It is one of those rare sunny days here in Seattle and tomorrow I have a long list of yard projects for my kids to do. Heaven forbid, that I have to do any work around here. I have my stepson (he’s 23) and my teenage son (15) to do all the heavy work around here.
I even have made a To Do List so I don’t forget what those two slackers need to do. After this past winter, the yard is a disaster. The lawn needs to be mowed, the pool needs to be set up (it is Seattle, I don’t have enough warm days to warrant an inground pool), build a compost bin, and on and on.
Today and then for the rest of the weekend, we have some nice decent sunny weather. In fact, I’m wearing my awesome khaki shorts right now and going barefoot! It almost feels like spring had arrived.
I even have a nice Kona Brewing Company beer in my hand. Koko Brown Ale. A little taste of the islands.
Oh, and don’t forget I have my sunglasses on! Yippee!
You know that bad feeling you get when your projects have gone horribly wrong?
That is how my whole backyard feels to me right now. A few weeks back, my stepson became my indentured servant by needing money for rent. He offered to come work for me in my yard doing various grunt work projects. I appreciate him not asking me to loan him the money but instead offered to work for it. Now he is over at my house on various weekends doing year projects to pay off his debt.
This arrangement is excellent for me because it gets me out of a lot of heavy lifting, wet weather, and hard work. On my never ending “To Do List”, I do have yard projects and clean up projects. However, I really didn’t want to have to worry about all this stuff in the middle of the winter season.
Yet, I am dealing with the yard projects to keep my stepson busy. To keep him busy, I’ve had a new sand pad created for the pool to sit on, new gravel paths near the garden shed, transplanted a tree, and made a nice gravel pad for my recycling bin, garbage can, and yard waste bin to sit on. He has moved my compost pile from one side of the house to the other. All of these projects needed to be done and it is nice to have them done before summer. They have been completed without any major hiccups until now.
Now, the bigger problem we have looms like a small mountain in my driveway, mocking me. It keeps telling me that we are nowhere close to getting things done in the backyard and it will be there forever.
My problem:The large pile of gravel in my driveway.
In hindsight, I overestimated how much gravel we’d need for all the projects around the house. Usually, with my superior math skills (to think I made it through calculus), I grossly underestimate my raw material needs. More often than not, we end up making two or three more trips to the Palmer Coking Coal Company to get more gravel.
This is not the case with this huge pile of gravel. We can’t spread this stuff fast enough. I seems like this gravel pile isn’t getting any smaller and I’m afraid I might never get into the driveway again at this rate. My wife has voiced her opinion that our whole backyard will become a giant gravel field.
This thought is somewhat amusing if I didn’t have the same fear myself. Of course, my wife only visits the yard on summer days so we should be good until August (here in the Seattle area) for her to realize if her fear has materialized or not. Kind of sounds like prison, doesn’t it? “Yeah, da wife is only allowed out once in a while….don’t let her see the outdoors much. Gotta keep her indoors cleaning and taking care of mine kin.” (I do hope I sound redneck enough….)
Tomorrow will be the big day to see if my stepson can power through the rest of the gravel pile. Otherwise, I think we’ll just have to live with it until summer. As always your comments are welcome but please remember that you’ll never have as much worthless advice as I do.
I was wrong, I am wrong, and I’ll be wrong in the future. I have made mistakes and I’ll continue to make mistakes. I’m not perfect. And I’m sorry that I have made mistakes that have hurt people and the mistakes I’ll make in the future that will hurt people.
One of my greatest regrets is my failed relationship with my stepson that has lead to his current path of destruction. I’m not perfect and I made mistakes in how I raised him. However, I do remember that I had a very tough relationship with my father when I was a teenager. My brother also had a tough relationship with our father when he was a teenager. Mind you, my father and I never came to physical blows and I never had any physical confrontations with my stepson either. It was a verbal disagreements and heated discussions between my father and me. I think my stepson just doesn’t believe that I do love him; I just don’t love the choices he is making.
Am I to blame for all the problems my stepson has? Did I cause him to do poorly in school? Over the years, I went to a lot of parent teacher conferences, paid for math tutoring, sent him to summer school, and encouraged him to switch schools to complete his schooling. We went to Cub Scout camp together and canoed on Cooper Lake. We had some really times over the years.
One of my favorite moments I have of him is when after three years of his basketball team loses every game, they won! You would have thought they won the NBA Championship! It was a wonderful game to watch.
Was I to blame for him blowing off work? Did I not set a good example as an owner of a small business? Where did he think our home came from? How did he think we paid for his bedroom? He never had to share a room with his little brother or sister while he was growing up. He had his own bathroom and didn’t have to share it.
How did we pay for our family trips to Disneyland and Hawaii? Did we do it by skipping school, sleeping in, and not having a job?
So now I really have to dig deeper to find the answers. How did he come to hate me so much? Am I really that bad of a parent? Should I have put my foot down harder? All I asked was to pass high school and have a job (any job). When that didn’t happen, I wasn’t the one who kicked him out of our house. I must admit, I didn’t lobby for him to stay either. Seriously, one has to make an effort to do something…complete school, find a job, etc.
Tough love is hard. I can still love him but I refuse to accept his bad behavior. Things will improve and he will turn his life around. I have the belief that he will become a better person.