I hope you enjoy my blog...if you do, please "follow" me! XOXOXO...BettyShmetty

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why do I feel so guilty for doing nothing?

Why is it that if I have a day to myself (like today) where the kids are in school and I have no appointments or clients to deal with, that I feel like a lazy bum if I am not DOING something?

Why should I feel guilty if I am not scrubbing a toilet or vacuuming a floor or planning a meal?

Why do I feel like I need my husband's permission to relax a little?

Why can't I just sit on the sofa and watch a little TV?

What is wrong with me??

HELP!!  I am tired and I just want to veg out today!  Someone please tell me it's okay and the world won't fall apart if I do NOTHING!  For cripes sakes, I only have 2 hours left before I have to pick up my son and take him to the batting cages...

Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm a trash picker from way back...Memorial Day memories of things that have shaped me.


Yes, I said trash picker and that's exactly what I meant.  I come by my trash-picking ways quite honestly actually.  You see, my granddaddy was a pig farmer.  No, really!  He really was a pig farmer.  He also had cows, chickens and ducks.  Granddaddy had two farms.  One was in Live Oak and the other was in Miami.  He owned the farm in Live Oak for a long time until he finally sold it and moved south to Miami because the cold weather during the winter bothered his arthritis.  I have some really cool memories of going to stay on the Live Oak farm when I was really little and some that aren't quite as happy as well.  He leased the land for the farm in Miami (which was located right where the Aventura Mall is today) and it is that farm helped turn me into the trash-pickin' mama I am today.

This is not my Granddaddy's farm, but I remember the pig pens looking just like this one.
What, you ask, does pig farming have to do with trash picking?  Well Granddaddy, you see, had to feed his pigs every day.  To do this, he would wake up at 3 a.m. and go on his "rounds" as he called them.  Granddaddy had cultivated symbiotic relationships with grocery stores, bakeries and Dunkin Donuts in the area of his farm.  He would drive to each of his stops and would pick up donuts, produce or baked goods that would otherwise have been thrown out.

Most of the places he picked up at would put the goods out near the dumpster at the back of the store, but others didn't do this.  They would load up the dumpster and my granddaddy would, well, dive in and get the good stuff out.  After making the rounds, he would go to his farm and "slop the pigs."

One time, my sister and I got to wake up early and go out with Granddaddy.  We may have been 7 or 8 years old at the time, but I am not sure.  What I remember is this, my grandfather was a happy, hard-working man. He always looked old to me...he had white hair and was slightly bent over.  His was a little bow-legged and sort of waddled when he walked.  I know he had trouble with his back and he took "kidney pills" (Doan's backache pills.)  He smelled a little odd (due to the dumpster diving?) but not offensive, like a combination of farm smells, sweat, Avon "Old Country" aftershave, and Absorbine Junior liniment.  His fingers (every single one of them!) was wrapped with white medical tape because he was constantly cutting them on things in the dumpsters or on the crates the produce came in.  He did not complain about getting up that early because it was what he did.  In the cab of his truck, there were papers piled high on the dash board.  I don't know what all those papers were, but to him, they were important and he knew where everything was even though it just looked like a big mess to me.  The seat in his truck was a bench seat and my sister and I would fight over who got to sit next to Granddaddy because he was such a love. 

On the day we went with him, Granddaddy went to the Dunkin Donuts first.  As he loaded the boxes stacked at the back of the store into the truck, he grabbed one of the donut boxes and gave it to us to eat.  Wow!  What a treat that was!  Our mom never let us eat donuts!!  We scarfed those down and then were on to the Publix.  There, he loaded up the produce and introduced us to some of the people from the store...he was very proud of us because we were so well behaved (thanks to mom's iron fist) and everyone complimented us on how helpful we were for coming out early and keeping Granddaddy company.  After he was finished loading the produce, I saw Granddaddy hop into the dumpster to see if there was anything "good."  He came out a short time later with a box full of dented cans missing their labels and a few "perfectly good" loaves of bread which he put into the cab with us.



