Jun 3, 2012

Crazy Mom Strikes Again

I am still saving to get enough wire to electrify the fence.  While the dogs have been very happy in the house, they are not so happy tied up.  They have betrayed me too many times for me to trust them again, but the boys are a little more gullible.

I got home Friday night and the dogs had been untied in the back yard all day and not gotten out.  I figured they must be happy to be free and able to watch the boys as they roofed. I even had the thought that maybe they had learned their lesson, although my luck does not tend to run that way.

On Saturday morning I was fool enough to trust them when I put them out in the morning.  It wasn't 20 minutes before I heard the chain link rattling, looked out the window and saw them making a break for it.  I was sorry to wake up the entire neighborhood at 7 am by yelling in my scariest voice, but I did.  Sincere apologies to anyone who was still asleep.  

Down the street they came running about 30 miles an hour, hell bent for leather, grinning at each other with their  soft ears flying in the wind.  They came back to me, and were promptly put back on their chains.

A few hours later I noted that my Youngest Baby let them off the chains.  I let this go, thinking that they would stay in the yard as long as they could see the boys.  Also, I must admit, and you don't have to believe it if you don't want to, but with the grown man there they seem to mind better.  This holds true for dogs and boys, and I cannot tell you why but I have just come to accept and even depend on it.  Is it the low voice?  The fact that men act rather than speak?  I don't know why, I just know that men seem to have some authority that women with all our nurturing do not.

In the afternoon I had to take the barricades off one of the fences so I could get the wheelbarrow to the back yard.  Like a fool, I just latched it back so that I would be able to get the wheelbarrow back and forth.

It wasn't 30 minutes until I heard the chain link rattle.  I had my head under some bushes picking up shingle riff-raff, and by the time I got straightened up I caught Shadow trying to squeeze under the gate.  I whopped her on the back with the rake a few times and she cowered right down and got back to where she knew she belonged.  The boys heard the commotion from the roof and asked what was going on.  I just asked them if they could see Jack from their superior vantage point.  They could.

The angel happened to be in the front yard and Jack went right to him.  I came around the house with a face like thunder and a voice to match, telling Jack to get back in the yard NOW.  He decided he would not do as I asked.  What a mistake that was.  He went into the garage, where I grabbed his collar, took off one of my gloves, and beat him about the head and shoulders about 15 times, telling him all the while that if he EVER did that to me AGAIN I would BEAT him half TO DEATH and NOT with a GLOVE either because he had HAD IT with him getting OUT OF THE FENCE and if he got SHOT he would have HAD IT COMING!!!!

Or something to that effect.  When I lose it, which I try not to do, I have no clear memory of the exact words I use, and often no clear memory of what my exact actions were during my fit of rage.  I call it morphing into Crazy Mom.  All I remember is a blank.  I can tell you the general feeling behind what I did, but that is about all.  I never do it unless provoked and I never do it unless I have tried everything else I can think of to teach the lesson.  Sometimes I just snap.  That's just the way it is.  The good thing is that I don't have to do it more than once with anybody who has even half a brain.  It's a great time saver that way.

I want to assure you that Jack was not hurt physically by a soft glove coming down however hard on his head.  His feeling were hurt very badly, though, as they should have been.  And should PETA try to come down on me, I will tell those worthless, money wasting, idiotic people the same thing I would tell DFS if they dared to show up at my door and question my authority as a parent.

 It takes discipline to raise responsible adults. And no, I do not need your "help", if that is what you insist on calling it. My definition of help differs quite markedly from governmental agencies.  There is more to raising kids than checking boxes off a list.  Those checklists are ruining our country and have been for at least 35 years that I can testify to personally.  I am responsible for their lives and their actions up to a certain age.  It would help if grown adults would quit looking the other way and enabling children to do things that they are in no way ready to do.

