Friday, June 13, 2008

It seemed like a good idea at the time

My friends Bridget and Jerri have both been telling me about this great Yahoo group that Catholic homeschoolers can join, where you can sell curriculum and buy curriculum and all manner of things pertaining to, well, Catholic homeschooling.

So I decided that I would join. Jerri solemnly assured me that she often sees Math-U-See items for sale, plus high-value things like Rosetta Stone language software for mere pennies on the dollar (and what a treat it was to find out that other Catholic homeschoolers besides yours truly buy expensive curricula, use it four times in a manner so that it cannot be returned for a refund, and then think, "Well, not so much" and stick it in a closet until they join a Yahoo group where it can be unloaded on someone else for way less than half the original price. My husband always says I should cut out the middle man and just go out to the driveway and burn a stack of twenty dollar bills.) I didn't really want to join another e-list, but this sounded too good to pass up.

When I went to the Yahoo site to register, I didn't pay much attention to how active the list was; I was in a hurry so I just entered my information, which would allow this entity to send me email from the group in the form of individual posts, and went on my merry way, completely oblivious to the hellstorm of homeschool emails I had just released into my inbox.

The girls and I were going somewhere that particular day, so I didn't check my email for about six hours. When I got back to the computer, I logged on to my account and was considerably startled to note that I had something like seventy-five new messages. Seventy-five! For a moment, I was feverish with excitement, thinking that there had been a sudden outbreak of interest in Shakespeare and that students and their parents were clamoring for me to organize three or four more classes to meet their needs. I am such a sweet little dreamer.

Instead, the emails were from people with names like buttonsandbows2u and mommy6kids2cats and happycrafter1973. They were all selling Catholic homeschooling items and it was interesting to see what they had for sale, but none of it was of any use to me. I plowed through about fifteen of the seventy Yahoo messages, leaving personal messages from Carol and the Ka(y)t(ie)s unanswered. They eventually got lost in an avalanche of Yahoo mail, entreating me to buy twenty-six Bethlehem Books for $10 each (which is a really great deal, just in case you didn't know) and Little Angel Readers (which the girls outgrew, like, six years ago) and all kinds of things.

But no Math-U-See pre-algebra. Or Latin American Rosetta Stone software. None. Ever. JERRI!!!!!

I hastily switched my account over to a daily digest. "There," I thought with relief, clicking the digest link. "That'll help." I set off looking through many pages of emails to find Susie's letter to me about my Aunt Peg's health problems, which I had read but not responded to about a week back. I never did find it. I have an overwhelming sense of guilt whenever I think of Susie's heartfelt message about meeting a retired Catholic priest in an elevator and breaking down into sobs and asking him if he could help her. He could, as it turned out. Here she sent me this sad and beautiful story about her mama and I never replied.

The daily digest was even worse. WORSE. How could it be worse? Let me tell you: there's no such thing as a "daily digest" with this Yahoo group. This is the busiest little group of buyers and sellers I've ever seen outside of that gazillion-mile long rummage sale that takes place along the National Road. Their idea of a "daily" digest? Oh, let me think, ABOUT FIFTY EMAILS PER DAY. And each one of those digests has about twenty-five things that people WTB or have FS.

I felt so guilty about not going through each. Individual. Email. In every single digest. Why be so obsessive, you goose? you might be thinking. I'll tell you: My mama didn't raise no quitters. When faced with an insurmountable task, we forge ahead in the manner of our sturdy peasant ancestors settling the wilderness, beating away the bears and malaria-carrying mosquitos with our sunbonnets and relishing the opportunity to set up housekeeping in an 8x12 windowless log cabin. You may think it's a far cry from the difficulties and privations of the Indiana wilderness to the difficulties and privations of being inundated with friendly yet over-frequent non-spam emails, but I assure you that it isn't.

In short, this e-list, while it is a worthy one and has no doubt thrilled many people with the bargains they've snagged, is driving me straight up the freaking wall. We are as poor as a goldfish swimming in a teacup, but if being on this list is the price I've gotta pay to dig through endless emails in forlorn hope of finding some gently used Spanish language software for the girls, I think I'd rather just head right over to Rosetta Stone.


Kbg said...

Oh, I hear you loud and clear...I have a ton of stuff waiting to go on that site and every time I try to think about posting it, I run screaming from the room at just the thought of wading through all of those posts....

Anne-Claire said...


You should look into the foreign language curriculum TELL ME MORE Homeschool version. They offer 4 levels/years of Spanish almost for the price of Rosetta Stone level 1. I made the switch for my girls a year ago and it was the best decision for my family.