More stores, more dumpsters.  Each time, Granddaddy would put a little something extra from the dumpsters into the cab of the truck.  We didn't know what was in the dented, label-less cans, but Granddaddy said it was wasteful to let them go "to the dump."  Later, after we got home, we added the boxes and cans to the other stacks of boxes and cans in our "dining room" at the house.  Later, when it was time to cook supper, we would open a can...would it be cat food?  Dog food?  Tuna fish?  We never knew till we opened the can.  Conveniently, if it were food for dogs or cats, we had plenty of those around to feed as well.  Those kinds of early teachings kind of stuck with me.  My mom must have had her share of life lessons in this regard as well, because she was a garbage picker too.

At that particular time, my mom was married to Bill.  He was her 7th husband and the one I remember best.  Bill was a nice, quiet man and I can't for the life of me figure out why he married my mom.  He seemed to be pretty smart, but then again, how smart could he have been to marry my mom??  Well anyway, he was a golf-cart repair man as well as a "junker."  Isn't it funny how people come together?  So Bill the junker and my mom would take Anna and me out "junking." on Friday nights.  In the late afternoon, we would hit the hot spots where people used to just go and dump stuff in Miami.  Now I remember we had quite a few places we would go to do this.  It was the 70's and people were just starting to see public service messages on TV regarding littering (remember the Native American on his horse looking over the side of the interstate with a tear running down his cheek?) however, I remember that even we were guilty of throwing our empty McDonald's wrappers out of the windows of the car on the highway...everybody did it (can you even believe that???)  There were also plenty of areas where people would dump their stuff they didn't want anymore...stuff like furniture, old dishes, clothes, mattresses.  You name it, we found it.  We had a pickup truck and Anna and I would ride in the back on a sofa (conveniently taken from a dump) that was in the bed so we could be comfortable.

Upon arriving at a "good spot" we would all hop out of the truck and start sifting through the piles.  Sometimes, it was gross, but as a kid, I don't remember minding it too much.  My mom and Bill were looking for recyclable metals like copper and aluminum to take to the recycling place for cash, but Anna and I were looking for "goodies."  It was like a non-stop treasure hunt.  We would find boxes of stainless steel creamers from a restaurant, plates, and glasses from who-knows-where, metal cabinets that were great for storing things in a garage, old chairs, dressers and lamps and gosh, I don't know what else.  We would pile it into the back of the truck and then sort it out later that night at home.  The next morning, we would get up at 4 a.m. and go to the "swap meet" at the Tropical Drive-In off of Bird Road.  We would get there by 5 a.m. to set up and people would start walking around looking for a bargain.  I remember that we couldn't even see because the sun wasn't up and we were already selling things.  Anna and I always got to keep the money for the stuff we found and sold.  It was the coolest and funnest thing ever and I was hooked!


Since then, there have always been opportunities to loot a neighbor's trash pile and I never had a problem doing it.  I loved finding good things and taking them home...for FREE!!  I collected some really great things that I never would have been able to afford because, as you might have guessed, we didn't have a lot of money to spend on things that weren't necessary.  All of the decorations and furniture I ever had in my room as a child came from the dump, a neighbor's trash pile, Salvation Army or a thrift store.  I still love to search in Goodwill and Salvation Army (even to find cool furniture for my decorating clients) for a bargain.

Since I married Kurt, I have tempered my trash-picking ways, but haven't completely given them up.  Kurt did not come from a background like mine and is a little alarmed that someone might see me picking through a neighbor's trash pile.  He's also not a big fan of old and beaten-up (which I happen to love, it's called Shabby Chic!) so we really don't have much of anything left of my old pre-marriage treasures.  However, occasionally, I come home with something good from the trash.  In fact, the canopy we so happily cart to our sons' sporting events came right out of our neighbors garbage pile one Saturday morning. A small patched hole in the top later, we have a perfectly working $200 canopy for FREE!!  How sweet is that?  Oh, and by the way, trash-picking is eco-friendly, so I am very trendy in addition to being thrifty...love that!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pretty in Pink...Lesbians in Love

This one's for you Dweej!


You came here looking for something hot and sexy didn't you?  Didn't you??  Come on, admit it!

