Saturday, October 30, 2010

Am I the ONLY Person Who Has a Bunch of Crap in My Pantry?


C'mon guys, there's 2 more days for the Real Pantry (I almost wrote Panty there, wouldn't that be revolting) Challenge.

Send me something! I mean something edible! LOL

Rules Here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Parenting---It's Not for Sissies

When the Aspiring Adult graduated from high school, we made the same deal with him that we made with our other kids. As long as he wanted to continue his education, we'd pay for it. We don't want him to start his life saddled with student loans. When he's figured he's had enough, he just needs to say so, and that's it.

Considering that his circumstances are different than with our other two boys (neither one of them can drive), we offered to let him stay here expense-free so that he could save up his money. The only caveat is that he had to follow the house rules, of which there are only a couple.

1). No phone calls on the house phone after 9pm. Call us old-fashioned, but both Hubby and I were raised to believe that is rude. No call late at night is a good call. It usually means a loved one is ill or there's been an accident. People who know us don't call us after 9pm. At least not more than once. ;-)

2) We have a curfew. 10pm on weekdays and 12pm on weekends. It's ok to call to let us know if you're running late, just call (one exception to the no phone calls after 9 rule). We have 4 very noisy dogs who go apeshit with people coming and going in the house, and since MOST of us have to be up very early in the morning, it's unfair to wake us in the middle of the night.

3) This is not a hotel. We know you have a busy social life, but you still have to come by once in awhile and stay long enough to take care of business. Meaning, the dryer is not the place to store your clothes, and we're not your bitches. Since you're here long enough to mess up the bathroom, you get to come home and clean it from time to time. Oh, and we'd like to see your face at dinner at least once a week.

Hubby and I are not ogres, but we expect the few rules we have to be followed. The Aspiring Adult seems to think differently. He argues that he is now a man and can do whatever he wants.

We counter with, "Of course you can, you manly man. When are you planning on moving out and supporting yourself like a REAL adult?"

So since graduation, needless to say, we've been having some issues.

I don't know if it's because he's been in and out of foster care for a good part of his life, or being a teenager, or having a character flaw, but the Aspiring Adult seems to have a need to feel like he's "getting one over on us".

For example:

One morning Hubby woke up and found that the kid's car wasn't in the driveway. Didn't he come home last night? He went out to get something from his vehicle and noticed that the kid had parked across the street in the driveway of our neighbor's vacation home. WTF was up with that?

He called down the stairs and told the Aspiring Adult that he'd have to move his car, because it was Saturday, and the neighbor's relatives from the city often came and stayed the weekend and would be a bit put out to find his car there. The kid came up, moved the car (backed it down to the side of our house, which was also odd), came in, took a shower and said he was leaving for work. Hubby came outside to catch him sneaking a girl out of the basement. ;-)

Now here's the rub. We don't actually care that he had a girl here, as long as he doesn't make a habit of it. They're both over 18. The girl lives about an hour and a half away, and after their date it would have been a three-hour round trip to take her home and he said he was too tired to make the drive. We understand that. In fact, we'd have preferred they stay here, because we worry about him falling asleep at the wheel.

AND HE KNOWS THIS. He could have brought her in and out the front door. So why all the sneakiness?

Because he enjoys it.

All summer, he's been coming in at curfew, telling us good night, and then going out the basement to hang out with his friends until the wee hours. Some of the time he's been caught, and is completely unrepentant. It wouldn't be an issue if he told us that he was going to stay at a friend's house all night. He could just stay out. We don't require that he tell us who he's staying with or where he's going, so really it's a non-issue. We explain this over and over and he gets it.

He just enjoys being sneaky.

Since he totaled his car, we found out that the week before he had received a ticket for going 60 miles per hour through a stop sign. He is going to lose his driver's license, most likely for a year (he doesn't seem to think so, but then again, he's young and foolish). When we found out, we took him off our insurance as an authorized driver of our cars, because our rates were going to double. Plus, since he's turned out to be such a bad driver (went through two cars in less than a year), we don't want him anywhere NEAR our vehicles.

As a consequence to all that, and since he is a man and all, it is his responsibility to get himself to and from work. If his schedule happens to coincide with times that Hubby and I have to be in town, it's all well and good. If not, then he has options. He could catch a ride with a friend. He could walk a half mile down the highway and catch the bus. He could ride his bike. He could pay for a cab.

Not very palatable options, but options all the same. What isn't an option is expecting ME to be his personal chauffeur. I've done that for years with the other kids, since they can't drive. NOT going to do it for someone who pissed away his license by making a lot of bad choices.

Anyhoo, last week Hubby did what he frequently does---ate a bunch of crap before going to bed. He woke up with heartburn at about 2:30am and went in the kitchen to get some Tums. As he was heading back to bed, lights flashed through the living room window. A car was coming down the driveway.

My car.

Except I was asleep in bed and he knew this because he tried to play footsie with me.

That little shit.

Hubby confronted him, took the keys, and told him we'd deal with it in the morning. In the morning he was so furious that he asked me to deal with it and went to work.

