Friday, May 27, 2005 No comments

In, Out, In, Out...

It didn't take more than a couple of nights for the boy to realize he can't get too far without us either loaning him wheels or driving him everywhere (naturally, he prefers option #1). With three days left in the school year, he missed the first of them. The principal let all concerned know that he wouldn't pass 11th grade if he blew off the last week of school, truncated though it is. Since he slept in (he's 17, can't even get himself out of bed, and thinks he can take care of himself — yeah right), he decided he needed to spend the rest of the week with us. So he made it the rest of the week. Whew!

So we laid down some rules that we expected him to follow while he lived with us. As I read them off, I got the expected (but still annoying) “no... no... no...” He Just Doesn't Get It.

Meanwhile, he kept trying to change the subject to his CD collection. SWMBO, after listening to a couple of them, decided to confiscate the whole bunch. He thought she'd destroyed them, and he has been demanding $500 to replace them. He owes us a bunch of money for repairs to the van (after bopping a street sign) and my car (tearing the muffler off), and was hoping to weasel out of it that way. I told him today that he'll get the CDs back after he pays us back. “Why can't you give me the CDs and I pay you back later?” Because you've proved you can't be trusted, that's why.

He seems to think he ought to be able to live with us, use our vehicles whenever he pleases, come in when (or if, like last night) he pleases, and be rude to us when (not if) he pleases. Nope. I'm about >< that far from just not selling him my car at all. He can find something else (I know of two cars for sale for half what he needs for mine anyway).

He has also had the temerity to call SWMBO “crazy,” sometimes to her face. Huh. She's not the one who lives in a delusion, is obsessive, has violent outbursts, and thinks he can try the same failed tactic and succeed.

During all this “discussion,” I turned to the wife and said, “Taking a job in China teaching English or something sounds appealing right now.” She laughed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005 No comments

Boy moves out, for now

The boy staying with the in-laws lasted exactly one night. Our nephew decided to have an undergraduate party to celebrate the impending end of school, and invited about six friends and relatives. Naturally, the guests invited friends, and so forth, and suddenly the body count was closer to 20 than 6.

My sister-in-law, not the most stable isotope in the periodic table, wasn't terribly thrilled that The Boy was actively participating in the party expansion (getting girls no less), and when they decided to go down to the pond on her dad's farm, she did what everyone else in the family does when they have a problem: call me. So I grabbed the cellphone and called his. Turns out they haven't gone anywhere... or at least, no farther than the bottom of the driveway. Sheesh. But at least he found out early, there are worse people than his mom to share a house with.

So while we're out attending a graduation ceremony on Saturday, and he starts calling us asking which car he can borrow to go to a movie. The answer: “none.” He's still not allowed to drive for some unspecified amount of time.

“But I made plans!” (Like that’s supposed to make us realize that taking away privileges for disobediance is Just Wrong.) Unfortunately for us all, he found the spare key to The Barge, the mid-size SUV She uses for the farm, and left. After all, he made plans, and that made it OK, right?

Needless to say, we weren’t happy campers when we got home and found The Barge missing. SWMBO told me to call him and tell him to get home right now. I did, he did, then he immediately told us he needed another car to pick up his friends at the theater. He Just Does Not Get It.

“I’m moving out tonight,” he says. “Fine with me,” She says. He walked out the door and started down the road (10 miles to anywhere from FAR Manor, remember). After letting him walk a few minutes, I called him and asked him if he wanted me to take him down to get his friends. He was OK, so SWMBO and I jumped in the van. He didn't want her coming, but didn't try to force the issue. We got his friends, took his girlfriend to Steak&Shake (where he works), then left him with the friend who said he could live there.

It gets better.
Today, he calls, wanting a vehicle so he could go to band practice. He decided to talk to his mom, kind of a surprise, and managed somehow to talk her into letting him use the minivan this afternoon. We went over there to drop it off and had a talk with him & the people he's staying with. He's probably going to come home in a few days... probably once we say he can drive around again.

I'll admit to having mixed feelings about the situation. Things are certainly quieter with him not here — I don't have to listen to his constant whining about needing the car for any excuse he can cook up. On the other hand, I really don't want him leaving just yet; he has the survival skills of an opossum on a busy freeway combined with the teenage angst that makes him not care. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating about his lack of survival skills, but he certainly hasn't demonstrated to us that he can take care of himself.

Friday, May 20, 2005 No comments

BOOM

The sky went BOOM last night about 3 a.m. The storms weren't bad in terms of wind or hail, but there was lots of lightning. But it kept us awake, until SWMBO thought to say, "did the boy come home?"

We got up & checked. No boy in bed, no minivan in the driveway. I called his cellphone, got his voicemail after about 6 rings (the cell coverage out here gets a bit flaky when the towers are getting hit by lightning, imagine that). Told him it was 3 a.m. and we needed to know where he was.

I got the call about 8 a.m., after She went to deal with the in-laws' farm. “I'm fine, I just got real tired coming home and stayed with Blake.” After reminding him he should have called, and pointing out that his mom was less than pleased, I went on to work. The other BOOM happened shortly thereafter.

