Tag Archives: school

Back To School – Kids vs Cat.

sf_backtoschool_remndernote

The kids are back in school and even Darth Jingles is smarter than me: she’s staying away from this mess.

I should be thrilled my teenagers are now spending most of every weekday being someone else’s problem. That’s how it should be, not how it is. First, The Girl started her senior year the Wednesday before last. Yay! It’s almost over, just one more year, and she has mostly fun classes so less stress. Dream on. Her schedule was messed up. We fixed it. She discovered all the kids in her Introduction to Statistics class were morons, then discovered the same about the kids in her Wildlife Biology class. Apparently someone had to ask how to spell “gills.” That rant lasted … actually it’s still going on. I get texts throughout the day as she tells me things she can’t say in class in the interest of polite society/not getting beat in the hall. (She’s a snarky little thing but knows when to rein it in. Usually.)

With The Girl being back in school, we’re faced with her usual last minute catastrophes. I would have thought at some point in the last 17 years, she would have learned the concept of “advance notice.” Alas, this is not the case. We still get her panicked race to our room at 11 pm to tell us she needs something for class and she it needs tomorrow. When did she learn of the requirement? At least two days previously, but we still have to drag that gem out of her. How does this apocalyptic event change our lives? We have to listen to her whine when we refuse to go to Walmart in the middle of the night, praying they have exactly what she needs. No, she can wait until after school and we’ll take her to go get whatever it is. I don’t do Walmart. Ever. Yes, that means she won’t have it for class – as was specifically required. Tell us in advance next time. We fix that problem and three days later repeat the exact same scenario. It’s amazing.

That’s The Girl, her little brother is very different. When The Boy needed something for school, he mumbled it upon walking through the door (that’s his version of telling us) and then never mentioned it again. He could be docked points class after class for having a loose-leaf binder instead of a spiral notebook or something inane like that, but we wouldn’t know until Parent-Teacher Conferences rolled around. Sigh.

The Boy started school last Monday, several days after his sister. A reminder: near the end of third term last year we switched him to an online/home school. I’m his “Learning Coach,” a title I desperately wanted to pass on to Hubby this year. He declined. The good part about this is there’s no more mumbling of things as he walks in the door. I know (generally) what he needs to do and what he needs in order to do it. Unfortunately his teachers don’t always copy me in their emails to him, and there’s no way he’s volunteering information, so there’s still that.

The Boy’s schedule is also messed up and I’m having some trouble getting that sorted. Getting him to go to bed at a reasonable hour, get up in time for his lessons, and give up video games during the day is fine. So far. Getting him to give up his 2 hour mid-afternoon nap is already becoming a problem. Let the battle of wills begin!

That being said, I’ve already been outsmarted by Hubby (he’s not The Boy’s “Learning Coach), and Darth Jingles (she’s refused to come in until this whole “beginning of school” thing gets straightened out and her children calm down), so I’m concerned about this mid-day nap dilemma. Is it sad that I looked over his schedule and penciled in when he can take a nap? I go check to make sure he gets up again to finish his work. That feels like giving in. Now I have to wake him up twice a day when I’m already tired of doing it once. Maybe he’ll ease out of it. (Last night he fell asleep on the rug in front of the refrigerator after going downstairs for a midnight snack. Yeah, he’s going to give up his mid-day naps, sure.)

All right, now that we have that sorted out, the kids finished their first week and survived, the cat came home over the weekend. The little brat usually is very sensitive to the needs of her children. She snuggles with them when they’re sick. She sleeps with them when they’re upset. But she cleared out when they endured their first week of school. In high school – she was there for them in junior high. Brat.

Jingles came home bearing a gift – a dead mouse. This is a little unusual, she doesn’t bring her playmates home with her. Whatever. We gave her big smiles and ‘good kitty’ assurances from afar. The Girl made sure she turned away before adding ‘ewww!’ We gave her tuna so the kids wouldn’t complain about her having ‘mouse breath,’ hopefully that won’t encourage her to keep bringing home dead vermin. Jingles later gave her boy lots of loves, tucked her girl in each night over the weekend before prowling the house. She checked in on her boy throughout the night to make sure he was doing okay with his video games then settled down when he hit his curfew. You know, being cat-like.

She woke me up at 3am and then Hubby with demands for aggressive petting. Then she finally snuggled down between us and stretched to push us both to the edges of our bed. She’s a smallish cat so that was a remarkable feat.

And Monday morning, she was off to go play like nothing happened. Like she wasn’t MIA for five days straight while the kids were having a rough time in school. Like she didn’t bend the house to her will all weekend (which is as it should be in her mind). Nope, just business as usual. We’ll see if she’s home before the weekend or if the threat of homework will somehow keep the cat at bay.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Teenagers

A Different Family Vacation

ground_squirrel

I’ve been largely vacant from social media sites and remiss in blogging regularly lately. I apologize. This is due to a couple of things: First, The Boy & high school – I’ll come back to that. Second, it seemed June was vacation month.

Family vacations are something unique to individual families. Some go to the beach, the mountains, or the desert; others choose specific destinations like parks or cities. I camped as a child, hubby’s family thinks roughing it is a three star hotel.  We try to shake things up for our kids, but there is a specific type of family vacation that comes up regularly: shooting. Specifically, machine gun shoots.

There are several machine gun shoots in the country, Knob Creek is (I believe) the oldest and we’ve never traveled back to that one. Big Sandy is the biggest, although I remember it when was much smaller. There’s an age limit for most shoots (for obvious safety reasons) but occasionally there are machine gun shoots that allow kids.

