty-five years old and I'm going through some CHANGES right now, okay. I just got my period. It was two weeks late and it feels like everything down there is going to fall right out on the floor.  I've been up since 2:30 in the morning and I'm covered in glitter and glue and I'm trying to make a Heat Miser Halloween costume for a sixteen year old. What do YOU want?"

[Ha ha ha ha ha.]

I tried to be empathetic.

"I feel you," I said.

"Oh, I don't think so. No, no, no. You definitely DO NOT. Call me back when yours are teen-agers!"

I told her why I was calling.

"Oh, please," she said.  "I do NOT bake."

Judy suggested I call my cousin Jeffrey and then she started swearing.

"This glue is giving me a damned headache!"

I bid Judy a polite goodbye and called my cousin Jeffrey.

Jeffrey had a vague idea that the cake recipe involved a package of lemon pudding mix.

[Then he told me that he thought Sarah Palin was cute.]

"Did you try my mom?" he asked.

"Yeah, I tried her first, but she didn't pick up."

"Oh, right. Canasta."

[There was a pause.]

"You could try calling Aunt Gladys," he said and he gave me her phone number.

Aunt Gladys, one of my Grandma K's sisters, is famous for telling extremely raunchy jokes and pretending she doesn't understand why they're naughty.

I glanced at the clock.  

It was getting later and later and I hadn't even started the cake.

I was desperate.

"When do you have to make this cake?" Jeffrey asked me.

"Right now," I answered.  "I'm in PTA hell."

"It's due tomorrow?  You waited until the last minute?"

[Uh... yeah.]

"Well, who's gonna eat the cake?" Jeffrey asked.

"What do you mean? I don't know who's going to eat it," I said.

"So why don't you just follow the directions on the cake mix box and forget about Grandma's recipe?"

[Blink. Blink.]

"Okay, Jeffrey.  You've talked me down."


And I am listening to a self-help tape...

"Repeat after me... I do not have to be a baking over-achiever for the try that a few more times..."

"I do not have to be a baking over-achiever for the PTA..."

"I do not have to be a baking over-achiever for the PTA..."

"I do not have to be a baking over-achiever for the PTA..."

Everything is going to be just fine.


Crazed Mom said...

Good job Jess. I was a sahm and I still bought cookies or cupcakes because I prefer sleep to baking and the kids really did not care.

I did, however plan and run carnicals, book fairs, the PTA newsletter and was on the board.(Yeah I know stupid over achiever)

The best things had nothing to do with PTA(which I secretly think is run by Stepford wives) and that was volunteering in each child's classroom once a week. :)

Mel said...

As a side note to Crazed Mom:
I don't know what carnicals are, but DAYUM, they sound like fun. Heh heh heh. (Sorry. I had to, it's in my Dirty-Minded Smart-Ass Contract.)

Jess: I have never, and will never, bake for the PTA. I just can't take it. I'm glad you gave it the old college try, but that you didn't Let the Man Get You Down.

Little Monkies said...

It's 6am, I am up cleaning the house and making chili for the annual halloween party we throw. I was up until 1:00a making a costume OUT OF RECYCLED MATERIAL for my son who has a 103 temp and will not be going to school today.

Haysus. I know what you are going through. And I say it's time for a revolution. Viva la bon bon!

BTW, my MIL puts pudding in the best cake she makes. Word.

Luv ya, ya overachievin' mama.

Amanda said...

Thinking no-can-do the PTA, will instead compensate mightily with inventive play and cooperative meal making...umm, no, that doesn't sound right either.

Vodka Mom said...

that was a hysterical turn of events! I vote for purchasing a cake at Wal-Mart. works for me EVERY time.

K said...

I find that the local bakery makes a better cake than I do, hands down, and whoever "wins" it at the cake walk never complains...

Merrily Down the Stream said...

I was up till 11:30 baking cookies and "they just didn't come out quite right" - my words. THEY HAVE M&M's AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS IN THEM - like 1st graders care about anything else.
Must exorcise the inner Martha Stewart - maybe we could form some sort of self help group...

Patience said...

What is this "bake" you speak of?? I only understand "bakery". I don't do bake.

Lala said...

for the luncheon at my daughter's preschool yesterday I sliced up a bunch of kiwi as my fruit contribution. I could have been lazier....I could have chosen a fruit that didn't need to be peeled.