At 8am I woke the kid up (like I was going to let him sleep until noon?). It went like this:

Aspiring Adult: I don't see what the big deal is.

Me: You stole my car!

AA: It wasn't stealing!

Me: Is your name on the title? No. Did I give you permission to use my car? No. That is called stealing.

AA: No it isn't.

Me: Then what would you call it?

AA: I borrowed it.

Me: Borrowing is when you ask someone's permission to use their stuff. Did you ask? No. It's not borrowing, it's stealing.

AA: I don't see what the big deal is. Cars are meant to be used by ALL the drivers in the house, including me. (Is he freaking KIDDING me?)

And round and round we went. I told him he was grounded for a month. When he wasn't at work, he was to be at home. He could continue to stay up all night if he wanted, but if he thought he'd be sleeping in until noon on his days off, he had another think coming. If he didn't have schoolwork to do, I'd find something for him to do. For a month he was going to be MY bitch.

AA: No. I'm a man and you can't ground me.

Me: Then there's the door. Use it. Now.

AA: I don't have to leave.

Me: Look at it this way. You WANT to leave. We allowed you to stay here contingent on a few rules. You've thumbed your nose at them time after time. The only conclusion I can reach is that you no longer want to live in our house. I am supporting YOUR decision. Door. Out. Now.

AA: How am I going to get into town?

Me: You have a phone, and you have feet. You're such a smart guy, I'm sure you can figure it out. Call us when you find yourself a place and you can come get your stuff.

So he left. I felt horrible about it, but there's only so much you can do. Our home is our haven and we don't want to have to lock up our keys and our valuables (we found out with Big Kid that someone who is willing to steal isn't often picky about WHAT they steal). The fact that the Aspiring Adult had completely justified the stealing of my car in his own mind was pretty disturbing.

And before anybody accuses me of being a heartless, rotten person let me say that the Aspiring Adult has a cell phone, a job, a savings account and a couple of credit cards. He knows how to rent a hotel room. He has skills. It's not like I tossed a puppy out of moving car.

He didn't speak to us for a few days. We called and left messages asking him if he was alright and if he needed anything. We drove around town looking for inexpensive places to rent that are in walking distance of his job. We did NOT call and ask him to come back. That ship has sailed.

However, as long as he stays in school and maintains a C average, we'll continue to pay for school and help him out a bit financially if he needs it. He's welcome to come over to do his laundry, get some groceries, and call us if he's in trouble. We love him and he's our guy.

And now he gets to find out what being a man is REALLY all about.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celebrating a Friend---it's Kim Ayres' Day!

Kim Ayres is one of the first people I met in blogland. I don't remember how I found him, or how he found me, but for the last 4 1/2 years or so I've been fortunate enough to be able to enjoy his writings.

When Debra contacted me about International Kim Ayres' Day, I thought it was a fantastic idea. What a great way to celebrate the friend we've all come to know as a man, a husband, a father and finally an incredible artist! Please drop by and wish him a happy day!

The world would be a much less colorful place without you, dear Kim. I'm grateful to know you. Have a wonderful birthday!

P.S. I'd send you a haggis, but I think that would be just plain cruel.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The REAL Pantry Project

One of the (snarf) bonuses to having an AOL account is the Welcome Screen. It's there to tell us what's hot, what's not, and still employs the same unimaginative dorts that think that putting "Iconic" in 20 headlines at a time is "new and edgy and relevant".

The latest thing that has caught my eye is "The Pantry Project", hosted by Kitchen Daily and features the creations of chef Gail Simmons. It's supposed to incorporate crap you've got sitting in your pantry into gourmet culinary masterpieces.

While her recipes look splendid, I found myself snorting at the "pantry" ingredients.

I think I'm a regular mom (ok, I'm going to say a United States mom. Don't want to offend anybody outside of my postal zone. US moms don't usually stock stuff like Vegamite or kippers or dried shrimp with the eyeballs still on in our pantry). Other than my forays into some international cuisine, my pantry is full of regular old crap staples and products that didn't fly with the guys in my house.

Many of the "pantry" ingredients called for in these recipes are laughable, unless you're squatting in Martha Stewart's kitchen.

I mean who REALLY has stashes of:

Imported tuna in oil (I buy whatever is on sale. Is Bumblebee tuna inferior to imported or what?)

Coarsely cracked balck pepper (What in the heck is balck pepper? Ok, I'm being snarky. I think she meant black pepper). I have regular pepper. The kind that comes out of a shaker.

1 bunch hydroponic watercress, trimmed but long stem still attached (seriously?)

Applewood smoked bacon (uh yeah)

Sriracha (wtf?)

Preserved Lemons (another wtf?)

Do any of you have stuff like this languishing in your cupboards (unless you're Rootie or Werner)? It seems that you just have to go out of your way to buy crap you'd never buy normally unless they're for a specific recipe.

Not really stuff you'd have just sitting around.

The Aspiring Adult came home the other day and raved about the baked apples he had at a girl's house. Asked if I could make them.

Thinking about all random stuff I had in the fridge and pantry, I said "sure, why not?"

