The Resident Teen Rocker turned 16 while we were in Italy last month. Other than giving him a card that had our family’s required elements of butts, farting, or both, and singing Happy Birthday as horribly as we pridefully aim to, he didn’t have a candle to blow out. Now that I think of it, that’s kind of rude, but I’ll make it up before school begins.
Speaking of school and rudeness, the enormous registration packet came in the mail yesterday, and since he’s the one who retrieves the mail from our box each day, the look on his face told all. You’d have thought he had a bite of a bad frozen burrito. I mentioned that I wasn’t looking forward to him going back to school, either, and pondered the possibilities of running away from home with him to avoid the inevitable. Instead, I told him to get his calendar marked up so he could enjoy what was left of his summer, and start hitting the sack sometime before dawn, or at least make a half-assed attempt. I still can’t figure out how in hell I raised a kid who dislikes school as intensely as he does. Not that there isn’t much to dislike, mind you.
Every other summer of his life, the RTR has had an agenda. It hasn’t kept him hopping as much as the MoH would have liked, but that’s because it was organized primarily to keep him occupied while we were at work. A variety of YMCA Camps, San Diego Zoo Camp, Balboa Park, ID Tech Camp at UCSD, Camp Gramma, you name it, he’s been there.
But not last year. Summer school was supposed to happen but mysteriously never did, so I gave the RTR some projects I thought he might enjoy, and learn from. I know. Deadly. Ironically, he was assigned a project in his art class last semester that required a bit of research and wonder of all wonders! He remembered the summer work he’d done and was able to make use of it for his presentation. Amazingly resourceful when he wants to be.
Like this past weekend. We finally made it to Ikea to purchase the finishing touches for his bedroom. Not too long ago, we painted his room with colors he chose, the MoH changed all the dull switch plates, and I put up some new shades. (Of course, the shade pulls are already hanging in shreds leaving one shade unworkable, but it was swell while it lasted.)
After cruising through the showroom maze at Ikea, the RTR chose a double bed, a larger work table, and a chair that looks way too comfortable for the homework that he will definitely have with the schedule he chose (Statistics, Physics, AP American History, AP Studio Art, American Lit, and Woodshop. Yes, that’s right. Woodshop.) He is soooooooo having homework. I’m wincing just thinking about it.
So yes, after the three of us removed the boxes we’d wedged into my mother’s borrowed Escape, we schlepped them into the livingroom to sit. I told the RT it was his job and that if he needed help, he knew where his dad was. I, on the other hand, went to the grocery store.
Bear in mind that for the RT to approach any aspect of this gargantuan task, he had to clean his room. Pigs would fly first. But he’s very creative and found a way to move things around so he could work. You know, have a bit of elbow room and squeeze space allowance for toilet use?
When I returned from the store, he’d made quite a bit of progress and was just beginning to take the big red bunk bed he’s had since his fifth birthday apart. I could get all misty-eyed right now, but won’t.
I heard him call from upstairs, “Mom. There’s a funny looking flat screw thing that has a hole in it with edges…”
Now, I knew this would get his attention, and called up to him about whether he knew where the allen wrenches were tucked in his dad’s trusty tool box. No he couldn’t find them, and yes, I walked up the stairs to show him where they were. I also stayed long enough to gently ask him whether starting with a screw at the bottom of the bed was a good idea, and whether there might be some unexpected happenings as a result of that decision.
“Oh. Heh,” he smiled and chose a top corner screw instead.
The only time he asked for help was when he noticed a screw was stripped. A whack of the hammer from the MoH fixed it, and that cute bed that has so many memories attached to it is now in parts leaning against a wall in the garage waiting for a “Free to the first Caller” Craigslist ad.
Monday morning, the RT and I moved his tiny desk down the stairs — or tried. It fell apart from the stress on an edge while we were resting, and unfortunately, my ankles we on the receiving end of the boards that fell. Hurt doesn’t quite cover it, but we did get the desk to a resting spot.
He put his new desk together, and the chair.
I figure if he wants me to put up the very cool tiny work light with the jointed neck, and the shelves for his army of thousands, he’s going to have to clean up the mess.
But I’ve been reorganizing the cupboards in the kitchen, so between the two of us, it’s anyone’s guess whether we’ll ever see the floor or counters in our house again.