This particular shoot was a machine gun shoot for charity so it was more of a family-friendly environment. It’s held in a small town every year to benefit some part of the town. One year it was the fire department because they needed equipment and it simply wasn’t in the budget. This year it was the school for the same reason. The town has its own people donate things to raffle and to shoot at. One of the local farmers has a piece of land that’s used for the shoot and for camping. The hotel offers a discount. The grocery store donates meat and one of the restaurants donates a cook to barbeque it and people can buy their dinner each night. They truck in cold drinks and ice for us to buy. All proceeds go to the cause because everyone in town is donating their time, products, and services to get money out of the shooters and spectators. Old beat up cars that would get towed off for scrap are saved and shot up first. We blew up a van this year. I’m serious, there was a reactive target under it and it flipped the minivan and broke it in half. Kind of cool. Sponsors put up prizes to be raffled. Lately even some of the chain sporting stores have been putting in some things to be raffled. It’s good PR.

We all have a lot of fun, see people we only see once or twice a year sometimes, and the town brings thousands of dollars into a depressed, floundering community in addition to what the actual charity rakes in. It’s a win all the way around.

Now, that being said, I was supremely happy to go sit in the desert because I needed a break. Really. The Boy (I said I’d get back to it) had some difficulty at school – not his fault, we confirmed it, but neither was it the sort of thing we could ignore. And the school couldn’t fix it. So he chose to switch to home/online school instead of regular public school. And it was an uphill battle from there.

Actually the first few weeks were fine. Then for whatever reason he decided he needed to be prompted to do anything. I honestly feel like I slid back into high school myself. Seriously, I sat with him through the last half of ninth grade. The thing is, I already passed ninth grade and felt no need to do it again. That didn’t matter. To make him sit through it, I had to do it too. The upshot is: I got next to nothing productive done in the last few months with my writing, although I have had a lot of teen-related angst. I should be angst-proof.

So he finished his classes, barely, and we take off on vacation. The Girl has lost interest in shooting after the first half-day and sat with her nose in a book, enjoying the chance to peacefully read something that wasn’t assigned. I sat in whatever shade I could find frantically trying to finish A Thousand Words #4 because I’m behind where I wanted to be courtesy of her little brother. We both had earbuds in under hearing protection to make it easier to ignore the pop, pop, pop, boom of gunfire in the background and occasional explosion as someone hits a reactive target. The cows didn’t seem to mind, although I noticed the sudden lack of ground squirrels every time the firing line was active. Hmm. Rodents have a sense of self-preservation after all.

The Boy threw himself into the predominate activity with gusto, especially since discovering his back-up plan of playing games on his laptop wasn’t going to happen. There was no internet. No Wifi to connect with his friends at home, and no cell service as a back up to text/call/skype them. I’d love to say I laughed at that last bit, but I was one of the three out of four family members who succumbed to a panic attack thirty miles from the site when service cut out. GPS still worked, but that was of limited interest. Hubby doesn’t live and die with his phone in his pocket, so he was the one who laughed at the rest of his adoring family when mountains finally killed our weak signal. I called him names. It wasn’t my finest moment.

On the plus side, that’s one less distraction. It was just me and my laptop. Until they closed the line for dinner and the ground squirrels came out to play again. They’re cute. (The farmer doesn’t think so, but they are.)

As soon as the shoot ended, we headed home to trade in a very heavy load of weapons and ammo for a lighter but almost as bulky cello and left on Family Vacation 2.0 – Mount Rushmore. Yes, it added a couple of days to our vacation to return home to switch out luggage and head out again, but it just seemed like a poor idea to go to a National Monument armed to the teeth, you know? Besides, The Girl wanted to find the Team America theme song and load it on her MP3 player so she could play it at Mount Rushmore. I saw this as another bad idea, but The Boy sided with her and they so rarely band together anymore I hated to break it up. I had days for that partnership to crumble before nixing her rebellious streak. (That didn’t quite go as planned.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Teenagers, Writing

The Girl is a Terrible Teenager

ImageThe Girl is a terrible teenager. “Why?” you ask? Well, let me tell you a story about a brand new sophomore in a brand new high school (just built new not just new to her).

Things never go smoothly the first week of school anyway, even if the school isn’t new. Not completely. And no one really expects it to. At least not anyone with kids. So when we got a call the second day of school informing us our nearly perfect daughter (true, it’s sickening) missed first period, it was a surprise. 

She denied it.

We told her to go to the teacher the next time she had his class (every other day) and straighten it out. The next day, we got a call saying she again missed first period. Surprised? Yes, but also mildly suspicious. Not of The Girl; as I said, she’s nearly perfect. The school was more likely to be the culprit.

Again she denied skipping first period. Again we told her to go to the teacher and straighten it out.

Third day of school, guess what? You got it, another call. The teachers both claim they marked her as there. Okay, so the school computer has a bug and everyone’s being marked absent? No. The parents of teens who do miss are not getting calls but, for reasons they can’t pinpoint, a bunch of others are getting the calls on their behalf. They’re sorry and have no idea when it will be fixed.

Hubby has the number memorized and sighs when his phone rings now at right about dinner time. So . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . and he’s carrying his phone waiting for it to ring – oh, there it goes.

So, why does this make my nearly perfect daughter a terrible teenager? Because she just realized she could have been skipping first period every day for the past four days, knowing full well that WE WOULD NOT BE TOLD.

I pointed out the school would still have the correct information.

Never reason with a teenager, okay? Not even nearly perfect ones. You can’t win. Reason exists as an abstract concept to them.

The Girl’s answer was it’s okay if her teachers and the school knew if she was skipping a class, as long as Hubby and I didn’t. What? Then she balled up her tiny fists (she’s petite), declared herself to be the worst teenager ever, flung her thick, waist-length waves that I would kill for over her shoulder, and stalked out of the room.

Well, she got that last part just about perfect.

Leave a comment

Filed under Teenagers