So about 40 minutes later, I've stopped for gas before hitting the office and he calls me, trying to keep it together and not managing too well. “I guess I won't be seeing you anymore. I can't take living with Mom and I'm leaving.” And he was; actually walking down the road (and you have to go like 10 miles to get anywhere around here). I got him to agree to call the preacher to talk to him, knowing he wouldn't, and figured he wouldn't get too far anyway before he cooled off.

Turns out he's going to live with my sister-in-law. Not a bad arrangement; he's nearby and the accommodations won't be too dodgy. They're not the most stable people on the planet, but that seems to run in the family on Her side. Must be something in the water... but since I've been drinking the same water for 20 years now, I worry about me sometimes too....

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 No comments

Inconstantcy

So I got home last night, wife & kids are sitting there watching The Incredibles. No broken furniture (yes, the boy has gotten that mad) or other signs of warfare. Turns out that SWMBO expected me to tell him he lost the car. Yeah, right, like he would have come home at all.

Then, in the morning, she lets him use the car anyway because she's going to need the van. He started a new job at Steak&Shake today, about a week earlier than scheduled because “something came up” according to the manager (i.e. somebody quit). So he's picking up Lobster from KFC tonight.

This is another problem we've had around here: on several occasions, She blew up, pronouncing dire judgement in absentia while breathing fire and brimstone. Later on, I told him he can't do XYZ because She said so, not knowing that statement has become inoperative (as they say). I end up looking like an idiot. After a couple of those, I just quit trying to have anything to do with the discipline end of things. I'm not going to back her up if she's just going to kick me in the ass.

So tomorrow he's losing the car. This time for sure. Yeah, really. (Well, at least for a day or two; it'll be t-storming so the bike stays in the garage.)

And in the middle of typing this, my daughter (also a teenager) decides my back needs some zit removal. What a life.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 No comments

The nuclear option

I suppose this is a good a time as any, my imaginary and real audience, to briefly introduce some of the cast of this unending one-act.

First, the wife, whom I will usually refer to as SWMBO or Her Imperial Highness on crappy days and Wife-o-licious on better days. Our teenage son is much like her — which is the source of much conflict and the basis of tonight's post. Then there's Lobster, the kid staying with us. (Don't ask me why I call him that; I don't think I know myself.)

Finally, my car. It's a lowered Honda Civic with a rather excessive sound system — in other words, a teenage boy's wet dream. The only reason I have such a thing is that our nephew needed to sell it so he could get a truck for his new job, and I needed a car with good gas mileage. The boy has pretty much appropriated it, tries to tell everyone it's his car, although he's only paid $60 toward the $1500 he agreed to. Lately, he's been driving it every-freeking-where — I don't think he goes anywhere without putting 200 miles on it.

So this afternoon, he agreed to help in the in-laws' chicken houses. Unfortunately, his concept of the verb “to help” is to do about a quarter of the job and then take off. After he was told not to go anywhere. Reeeeeeeeeeeal smart.

So he calls me up, wanting the gas card. “It's on E.” Well, duh, that's what happens when you spend every free moment and some not-so-free moments driving around. Wife says, “He's not driving that car anymore. He can take the van.”

To make sure he gets home, I told him, “I'll bring the card. You get gas and go straight home. I'll get Lobster.” The way I figure it, he's not driving the car anymore, so I'm not buying him gas here. So I'm in the KFC parking lot, borrowing the wireless signal from the Super8 motel next door, and avoiding the screaming match that is surely going on as I type. I'll probably still take the bike to work on dry days; it gets slightly better gas mileage than the car (42mpg vs. 40). Besides, he tore the muffler off the bottom of the thing a while back, going down a driveway we told him not to go down.

Nobody listens to nobody. That's probably two-thirds of the problems we have.

Monday, May 16, 2005 No comments

Just ahead of the storm

The siding on the gables was rotten at the bottom — I think the wood was wicking up rain running down the roof. They put flashing underneath, but didn't seal the bottom of the siding. The original stuff lasted 20 years, anyway.

On one gable, the builders put the flashing behind the plywood, so the plywood rotted too. More fun with the crowbar. Hey, it's not every day you get to take a crowbar to a house you didn't want. So Sunday, I was putting up the siding when I heard thunder. God, please give me some time, I said. Hurry up, He rumbled.

I finished putting the siding up, finding I'd cut the last piece backwards. Screw it. Up it went, I'll cut another piece later. I called the daughter, tossed down some tools and foam insulation then carried the drill down with me. The first gust of wind knocked the insulation out of her hands and we gathered it up. Got everything in the garage, then got inside.

About five minutes later, the bottom fell out. Rain came down in buckets, and the lightning was banging around pretty heavy. One shot hit 'way too close to the house for comfort; the power dropped out for a second and came back on. We got the computers and TV unplugged first, fortunately. As far as I'm concerned, lightning could have fried that TV to a crackly crunch... but then the rest of them would have been whining to buy an HDTV to replace it. Yeah right, like we have any freeking money for that kind of crap.

So a day later, the muscle aches are about gone. Riding the motorcycle to work has its benefits.

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