Just one example of this, and there are many, is allowing children have babies and think they won't have to worry because the government will give them money.  It does not take much money to raise kids, but it DOES take discipline.  Every single day and night.  You have to take a look at the big picture, and kids are simply not capable of seeing the big picture.  Believe it or not, there are rules in the world.  I try to make sure they know 1) what the rules are and 2) better than to break them.  If you think you are helping a child by not making them mind the rules, never mind the law, I would have to ask exactly what kind of "help" that is going to be for that child. Look at the big picture.  Adults are supposed to be capable of that. I'm not saying they can't come out of it, I'm just saying they are going to have to work twice as hard to do it because they didn't learn the rules in the first place.

Anyway, I got Jack back into the yard, and when I turned around the angel had a big smile on his face.  I heard laughter drifting down from up the street, where several neighbors could not POSSIBLY have missed the whole scene.  The angel took it all in stride, saying "Well, Melinda, you throw quite a little tizzy fit when you need to."  He said it with approval in his voice.  I just grabbed a kleenex.  For some reason it makes my nose run when I give a beat down, and said "At least this time it happened immediately enough for him to put the two incidents together."  Get out of fence=get a beat down.  This is surely clear enough for even a dog to understand.

I was telling my favorite ex-step mother the story this morning and she laughed and said I was the same way with the kids.  I would ask several times in a nice voice, and then Crazy Mom would appear and everybody in the room would start paying attention real fast.

All I can say is that eventually I learned with the kids to just ask once and then get up.  Kids and dogs are remarkably similar in that you can talk and talk and wonder how much they are taking in, or you can just get up and get their attention real fast.

Actions speak louder than words.  Even when kids or dogs do not understand your words they know exactly what your actions mean.  You know this is true, right?

There is a Crazy Mom in all of us, or at least there should be.  Crazy Mom can take many forms, but nobody argues with Crazy Mom.  As embarrassing as it was for me to have done that for the whole neighborhood to see, in the end I do not care.  It was worth it.  I have very good neighbors and I think part of that is the fact that they know I will make my kids/dogs mind, even if that means giving them a beat down in the front yard. I don't like to do it; I will do everything in my power to keep from doing it, but I have my limits and when you breach them, hellfire will be  loosed upon your head and body until you understand just exactly what is simply unacceptable.  Right is still right, and that is something that is never going to change.  At least not in my house, and not in the world either if I can possibly help it.

It worked with kids a lot better than it has worked with the dogs, but I think getting shocked will take care of that.  My kids know to listen with respect and take people seriously because Crazy Mom can come out of nowhere, strike with impunity, and leave an impression that you will never forget even if you are in the nursing home with Alzheimer's.

I am actually proud of this, and I have learned that the sooner they learn this, the easier all of our lives will be.  I consider it a vital part of their education, and if done right, parenting is much easier from the ages of 2 to about 14.  The teenage years bring about a lot of challenges, but the memory of Crazy Mom will only work in your favor.  In fact, teenagers will do almost anything to avoid Crazy Mom making an appearance, at least in the front yard.  She may have to make a house call now and then, but that's ok.  Crazy Mom keeps the world within your house running like a train on time.

The one good thing about it is that when the dogs get shocked, I am not going to feel sorry for them.  Mothers have to guard against their soft hearts in order to raise good people.   It is hard to punish the ones we love.  But it's much easier when you know that your punishment will not hurt them nearly as much as what will happen if they continue in their bad habits out in the world.  Their lives will be at stake then, and you will probably not be there to protect them.

And now it is supposed to rain.  We are all thankful for the rest and will be taking naps this afternoon.  I think the boys have already learned to appreciate time off, not to mention naps.

Mission accomplished, at least for today.......tomorrow will be a new one.  I, for one, am ready.

The Healing Prayer

A New Roof

We have almost completed the new roof.  The angel agreed to do it and offered to pay the twins to help him.  The twins were thrilled at the idea of earning money, but had no idea how hard they would have to work to earn it.  I had a good idea how hard they would have to work but was thrilled for them to get the chance to learn a life skill from the very best.  They are almost 15 and as big as full grown men.

They started Friday morning and worked till dark.  By the end of the night they were so tired they could hardly lift their arms and had a hard time getting the energy to even take a shower and go to bed.  The third time I told my Oldest baby he better get to bed because he had another day ahead of him, he barely moved his lips, mumbling "I know, Mom, you don't have to keep telling me."