Baked Apples

5 apples, diced---3 of them have been stuck in the back of the fridge since sometime in August, because the doods in my house eat the new stuff first. I suppose I should rotate the fruit and put the old stuff in front, but I always forget. I left the skins on, but cut out the bruised spots.

1/2 a cup of butter, margarine, fake bakeable butter, whatever you got going, chopped into chunks or spoonfuls and dropped randomly in the bottom of a small casserole dish.

2 teaspoons cinnamon sprinkle all over and toss the apples

1/2 cup brown sugar, light, dark, doesn't really matter. Mine was dry and solid, so I pounded it into chunks and threw it in.

2 tablespoons (or to taste) white sugar or splenda sprinkled all over.

A couple of granola bars---I used the crunchy kind. They've been sitting in the pantry forevah---since the guys suddenly decided they only like the chewy kind which I think was a year or so ago. Break them up and mix the pieces in with the apples.

5 caramel squares that have been sitting in the back of the cupboard for (dare I say it) at least a couple of years when I attempted to make caramel apples from scratch (big mess, nasty result). They are rock hard.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. At about the 30 minute mark, take out and stir.

This dessert turned out so well that while I was down here writing it all up, those boneheads ate the majority of it. When I came upstairs, there were like 2 tablespoons left.

The REAL Pantry Project Challenge

I challenge any reader to go through their pantry and whip up some creation. Can be just about anything...entree, dessert, appetizer, etc.

Send to me via email

A picture of it
The text of the recipe explaining where the ingredients came from, why you bought them originally, and why they are sitting around in your pantry
A link to your blog
The deadline is Nov. 1st

A can of ancient tomato soup with crusty goldfish crackers, or a box of Tuna Helper with a can of peas don't count.

I'll post them on this blog and send the first five entries a fantastic ornament from our Collaborative Craft Studio (due to availability it will be my choice).

Get cookin' Snookins'!

Monday, October 04, 2010

It's a Bumpy Road to Adulthood

Oh golly, what a weekend.

Haven't talked a whole lot about the Aspiring Adult lately. He's been busy working two jobs and taking a couple of classes online (His second job wouldn't give him a regular schedule until he'd been there for 3 months, and he didn't feel comfortable scheduling classes he might not make). So far he's got A's in everything.

If you all remember, when he turned 18, we provided him with a pretty nice car for his use, intending to sign it over to him when he started college. He blew out 2 engines in less than 6 months. The first time was because he ignored or didn't know what the oil light was for, the second was because he thought he could treat the car like an off-road vehicle.

We refused to replace the engine the second time, so he had to use some of his savings to buy a beater he could get around in.

Everything's been pretty smooth with that (except he got a speeding ticket).

Yesterday we invited Big Kid and Kitty up for the day. Big Kid was going to watch football with his dad, and Kitty was going to help me sort through some merchandise we're getting together for a large order the studio received. Then we were going to do the big Sunday dinner thing.

I heard the Aspiring Adult's alarm go off at about 6a.m. down in the bat cave. He's very responsible about getting himself up and out of the house for work, so I figured he had an early shift. I was in and out of the main part of the house and didn't see him leave.

Early evening, he hadn't come home or called, and I was getting a bit annoyed. If he's not coming home for dinner, I expect a call for courtesy's sake, and he's not always so good about that. So I called him on his cell. He didn't answer, but called me back about 5 minutes later.

"Are you coming home for dinner?" I asked.

Uh, I'm in my room.


I've been here all day. Something happened, and I didn't know how to tell you guys about it.

"But your car's not here." Uh oh. No car. Not good.

"First of all, are you ok?" I can't believe we're having this conversation on the phone, fer petesakes, when he's one floor below me.


"Were you drinking and driving?"


What happened was this:

He got a call at about 1am from a girl in the crowd he hangs out with. Not his girlfriend. She's still in high school, and was supposed to be spending the night at a friend's house. She had another guy friend who she feared was depressed and had taken some prescription drugs. Would the Aspiring Adult come pick her up and take her to his house so she could check on him?

Instead of doing the logical thing, like telling her if she was THAT worried, she should call 911, or maybe her own parents, he sneaked out of the house (his curfew is midnight unless other arrangements have been made) and went and picked her up. She didn't know the address exactly, but kind of knew where the house was.

So those two fools drove around in the mountains in the middle of the night, where there are NO streetlights, and most of the homes are set way back from the road and you can't see the house numbers. They got lost. Unfamiliar with the terrain, the Aspiring Adult took a curve too sharply, clipped a tree...

And rolled the freaking car.

Thank GOD they had their seatbelts on.

The girl had a bruised chest from where the seatbelt held her in, and went to the hospital in an ambulance. Her mother tried to have the Aspiring Adult arrested, but since her daughter was the one who initiated the whole event, the police refused. There were no drugs or alcohol involved, so he got off with a reckless driving ticket and a totaled car.

And Hubby will get an escalated insurance rate for the next 10 years.


Oh, and the kid who supposedly took too many drugs? He's fine. Apparently he didn't really take anything after all.