Kymberli: Catalina Rae? Where’d you go? Are you out for lunch?

Catalina: Hello? (raps on computer screen) Does this thing still work?

Seriously, everybody, where did the time go? Sorry if I’ve been out of touch with you for a while. It seems like it was June yesterday, and now it’s already August?

Well, I’m one of those people who positively REVELS in the joys of summer, whether it’s a day at the lake or an evening on the patio with friends and family. I am possibly the only person in the world who cannot stand pumpkin spice ANYTHING, and I’ll take a sundress and sandals over a parka and boots ANY DAY. So, to all of you who are posting the “Who’s ready for fall, y’all?” memes — Just. Stop. Now.

Alas, the majority of American moms are now wending their way through the school shopping aisles and vowing to make THIS fall be the one that results in the following scenario:

The children wake themselves, get themselves washed up AND dressed without any arguments about clothes, eat a healthy breakfast, grab their backpack (which has last night’s completed homework), and give you a smile, a hug, AND a kiss before heading out the door for the school day ahead.

Right. Yeah. You go right ahead and double up on the shot of Bailey’s — I mean espresso — for your coffee.

Well, all best intentions aside, life just doesn’t work that way for most of us.

I was talking to Scarlet (of Intersections) the other day, and she’s got one of those cool systems built right now for lunches. You know, the over-the-door hanging organizer stuffed with grab-n-go items for lunches. Juice boxes, chips, granola bars, the works.

I’m impressed, I tell ya. Not just that she had this system up and ready before the first day of school, but that it actually works for her kids. If it were my kids, they’d look that over once and then grab two bags of chips, three bags of cookies, and a can of soda. I’d get the phone call from the school that their lunch was not appropriate and that it was necessary for me to bring them something healthy for the day.

So I’ve got to tell you that I have packed my share of healthy lunches for my kids, jammed with things that they’ll gobble up at home, only to have the lunchbox returned at the end of the day — STILL FULL. Never mind that I preheated water for the Thermos, heated the spaghetti and meatballs, dumped the hot water out and filled the Thermos with spaghetti and meatballs, etc. Heck, I even put a salad with their favorite dressing in a bag with an ice pack AND tossed in two pieces of garlic bread. But nooooo, it came home, untouched. Grrrrr…

I think some of these parents are onto something with their idea that it’s all about the presentation. Those Bento box lunches are so cute! And as for those artistic lunch-packers — the ones that draw a different masterpiece on the sandwich bag every day, or the ones who create mini-dioramas out of carrot sticks and sliced turkey? Well, my hat is off to you. There’s no way I’d have that much creativity in the morning.

I guess I could pull that off if I made them the night before. With a couple of glasses of wine in me to fuel the creativity. I don’t know. I think I’d:

(A) run out of ideas after the third day, or
(B) fall asleep while cutting the crust off of the bread for the butterfly-shaped sandwich, or
(C) get a note from the school suggesting that I stop using Pinterest and just stick to the sandwich-chips-fruit trifecta.

I hope you’re more successful than I was with school mornings. Leave a comment to share your greatest successes — or your coping strategies for the mornings that drove you to drink before 9:00 am!

I’m going to go dust off the manuscript for my next book, Vanishing Point. Like my first book, it will be a novelette based on a true story. It’s just the right length for a plane trip, or for your kids to read on a road trip. It’s also going to be marketed to upper elementary and middle school audiences.

Sign up for weekly updates (yes, I will re-commit to this) and to cheer me on as I work toward my deadline of getting it published this month… before my literary agent starts sending me pumpkin spiced lattes…