Just kidding...and Kurt, if you're reading this, you were right, there's nothing here for you, it's all just a bunch of nonsense and silly girl stuff   :-)

Really, I would just like to know, what is the fascination with lesbians these days?  Well, not just these days, but any and all days.  Guys (well, most of them, including the one I'm married to) are in love with lesbians.  One of Kurt's favorite party jokes is that HE is a lesbian (get it?)

Over my adult years, I have known a few lesbian couples and some of them were very good friends or co-workers of mine.  These gals were pretty normal looking and acting for the most part...and for the record, I never had a single one of my lesbian friends come to the door in a negligee beckoning me inside with soft lips and promises of wild sexual fantasies come true.

For men, that seems to be the image they have in their minds...all lesbians are beautiful, sex-crazed nymphs who also like to fool around with men who happen to show up at just the right moments (conveniently enough.)  In fact, all of my lesbian friends who were couples were just normal people living together like married people (go ahead and insert mental picture of over-worked spouse coming home to stressed-out spouse and making the mistake of asking what's for dinner) and trying to make it work.  Oh, and also?  They didn't want to have sex with men.  I know, I know, I'm not making a lot of friends here.  Please read on...

I did a search for "lesbian women" on google images and here are some of the photos I found...

Do you just LOVE the caption of this photo????

Well, there you have it...all lesbians are gorgeous and are always touching and kissing each other!  Right?  Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight....

I would like to take a look at the porn lesbian vs. the real life lesbian...let's begin.

The porn lesbian has a name like Candy, Barbie or Lusty Lexy (don't ask me, I just made it up.) She has features that are ultra soft and feminine...long golden hair falling in luscious waves;  full breasts; curvy hips; firm, supple thighs; perfectly manicured nails and toes and plump, rose colored lips turned up into a slight, mysterious smile...beckoning you to come inside and be naughty with them.  The porn lesbian may work in an office, but she wears clothes that are too tight and heels that are too high.  Her job is to entertain her boss (always men) with her silly antics and pillow fights with other porn lesbians who work in the office (yes, pillow fights...follow along please!)

The porn lesbian lives right next door to a really cute college guy who just came home for the weekend with his girlfriend and doesn't know what to do to entertain her for the next couple of days while mom and dad are out of town.  In this particular situation, the porn lesbian always tries to bake a cake and realizes that she doesn't have any sugar in the cupboard.  At just the right moment, the porn lesbian will show up at the front door wearing nothing but an apron, fuck-me-pumps and a smile to ask for some sugar (he he he!)



Unlike porn lesbians, real-life lesbians have names like Cathy and Susan and Jennifer (disclaimer:  I am not referring to specific people here, I just tried to give you some common names so if you are a real-life lesbian and I know you and your name is one of the above, please know that I was not thinking of you right now, I'm just trying to write a story here so please don't be offended, okay?) and have had their share of hard knocks and wear and tear.

She has birthed babies, (some real-life lesbians don't start living that way until after they have tried being "normal" and doing the whole husband and kids thing trying to fit in with what is expected of them by parents and friends) has eaten a few too many carbs and likes real sugar in her coffee.  Her blonde hair is from a bottle and comes complete with trailer trash roots every 4 weeks.  Her skin is marked with damage from a few too many sunburns, her eyes wrinkled in the corners from laughing at a few too many bad jokes.  Her breasts, once perky, have been abused by babies that refused to take a bottle.  She has stretch marks on her hips and dimples on her thighs instead of her cheeks.  Her fingernails short and free from polish, and there is a little stubble on the legs...oh wait!  I was just describing myself!!  But seriously, real-life lesbians look just like "normal" women.


Unlike the porn lesbian, the real-life lesbian will never show up at your door wearing little more than a smile while begging you to help her and her girlfriend with her "golf swing."  Real-life lesbians have bad days and bad moods.  They are not sex-crazed maniacs in search of their next fix.  In short, they are just like you and me. And shoot!  Unless they tell you they are lesbians, you probably wouldn't even know one if you saw one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seriously! Read my f*cking blog!


