Oh boy…

Last night, I could tell there was a near miss. M wanted to argue over pants (AGAIN!) Probably the hundredth time since August.

Here’s the story. In August, we bought him 6 pairs of blue jeans that fit. That he liked. That he tried on. He got even more pants (green, red, blue camo) in the middle of the school year. Green have disappeared completely. Blue camo ripped a button. In February, I bought him another pair of gray jeans (Hawk). They ripped in less than 2 weeks. I got him another pair in March, and they ripped in late April, same place. He couldn’t wear them to school (big fight). I gave him 2 pair I’d been saving for the day when they all were bad, because he was having a good week: camo and plain green. Plain green went missing. Camo are wearing out very quickly.

So, let’s count: plain green, camo, red, and 6 pairs of jeans left to be able to wear to school. Gray for skating only.

“I don’t have any pants. Where are my gray ones. I can wear those.”


“I promise. I’ve talked to the principal. He said…”

“Nope. No arguing, against the …”

“Stop interrupting me. You don’t know! The principal said…”

“I don’t care. Remember the dress code rules? Do you want me to rip them up so they’re completely unwearable?”

“What about the red ones? You love those.”

“They don’t fit!”

“They’re the same size as the others.”

“No they’re not! They don’t fit!”

“Put them on. I’m not trying to be a dick, I just want to see so I know for the future.”

(They fit fine. They’re skinny jeans.)

“They hurt!”

“That’s the way they’re supposed to fit,” I say, hiking them up to where he’s supposed to be wearing them, still way below the waist.

“Ouch, that hurts!”

“Bullshit. That’s the way skinny jeans are supposed to fit. Just say ‘I don’t like this fit anymore’ and I’ll make sure they go away.”

“Well, what am I supposed to wear tomorrow?”

“One of the 6 other pairs of jeans you have.”

*starts digging through the junkpile that is his room*

“I don’t even know where they are!”

“They’re somewhere in that room that I’ve asked you several times to clean and that you haven’t put clean clothes away for 2 months. You’ll have to find them”

(T closes his door.)

M comes walking out and hands me 2 pair of jeans, unacceptable for school, and 2 pair that will do. So, we’re minus the blue camo, and a pair of normal jeans, and the red ones.

That leaves 4 pair of blue jeans, the green pair, and the camo pair. Still, 6 pair of school appropriate jeans. And a calm child.

“I want another pair of these camo ones. And the gray ones.” (which are starting to fall apart.)

“We’ll have to try to find some that will last longer. Finding these styles again might be hard.”

He closes the bathroom door, and I gather the rags. I made sure I said “Thank you for showing me which ones were bad and helping me get rid of them.”

Today, he wore shorts anyway.


So, it seems we can’t go a weekend without a fight, a potential disruption, a breakdown.

Last week, it was another “you can’t follow the simplest of rules, so you don’t want to be here. Let me help you. Here’s your bag, get out.” And a lot of crying over taking his temporary cell phone away while he was “getting his girlfriend back.” Sorry, that’s BS.

This week, it was over M’s inability to see a correlation between doing his chores and getting money. Since he’d rather go skateboarding, he no longer is getting money for mowing grass.

We’re not going to wait for you to decide to do your chores. You were given a chance. You were reminded. Nope. Now we’re doing it, apparently. I’d just say, F you, you’re not getting it this week. Apparently, it’s now ever. I don’t know.

I can’t live like this, alternating between everything is cool and everything sucks. It’s not fair to anyone. We just haven’t figured out how to move through it. We’re not going to be able to change it; we’re parents of a teenager, after all. Some days are worse than others.

M said something really hurtful last week. “I don’t want to hang out here because”… basically, we yell a lot, we have rules, and we expect him to take care of things. Which, yeah, that’s totally something I would say if I was trying to piss off my parents. Really, it’s because I’d much rather have fun with my friends. That’s what kids do. Parents are lame.

I love my son. I love my spouse. I don’t love the BS. I don’t love the lying. I don’t love the days when one of us just can’t take it anymore. I don’t know how  to move through this. I don’t know how to soothe. I don’t know how to reassure. I don’t know how to make it not GET to us.

Being a spiteful teenager is normal. Wanting to smack the bejeesus out of my smartass kid? That’s probably normal, too. Wanting to run screaming for the hills? Yeah, that, too. But every damn week??? I can’t handle it, and neither can T. And it scares me.


This week has been relatively good, aside from the half-truths.

Wednesday was psychiatry appointment, and it went well. T even said so.

Saturday (tomorrow) M and I (and actually his teacher and another family in the neighborhood) march in the city’s gay pride parade. It’s my first. It goes against everything I’ve ever said/believed/wanted, but M asked me, so I’m doing it.

And now, since his friends (in the other family) were marching, too, he’s decided to march. With them.

