The Way Things Are






the long-ass birthday weekend
2006-01-09, 1:40 p.m.

Itís the culmination of the long-ass birthday weekend for my Lil Guy, who graduates today from surly pre-teen to full-out teenager. And there was much rejoicing. Yay.

I do him a disservice, you know. Heís not normally surly, except when he comes home on a Sunday night from his dadís house and has unfortunately glommed onto a certain prevailing attitude, and is tired. Then heís surly, but he snaps the fuck right out of it when we get home and the dog is so excited to see him that sheís beside herself, and his room with the big comfy bed is waiting for him, and thereís a real, actual home-cooked meal waiting to be eaten.

So you see, he doesnít waste a lot of time on surly. Bossy? Yes. Bitchy? A lot. Wants things exactly his way? Mais oui. Argumentative because he knows everything and everyone else is lucky they havenít choked on their gum whilst tying their shoes? Always.

But I raised him this way, so I guess I have to like him.

Friday night, we had a sleepover for him and his 3 closest friends. They drove around in the golf cart, jumped on the trampoline, played video games, ran around outside hollering, and got sucked into watching a couple of movies with DW and me. I cooked hamburgers, which were only probably pretty much the best hamburgers anybody had ever eaten, with a giant chocolate chip cookie cake in lieu of birthday cake, with the words ďHappy Birthday, you stinky teenagerĒ written on it in green icing in lieu of candles and sentimental claptrap.

DW and I headed for bed at 11:00, and I didnít hear a peep ::peep!:: out of them until 2:00, when I woke up to what I thought might be bowling upstairs. Turns out it was running, jumping and hollering. I told them that they didnít have to go to sleep, but needed to tone it down. That kind of stuff doesnít belong in the house any time of the day or night.

Then I woke up at 5:00 to what sounded like a herd of boys bickering in the hallway outside my bedroom door. Turns out they were indeed bickering, because a Y chromosome dictates that videogames cannot be played without bickering, but they were up in the loft. Our house sports a phenomenal acoustic feat wherein the sound in the loft magically carries downstairs, down the hall, and under my bedroom door.

So at 5:00, I told them just to go to sleep. 5:00 is no time for anybody to be awake. Plus, there were activities planned for Saturday, and I wanted them to get a few hours of sleep.

Saturday morning, I cooked egg and bacon tacos, told them all that they didnít have to because I liked them anyway, but if they ever considered washing their hands and faces and brushing their teeth, now might be the time for it. I got cleaned up myself, and we headed off for the putt-putt/go-cart place. We had lost one kid to a morning basketball game, so it was LG and his 2 closest well-behaved friends. Heh. We spent 3 hours at that place, them going around in circles on go-carts, eating chicken wings in the snack bar, playing arcade games, and me doing Sudoku puzzles.

Saturday afternoon, after everyone was deposited into the loving bosoms of their grateful families, I made LG crack the books and make some major headway on a 500+ word research paper that was due today. He was tired, feeling a little sick from lack of sleep and too many chicken wings, so I did what any good mom would do: I made him a pot of coffee. Doesnít your 13-year-old drink coffee?

Hereís a conversation we had whilst preparing the coffee:

Him: I need more sugar in my coffee. Sugar makes everything better.
Me: Except broccoli.
Him: Poor, poor broccoli.

See? Heís funny like me.

Last night, we went out to eat at all of our favorite Italian chain restaurant, which apparently has replaced its old manager with somebody who has a freaking clue about how to run a restaurant, so we were pleasantly surprised by (1) attentive service (2) accurate orders (3) no fuck-ups whatsoever on their part.

And you probably think thatís enough celebrating for a stinky teenagerís 13th birthday, donít you? But it doesnít end there. Today, I went to Subway and took him a special lunch of sandwich, chips and a drink, but to my credit, I decided to buck the tradition of the middle-schoolersí mothers bringing everyone Krispy Kremes for dessert after lunch. The KKs, you see, replace cupcakes once you are in the double digits. KKs=cool. Cupcakes=babies.

Hereís the conversation we had about that issue:

Me: Are you expecting me to bring cupcakes with extra sprinkles to school tomorrow?
Him: [rolls eyes]
Me: Does everyone still do Krispy Kremes for their birthday, or did yíall outgrow that?
Him: Not everyone does that.
Me: Do you want doughnuts?
Him: I donít care.
Me: If you donít care, Iím certainly not going out of my way.
Him: It doesnít matter. Hereís how much it matters. [rolls eyes]
Me: Who all hasnít had doughnuts on their birthday?
Him: I dunno.
Me: Who all HAS had doughnuts on their birthday?
Him: Only just about everybody.
Me: You and I will start a tradition that you guys are too old for that kind of stuff. Next year, NOBODY will want those baby doughnuts on their birthday.

I did indeed manipulate that for all it was worth, and it worked out to my advantage. Because I am hemorrhaging money lately, and twinny bucks or so for freaking doughnuts? Not so much.

BUT. Thatís because I had already figured out what to get him for his b-day, which is actually today, so at lunch I went and got a baby refrigerator to go upstairs in the loft. Sure, itís an appliance, and sure, we had been talking about getting a little fridge for up there for beer and whatnot, so itís actually a household appliance disguised as a birthday present. But this is something he said he was considering buying with his Christmas money, and that seems a little sad to me. He should be buying pot and smokes and rubbers and comic books with his Christmas money, not household appliances.

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