I hope you'll pardon me gentle reader, for this particular little darling of a blog entry is, in fact, a rant.  Yes, I am going to indulge my sense of indignation on this subject and air out my dirty laundry (well, not really air my dirty laundry, but it sounded good right there, I'll save the dirty laundry for later) and get this off my chest before I stab someone! (not really, but you know how sometimes you think something and don't actually do it?  well, I mean stab someone like that.)

So this morning, as I was cleaning my bathroom, I was thinking, "You know, no one in this bleepity bleeping house ever cleans the toilets except for me!"  Which got me to thinking about how the boys in my house don't know how to pee into the toilet.   I believe that boys/men are quite fine with the idea of splish splashing pee all over the sides of the toilet much like one might use salt in a recipe by "sprinkling liberally."  How the HELL does the pee get up under the toilet seat?  I am no physics major, but I'm pretty sure that when pee comes out of a penis, the laws of gravity apply and it should travel in a downward direction eventually reaching the water in the toilet bowl.  The pee should NOT be up under the toilet seat...it just shouldn't!

Anyway, believe it or not, that is not what this rant is about, but while I was contemplating this conundrum, I started to think about my husband and how he cleans the bathroom/toilets when he actually tries to do so.  He is a believer in "spraying something on it."  What this means is that when he sees something nasty (ie dirty toilets) he likes to spray a cleaner on it and wipe it around.  While this temporarily makes the situation smell better, it is certainly not clean.  As I was considering this thought and how I am the ONLY one in this house who ever cleans anything (I know, I am exaggerating, but this is my blog and I am ranting here, okay?) and because I was already in the process of mentally listing the faults of my husband another thought occurred to me...he never reads my blog (See?  Now the title is starting to make sense...try to keep up, I know I'm all over the place here.)

Now, maybe it's just me, but I am thinking, if I knew my spouse, whom I have lived with for over 20 years, suddenly began spending a not insignificant amount of daily time devoted to writing stuff on the internet, I MIGHT want to read it!  Am I crazy to think that he might want to know what's going on inside my head?  If nothing else, doesn't he think reading and then conversing with me about what I write might, at the very least, spark some interesting conversations?  He hasn't even read the posts about my crazy deranged mother and the stories of my childhood...you know, the events that helped turn me into the woman-on-the-edge I am now!  Of course, he's heard the stories before because I have told him most of that stuff, but in this blog, I turned most of that stuff into an amusing version of the story, not the sad/serious version he heard (the one that made him want to choke my mom...but I digress.)

He just isn't interested in it.  He thinks (and I know this because he literally, just now, asked me what I was blogging about this morning and I read him  the paragraph about the pee getting up under the toilet seat thinking it would amuse him...I got no reaction...nothing, not even a faint hint of a smile.) that women need an outlet for their feelings and a place where other women can chime in and support each other (yes, he said that...exactly as I just wrote it.)  He said my blog, "isn't written for men, because if a man was reading that, when they get to the second sentence you have there, they would think, hmmm...I wonder what's on the sports channel."  Now first of all, what the hell made him ask me what I was writing about NOW?  Does he have some weird esp thing?  How did he know I was writing about him?  (Not that he knew that, but still...) Very strange.

I can't figure it out, but he will probably never read what I write here unless I leave it up on the desktop and he accidentally looks at it before switching to the sports channel or some porn called "Pretty in Pink...Lesbians in Love"...Come to think of it, maybe he would actually read a post entitled "Pretty in Pink...Lesbians in Love!"  Maybe I should give that one a try ;)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Squints...


My son Jack is currently obsessed with two things...baseball and the movie "The Sandlot" (which is about baseball.)  He watches The Sandlot every day....EVERY day.  One of his favorite things about the movie is the character "Spuints" who wears thick black-rimmed glasses and ends up kissing Wendy Peffercorn.  Here's a clip from the movie...


Cute, right??  Personally, I love the movie too and have spent many evenings curled up with him on the comfy little sofa in his bedroom watching segments of it before bedtime...sigh...Jack admires Squints because he is a good baseball player and he had the courage to go after the girl he wanted even though she was clearly WAY out of his league.  Jack has channeled Squint's personality and look...


