Ah, summer. The members of our family celebrated the start of summer at various intervals. Although I subbed a few times in the last few weeks of May, I felt like my summer began when I learned that my position was being eliminated mid-May. Now when anyone questions how I have such a jump start on my tan, I remind them that I am unemployed. After my summer took shape, Eddie was next in line to breathe in relaxing school's-out days. Because Eddie's 8th grade graduation date was determined and printed on the school calendar last year, his commencement was not impacted by the snow days utilized during the school year. The rest of the students, who no doubt celebrated when school was cancelled for heavy snowfall and severe cold temperatures, suffered thru the four additional school days added to the end of the year. At 3:00 today, the much awaited end of the academic year finally happened, kicking off the official start of summer for Tatanka, Mini, Reggie, and Curly. Laddie had exams last week, although to an uninformed bystander it would have appeared that this high school junior also enjoyed most of the week off along with Eddie. Grades are available on line tomorrow. I suspect his grades will reflect his 'study-time' spent MIA while he chilled with friends. When he finally resurfaced he dedicated a whopping 15 minutes to his studies before he plopped in front of the television to cheer on the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
This morning Laddie slept thru the start of his first day of football camp. And so it begins. I woke him up at 6:50 when I jolted awake to the pesky birds that were providing the sound track to my dreams. Football started at 6:30. At the combined graduation party for Patrick and his cousins yesterday, Laddie managed to hyper-extended his knee in a competitive basketball game on my sister's driveway. Once he arrived at camp, he spoke to the coaches about his injury and showed up at home about an hour later with ice strapped to his knee. He was baffled by my frustration. Is it too much to ask that one of my kids becomes self sufficient? Regardless of his sore knee, I felt he should have hauled (or limped) his butt to camp on time.
Because it was a Monday, the golf course didn't require the services of my caddies, so Laddie and Eddie had the day off. With Laddie's football camp complete and Eddie's basketball camp slotted for the afternoon, I chose to assign them a few basic responsibilities. Keep in mind that they are suppose to handle these duties weekly - without being told. Key words 'supposed to'. No homework. No caddy commitments. No sports practices. No younger siblings to goof off with until after 3:00. Time to pay the piper.
I instructed Eddie that I expected him to Windex the kitchen counter, scour the kitchen sink (that he neglected to do yesterday when told), and attend to the never-ending, always-ignored task of cleaning up his part of the room that he shares with Laddie. This chore was, as usual, only partially dealt with late last week when I stumbled across the disorder, which was so appalling it surpassed my non-neat-knick, anti-perfectionist, low-level expectations. I demanded it be addressed immediately. While improvements were made, the job was far from complete. I cleared the growing pile of clutter on the kitchen counter-top to make one of Eddie's tasks more manageable. I made sure Laddie knew that he needed to clean out the inside of the microwave and the stove top and focus on preparing for his upcoming ACT test. I started the dishwasher that was chock full of dishes (including two
crock pots) used to prepare the party food the day before, changed the
laundry loads, dealt with a few emails I needed to send, and prepared to leave for my run.
I checked that the garage door was down, and left the house through the back screen door in the kitchen. We don't have our air on yet, so I purposely left the slider open to take advantage of the cool morning air. Less than an hour later, I arrived home winded and sweaty from my 5 mile run. I was surprised to see that the glass sliding door to the kitchen was closed. I climbed up on the deck and tried the door. Locked. Odd. I peeked into the kitchen and the family room. Empty. I walked to the front of the house. The front door was locked and no one was in the study. If my blood wasn't boiling from exertion, it was now! It wasn't that I couldn't get into the house, it's that I knew these two teens were up to something. Or more likely: up to nothing. I used the code to enter thru the garage door. Knowing full well what was up, I bolted upstairs. My two teenage sons were exiting my bedroom. The channels on all the TV's are locked to avoid endless amounts of time being spent on mindless TV, but occasionally the kids figure out the code. I asked them what they were up to. Not much. Just hanging out.
I wasn't done. I switched to CSI mode. Evidence was everywhere. I could tell by the indentations left by a body that a teenager had been laid out on the mounds of laundry tossed across my bed that morning waiting to be sorted. I flipped on the TV. Aha! Instead of having the cable channel guide in full view, the DVD player screen showed up. Someone had been watching a movie. Hmm. I ejected the DVD and saw that a Clone Wars cartoon DVD was inserted. The plot thickens. Eddie had retreated at this point, pretending that he had been on his way to the shower all along. I asked why the slider door was locked. Laddie shared with me that he was concerned about a possible home invasion. My big football player was frightened that at 10 am his security was in question. It just got better and better. A red, solo cup of chewed up, spit out sunflower seeds and a baggie of fresh seeds sat on my dresser not far from the TV. Although I had no idea whether or not the red solo cup was left there the day, or even the week before, I assumed it was a recent addition to my bedroom ambiance and I called Laddie out on it. Remember, because my life is full and housework not a priority, the seeds could have become a fixture there and I wouldn't have noticed it. Laddie failed to call my bluff though, and admitted to chewing the seeds (that belong to Reggie) in my room. I flashed back to the board game Clue. I was prepared to solve the mystery. Just as I suspected . . . it was the two clueless teens, in the master bedroom, with sunflower seeds, who wasted no time in sucking the life out of the start of summer. Guilty! I marched down the hall and clapped my hands to a twisted little cheer: 'L-A-Z-Y you ain't got no alibi! You lazy! You lazy!'
Laddie still claims that he didn't lock the back door in order to force me to enter thru the garage. What do they take me for? I know the sound from the garage door was the audible trigger they needed to afford them time to turn off the TV, vacate my room, and pretend to be acting in a productive manner . . . my room - where they had sprawled out on the clean laundry rather than sort some of it. Ugh.
When I relayed the story to Coach tonight, he gently reminded me out of earshot of the boys that 'it is summer after all'. He feels that they should be allowed to relax. Well, then. How do we differentiate this time of the year from any other? From where I sit - or should I say 'squat' constantly picking up after them- they need to start to contribute to the house that we are all trying to cohabitate in. I asked for a few things to get done in the morning (some of which were chores remaining from previous relax-filled days). Chilling out. Plenty of time for that, AFTER a few basic tasks are completed. We are, after all, referring to teenagers who unwrap food items and don't bother to throw the wrappers away. Who miss the garbage can in the bathroom, and don't trouble themselves with the task of picking up their snot rags and shoving them in the receptacle. Who toss clean, still folded laundry in the dirty pile because it is easier than putting it away. Who wouldn't dream of loading or unloading the dishwasher, wiping down the kitchen table, or sweeping the floor without being asked, ordered, or begged to do it. Who litter the first floor with their enormous shoes, their sweat socks, and their gym bags. They do however want rides to games, the use of the car, time with friends, stocked pantry shelves, shows to watch at night, and clean sport jerseys.
So based on Coach's comments, I am now accusing him of being their clueless accomplice. Nothing gets past this detective.