Before I continue with my semi-depressing yet swear-on-my-life-it-will-have-a-happy-ending post titled "Falling in love with life again", I want to interject with my rant on some recent events.
I'm on the verge of never leaving the house again...
Having just returned from another glorious 14 hour road trip (both ways) to Los Angeles, I can honestly say that traveling with even just 6 of them totally sucks. Someone needs to invent that thing on Star Trek so we can beam ourselves everywhere we want to go. Travel would be fast, and we could even check in on our left-behind teenagers from time to time. But, alas, it's me and a car full of whiners.
Now, I have to interject with something because I can already hear you saying "If life is so hard with this many, then why did you have them?" Fair question. We did this to ourselves. We aren't like Jon and Kate who got thrown 6 at once. We could have stopped this nonsense many humans ago. So for the record, I adore these people and my life absolutely rocks because of them. I would have it no other way. That said, if you have kids and don't think they are a total pain in the ass at times, then you're doing something wrong; have them tested for lithium abuse. I come here to vent about the moments of pure chaos, not the in between times when they are perfect angels and doing everything right. Let's face it. it's just not that interesting, and no one gives a rat's ass about a child getting an 'A' on her spelling test. It's moments like being flipped off by your tween as you drop her off for school this morning that are entertaining. (Oh, yes. that happened.)
But where was I? Ah, yes. Traveling. Having lived for so long away from the place I truly call home, I am trying to get out to the real South Bay as often as I can. My best friends live there and my Mom and Dad are a stone's throw away. We've managed to make the trip about once a month and this last weekend was the October installment. The plan was to leave at 9am on Thursday getting us to our hotel in Torrance by check-in time at 4pm. Reality-11:45am we got on the road. This was a failure of parenting 101- lower your expectations. We did manage our best time yet of 6.5 hours door to door due in part to a gadget which allowed me to plug my electric breast pump into the cigarette lighter. Side effect of doing so? Every trucker on route 5 has seen my boobs. And not a pretty version of them either (does that exist after 8 kids?), but rather them being contorted into the shape of a cone as they are sucked into a vacuum. Serves those boys right for looking. We stopped once for food which was In-N-Out and gave Declan a tummy ache. There would be many more stops from this point on.
Check in is never easy. Even without the dogs, who were supposedly being watched by my idiot 17 year old (more on this in a bit), our car was brimming with stuff. How many things does Avion need to be carried in or sit upon? Apparently quite a few. We got a pretty decent room on the 2nd floor overlooking the pool. This would prove to be a negative, however, when the 3rd noise complaint came through on day 2 and we were forced to move to a ground-floor room in a different building. The woman below us didn't seem to appreciate the drum beats the boys were making with their feet. Go figure.
Thursday night was perfect. Sushi and karaoke with some nearby friends and a trip out to Hermosa 2nd street, where I basically lived every summer of high school. There's something about being on the beaches of the Pacific; the vast empty grey stretching out as far as your eye can see while the wind force feeds you its salty perfume. Almost heaven. ( I totally want to write: "West Virginia. Blue Ridge mountains, Shenandoah River" If you're under 35, just copy and Google.)
Now, for some reason the kids have started to really use what every parent obnoxiously calls "Potty mouth". So a good portion of the weekend was trying to curb things like:
Taren to me- "Shaylon won't stop grabbing his junk"
Ok. The first time I heard it, I laughed, too. But after the 4th or 5th time, it was getting a little too white trash for me and time to call it quits. Declan said the 'F' word and then tried to tell me it was the other F word, quickly making up a random series of "ffffffhiieehrr" noises. He took a time out. Now I know what you're thinking. How can I expect them not to use bad language when I have my moments right in front of them? Simple. I am the Mom. It's not an equal world and somewhere along the line we as parents forgot this. They can't do the things you do because they are kids! One of the perks about being an adult is that you get to do whatever you want and they don't. Didn't you wait all your life for this moment? Don't you remember when you thought you would eat cake and ice cream all day and night once you were the grown up because you could? Well, saying fuck is my cake. And they can't have any. It's not like I use it on a regular basis. I don't pick them up from school and ask "How the f**k was your day?" But I don't deny myself the occasional slip. They totally understand that you can't say those words and for the most part, the don't. Declan prefers the all annoying "Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh" (Insert rolling eyes and crossed arms here) and Shay just likes to whine.
