Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sour Saturday

So we get up this morning, early, my son and I, hop in the car and go to breakfast. Biscuits and gravy for DS and eggs for me. After breakfast, we hop and skip on to the church where we will start a scouting adventure. We are to deliver bags house to house for scouting for food.

Tons of people show up, all are parent-with-child. Then one in my den shows up and the mom says, "Frankie, can I just drop Fred off? I am going to be at work and he can walk to work when you're done. I stood there with my mouth open. You mean to tell me you are too lazy to take your kid on this project? Get off your duff, set an example, be a parent. The man next to me said, "He can ride with us" because I was so dumbfounded I couldn't speak. Then I literally did the head shake thing getting myself back into reality. I said sure, and she had him go with us.

So we get our assignment -- all of three blocks, another idiotic move from the simpleton, and head off. Fred immediately calls, "I'm riding shotgun, runs to my van, hops in the front seat. Okay. Somebody needs a lesson in manners. I open his door, have him get out of the front seat. He's glaring at me. I told him, first of all, you do not call dibs when riding in someone else's car. Secondly, you are not tall enough to ride in the front seat. Air bags kill children. (My car doesn't have passenger front seat air bags, it's that old, but he didn't need to know that, it's still unsafe.)

So Fred and my son get in the back seat. Fred was not speaking to anyone at the church before we left so I knew he was in a bad mood. It got worse. This is how the car ride from the church to our designated area went:

ME: How are you, Fred?
Fred: Tired. (Said in a short, blunt, rude manner.)
Tommy: Hi Fred.
Fred: No answer.
ME: How was school this week, Fred?
Fred: Fine. (Short, blunt, all the answers were.)
ME: Why are you so tired?
Fred: I read last night.
ME: What did you read?
Fred: A book. (Extreme sarcasm.)
ME: What book?
Fred: A Christmas present.
ME: What was the name of the book?
Fred: I dunno.
ME: Was it good?
Fred: MMM.
Tommy: Have you been playing Runescape lately? What level are you up to now?
Fred: No answer.
Tommy: Oh, cool, look at that house, it has a deck on the roof.
Fred: So what.

long silence

ME: Okay. When we get to the first street, how would you guys like to distribute the bags?
Fred: I'm choosing which side I do.
ME: Uhm, is that okay with you, Tommy?
Tommy: Yes.
TOMMY: Did you know we're going to work on our engineering badge this week?
Fred: So what.

I parked the car, gave the lecture not to walk through lawns and to make sure the bags don't fly away.

The boys get out. Fred picks his side of the street and DS starts his side. Fred proceeds to walk through every single lawn. We have a strict rule to not do that because it is disrespectful. Fred also takes his sweet time. He's slower than molasses. My son finished his side and I told him to start on Fred's side. Fred got really ticked off about that, but we're not going to stand there and watch him -- what a waste of time. If Fred had his heart in it and a good attitude, I would have had DS wait in the car.

We get in the car, go to the second street. Fred refuses to speak when spoken to. He glares when I ask him to put his seatbelt on. I ask him what is wrong, and he snorts: tired. We stop the car, Fred throws half the bags into the back of the van, more on the floor and jumps and runs out of the car. My son had to pick up the bags that he threw on the floor. Fred started screaming at my son, "This is my side of the street, go away."

I wasn't thinking. I should have had him get in the car and taken him to his mother's work right then. Why wasn't I thinking? He refused to talk the rest of the time. He was such a snot. We finished the third street, this time I just had my son get in the car while we waited and waited on Fred.

As we were driving back, my son started asking him other questions which Fred totally ignored. I asked him a question and he ignored me, too. I pulled the car over, put it in park, turned around and said, "You are being very disrespectful to Tommy and I. You are also hurting our feelings." He just stared at me. I waited at least a minute. I said, "Perhaps you didn't hear me. You are being very disrespectful to Tommy and I." This time he eeked out an "I'm sorry."

I started driving again, my son started trying to start a conversation again, was being ignored. I dropped him off. He squeaked out a thank you and slammed the door.

I was fuming.

I left a message on his mom's answering machine but she hasn't called me back. When we drove away, I told my son if he ever acted like that he would be beat and grounded until he was 18. I don't beat my son, I don't believe in spanking, but I was ready to tear my hair out with Fred.

Fred comes from a good, fundamentalist Christian family. He goes to a parochial school. His parents are always preaching, they even have one of those bible-phrase email addresses. I have always been a little lenient with Fred in the past because his parents harp on him continuously to the point it is almost verbally abusive. Those days of my being lenient are over. That kid was rude. It was bad enough he was rude to me, but it was inexcusable how rude he was to my son.