My college has a booth, and I’ll see them there.

So glad this week is over.

And remind me to tell you about the research study M is in.

Another week done. Happy Fathers Day

It was an uneventful week, until Saturday. Saturday turned into grumpiness. Saturday, M broke a couple rules at the same time. T lost his cool, again, after I thought I had already dealt with it, and had it under control.

M went past his boundaries. Was I really upset? No, not really, but he did it so nonchalantly that I had to say something. He tried to make excuses, they didn’t work, and rather than be grounded from his skateboard (for ONE DAY) he chose to have his allowance taken away for an entire week (which gets pushed forward every week he doesn’t do his chores.) I can’t wait to hear how that goes next weekend.

The second rule, I didn’t even realize he had broken. A friend (not even a friend, but a Facebook friend of a friend, someone he’d never met before) was waiting for him in front of our house while he was supposed to be eating dinner. This is a HUGE no-no. You do not bring friends home at dinner time, (or period) unless we know them. He knew the rule, and he broke it.

T went off. Almost as bad as ever. I tried to de-escalate, and it didn’t work. I went inside. M went to tell his friend what was up.

T came inside. We talked about the same stuff we talked about last week. I won’t go into details.

I had to leave. I went upstairs and closed the door. M came up about 10 minutes later, having finished dinner, and asked if I was ok. I said, “not really.”

M left after a brief bit of trying to cheer me up, and T and I got to talk again. T apologized to M for getting so riled up, but explained that he was upset about M disrespecting me every time he gets called out on something wrong.

M and I chatted Sunday morning about what went wrong Saturday. I set clear boundaries (again), and we talked about friends/real friends/acquaintances/folks you don’t even know.

Sunday was good – M spent the day with neighbors, skating all over. They came home for a drink and to change clothes at one point, because M was all sweaty.

Sunday night was like any other – spent relaxing, talking about the coming week. M was home on-time and did his nightly routine, minus litterboxes, without any fuss.

After we’d been in bed a while, the phone rang. It was M’s friend’s dad. His wife had seen something on the blockwatch about a kid with M’s description (and another with a neighbor kid’s description) having been in the ravine, seemingly shooting off a .22 (by the sound). The cops had been called, but the boys were gone before they got there. The cops were looking for M. This other dad was going to call the other 2 kids’ dads to see if they knew anything about it (one lives on the ravine), and then give the cops my number.

I got up, stirred M, and asked him about it. He swears it wasn’t them. I told him the cops were going to come out and talk to him. He panicked. He said something about a $50k fine, even if he’s not guilty. I told him if he’s not guilty of anything, he has nothing to worry about, but he didn’t believe me.

As T and I headed for bed, he mumbled “Happy Fathers Day.”


M has been promoted to high school! That was a long, long graduation ceremony, but he’s done.

Grades were less than stellar, and he knows I’m disappointed, but still proud he made it.

It’s been an odd couple weeks. He graduated, I left for a conference, and when I came back, he was good.

Really good. Scary good. Not good in doing chores, but good overall.

M and I went to the big neighborhood yard sale where my parents sell, and came home to a VERY grumpy T after a great morning. Nothing in particular was different, but he was fed up. He cleaned the entire downstairs because it got so bad he couldn’t take it anymore. He put up a sign saying anything left out that didn’t belong there would be thrown away.

M left. We fought. I told him he could NOT expect that. He said, “then I can leave and you can have the house payment, and M, and never see me again.”

I have a difficult time with loved ones dealing with depression. I always have. My dad deals with it in a very specific way (or did… til he realized it was killing him). Internalizing it until you burst is not a healthy way to live. My first stressful moments came during freshman year of college, and I didn’t do well with myself, either. I break stuff. I throw stuff. I scream and yell and jump up and down. Mostly the screaming and yelling and eventual sobbing.

I know what it’s like to have a father stuck in a job he hates. I know what it’s like to be stuck in a job I hate. I have a new admiration for my parents now.

Honestly, if a clean house keeps T from flipping his lid, then so be it.

BTW, we upped M’s meds again, and he seems to be doing just as well. No adverse effects, so I think he’s good. Maybe the grumpiness was a fluke.

Vacation is planned.

M wants to go to the skate park this weekend. His friend C- is grounded, though, and we’re pretty sure it was because of M. Haven’t followed up yet. Is said he was ungrounded, and was over for dinner last night. His mom came looking for him at 8, because he was supposed to be home by 6. Dinner at our house was after 6, so … *sigh* teens.

One week til Summer School. This is not going to be fun.

What to say

It’s been a crazy week.

Yes, we’ve had the usual M antics: pushing boundaries, not doing his daily chores, etc. However, we’ve seen the responsible M, asking the right questions and amazing us.