Anonymous said...

Oh you made me laugh. I remember days like this when my kids were little. I would spend hours laboring over some baked good and then see plates of chips ahoy cookies with plastic wrap over them at the bake sale! LOL

Patois said...

Thank God you were talked off the ledge, reasonably and without harm. Is it a canasta rule to ban cell phones, like at church?

Karen said...

Wal-mart donuts used to be offered by me to bake sales. Easy, cheap, and a sugary treat. what's not to love?

JoeinVegas said...

Anything baked will stand out amongst the purchased items. Put some pretty frosting on top and everyone will be amazed.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for Jeffrey! He should be a super hero for Halloween.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake said...

Damn it, Jess. Just when I've convinced myself I've given up my overachieving ways because my flower beds have been without pinestraw for three weeks, you drop this on me.

Is this where I admit I spent 6 fricking hours yesterday making witch broomstick cookies for Payton's class?


Liam's Mom - Gina said...

Whew, Jeff saved the day! Why didn't I think of that until he said it?

Magpie said...

I'm only two months into the elementary school experience, and I have thus far avoided doing anything PTA-related other than giving them $15 in dues. I think I'll keep it that way...unless, of course, I quit my job and turn into uber-PTA-mom.

Rachel said...

I'm so glad Heather shared this with me.

Hysterical. I'm glad Jeff talked you down from the ledge :-)

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Your cousin is right on! Glad he talked some sense into you woman! ;)

p.s. my reaction to any type of baking is sh*t

Lisa said...

Wow. You ARE a PTO-baking overachiever.

Here's how I bake for the PTA -
1.) "Here's a $30 donation for the bakesale. That gets me out of baking, right?" (It always does.)

Money well spent. ;-)

Theresa said...

Ha ha. I'm co-chairing the PTO bake sale on Tuesday morning at my step-son's elementary school. It sure takes a lot of planning.

I'm sure your cake was delicious, no need to over-achieve.

Jenny Henny said...

How funny! I hate baking, I'm dreading that portion of my Mommy duties...

Dawn said...

Oh mercy Jess that is *exactly* something I would do! You crack me up! ;)

carrie said...

Pre-K PTA? Now that is a new one!

Glad you came down off the edge, I've definitely been there.

Sayre said...

I have been in your shoes... It took a while, but I finally figured out how to stretch them.

Ben and Bennie said...

the description of Judy was a scream!

Debbie said...

I kinda need to know how I can get in touch with Judy. I'm pretty sure she is my long-lost best friend and I need her in my life right now.

Biddy said...

oh time you have a baking crisis, call on your friend Biddy. I am a baking goddess. but yeah, totally no need to over achieve for the pta

Maggie May said...

hee hee i just found your blog and you are cracking me up!!

oh the joys of baking and motherhood.
the boys of baking and brotherhood?
the boys of baking?
the boys of summer?
it's so confusing.

Dorothy said...

Oh the joys..this was so cute. Even me a 62 year old grandma could relate to that pressure.

Hope all went well..

Dorothy from grammology

Sayre said...

I have a little something for you over on my blog in teh Fun Monday post!

Ellen said...

Hi there, new to this blog, very amused! I am a mom of two who rarely cooks, we're big on takeout/frozen stuff/pizza/visiting friends who cook. I have yet to deal with PTA demands, but when I've had to make things for occasion I am perfectly fine with buying stuff and then putting it into containers wrapped with aluminum foil. Nothing says "homemade" like crushed aluminum foil. :)

Stephanie said...

OMG.... that is so me!! The last, last minute is when I remember stuff and when I get inspired and when I get defeated. I remember the year I picked up a bag of those Hawaiian rolls to be my contribution to the International Dinner. Yeah, I'm Hawaiian! WhatEVER! Hawaii is in America so it counts. Whatever gets the cake delivered....!

Shamelessly Sassy said...

I always agree to bake. But then I trick my mother-in-law into doing it for me.

Maggie said...

I was nodding along with you all the way. Volunteering - waiting till the last minute because hey, I haven't got anything better to do right? And then trying to do the most complicated thing. Yeah. I probably would have ended up a puddle of goo on the floor before I realized I could take the easy route.