So I'm going to give a big lecture at our next den meeting on manners. Big. I'm not naming names, I'm not pointing fingers, but I'm going to talk about it ad naseum.

After that, both DS and I were in a bad mood, we didn't need that crap while trying to do something good for our community! We pull into our driveway and nearly run into boys from a different pack. We hop out, ask them if they need help. The leader said they had half the city to do and only these five boys showed up. My son and I were eager volunteers. He gave us several blocks to do and more bags. So we delivered the rest of the bags. In peace.

What a morning. On a different note, I was very proud of my son today. Before we got to the church, I asked him to just leave his hat in the car because I didn't want to deal with the simpleton. He looked at me and said, "But mom, if I do, we're letting "him" bully us. Smart kid. He proudly wore his cap into the church. He's learning to stand up for his principles when I want to take the easy way out. Good job, Tommy.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Fun Stops Today

My son and I had a fun week. In a rare turn of events, my husband was out of town. We did one subject per day this week. We watched movies, played games, and let our hair down. We ate out and we ate Girl Scout cookies.

Reality sets in this morning as I'm drinking my coffee. Time to clean the house, pay the bills (why am I always late paying the bills?) menu plan, grocery shop, be a responsible parent, spouse, person....bluuuuuch.

Spring fever has clutched me so tight that I can barely breathe. The great outdoors is a soggy mess as our great snow melts. Not quite let's-go-to-the-park time due to mud. Last year I remember telling my husband we needed to take time off in the spring or approaching spring because it is next to impossible to school. I scheduled two weeks off in April. Next year I'll be scheduling a week off in February and a week or two weeks off in March.

Summer is such a welcome diversion. It's weird because we get bored starting in July. There are always so many activities in June to keep us busy. I'm thinking that July should be a school month. It's too hot and humid to be outside that much, there are no fun activities set, and the skeeters are out.

We'll definitely be doing school in the summer. We will not finish our Rod and Staff English, and I want to finish that. I want my son to continue doing math and reading daily. I'd also like to delve into some fun financial studies that we just don't have time for during "regular" school.

I laugh about this a lot, but it seems as if there is never enough time to do all that I want to do. It is weird to me because we are homeschoolers and, well, at home. It's not like we are confined to a strict 8-3 public school schedule. Still, there's only so much school one can expect of a child in a day. Well, at least my child. Well, at least me.

I don't know if this spring fever business is a result of my aging or my geographic location. I've always had a touch of spring fever no matter where I lived, but here in Minnesota, I just want to climb out of my skin. I've always been one to enjoy gray days because bright sun hurts my eyes. There seems to be something special about gray days that enables me to get a lot done. A lot. Now, however, my day's progress is based on whether the sun is out or we have a gray day. A gray day now means a depressing atmosphere. It's like a heavy burden pressing on my shoulders.

I think back to when I worked for a living. I didn't get spring fever that bad then. Was it because I had no choice but to work, work, work? My mind was completely occupied with work. Maybe I'm too lenient on myself and my son due to spring fever. Maybe I'm not setting the correct example by having had a light week this week. Maybe I'm screwing up my son for life, destroying any chance at instilling a decent work ethic... NAH. I remember when he was in public school and I volunteered, the kids were climbing the walls. The teachers told me that spring was really tough. It was testing time and there were lots of movie days, lots of let's sneak outside for this or that activities.

Back to reality, sipping my coffee, facing my catch-up day. Bluch. Next week we'll hit the books hard. We'll have renewed our spirit, we'll be well-rested. We'll both have excellent attitudes, neither of us will be perfect.

Ha ha ha! One can hope.

Monday, March 06, 2006


I'm in google, baby.

Somebody found my blog by googling...and I was nineth on the list on the first page. How funny is that.

The search was: homeschool classroom photos

Snort, giggle. Kind of weird.

Actually, I'm on that page twice as I shared my homeschool photos with the lady so our pix are up there as well.

I love looking at homeschool classroom photos, weird but true.

And speaking of our classroom, I had my husband haul out granddad's chair this weekend. It just took up too much room. Once it was out, I had much more room to get to my chair (and I need the room lol). My husband was disgusted with me because I immediately put in an old ugly rolling cart I had and an ugly three-plastic-drawer thing on wheels in the chair's place. They don't stick out nearly as far as the chair did.

Tomorrow I'll clean out the fish tank (yes, the dead fish is still in the tank and he died weeks ago) and we'll get it ready and get another fish who will reside in the classroom. I'm also going to order a tadpole kit and a butterfly kit so we'll have a place to put them.

Ah, love horizontal surfaces -- they call to me -- fill me up. And I oblige.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday Night at the Oscars

Well, I watched. DH had to work so we had our Hardee's supper in front of the tv. My son didn't feel like playing, so he got out graph paper and designed houses throughout. He's probably the only 10-year-old boy in America who did watch.