We ran the 5k this weekend at the local park. Ok, I mostly walked. He watched and challenged our friends’ 7 year old, who really wanted to finish so badly he put his health at risk… walking then sprinting (and repeat), daring his asthma and allergies to overtake him. It didn’t. His mom and I caught up with them by taking a “shortcut” and made him take a breathing treatment.

But, the boys did an amazing job, considering. So did I, considering this was the first 5k since breaking my foot, and the first J has tried to run since twisting/spraining her ankle last month – we finished @ 44 minutes. Horrible time, but I will say, it felt good.

M and a friend took off for a skate park with his friend’s dad, and I enjoyed Dirty Franks with my fellow racers, before shopping for new dress shirts (and eventually saying “no,” to them due to insane lines – no deals worth that).

My allergies have been horrific. I ended up napping yesterday until a caffeinated M came bursting into the house. It felt so good, but so bad when I jolted awake.

Today is Carnival Day at M’s school. I have to pick him up early for a psych appointment. Tomorrow, who knows what the kids are doing, and Thursday is 8th Grade Graduation, and I leave for Athens. (I was supposed to leave Wednesday, but couldn’t, since M had graduation at 10am. So, instead, I’m going to miss most of the conference and probably a couple board meetings. THIS SUCKS.)

Anyway, family is more important.

M and the flying pasta monster

I really don’t know what I expected. I should’ve guessed that M didn’t do his homework, AGAIN, at all. The assignment that was due Monday, worth 30 points. The one I ran to OfficeMax for, over my lunch break.

So, when, after he had told me he was going to work on it, for 2 hours, and showed up at dinner time with nothing done, I was pissed. And he was argumentative.

And he wanted dinner. RIGHT NOW. Make it himself. Nachos. (cheese and chips). When I explained that there were no significant protein or vegetables, he said he’d add those. When I explained he’d give up his Friday dinner choice, he wasn’t having any of that. BECAUSE I NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW.

“We’re having pasta.”

“I don’t want pasta.”

“It’s not your night to pick.”


“Whatever kind is in the freezer, that I cook in the pan.”


“M, it’s whatever I bought. I don’t remember.”


“That’s what we’re having,” I say, pulling out the freezer.


I angrily tossed a bag of pasta to him. He did not catch it.

“I’M OUT OF HERE. JESUS.” *storms out door* “YOU DON’T HAVE TO THROW THINGS AT ME.” (to friends outside:) “HE’S THROWING THINGS AT ME.”

(friends heard the whole discussion)

“M, I did not throw it at you. Do you want me to throw it at you so that you know what that’s like?”


Whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. BANG.

“There, how’d you like having things thrown AT you.”

(he laughs and starts walking away. Friend starts crying.)

“See what you did? You dented the garage door.”

“Nope. I didn’t. That was like that. One of you kids hit it a while ago. Is-, you need to go home. I don’t need you getting in more trouble with your mom.”

(more friend crying. Is’s little brother, D, says “what was this all about?”)

“M decided he wanted chips and cheese for dinner.”

Is-, now no longer sobbing: “That’s not dinner!”

“M, I’ll finish cooking dinner, but you need to work on homework.”

“I’m not doing homework. Why should I. I have summer school.”

“If you’re going to be part of this family, you need to do what needs to be done. If not, you can leave. Those are your choices.”

“So, you want me to go back down to the library?”

“Sure, and I’ll come with you.”

“NO. I will do it myself.”

“No, I’ll come with you. How can I trust you? You said you were going to do it and didn’t. Again.”


(starting to get angry again)

D: “I’ll go with him and I’ll tell you if he doesn’t do it.”

Is: “He will. D doesn’t lie about stuff like that and always keeps us accountable.”

Me: “Fine. Be back at 8:30. Get it done. I will still have dinner waiting for you.”


8:30. M walks in the door. Is and D are with him. (Is isn’t allowed to hang out with M). Is asks to use the bathroom, D asks for a drink. All are winded from the walk from the park. “Did you get it done?” I ask… Expecting the correct answer was my mistake.

“I got some of it done. I got two poems typed. I saved them though.”

“Where? They don’t save what’s on the library computers.”

“Yes they do. They were still there. They’ll be there tomorrow.”

“What happens when they aren’t?”

“Then I’ll have to type them over again.”

“Why didn’t you just print them? You had the money.”

“I forgot.”

(at this point, I gave up. I had a conference call and needed to round him up for bed.)

I should now be known as the Flying Penne Monster. I sacrificed my dinner to prove a point. (M and T got to eat… and they both said it was good.)

Ice cream and no homework…

I wasn’t there to prod M into doing his homework, and so, it was not done. His teacher sent him home with a book, a note, and list of what needed done. He did none of it.

“I didn’t know what page.”

She emailed today, that she did indeed write the page number down, on a post it, in his book which he brought home.