And, I'm afraid, as puberty quickly approaches my baby boy, he will channel Squint's bravado and will find his Wendy Peffercorn and he will kiss her long and kiss her good...and there will be no more cuddle sessions on his comfy little sofa with his Momma.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sometimes he surprises me...

My son Lee is twelve years old.  He has been independent, difficult and a questioner of authority since he was little more than a year old and started saying his first words.  Way back then, I knew I had my hands full when I read my baby books and realized that not only did he have the required 10 or so words in his vocabulary to prove that he was developing normally, he had nearly 200.


Having read said baby book and realized Lee was a little ahead of the game, I started to keep track of (and write down) the words he said everyday.  By the time I took him in to his eighteen month appointment with the pediatrician, I had compiled a list of more than 180 words.  Mind you, "thank you" actually came out as "day doo" and "flower" was "fow" but there was no doubt my son was talking in sentences and getting his point across to me long before I was prepared to deal with what he had to say or answer his (many) questions.



As a toddler, Lee began having 2 hour temper tantrums (I am NOT kidding or exaggerating on this point!) and continued having them until he was 6.  The tantrums were a thing of wonder.  He would kick and scream of course, but his dramatics were on a whole other level than anything I had ever witnessed prior.  He would writhe and flail, he would not only fling himself to the floor, he would roll around as if possessed.  He would drool and twist his mouth up...he looked like a demon child in the flesh.

His tantrums would flare up at inconvenient times of course, like the grocery store for example, and at times I had to leave full carts of groceries abandoned in the front of the store as I made a hasty exit with him tucked under my arm kicking and screaming.  Having never given in to his demands during or after said tantrums, I am not certain why he continued having them, but he did continue...relentlessly.  At some point along the way, my mother in law (and me too if I am honest) started thinking something was wrong with him.  A psychologist appointment later, I realized he never had the tantrums in school and was therefore fully able to control them and was choosing to have them!


Shortly after this realization, I found myself standing in front of my (then 6 year-old-kindergartener) son when yet another tantrum began.  As I watched him, I found myself loathing my child, the little angel who had come from my own body.  I knew that I was not able to deal with yet another hours long ordeal.  At that moment, I thought about how I would handle such a child at the schools where I was, at the time, employed as a school police officer.  I considered the fact that, if I were working in a school and a child was behaving in such a way, I would restrain them until they calmed down (so they wouldn't hurt themselves or someone else) and, at that moment, I decided to try it.

Prior to actually putting the idea into motion, I warned Lee what I was about to do and he did not stop his tantrum.  I took him by the arm and walked into my bedroom with him, closed the door and sat down on the floor in front of my door, blocking it with my body.  Still holding Lee by the arm, I sat him down between my legs and proceeded to place my lower legs over his knees in order to hold him down.  I held his torso against mine and then held his arms out to the sides while I held onto his elbows.  Being stronger than he was (and a lot bigger!) I was able to hold him in place.  He continued to struggle and scream and demand that I let him go to no avail.  I repeatedly (and calmly I might add) told him that all he had to do was stop his tantrum and I would let him go.  He didn't stop.  He tried threats and pleas (such as, "I have to go pee!") to get me to let go, but I just told him to pee in his pants, that I wasn't letting him up unless he stopped his tantrum.

It took a full 20 minutes before Lee finally gave up and stopped.  That was the last tantrum he ever had.  Did you hear that?  That was the last tantrum he EVER had!  He was such a stubborn boy that he had been having tantrums that lasted 2 hours FOR YEARS because he WANTED TO!!  Do you start getting a mental picture of the kid I am dealing with here??

Lee has never let his dad or I get away with ANYTHING!  We could never make up cute kid type stories for why things were the way they were...death, taxes, you name it...he wanted and demanded the true story for everything.  Yet, he had a blankie (or "Diggie" as he called it) that he slept with and shoved up his nose or stuffed in his ear until "Diggie" was lost (I still suspect my mother-in-law threw Diggie away, but she has never admitted it.)

Sadly, this is the only digital photo I have of Lee with Diggie.  Here, he had just had his tonsils out and was passed out in front of his bowl of ice cream...poor kid!

