Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Report Card Day. Summer School.

My son got his grades today...as expected, it wasn't pretty. Here are his New York State Regents exam grades:
  • History 66
  • Geometry 64
  • Physical Earth Science 60
His overall GPA was 69.88%. What kept it that high was a 95 in gym and a 94 in Concert Band (my son plays the baritone or euphonium--and rather well, I might add).

Along with the report card was a notice saying that he had to go to summer school for Geometry. Since he passed Science for the year (with a 65, don't ask me how), he doesn't have to go to summer school for that subject. This makes no sense to me, since he needs to pass at least five Regents exams to graduate; he obviously needs to retake this exam. Last year, he failed the Algebra Regents but passed Biology; he's currently a sophomore. At this pace, he will need five years of high school to finish. Not exactly what we're shooting for here...I called the guidance counselor and his main tutor to discuss this, but no one's called me back yet...

He was almost proud of the 64 in Geometry. "Just one more point and I would've passed!" When I commented on his low passing score in History (his favorite subject), his reply was, "Why don't you take the Regents exam, then? They're hard, y'know!"
"Yes, they are hard. They need to be studied for. But you didn't want to study for them, did you?"

No reply to that one...he refused to study during Regents week. Just wouldn't do it, no matter what I said. Five years ago, I would've sat him down and made him study. He'll be 17 in November...all I can do is make suggestions, and tell him about the consequences of his actions. The rest is up to him...it's his life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Left, Right.

The children alternate on this chore: one empties the dishwasher and sets the table, the other has to clear the table at the end of the meal, and load the dishwasher (mom and I usually help with the latter). At first they alternated every week, but that guaranteed a fight every seventh day about who had to do what. So now the tasks alternate once a month.
I've been telling my son for 10 years that the fork goes on the left side of the plate, and the knife on the right side. He still just puts them where he wants. It's not that he doesn't know his left from his right, it's that he doesn't care.
If his video game told him that his character had to walk in the left door, he'd do it correctly every time, without fail.

Post Scriptem Fight'em...

My children have to walk the dog every day; my daughter at 3:30 pm; at 6 pm, it's my son's turn. It's one of the few chores they have. For two years now, it's been a daily battle.

I didn't want a dog in the Bronx. I had the ugliest dog in the world in Spain; a small, black mutt named Buddy. My wife gave it to me when we were dating, saying it would give me some responsibility, not that I needed or wanted any. Since I lived alone">in a converted pig hut ">on the side of a mountain,  I guess I appreciated the companionship. He followed me everywhere in our little village, even into the local bars. Everyone came to know him.

When we had our baby girl, my wife decided she hated him. Buddy ended up going to live with her dad. He resided there happily for a year, until he was bitten by a goat tick. He died within 24 hours. I swore I would never get another dog while I was married.

When we moved to the Bronx three years ago, my daughter started lobbying for a dog. My son pitched in, and my wife took their side, arguing that a dog would keep them busy and be their friend during the transition  to a new country. My argument was that they had no idea how cold New York winters could be--none of them would want to walk a dog on a snowy morning, on a sleeting afternoon or when it was freezing cold at night. Of course, I was assured (a thousand times) that the responsibility would be all theirs, and I wouldn't have to worry about a thing...

After two years of ownership, neither my son nor my daughter will walk the dog unless they are specifically told to do so. Every single day...even after being told 700 times, they can't seem to remember, to fathom such a task.  Coco also has to put up with:

  • "Not now. I'm busy."
  • "They open the back door, and the dog craps in our postage-stamp yard.
  • "They run the dog outside for thirty seconds, barely giving him a chance to lift his leg. 
Since I actually have my own chores to do (like earning a living), I can't always remind them to walk the dog.  When I ask about it later, my daughter simply resorts to lying. 
"Sure, I walked him." 
"But it's pouring out, and he's not wet."
"I dried him."
"He's not even damp. What'd you do, simonize him?"
"I walked him."
"He was crying at the back door when I walked in the house, so I let him out. He closed his eyes and peed like he his bladder was going to burst."
"He always does that. I walked him."
"No, he doesn't. He only pees like that when hasn't gone out all day."
"I told you, I walked him. You think I'm lying?"
"There's no thinking involved. I know you're lying. I'm as sure of it as life itself. There is no question about it, no chance of it being otherwise. You are 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it, absolutely lying to my face."
That's when she stomps off in mock indignation. Sometimes she'll admit later that she didn't walk the dog, depending on how big a deal I make out of it."> 

Then there's my son. Even after being told to walk Coco at 7 or 8 pm, he'll keep the dog waiting interminably, while he finishes whatever level he's on in Combat Murder or whatever. There's no hurry. But if you ask him at any time before 6 pm, well, that's simply not doable. His reply, without taking his eye off the computer screen:
"Two minutes to six. It's not time yet."
Take the dog out before 6 pm? Impossible!


Take the Garbage Out.

I have enough of my own crap to remember.

The garbage pickup is Tuesday and Friday morning. Tuesday is also recycling day, so Monday night all separated trash, paper and bottles go out to the curb. It's my son's chore to take the garbage out. Needless to say, he needs to be told...and told..and told.