At least he brought it home.

He didn’t do any of the work due yesterday, though, which I found out through email, so he’ll be making that up today. Gave him $2 to print it (4x the amount needed).

SO much to remind him of.

Yesterday was such a long day. It was nice to be out, but I was out too long. Golf meeting after work, college friend in town after that meeting. There was ice cream. I am a total disaster this morning.

Today, I have to figure out a quick dinner followed by working on the van, and then another conference call.

At work, I’m trying to follow up with the counseling agency who called me over a week ago to ask for info, and then never called back.

Sluggish and dreamy

The last couple weeks, I’ve been slow to get out of bed. I’ve been tired, tossing and turning a bit due to pain in my shoulder. It’s old pain, something something… I forget what it’s called. Between that and the foot, and now pain between my 2nd and 3rd knuckle on my right middle finger… I’m guessing there’s a bit of the arthritis going on.

And don’t get me started on my lower back. OW. That I blame on trying to carry some 100# neighbor kids on piggyback.

This morning, I actually had a dream about getting out of bed, after T got out of bed. It was as if I got up, did my morning routine, and even featured an appearance by M, who was running late. When I finally woke up, T had gotten up, but I was roughly 30 minutes behind schedule, and M was ahead of schedule.

That wasn’t the weirdest dream lately.

Did you watch the CBS Sunday Morning about prefab houses/trailer parks? Some of them were amazingly beautiful. I’m dreaming about architecture again. From the dreams about retrofitting downtown in my hometown, to living in a century-old mansion, renovated to the studs on the inside, with modern amenities and salvaged details.

Dear dreams: knock it off, unless you know something about a lottery ticket that I don’t.

I actually had the thought this morning, what I would do if I ended up winning $400M. I know everyone says “pay my debt, pay for my kids’ school, go back to school, buy a car, buy a nicer house,” etc. But what would I do, really? I know I’d leave a legacy for myself, my family, T’s family. I’d make sure my favorite university programs were funded in perpetuity. I’d campaign to change the outlook of my small Ohio hometown. I’d establish an environmental technology incubator there, associated with the university. And yeah, I’d probably work to make the city what they tried to, a few years ago: a place that future generations could be proud of, and be healthy living in. I just don’t want to see it implode. I’m sick of seeing the residents dying. I’m sick of them selling out their health for a quick buck.

They need to become something greater. Their “green zone” which was established around the city, is now in jeopardy of becoming a radioactive dump.

So, say I had $100M after all the rigamarole… I’d probably take $10M to buy up some properties. Throw $1M at fluffy student programs. Throw another $10M at wind farms to power the town, eliminating the impact of the town on the local coal-fired plants. And then comes the research arm. How’s $40-50M to establish a local environmental research/technology incubator and university program, with the ability to incentivize household conversions to distribute efficient, clean tech? $10M to endow school improvement. That’s $81M, right? $19M to spare. That should be enough to protect my entire extended family’s future for the long run.

Oh, dreams.

Weekend of mediocrity!

M had a relatively good weekend, despite trying to refuse doing homework, even when presented with his agreement to spend hours doing the makeup work. Saturday, he decided (eventually) that doing his makeup work vs. losing skateboard privileges was worth it. This required a long argument, though, and when faced with his choices, he of course, tried to find weasel around them. This didn’t set well with T.

After the argument (including fleeing), M spent 20 minutes, and completed 4 of the 6 assignments. I said “so, was that worth fighting about?”


I emailed the teachers to double check that he wasn’t lying about the amount of assignments sent home. Unfortunately, one teacher forgot to give him a folder. She suggested he do one formulaic assignment that he has had most weeks since the beginning of the year. One that he takes 10 minutes to do. I mentioned it to him, and told him he could add it to his Sunday list.

Later that night, we went to see Godzilla. We took M’s friend C, and got dinner at Chipotle. When we got back, M stayed up to finish his last 2 assignments he had had.

Sunday morning, he went out skating. I downloaded the pieces to the other assignment, and mid-afternoon reminded him that he needed to do the assignment.

“No, I don’t. I can’t, anyway, because I don’t have Internet.”



“M, I already talked to her, and she said we could use any article.”


“M, what is she going to say when I text her?”


“M, you have 5 articles all on the same topic we talked about, that she said you could use.”

“I’m going out. When do I need to be back?”

“8pm. Then you need to do this assignment.”

(While he’s gone, I get a txt message from teacher – she NEVER said web only. She said reliable sites, if using the web, since someone did a summary of a zombie apocalypse article. She said to tell him she wanted it first thing in the morning.)

Back at 8pm. Not doing assignment. Watching Bob’s Burgers.

8:30: “You’d better get that assignment done. Time to turn off the TV.”

“I can do it while watching Simpsons.”


(and yeah, it got done.)