For almost 25 years now, I have faithfully picked the winning Best Original Song. I have *never* been wrong. Okay, so I broke my record tonight. Dear son was absolutely horrified when he listened to the song "Hard Out Here for a Pimp." He didn't know what a pimp was so I explained it. Yes, he did know what a prostitute was. Anyway, he thought they should not allow that kind of thing on TV.

He is such a little character. ;-)

My innocent little son also had a fit over Felicity Huffman's outfit. He thought it way too revealing. I thought she looked pretty good. The beauty that really stood out to me was -- is it Jessica Alba? She had a TV show awhile ago, I can't remember the name of it, but she had a tattoo on her neck and she was like a warrior girl that was mass produced...can't remember -- anyway, she was radiant. Wow.

I did not see a single movie that was nominated. Sad, but I prefer to rent movies -- it's so much more comfortable to watch at home.

I was very glad that Philip Seymour Hoffman won. No, I didn't see the movie, but I saw clips and I've seen him in so many movies and even though he's not a heartthrob, sexiest-man-alive like Clooney, I really like him and think he's a wonderful actor. (I like Clooney, too.)

I am anxious to see Crash and Brokeback Mountain. Now I'd have to call my local theater to confirm this, but I never saw Brokeback Mountain listed as "now playing". My apologies to the theater if I am wrong, but because this is such a little bible belt town, I don't think it did play here. And that is the movie that I wanted to see. In fact, I won't rent it when it's available, I'll buy it. I know I'm going to love it.

I did notice that Nanny McPhee is now playing so I think I'll take DS this week. I'm also going to have to buy the last Harry Potter movie because DS informed me it's out now. I didn't see that in the theater, although DS and DH did.

There was a day when I went to the movies all the time. Aside from it not being "comfortable" for me in theaters -- noisy people and sticky floors, plus I like to put my feet up -- I don't know why I don't go more often. Maybe I will start up again.

my picky eater

When I was a child, I was a very picky eater. (I still am.) My mother gave me the curse....when you grow up, I hope you have a child who is just as picky as you. I got worse.

Well, my son is a little picky, but what gets me is his desire to be a vegetarian. He thinks animals should not be put to death for us, just because we're a higher species. He thinks it's cruel and grossly unfair. He has declared many times that if he were president, the nation would become vegetarians and it would be illegal to eat meat.

Mom and dad would both break the law.

We do force him to eat meat. He likes it, it's just the animal behind the meal that gets him. It is quite the ordeal when he eats meat. We have to do a prayer ritual. "Thank you, pig, for being slaughtered just for us. I hate the fact you were murdered, but mom and dad insist I eat you."

This little streak runs in spurts -- he always "hates" the idea, but his rants about it flare up in spurts. Tonight was one such night. Dad wasn't going to be home for supper, so I insisted we go get a $1 roast beef sandwich at Hardee's. Cheap, easy, grossly unhealthful, but good.

You would think that I had beat that child. We were at a stoplight with a car next to us and it started. "NO, I REFUSE TO EAT MEAT. How can you be so cruel to animals? You can't make me." When I'm grown up, I'm going to be a vegetarian." He was screaming like I was torturing him. Fortunately the people in the next car didn't look at us. He did relent and ate two sandwiches.

My husband grew up in South Dakota. All his family owned ranches and were beef producers. You haven't lived until you've eaten South Dakota beef. One of his uncles is raising ostriches. For consumption. (It's very tough, not my favorite meat.) All members in my husband's family are hunters. We've eaten moose, bear, venison, wild turkey, probably some I don't know about, etc.

The males in my family are hunters, too.

I think they mixed up my son in the hospital.

All this started when we were studying whales last year. Actually we were studying Alaska and the Inuits. Whales were my son's "thing" and when he learned they killed them -- even though it kept them alive, he threw a fit. Then we studied that buffalo being killed by the Sioux and other tribes -- "That's awful."

I am really at the point where I want to pull my hair out. I have tried to let him do the vegetarian thing, but he's not a healthy enough eater to do it. I can't think of enough protein for him. I really don't want to make tofu a regular part of our diet. I try to be respectful of his feelings. I do. He's getting to the point where he is not respectful of ours.

It is getting frustrating. How can one have a child that looks so much like you, you know it's your child, and yet that child has developed his own beliefs 180 degrees different than your own. He's only 10, he hasn't hit hte teenage years when that is supposed to happen.

And now for the punch line. My picky eater, who wants to be a vegetarian, hates vegetables.

Ha! The joke really is on me. Thanks, mom, for cursing worked.