Somewhat came to a head yesterday.
The 16 year old went with me to get stuff for the day's work - and he wanted to spend his money on clothing attire at the mall which I promised him I would take him since he isn't yet allowed to drive anywhere but to work and school. I ended up taking my car to Discount Tire to get a slow leak fixed - which took an hour. We went to Waffle House and sat down and talked for quite a while and then went back to the shop. they still weren't done so headed to Home Depot right behind the place for a paint brush we had forgotten to get earlier.
When finally done with that - and realizing they didn't balance the tire so now I have to go back and ask them why they would put a tire back onto a car without balancing it and probably wait another hour to get that done - we headed to the mall. Had some fun there, his gf told him he should buy pink underwear. So he's looking at hot pink underwear and yes, I was making jokes and giving him a hard time about it. He's a good kid, really, with some mixed-up ideas, that mostly attributed to his upbringing.
We finally got home after a couple of hours of all of that and went to work. He got onto the hallway upstairs that is in a shambles, it was soooo bad. Kids writing on walls and....well anyway, I went into yet another bathroom and started a huge cleanup process on that, starting with the bathtub. Clogged up drain, had been that way for quite a while. She has a hand snake but it isn't flexible enough to make a p-trap turn. She brought up some other device which also didn't work. Well, so it was back to Home Depot to buy the right kind of hand operated snake to get around the bends in the pipe, this time the 10 year old wanted to go so go we went.
Got back, opened up the drain and spent 3 solid hours attempting to clean that tub and glass doors. I'll leave it to your imagination to determine how .... dirty.....it was to have to take up half an afternoon just cleaning that one area alone, sans the rest of the bathroom. These are not projects I take much pleasure in because of the grossness of the situation. Just have to suck it up and get it done. Scrubbing and scrubbing. I should have left and gone and gotten some powerful cleaner, because the cleaner I have? Always does the trick but not this time. Had to take the doors off the tracks to clean them and then the tracks themselves were filled with....well let's just not go there.
I went out into the hallway and she started cranking on the 16 year old about what he was doing. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It's quickly becoming apparent that nothing he can do will ever be right in her eyes. He got pissed and walked off to his bedroom. "I think y'all should finish this job since you don't like anything that I am doing". In reality, he had busted his ass half the day and did that entire hallway excepting the door frames which need a different kind of paint. I'm looking at her, a little encouragement. I went after him and told him he was doing a great job and we would fix the small spills and be done with it. He got a smile on his face and went back to work.
Later, the idea was floated about getting pizza so I sent boy to pizza store - with mom's blessing to drive there alone - and we stood there and she just went off. Look at what he did here and there and everywhere. Not one, single, good word could come out of her mouth of the awesome job, actually, that kid had done. I was glad he wasn't there to hear all of that. I had a feeling, quite some time ago, that this was probably what was going on over there - constant railing of the kids - but I had no evidence other than the feeling that this is, indeed, what's going on.
So now what. Not my kids, no real place to attempt to intervene. At the same time, I cannot sit there, like the other night, and listen to this stuff going on and on and on. It grates me, it grinds my innards, I can't stand it. It's not just the 16 year old, it's all of the teenagers and sometimes the 10 year old. The 2 girls are not immune from it but they hardly get much of that kind of treatment.
She wants to know when we are going to get married. Like a date. I'm not committing to a date yet. I'll go insane living in a house with all of that going on, all the time. Literally, I would pull my hair out and probably just have to leave a lot and go do something outside or leave the property altogether. No, can't do that. This needs to be at least semi-fixed before I'm going in there. At first it was the house itself, now it's the house AND the constant fighting that needs reparations. I got my place to come to for now, it's a nice little abode, I ain't here much but it is still very peaceful and quiet, a place where I can reflect and meditate and think about things without all the background noise.
The problem I have is, how can I deal with these kids and start to try and get them back on the right track when they are constantly in defensive mode? They can't receive anything because they are always on edge about her telling them to do something - constantly and yelling at them that whatever they have done - is always wrong. I do believe they have learned to tune her out quite a bit and she has to repeat herself over and over and over to get them to do anything.
I dunno. I'm not giving up, but I feel like I'm at a dead-end right now and there aren't any openings, gates, trampolines to jump on and over the this blockage. This situation with her kids leaving and never coming back and not wanting anything to do with her will keep playing itself out over and over and over with the rest of them until/if/when something drastic changes it and frankly? That would be her attitude towards them. Oh, yes, those kids have attitude, bad sometimes, but the change has to start with the adult. The parent leads, the kids follow. If the parent leads into a life of constant contention, guaranteed the kids will do the same thing.
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