My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wednesday Came Early

Yesterday the thought occurred to me that I am the captain of a sinking ship. Not a luxury liner like the Titanic. I'm in a rubber raft with a hole in it and I feel like Gilligan trying to bail water with a teaspoon.

I'll be honest... one of the reasons I made the decision to move back to my parents' house is that there are things that I just can't do any more and it's so frustrating to motivate Austin that I either (a) do things I shouldn't or (b) ignore them.

The problem is... the clock is ticking. We have an apartment to pack up and move (mostly) into storage and every time I move a box, bend over, take something down that is above my head (and I'm 5'1... everything is above my head), I have pain. Not a twinge... searing, burning, stabbing pain... and muscle spasms... but the pain is preferable to dealing with an angry teenager who thinks he's an adult.

When I left for Atlanta last Thursday I asked very little of him: feed the cats, do the dishes (that he put in the sink) and take out the trash. He fed the cats. That's it. I walked in the door and the rotten food stench from the trash can was so overwhelming that after a two hour drive, I didn't even sit before getting the stink out of my house. I woke him up to carry in my bag and he was so angry that I think he put a dent in the car door slamming it.

He finally did the chores when he wanted to go spend the night with his friend... he put a rice cooker full of rice in the dishwasher. Fortunately I caught it before I ran the dishwasher. Heaven only knows what that much food would have done to the dishwasher.

Here's the thing: he hates change. He loves it here. He wants to continue to live here. But he doesn't want to do the things he needs to do to carry his end of the workload. We had this conversation back at the time of my surgery... my job was to work... his job was to go to school every day and do his part to take care of the house. There are only two humans and two cats. The work is minimal. Or should be. But there was no way for me to work fulltime AND keep up the house by myself, especially to clean up after an adult child.

There are many, many, many boxes and containers that are in his closet. We don't have much storage here and he doesn't hang his clothes up so it was the best place to put things. I can't get to his closet because of the hoard in his room to get those boxes (that I shouldn't lift anyways) out of his closet. Yesterday I asked him to concentrate on getting his room cleaned so that I could get to the boxes.

I explained that my plan was to create a staging area in the dining room. That way, if we had help, I could say, "here are the things that need to go to storage" and it could be done quickly and easily. Austin's plan was for his married friend to come over and spend the night and for them to clean out the closet together. The flaw in that plan is that when married friend is over there is nothing constructive that happens. They stay up all night playing xbox and sleep all day. The last thing I want or need at this point is another sponge to eat my groceries and contribute nothing productive.

However, the fact that I wouldn't allow married friend to come spend the night brought about the wrath of the teen who is now refusing to do anything. I explained that if he would do the things that he could do alone first (like cleaning his room) that  would not mind married friend coming over to help with moving boxes out of the closet. This morning when I got up he was still up and I asked if he made progress on his room overnight ... he said, "no" and then went into his room and slammed the door. He will sleep all day and if I attempt to wake him up he will be so mean and hateful that neither one of us will get anything done. He cusses at me and I cry. Productivity ends.

When he came home from visiting his brothers, the weekend after graduation  - was that a week or two weeks ago? I've lost track of time - anyways, he dumped his clothes in the living room. I asked him then and I've asked about every other day since then - to please put his clothes in the hamper. This morning I finally did it myself.

I asked him when we came home yesterday to please take the trash out. He had been gone for three nights (although I had asked him to only stay one) spending the night with married friend (and not showering) and so the trash bag had been waiting for him.  It's still there.

I asked him about a month ago to clean his bathroom. Not done yet.

I asked him to endorse the checks he got for graduation so I can deposit them (I have already given him the cash). He hasn't.

We have so much free time right now and could totally, between the two of us, move almost everything that needs to go into storage before time for the furniture to be moved. We could whittle the workload down to one truck load to the storage place and one truck load to my parents' house. And yet... nothing is happening.

I'm just discouraged. Four years ago when I moved from Jacksonville, had there not been the impetus to give Austin a home, a sense of security, a community where he could complete his education, had these things not been important, I could have just moved to my parents' house then and had time to heal from what I had been through there. I wouldn't have had the emotional stress that I've faced in the last four years. I've worked so hard to keep us afloat.

He wrote on our glass storm door in shoe polish, "heading back to the ghetto... woop". I was so proud for my landlady to see that when she came by last week. I asked him to clean it off. Hasn't happened yet. He added to it when I was in Atlanta.

His dress shoes from graduation are still in my back seat.

For that matter... my mother's day gift from him was cleaning out my car. Hasn't happened yet.

Teenagers are notoriously uncooperative,  I know this. This is not my first rodeo.  Austin is worse than most and lacks the ability to comprehend the consequences of his lack of cooperation and he lacks the ability to empathize the amount of stress I'm feeling.  He just slams the door in my face.

So that's my pre-Whiny Wednesday post. Maybe by tomorrow I'll feel less frustrated and more capable. Happy Tuesday, y'all.


Pudge450 said...

Send him to live with his Dad. I did it to my daughter when she was 16. What a wake-up call for Dad and Daughter. I just packed her up and delivered her.


You're your own worst enemy. I realize he has some sort of ADD or whatever, but blatant disrespect has to be dealt with. If he isn't going to pull his weight with what you have to go through, then let his stuff stay there and you go. Until he learns to respect you he will just get worse.