“It’s quiet... too quiet.”
Or it was.
The Boy has lately been reneging on his agreement to be in bed by 11 on weeknights. Naturally, this makes him harder to get out of bed in the mornings, but that’s not the issue at hand.
Last night, he was told several times to get upstairs and get to bed. Around 11:30, SWMBO ordered me to go upstairs and “find out what all that banging is about.” (His bedroom is directly above the living room, and anything that interferes with her TV watching is Not Allowed.) So I went upstairs, to find Lobster in bed and The Boy sitting on the floor next to his bed. Given the general order of the room, it looked like he’d been cleaning.
“What was that thud noise your mom heard?”
"What noise? I dropped the Xbox, is all.”
“Fine,” I told him, ”get to bed, it’s 11:30.” He got up and got in bed, I went downstairs.
“He dropped his Xbox,” I told SWMBO. “It looked like he was cleaning up his room a bit.”
“He’s supposed to be in bed now!” she barked, with a tone that implied that I was to blame for this whole thing. Like I said, next to idiots in Accounts Receivable, nothing puts her back up faster than interrupting her TV.
“I told him that,” I replied, using a similar tone. A while back, SWMBO told me I needed to stand up for myself more often. She was right. Change begins at home.
It didn’t help matters that music started coming down the stairs at that moment. Of course, she told me to go up and tell them to shut it off, then stopped me. “Just stand where you can hear,” she said. “I’m going to find the breaker and turn it off.”
So I stood at the bottom of the stairs, and she started flipping breakers. “Did that do it? Did that do it?” even after I told her that I would let her know as soon as the music stopped. I saw the bathroom lights go off and on, then Daughter Dearest came out of her room.
“What happened to the lights?” she said. I explained, while SWMBO went through the entire breaker box unsuccessfully.
“There’s got to be more breakers,” she said.
“There’s that box in the garage,” I reminded her. “Do you want to go out there, or do you want me to go?”
At this point, she got even more irrational, and repeated her assertion that there had to be more breakers. I simply repeated what I said, not that it did any good. Finally, she threw up her hands and told me to go tell them to turn off the music. (I have absolutely no clue what the problem was with going to the garage.)
So I went upstairs, and turned off the stereo since it’s right inside his door. The Boy, who was laying in bed by this point, got huffy. “I was just playing that one song for Lobster!”
“Doesn’t matter, you should have been in bed for a while now. You agreed to 11 o’clock, lights out, stereo off.”
He just shook his head. “Why is it such a big deal?”
“Because it’s bothering your mom!” I said.
She was 1) listening at the bottom of the stairs, and 2) took offense. “He can just listen to his %@!! music all he wants to, for all I care!!!” SLAM went the doors. I gave The Boy a dirty look.
“Why did she go off like that?” he asked.
“Doesn’t matter,” I said. “If you had done what you agreed to do, none of this would have happened, and you would be easier to get up in the morning.” I left and went back downstairs to put up the laptop.
SWMBO was in the bedroom as I came in; I just started putting things away and she huffed out. Next thing I know, I heard The Barge going out. She probably went down to her mom’s; all I know for sure is she didn’t come back. I went to bed. When caught by forces of nature, it’s best to just ride it out and move on.
After about 20 minutes, The Boy came downstairs and we talked for a while. We talked about things; he said he was going to save his money and move out by January.
“Just hang in there for a while and it’ll blow over,” I said. He claimed to take offense to SWMBO’s use of “%@!!” and so forth. I wanted to tell him that lying about not smoking was just as bad as foul language — SWMBO found a pack of cigs in his room last week — but it wasn’t the time. So we talked about things for another 20 minutes; after we finished I told him we needed to talk more often, but not at 1 a.m.
So I’m working at home today. SWMBO came in long enough to get a change of clothes, then off to the chicken houses. Neither of us said anything. What... ever. Like the computer said in War Games, “the only way to win is not to play.” If she doesn’t come back, I’ll put FAR Manor on the market and move closer to work. She knows that, so I expect she’ll be in by lunch and pretend nothing ever happened.