So overall, despite a few typical set backs, the actual time in Torrance went off without a hitch. As usual, we robbed the hotel blind on their free breakfast and spent a lot of time at the pool. And then came the dreaded repacking and drive back up to San Francisco.
Sidebar- Are handicapped stalls only for the handicapped? It says "Handicap accessible" on the outside, not "Handicap only". Are you with me? We stopped at McDonald's somewhere in the God forsaken San Juaquin Valley because Taren and I really needed to go. There were 3 stalls and one was occupied so she and I took the other two; hers just happened to be the handicapped stall. When we got out, there was a small line which included an elderly woman with absolutely no upper teeth. This is irrelevant to the story, but kind of funny for visual imagery. She isn't in a wheelchair, she's just waning toward decrepit. So there we are drying our hands under the air blaster when I notice she's talking in my direction. I then wait for the blower to cease only to be bombarded by her complaints regarding my daughter's use of the handicap stall. I kindly said "It's ok to use them when there is no one else here." She kept going. I told her for a second time that there was no one in the bathroom when we arrived and that my 8 year old really had to pee. More complaining. If she had no bottom teeth would her gums actually make a flapping sound? I finally told her that she could have been done going to the bathroom by now and happily munching away at her Big Mac (It's ok. I think it's soft enough for her) back at her table with whatever pour soul brought her here. She then begins to rummage through her purse telling me she has her sticker with her like I actually give two shits. When did I become the bathroom police? And when did they start requiring you to present a sticker in order to pee? Finally, she looks at me and with all sincerity and says "Well, you made me wait!" To which I replied "Yes. It's called real life." Slap me if I act this when when I'm 90.
Dinner on the way home was at some odd pea soup place with a windmill and a bathroom larger than my whole house. The kids got spaghetti and ice cream sundaes. We found two hairs in them. Time to leave. Tipped 15% for the first time in quite a while.
Ok. New segment. Lesson- Tipping is a standard 20% and should go either up or down from there based on performance. Yes, folks. 20%. If the service is over the moon, go up to 25. If it is so-so (i.e. hair in your ice cream, no discount on said ice cream, but otherwise decent service) down to 15%. And for those of you that don't tip. You suck. You should work in the service industry at least once in your life. Done.
Now the fun part of the trip actually came when we got home. Teenagers are assholes. Period. Ashley has outgrown her assholishness, but Taylor is livin large in the thick of it. Out of either hope or sheer stupidity, we allowed him to stay home alone for the weekend and take care of the dogs. Win-win. He gets to prove himself and we get our dogs looked after. He had a few chores he needed to do (clean the kitchen, empty the garbage and then maintain things), but otherwise, the house was his. I was about 2 feet in the door when the smell hit me. It was a sickening combination of Axe body spray and rotten food making my eyes actually water as I held back the urge to gag. The kitchen was destroyed. The unemptied garbage still contained raw sausage from Thursday morning. I knew where the rotting part of the stench came from. The Axe, on the other hand, was coming from the living room where he attempted to use it to spray what I can only describe as a North Korean-sized army of ants into demise. When this didn't work, he turned to Pledge. The floors are now 1/2 inch thick with oily lemony ant carcasses. Shaylon slipped on his butt. And where's Taylor? Oh, he's sleeping. Wake him up, tell him to help unload the car which he does quickly in order to return to his room and get on his computer. Mark notices that said computer, bought for him as a gift by another family member quite recently, is different. Douchy tells him he sold that one. BTW- it isn't even paid off yet. By now I'm growing furious at the condition of my kitchen and tell Mark to just make Taylor come up and deal with it. Taylor refuses, citing stress. The talking turns into yelling and Winnie and I can make out words like "I don't care" and "Asshole" coming from his room. I opened the Barefoot sauvignon blanc. Mark and I decide that it doesn't matter. We will clean it up and never leave him alone again. This morning I found a used condom on my bathroom floor.
Well, at least he didn't make me a grandma again.