He even still has a blanket that he carries around (only this one is not called by a name) and sleeps with.  I have been told by countless friends and neighbors that he is a sweet boy with a good heart, he just saves that stuff for special occasions and the occasional awkward parenting moments (click here) in order to make sure that those moments are special and not to be taken for granted.

Since arriving at puberty at the ripe old age of 10, Lee has kept his dad and I on our toes with his sex-crazed teen-boy behaviors and Johnnie Cochran-like abrasiveness and ability to argue his case in the Burfield court of justice.  So you'll understand why I was pleasantly surprised and delighted to get a text from my next door neighbor recently regarding my son's behavior.  Turns out Lee was, at that moment, sitting on the ground near the pool in her back yard "coloring" with her two children and one other neighbor's little boy.  All of the children I am referring to are under the age of 6.  In fact, the ages of the children in question are 4, 5 and 6.  My son, who drives me to distraction with his smarty-pants mouth and attitude, his lack of desire when it comes to school work, his laziness when it comes to house-hold chores like picking up his OWN socks, was, in fact, sitting with three small children in my neighbor's back yard coloring pictures with them and (get this!) teaching them how to draw faces!  I quickly called my neighbor and asked her if she was sure she was seeing what she was telling me.  She said she happened to glance out the window and catch the scene.  She told me how sweet Lee is and how her kids just adore him and look up to them and how they must be in heaven because he was paying attention to them!  (For real?  I mean...SERIOUSLY?  Do you KNOW my kid???)

Still not quite believing what I was hearing, I snuck over, camera in hand, in order to see for myself.  Look!  See for YOURself!

See?  I'm in stealth mode, taking pictures through the fence so he doesn't see me and stop what he's doing...
Seriously...sometimes, he surprises (and delights) me...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I HAVE to share this most awesome post from my friend Dwija from HouseUnseen...


This is my cyber-friend Dwija (friends call her Dweej for short).  She has a blog called House Unseen. Life Unscripted.  I was lucky enough to find her by ACCIDENT while reading the blog of someone else.  You know how they (whoever THEY are) always say there are no accidents?  Well, it's certainly true in this case!

The very first post of hers that I started reading suggested that I just go right back to the beginning and start reading...so that's what I did.  I have to tell you, I ruined several tops I was wearing over the days I was reading her blog entries because I was spewing beverages through my nose while laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants!  (you would think I would learn that I shouldn't drink while reading her posts, but seriously!)

She is so eloquent and yet so funny!  Please click this link to read a post that is VERY close to my heart, and then go right back to the beginning and read her entire blog...you'll be glad you did!

Dweej, you rock!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's all better with a little Ginny Tonic...

My favorite drink is a Tanqueray Gin and tonic...
 
Ginny Tonics (as my girlfriend Mel calls them) are God's own nectar...a sweet and tart concoction sent straight from heaven to sooth the savage beast...take the edge off...get mellow...love your boys better...

And look at all the fabulous sayings about Gin and Tonic...

and this!
I rest my (slightly-buzzed) case!


You're an idiot!

So here I am, coming back to talk to you after all this time and I need to make a confession to clear the air.  I am going to take a little break (I know it's already been like a month since I last posted) from my life story (hey, it's my blog and I can write what I want anyway and anyway, who cares about my life story, cause this is my LIFE, damnit!!) and tell you that today was not one of my more stellar parenting moments...
 
