Saturday, March 14, 2015

Getting Through

I often wonder how effective my parenting is.
To be honest, I still don't feel like I am old enough to be a parent.
I mean, I AM old enough, as far as my age goes....but I certainly don't feel like I am old enough to know what the heck I am doing.
Even though my hair is turning undesirable colors, and my eyeliner no longer goes on flawlessly, because of those damn wrinkles....I still feel like a kid most of the time.
Most of the time.
Until I am in a room filled with teenagers.
Then I know I'm not a kid anymore.
Because I find being in that situation extremely annoying for the most part.
Especially if it happens to be an event where cheering is involved.
Teenagers don't cheer.
They scream.
And their screams are deafening.
I was at my kids show choir competition last weekend, and there was a high school girl sitting behind me.
Before the kids even stepped onto the stage, I knew I was in for 25 minutes of hell.
She happened to be sitting next to a friend of mine, so I oh-so-subtely turned to her (after this lovely young lady let out one of her ungodly high pitched screeches) and said "Oh my God....I am going to go deaf!"
I thought that might be a HINT that she was TOO DAMN LOUD.
Each time she screamed, I would VERY obviously hunch my shoulders to try to protect my ears (as I was taking pictures) or make other movements to make sure my obvious disdain with her ear blasting vocal stylings was BLATANT.
It didn't help.
You may recall I already have horrible ear issues.  
One of them being tinnitus. (Ringing in the ears.)
Well, thanks to this little gem of a gal, for the next week, it sounded like there was a bell ringing in my ear...on top of the already annoying ringing that was always there.  Imagine the sound of a cat collar with a bell on it...that kind of bell.  Every few seconds...ding-a-ing-a-ling.....all day long.
Thank God it went away.  
Otherwise, I may have collared that kid with her own damn bell.
Anyway.  Back to my parenting.
1. I do not allow my kids to be rude, annoying and loud.  At least when I'm around.  I have no idea what kind of hellions they turn into when I'm not present, however.
If you ever observe them being annoying or loud or have my permission to put them in their place.  I beg of you....put them in their place!

Evidence of their "dark" side.
On Friday, I met with my daughter's school guidance counselor to discuss her senior year classes, and prepping for college.
(I am so not old enough to have a kid in college.)
As I sat there in this surreal situation, I started thinking: "Is she just nodding politely while he talks to her...or is she really listening and taking this to heart?"
We talked about GPA, and class rank.  We talked about what colleges look for.  We talked about how important these next 5 quarters of her high school career are.
And then, I asked her "Did you talk to that teacher about your bad grade on your mid-quarter report?" (I have been hounding her to meet with this teacher for over a week.)  She replied....quite meekly..."no."
That was it.
Did this kid even realize that this wasn't a joke?  She wasn't going to get into to whatever college she wanted to, just because she is cute, and has a nice voice.
Later that night, we went to a talent show she was performing in.
It was lovely, she did a fabulous job.
We said she could go to the party for all the participants afterward, and said "just be home at a reasonable time."
We have not been strict with a curfew, because it has not been an issue.
She has been responsible, and so we have trusted her to not push boundaries.
She walked in the door at 3am.
Needless to say, I was livid.
Both Mark and I had early morning events to prepare for, so we went to bed hours before.
But, my mother's intuition kicked in...just as it always does, and woke me up 2 minutes before she walked in the door, so I was ready to greet her as she made her way to her room. (Much to her chagrin.)
I informed her father....and since I would be gone in the morning....told him to read her the riot act.
And now....we are finally to the heart of my post.
I married a parenting genius.
Actually....he is a kick-ass teacher, which lends itself SO beautifully to parenting.  
Especially when it comes to teenagers.
I am sharing this with you, because you may want to add it to your arsenal.

First of all, I am a firm believer that no good occurs after midnight.
In fact, an old college friend is the one who told me that.
(He found God....and at that point, never allowed himself to be alone with a woman past midnight.) As a parent....I think it's probably pretty good advice.

We were quite certain that the party didn't last until it was time to get some information.
So, Mark took our daughter for a drive.
As they drove, he asked what she was up to last night.
She told him one version of the evenings events.
He knew it was a bunch of bologna.
So, he said "Great!  So, I can call these kids, as well as their parents, and verify that everything you are telling me is true then."
Then came version two of the story.
This one was more believable.
Then she asked where they were going.
At this point, he had turned into an unsavory part of town...where there are lots of row houses, and sadly, lots of poverty.
Little kids running around in clothes not warm enough for the weather.
Parents on the front stoop, smoking cigarettes, looking disheveled.
In other words....this wasn't a place that anyone would choose to end up.
He said to her "I want you to look around.  Every decision you make at this point in your life is crucial.  If you continue to make bad decisions, this could be what your future looks like.  My guess is that this isn't the picture you have in your mind as to what you want your life to be....but that is all up to you.
One big mistake, and your hopes and dreams could all go down the drain...and this could be where you end up....or you are living in our house, in your basement bedroom until you are 30." (If I let her!!)
He let that sink in for awhile....and then took her phone, the car keys, let her know she was grounded for the weekend, and that her room would be spotless by the time her grandparents arrived on Thursday.
He also mentioned that while we don't like to have to take things away from her....we are doing it to save her from herself....because apparently she is currently unable to make mature and responsible decisions.
I asked if she stomped down to her room and slammed the door once they returned home.
Nope.  She has actually been quite pleasant.
Good Lord....I think this just may have gotten through.

