We received notice the other day that Woodrow’s seniors will be painting their parking spaces — a longstanding tradition at the school — Saturday, Aug. 18, beginning around 7 a.m. and ending with a parent/student BBQ from 7-9 p.m. Speaking from experience as the parents of two Woodrow grads, I can tell you that will be one long, hot day.

Before any of you become indignant about kids throwing away money for parking spaces and/or how only rich kids can afford them, know this: From what I recall, a parking space could be had for as little as $20-$40 for the year, which is about the cost of a video game or some makeup, so the pricing doesn’t make the class fundraiser off limits to any student who can afford a car in the first place.

I asked my wife (who took the task far more seriously than our sons or I did) if she had any tips for newbie parents getting ready for the big day.

Here are her recommendations, hard-earned after suffering through one sweat-filled day helping our oldest and merely breezing by to watch our youngest (who demonstratively stated that he didn’t need us intruding):

1) Paint your space in October, rather than August. Sure, you lose the first few months of senior year, but it’s the tradeoff for avoiding the asphalt roast-out.

2) Hire one of the neighborhood’s “starving artists” to paint the space for you so you can stay out of the sun.

3) Paint a space in the shade of your own driveway and carpool to school with a junior.

Make sure you buy the right paint, too; I think you need oil-based paint rather than water-based, particularly if you want the design to last all year. But if you’re in doubt, the people at Sherwin-Williams at Mockingbird and Abrams handle questions for frazzled seniors and their parents every year about this time, and they were helpful when we needed it.


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