I am sure that when we enter the realm of motherhood, most of us picture ourselves as potentially being the best mom anyone could ever want.  We will never commit the HORRENDOUS  mistakes our own mothers made (well, mine anyway) and we will be patient and understanding and loving at all times...like this...
I pictured myself as potentially a great mom because I knew what NOT to do and also, I was smarter than those short people who would, one day, potentially, inhabit my home.  I pictured my perfect house, perfect children, perfectly coordinated, nutritious-meals-on-the-table-with-the-whole-family-sitting-around-every-day life and just KNEW that it would be that way because that's how I was going to MAKE it!
So fast forward to my actual life...Everything (EVERYTHING) is the opposite of how I pictured it!  My pregnancies were rough, births (well, they are a whole other story), colicky babies, breast feeding difficulties, night terrors, precocious toddlers, biters (Lee), bad restaurant manners, messy boys who gave the most delicious, sloppy kisses, said "I wanna HOLD you!" all the time and inherited the truck gene despite my best efforts to properly socialize them.  
The boys are going to hate me for posting this, but what good is my life if I don't contribute properly to their future need for therapy.
Motherhood, to say the least, has been a constant reminder of the fact that I am neither perfect, nor patient, but, in daily acts of monumental self-restraint, I have avoided being carted away in handcuffs for the things I imagine doing to them in my mind by taking many deep breaths and counting to 10 or 1500, depending on how annoying whatever they did was.  I have not always avoided speaking my mind to them (unfortunately) which leads me to the need to confess today.
Lee, my oldest son has ADHD.  We just found this out in December.  He is on medication which has tended to help him quite a bit.  When he first went on the meds, it was as if a miracle had happened!  He went from being distant, uninterested and smarmy (I think that is the word for describing a smart-mouthed, know-it-all pre-teen who talks back and has the answer for Every. Single. Thing. You. Say. and if that's not really the word, just pretend it is for the purposes of this blog entry, okay?) to helpful, courteous, involved and kind-hearted...I KNOW!  A miracle, right?  Although this miracle drug came with a price tag of $118 (after insurance!!) it seemed MORE than worth it considering the change in my kid!  I was shaking my head in wonder at all the people I have heard making remarks over the years (myself included!) that we are over-medicating our children and not letting them "just be kids."

So anyway, he's on this medication that, at first, helped him be a thoughtful kid who actually started doing well in school again (he had been failing up to that point after always having made A's and B's in elementary school...did I mention he's 12 and in middle school?)  But along the way, the effects of the miracle drug have dulled and he is somewhere more near to the person he was before, only able to remember and concentrate a little better in school, although not well enough to compensate for anything he is not interested in or finds "boring" like homework.  Now, homework happens to account for half (fifty percent!) of his grade.  The fact that he doesn't tend to do it and turn it in means that he is constantly on the verge (or actually) failing most of his classes at any given moment.  The fact that his teachers only post his grades on the computer every week or two means that, by the time I find out he hasn't been turning in his assignments, he is already deep in the hole.  

Lee has a science project that is due in a few days.  The project was assigned a couple of weeks ago and had several dates for which students were responsible for turning in things along the way...first the subject matter, then the hypothesis, procedure, etc. all culminating in the final project due at the end of this week.  With each and every step so far, there has been prodding on my part for him to complete the task by the deadline.  Now, mind you, I have usually thought of the project on a sudden impulse and followed the thought with, "Do you have anything due on your project?"  Which he always answers with, "Uh, I don't know...I don't think so.  It's not due yet."  To which I reply, "You had better look at your timeline and make sure."  Which ALWAYS results in, "Oh, my (fill in the blank here) is due tomorrow."  Followed by my rhetorical question, "Well, what have you done on that?"  Which is always then followed by, "Uh, I'll do it now."  You see where this is going?
Last night at about 6:30, I am sitting at Jack's baseball practice and I get a call from Kurt.  He's asking me about what he's supposed to cook for dinner (Jack's practices start at 5:30 and last until 8:30) and during the conversation, I ask him to check with Lee regarding whether or not anything is due on his science project for tomorrow (for some reason, I had the date of May 24th stuck in my head as a due date) and Lee, of course, responds with the usual (see above.)  So I ask Kurt to check the paperwork packet and sure enough, Lee's data collection is due tomorrow (today.)  Knowing that my son has yet to perform the experiments necessary to collect the data that is due, I ask Kurt to put Lee on the phone and proceed to go through the above dialogue again (I know, I'm a glutton for punishment) all of which results in him asking me to stop by the store to pick up the materials he will need to conduct his experiments and do you understand how badly I wanted to beat the living daylights out of my son at that moment people???!!???
(I know it's another picture of a woman pulling her hair out, but, as you can see, this one is not only frazzled, she's ANGRY as well!)

