You, Too, Can Organize and Decorate with Teens

Guitar 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. Teen Project Mess

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.

Old mattress 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?

More Teen Project Mess

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.

New Work Table


15 responses to “You, Too, Can Organize and Decorate with Teens”

  1. What is it about teenage boys and butts and farts… oh, that’s right. I was one once.

    And am sworn to secrecy.

    Sorry to see your ankle wounds. I have a few of those (healed) and if you ever figure out how to get rid of the scars, give me a shout.

    Is The Boy intending to go into engineering? Interesting stuff on his wall. Oh, and that cat. He needs to go on a diet. Any fatter and he’ll be rounder than the real Sauerkraut. How’d he get up there anyways?

  2. Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you, and those battle scars are impressive.

    I bet in seven days the counter and floors will be visible again.

  3. VGF

    How R U?
    Girls nite soon?

  4. Long time no hear from sauerkraut. Too bad our Padres SUCK, huh? And raising three boys totally makes butts and farts dinner conversation. The ankle wounds are fine. Surprisingly no bruises! Hmmm…no, the boy is headed to art school. But he’s only going to be a junior, so this next year will be interesting. He loves the whole war machine thing. Sometimes, apples fall far from the tree. As far as the cat goes, SHE was probably lifted up there. But I have seen her claw her way up the side of the couch and our bed. It’s quite the show.

    Hey Cooper. How’s your great aunt? I’ll take your comment as a goal, because while sitting here, I’m noticing that the counters are still loaded and the living room floor cluttered.

    Hey VGF. I’m TOADALLY game. Your house? Love that cute place!

  5. loripea

    Sounds like you’ve been busy. Your owies made my stomach flip-flop. And I do believe I actually forgot his b-day this year. That is very awful of Aunt Nancy. When does school start? I know some of the kids in CA start Aug. 14th!!!!! barf! Not until Sep. 2nd for my kids. The day before you-know what.

  6. I like your blog and totally relate! My son is 13 going on 30.

  7. Hey lor — it’s all smoke and mirrors. Not much is going on. I think it’s the “lay low and make things slow” before school starts time of summer. Bleh. And Aunt Nancy is so not awful. How many of your kids’ bdays have I not remembered? Um, yah.

    Hi, Erin. An interesting age, right? Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I was fine, reading along, laughing at the messes and then OUCH! Man that looks painful…I’m sure the shower was fun after that one.

    Nice to meet you by the way!

  9. Hey Cathy! I love it when the foodies end up over here. Thanks for dropping by! As far as the ankles go, the shower wasn’t bad at all. I did do laps in the pool that night, though, and outside of being a bit stiff, I survived. What’s really strange is there’s no bruising. Go figure.

  10. Okay your ankle injuries are awful. OUCH is an understatement.

    I laughed out loud when you wrote about how the new shades were “swell while they lasted”


  11. Errr, you’d be better off using a mouse rather than a chubby cat to move the cursor!!!!! 🙂

  12. It’s always good to get a preview of the teen years (my son is 3). It doesn’t sound so bad. Some independence, some prodding, the development of individuality. The use of tools.

    Hope your ankles heal fast.

  13. meleah, you know how boys are…

    Roshan — HILARIOUS! I hadn’t thought of that.

    Hi Jennifer — that just about covers it, well, and picking the rocks and sticks up they seem to be attached to long after they’re 3…

  14. Earlene

    You didn’t even tell me you were injured when you spent so much time with me buying my Mac and helping me get started or last night when we ichatted with the east coast family members.

  15. Mom — this happened on Tuesday, and you got your computer Friday. The lervly scabs on the right leg were there in living color and I had shorts on. But you probably didn’t notice because Emily is always scratching and biting you and you always have scabs on your legs. Sexy, huh?

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