I said "You're right.  You did the work of a full grown man today, so that means you get to start making some of your own decisions."  It wasn't 5 minutes before he hauled himself up from the floor and headed to the bathroom, but I thought I detected a little swagger in his walk that hadn't been there before.

Saturday morning started early, and neither of the boys showed much energy or enthusiasm.  The angel showed no mercy, and kept them  moving, moving, moving.  The nice thing about doing a roof is that you can look at any moment and judge your progress.

I worked at picking up the stuff on the ground, moving it onto tarps, which the boys would then gather up, drag to the dump truck, take up a ladder about 10 feet in the air, and then dump into the truck.  This was the job they did when they were "caught up".  I tried to avoid them, as they tend to give me mournful looks that seem to say "I'm about to die, mom!"  When you take care of yourself and your property and do it right, you will spend days thinking this, but you have to just keep going.  You won't die unless God decides it's your time, this is one thing I have never doubted.

When it came time for them to carry the shingles onto the roof up the ladder, I made myself go to the other side of the house.  I can talk the tough talk very well.  Actually watching them do this tends to give me heart palpitations, though, to I just didn't watch.  I don't want to say it was harder on me than it was on them, because I know it wasn't.  It's just that it is painful for any mother to watch her children doing anything so hard and dangerous without worrying about falls.  Real men scoff at danger.  That's what I told myself.  They made it just fine, and ended the day just as tired as they were the first day, although with better tans and considerably more muscle tone.

During a break we were all sitting around, the twins hanging onto every word the angel spoke as usual.  At one point we were talking about how he had gotten to where he is in the world.  I told the boys that I wanted them to look at him, at his house (which is beautiful and maintained to excellence), at what he had (everything in proper working order and several rental houses), and think about where he had gotten in life.  Then I told him to tell them how he grew up.

This is a true American story.  He grew up on welfare, without even a loving family around him.  By the time he was 14 he was digging graves and maintaining cemeteries for money.  He learned how to feed himself, protect himself, and he learned that his reputation may be all he had, but that a good reputation was enough to ensure a sterling life if he was willing to put in the work.

He worked on the railroad for years, which was good money but had a cost because it took him away from his family.  He learned how to be a carpenter, plumb, wire, put in windows, everything it takes to maintain a house, and bought rental properties.  He kept his marriage together, missing only two weekends at home during the railroad years, no matter how far he had to drive to get home.  He is blessed with a wife who is a true partner and always willing to work with him, as opposed to a wife who contented herself with spending money to keep up with the Jones', if you know what I mean.

35 years later they have a family and a life where they do not have to worry overly much about debt or disaster, because they can take care of themselves.

He also told the boys that the reason he is so picky is because there are a lot of people out there who don't know what they are doing.  Added into that was the fact that when you are working for yourself you are well advised to make sure you do it right, because if you get a bad reputation you are sunk.  Not that you can't redeem a bad reputation, but it takes a long time and even extra work.  All the advertising in the world cannot bring in as much money as one good testimonial repeated 3 times.  If you do good work, word gets around.  That was why after working 14 hours he made them clean up their mess before they quit.  You can put it off, but it will just make more work in the end.

We are ready to put down shingles on the third day.  If you are not impressed by the fact that one 56 year old man and two 14 year old boys accomplished that in 2 days, I would lay money that you have never put on a new roof.

At the age the twins are now, I am so thankful that they have this guiding light in their lives.  It is hard to trust anyone with your children when you are a mother.  Even if it's someone who is like a brother to you and who you would trust with their lives.  Ironically, their father basically abandoning them has actually worked out for the best, thanks to a little help from my friends.  Well, a lot of help.  Help that I could not offer them, being a woman.  

Again I urge you to go outside, look around, and pick one of the children that you will undoubtedly find wandering around doing nothing, and get to know them.  Teach them what you can.  Listen to them.  Look into their eyes and get to know them.  Don't judge them by anything you think you might know about them, let them show you what they can be.  We can save the world this way, and you can never have too many kids who respect you.  Kids grow into adults very quickly, and we all have a stake in how they turn out.

Everybody starts out with a good reputation.  It's up to every individual to keep it.  Simple as that.