So, after informing him that he better get that project done or else (I didn't know what the "or else" was at that moment, but I was working on it) he put his father back on the phone and Kurt (sweetly and much to his credit and future spousal points) said that he would take Lee to the grocery store after they ate dinner.  So I sat (and fetched stray foul balls) at the practice and complained to the other moms there about my lazy son while getting the (much needed) nods of sympathy and the occasional, "Girl, I don't know how you do it..." (a soothing balm to my weary, nagging soul) only to arrive home at 9 pm to find my son sitting on the sofa watching a rerun of Two and a Half Men (which my son finds hilarious and informative and I find hilarious and annoying).
Glancing from the sofa to the kitchen, I saw an array of boxes, cookies, papers and what have you on the counter tops.  I calmly asked Lee if he was finished with his homework and he replied, "I couldn't do it because I needed more people to taste the cookies and cereal" and that is when I started losing my ability to be calm and rational.  Still trying though, I asked him what EXACTLY he needed to do to finish the assignment for tomorrow, he told me that he needed Jack and I to eat two different cookies and see if we could pick which one was the brand name and then sample two different cereals for the same reason.    OK, fine!  So we both did as he asked (incidentally, I was able to pick out the Oreo, but not the Cheerios) and he (supposedly) documented the data.  Shortly thereafter, he asked me if I would type up a 5 paragraph essay he had written for Language Arts that was also due tomorrow because I was a faster typist than he...at which point, I lost my mind.  Since it was now 10 pm and I was tired and frustrated, I told him that not only was he going to type up his own paper, but I was going to go through his classes on the computer and look for other missing assignments which he would then be required to complete tonight as well.  He looked at me as if I had just lost my mind (which, as I said, I HAD!) and sat down at the computer to start typing.  

1 hour, three assignments and several bouts of yelling and screaming later, he stated that he was done with his homework (which I should say, he told me he had none when he walked in after school was out and I asked him if he had any homework.)  I told him that his reward for his behavior was that he was losing ALL electronic device privileges (TV, Ipod, computer, WII, friends' X-Boxes, etc.) until further notice and that if he came home with anything less than a C on his report card, the ban would last the entire summer and into next school year until such time as I saw fit to change things.  To which, of course, he responded that it wasn't fair, blah, blah, blah.
I know this is an old photo, but you get the point, it's his expression that was similar to the one I saw last night.
So this morning, I take Jack to school and arrive home to find Lee working on his science project.  "Wow!" I think, "This is progress!"  So I ask him how it's going and he replies that he only needs to add a picture and he will be done.  I look at what he has done and (having read the rubric the teacher sent home) gently suggest that I could help him make it a little neater and more presentable.  To which he replies, "It's fine Mom!"  To which I reply, "Honey, have you read the packet your teacher sent home?  This is worth 20% of your grade and I can see that you are missing some things and it could be neater."  To which he replies, "Why do you have to always argue about everything?" which makes me mad but I try to save it.  "Listen, this is good, but you are missing a couple of things the teacher wants on there, like a graph with your data.  Also, this just looks sloppy the way your cut outs have jagged lines and there is tape all over the place.  You just need to put a little more effort into this and make it look good so you get a good grade because you can't afford to mess this up!"  To which he replies, "Fine!  Then you do it!"  To which I reply, "Listen, I am offering to help, that's all, just leave it till after school and we'll work on it together."  To which he replies, "I just want to get this in today so I can watch TV!"  To which I so eloquently replied, "You're an idiot!  All you care about it TV!  You don't care about your school work or what your project looks like, just the stupid TV!  And I am offering to help you make your project better!  IDIOT!!"  And I then promptly leashed the dog and walked out the front door, slamming it for emphasis...

Like I said, not one of my better moments...

And then, after my walk and after he got dressed and ready for school, just to make me feel even smaller, my son...my thoughtless, 12-year-old-middle-school-pubescent-pain-in-the-butt-son, walked over to me and put his arms around me and gave me a hug while saying, "I'm sorry Mom, I'll try to do better...I love you."  And just that moment, I realized that, as stupid as I can be sometimes, I have managed to raise a pretty decent boy who, although he doesn't seem to care too much about his school work, loves me...in spite of the fact that I am an idiot.