Monday, 5 pm: "Recycling is tomorrow. Everything has to be taken out tonight."
"Oh, I know."
8 pm: "Don't forget to take the garbage out."
"Oh, I know." Always this air of confidence, like he would never forget...it´s all totally under control. He's just very busy with other things at the moment. Meanwhile, the recycling didn't go out for two weeks straight about a month back because I wasn't here to remind him, and my wife didn't tell him, either.
10:30 pm: I take the dog out. Every single household in the neighborhood has their trash and recycling on the curb.

I'm tempted to let him forget and then punish him for the whole day tomorrow to prove that he can't be trusted to do something on his own schedule. But then our recycling won't go out, and the trash will sit stinking in the summer heat until Friday.

So I decide to tell him again, but this time it's not going to be when he's good and ready; lights out in my house is at 11 pm. I simply walk up, turn off his movie (which I know will instantly enrage him) and say, "Take the garbage out, now."

He turns red in the face and screams that he knows he has to take it out, that I think I know everything but really don't, and that the trash can wait until the commercials. I say no, it needs to be done now.. When I ask him when he was planning on doing it, he says, "after the movie finishes" (of course). As I'm leaving the room he's turns the tv on again, which prompts me to walk back up and pull the cable feed out of the back of the set. Now we're almost nose to nose..he's yelling, mimicking me saying "take the garbage out" over and over again in a sarcastic sing-song voice, but he marches downstairs to do it.

I know how petty and unreasonable all this sounds on my end, but I don´t really give a shit what you think. There simply is no reasonable way, no halfway point with him. We might come to blows one day, which would be terrible. We've already come close a few times. I have a temper, but you have to push me to a certain point to reach the end of my rope; I've never lost my temper with my boy without it being something that I've told or warned him about, ad infinitum.

He just has a temper, period. Every teacher he's ever had has confirmed as much.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two minutes to six: It's not time yet.

My children have to walk the dog every day; my daughter at 3:30 pm; at 6 pm, it's my son's turn. It's one of the few chores they have. For two years now, it's been a daily battle.

I didn't want a dog in the Bronx. I had the ugliest dog in the world in Spain; a small, black mutt named Buddy. My wife gave it to me when we were dating, saying it would give me some responsibility, not that I needed or wanted any. Since I lived alone">in a converted pig hut ">on the side of a mountain,  I guess I appreciated the companionship. He followed me everywhere in our little village, even into the local bars. Everyone came to know him.

When we had our baby girl, my wife decided she hated him. Buddy ended up going to live with her dad. He resided there happily for a year, until he was bitten by a goat tick. He died within 24 hours. I swore I would never get another dog while I was married.

When we moved to the Bronx three years ago, my daughter started lobbying for a dog. My son pitched in, and my wife took their side, arguing that a dog would keep them busy and be their friend during the transition  to a new country. My argument was that they had no idea how cold New York winters could be--none of them would want to walk a dog on a snowy morning, on a sleeting afternoon or when it was freezing cold at night. Of course, I was assured (a thousand times) that the responsibility would be all theirs, and I wouldn't have to worry about a thing...

After two years of ownership, neither my son nor my daughter will walk the dog unless they are specifically told to do so. Every single day...even after being told 700 times, they can't seem to remember, to fathom such a task.  Coco also has to put up with:

  • "Not now. I'm busy."
  • "They open the back door, and the dog craps in our postage-stamp yard.
  • "They run the dog outside for thirty seconds, barely giving him a chance to lift his leg. 
Since I actually have my own chores to do (like earning a living), I can't always remind them to walk the dog.  When I ask about it later, my daughter simply resorts to lying. 
"Sure, I walked him." 
"But it's pouring out, and he's not wet."
"I dried him."
"He's not even damp. What'd you do, simonize him?"
"I walked him."
"He was crying at the back door when I walked in the house, so I let him out. He closed his eyes and peed like he his bladder was going to burst."
"He always does that. I walked him."
"No, he doesn't. He only pees like that when hasn't gone out all day."
"I told you, I walked him. You think I'm lying?"
"There's no thinking involved. I know you're lying. I'm as sure of it as life itself. There is no question about it, no chance of it being otherwise. You are 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it, absolutely lying to my face."
That's when she stomps off in mock indignation. Sometimes she'll admit later that she didn't walk the dog, depending on how big a deal I make out of it."> 

Then there's my son. Even after being told to walk Coco at 7 or 8 pm, he'll keep the dog waiting interminably, while he finishes whatever level he's on in Combat Murder or whatever. There's no hurry. But if you ask him at any time before 6 pm, well, that's simply not doable. His reply, without taking his eye off the computer screen:
"Two minutes to six. It's not time yet."
Take the dog out before 6 pm? Impossible!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Facebook: Comments I wanted to make but didn't...

Their post: First dance--
My comment: "That's a lot of taffeta." 
                                                          
My comment: Stick an apple in his mouth and garnish with mint and parsley sprigs.




I hate my 16-year-old son.

That's a terrible thing to write, isn't it?

So I won't. Instead I'll say I hate his slothfulness, inconsideration, selfishness and ignorance. But most of all, I hate his Xbox. All of the aforementioned insidious sins can be attributed to the innocent white box.
He's a slob because all food must be eaten at the xbox.
He's inconsiderate because the world's schedule must revolve around his matches, fights, challenges or whatever the hell he calls them.
He's selfish in that he will let our poor dog's kidneys explode rather than walk him.
His ignorance derives from the simple fact that the rest of the non-xbox world doesn't interest him in the slightest.