Oh...and he makes dinner too. :)

I will hire him out...for a small fee, of course.
Or chocolate.

(P.S.  I will be back to my "regularly scheduled blogging" after Easter.  I have found myself in the middle of lots of projects....and since I haven't been able to stop eating candy or swearing....I seem to have given up writing regularly for Lent.  So, there you have it.  Eh, life is crazy.)


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Another Day in the Life

It's been an interesting several days around here.
You may have noticed my blogging "come-back" lasted what....a whole three days?
My son got hit with the latest influenza strain....and it wasn't pretty.  The poor kid was in bed for 5 days with a fever, no appetite, sore throat, headache, cough, you name it.
I should mention this boy has zero body fat to begin he looks even more skeletal now.
We are attempting to fatten him up now that he is getting his appetite back.
Funny how I never seem to find myself in a situation where I lose MY appetite.
I wouldn't mind moving a bit toward the "skeletal" side of things...rather than my current status.
Rather, I typically just end up getting stressed over the fact that my skinny son isn't eating, so I nervously munch on a bag of chips while I fret over his health.
Yes.  This works out just wonderfully for me.
Anyway...I am looking at my calendar, wondering how on earth we are already in the second week of March...and questioning how all of the things that are happening over the next two weeks are going to happen....without the loss of my sanity.
Do you often notice that everything always happens at once.
The craziness never spreads itself conveniently out...leaving you recovery time, or preparation time for the next event.
Oh no.  It just piles crazy on top of even more crazy.
I suppose, in some respects, this is a good thing.
Once you lose your mind, you might as well just go with it.
If you had time to ponder the fact that you were, indeed, absolutely, completely overwhelmed and on the brink of a complete and total might actually be pushed over the edge.
However, if you just keep plowing through the don't have time to realize that your life is temporarily ridiculous, and no human would ever actually choose to put themselves through this torture.
Perhaps I am exaggerating slightly.
My life was crazier than this when I was teaching full time.
We can thank those 15 years for making me the unbalanced, somewhat disturbed person I am today. ;)
In other news.
My dogs.
I have been noticing some changes in them over the past couple of weeks.
Cooper (the shi tzu) has become quite bossy.  
He is very demanding when it comes to when he wants to eat, and when he wants to go outside.  
However, he ONLY wants to do those things right after you have settled comfortably in to whatever it is you are doing.
For instance, if I sit at the computer, and start typing....he will bark.  One sharp bark...either at the door, or the food bowl.
Or, if I start a piano or voice lesson.  A bark.
If I get all comfy on the couch, and start a movie....a bark.
His favorite new trick (because he thinks we are stupid humans) is to bark at the door, step out side, sit for 30 seconds, and come back in.  Then, he looks at the treat jar, and barks for a treat.
Because, obviously, you get a treat for going outside, right?
Sometimes, in the winter, he will eat a little snow while he is out there.

This face is rather hard to say no to.

Then there is Riley (the chihuahua)
He always does what he is told.  And, when he goes outside, he does what he is supposed to.
When he gets his treat, he jumps up to grab it...and RUNS.
He knows his brother is part pig...(he snorts, is very pink under his fur, and never stops eating)and will steal he has to get as far away as possible.
The other day, Riley must not have been feeling well...or just wasn't hungry.
He didn't want his treat...but he certainly didn't want Cooper to have it either.
So, he carried it with him wherever he went.
He eventually hid it in my bathroom.
Cooper, of course, found it.
Just like he found the girl scout cookies we caught him eating under the bed two nights ago.
We heard strange noises....and sure enough, Cooper was finishing off what was left of the thin mints.
He smelled minty fresh...and puked three times the next day.
Last night, they managed to get the cabinet door open, and decided to have some tortilla chips before bed.
This is getting ridiculous.
By the way, we DO feed them.
I am starting to wonder if they have been chatting about joining an online doggie dating site....because it would seem that they have been practicing their "do I look sexy?" poses.
Let me show you what I mean.
(I have been capturing these interesting moments.)

Ah yes, the sexy "lounging with my stuffed eagle" pose.

And the "looking off into the distance" pose.

I love the "pretending my pic isn't being taken...but check out my handsome front leg" pose.

And the..."I look smashing on my fluffy pillow" pose.

Ah yes.  The "handsome man on a fur" pose.

This one..."I am a stud...but in touch with my feminine side."

"Look at me, ladies. I'm sexy, and can get comfortable...anywhere."

I'm not quite sure what this was supposed to be.  Submissive pose?

Here we have the subtle attempt at the "eye over the shoulder" look.  

Here is where it starts getting out of hand.
Obviously, Riley is embarrassed by his brother's brazen behavior.

And here we have crossed into "50 Shades of Grey" territory.

So, there you have it.
Obviously, my dogs have been watching the movie channels while we are not at home...or possibly, they have figured out how to use the computer.
Riley does have tiny little feet, so he probably could manipulate the keyboard.
At any rate, I am happy to say that, so far, the dogs are more corrupt than the children in this house.

(I just found this little gem on my phone.)

So far.
(I am knocking on wood.....and praying.)
And now, considering the fact that my in-laws will be arriving in 10 days...I have to start cleaning.
Because it will take me about 20 days to deal with this place.

This may require chocolate.