Bad Manners At Taco Bell

My youngest son has a good friend with terrible manners.  He’s a nice 14 year old boy, kind and generous to  a fault, but this kid almost seems proud of his bad manners.

After I spent twenty dollars at Taco Bell for fried chicken tacos, quesadillas and tacos made out of Doritos, Sandor said, “Thanks Mom, that was awesome.”

Then he shoved his friend, Jake.  “Say thank you, chicken butt!”

Jake shoved back”What ever.”

I’m pretty sure I sighed and rolled my eyes.  We’d been through this before. “Alright Jake, I’m not unlocking the car and were gonna stand here in the parking lot until you say thank you.”

He smiled at me, his shaggy hair nearly covering his eyes. Then he looked at the ground and mumbled something I literally couldn’t understand.

“Nope,” I smiled at him. I was playing hardball. “Not good enough.”

Sandor didn’t even mind me calling his friend out.  Jake’s terrible manners made him a little crazy.

Finally, Jake looked at me. I didn’t know if he was gonna flip me off or say something nice. “Thanks for the food.”

“Perfect,” I said as I gave Jake a big bear hug.

We have a serious rule in our world about good manners. Sandor is the youngest of four and the rule is pretty well etched in stone. If you are rude or disrespectful, you can’t come over. But I understand some parents don’t have the same obsession, so if I like the kid, and I like Jake a bunch, I try to work with them. I figure it’s “my house my rules.” And when Sandor goes to hang at a friends house, their parents get to make the rules.

Once everyone was buckled up I turned off the radio.  “Jake, good manners will make your life way easier.”

“How? My friends like me for my jokes, they don’t care.”

Sandor said, “Dude, you’re not that funny.”

Jake and I both ignored the comment. “Here’s the deal Jake, if you have good manners teachers will like you more. That’s makes your life better. If you have good manners parents like you more. Then you get invited to go to more cool places. Cause in the end it’s my call, not Sandor’s, who we invite over or take to the movies or laser tag or whatever.”

“Yeah, we took Sam to Florida with us because he had good manners,” Sandor added.

“And think about this,” I was on a roll with a class A lecture. “If you get pulled over by the police, and you will get pulled over and you have good manners there’s a way better chance he’ll let you off with a warning. If you’re a punk with bad manners he’s gonna definitely give you a ticket.”

At that point I made myself stop, even though I wanted to keep on going. I was on a roll. I turned up the radio and let the boys ignore me for a while. But I was still thinking.  It’s easy to teach good manners if you start when your child is young. Then people praise them for having good manners and the circle starts rolling.  But once a kid turns into a teenager it get’s tougher.  They resist. Jake almost seems to think good manners make him seem weak.

Maybe if we explain how good manners can benefit them, kids will understand. Maybe.

I got out of the car to let Jake out at his house. He was about to climb out of the back seat when I said, “Thanks for coming over, Jake.”

He stopped. He knew it was a trap. Then Sandor leaned over and whispered something to him. Jake got out of the car and mumbled, “Thanks for having me over.”

Then he gave me another sheepish smile and a hug.

Now, if I can just get my son to stop burping like a monster in front of me.


I’m trying to figure out if people actually read my blog……

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Kids, These are Some Of The Things That Really Piss Parents Off

asleepAdults, you don’t need to read this cause you already know the answers.  Kids, I thought I’d throw you a bone and tell you just a few of the things that really make your parents mad. These aren’t  the things that make us slam doors repeatedly, scream and break our favorite coffee mugs. These are the little things that make us sigh loudly, and lock our bedroom door because we don’t want to look at you.

When we ask you to water the plants, the cat and the dog in the morning.  We text you a reminder in the afternoon then come home from work to find you asleep on the couch. The cat, the dog and the plants are all dead, shriveled up from lack of water.  That actually happened. One of my kids had a parakeet and we watched it fall off this roost in the cage.  Birds need water.  We buried it’s colorful little body in the yard.

clogsWe really hate when we buy you nice new shoes and you smash down the back part and wear them like clogs.  Seriously, you’re so lazy you can’t put your shoes on all the way? Those are the shoes you “really really wanted”, so I paid sixty bucks for them, knowing you would outgrow them in a few months. Now they are clogs. Damn it, that pisses me off.

Sometimes we know you are rolling your eyes at us and thinking “what ever” in you mind. but we just can’t catch you doing it. But we know, we can feel it deep in our bones, what you are saying and doing.

Here’s one that really makes us crazy.  I tell you he seems like a good guy when he asks you out and you say “he’s just a friend, and he’s way too nice.” Then you date some dumb ass  misogynistic jerk who breaks your heart. Or boys, I tell you she’s a manipulative sleaze and you are completely surprised when you find out she’s been going out with the entire offensive line behind your back.

This happens all the time.  You ask to stay over with a friend. You tell me, “if you’ll let me I’ll help you with all that yard work when I get home.”  But you stay up till 4am at  your friends house, then come home and immediately fall into a death like sleep on the couch.

It’s my fault because I spoil you, but when I wash your clothes, make a nice neat stack and tell you to put them away, then find them behind your bed, on the floor or worse. I want to light myself on fire  when I tell you to clean up your room and  you just throw the clean clothes into a hamper and I find them, still folded, waiting to be washed again.

And then there are the obvious ones. We buy you new clothes but you still wear the old worn out stuff that’s stained and makes you look like you live in a box under a bridge.  There are the days we fix a really nice dinner, your favorite in fact, but you filled up on a Cheetos and Hot Pockets, so you don’t eat anything.

So, there you have it boys and girls, a partial list of the stuff you do that really pisses parents off. Now that you know, maybe you’ll stop. Or, perhaps you already know how bat poop crazy you’re making us. Perhaps you’re trying to make us insane so you can put us away. Then’ll you’ll stay up all night, eating Hot Pockets, rolling your eyes and killing all my plants.


Texting and the Dead Goat

goatA couple of weeks ago I saw a guy get his nose spread across his face like peanut butter by a wicked spin heel kick at a Taekwondo tournament. It was an inspiring and bloody mess. Lexie missed the astonishing kick because she was checking her texts.

While we were driving to the mall, Sandor and I watched a mother deer and her three tiny spotted fawns bound across the street, right in front of our car. Sandor and I  squealed and gasped as though having some kind of happy seizure but Lexie and her friend, missed it because they were texting.

Not long ago Sandor missed seeing a dead goat on the side of the road because he was playing with Lex’s phone.  Every little boy  wants to look at the bloated body of  a dead goat!

You get the idea and I’m just as guilty. Last week as Sandor was reading to me, telling me about the Basset Hound with the longest ears in the world (over a foot long according to the Guinness Book of World Records). He was waving his hands around talking about this dog, when my phone lit up. And I checked my text. The text from a co-worker said, “it’s raining here”.  And while I was reading that text Sandor wandered off because
I wasn’t paying attention to him anymore.

Kids text each other from the deer stand in the middle of the woods and entire families sit in the bleachers during football games staring at their phones. Yes, they manage to see the big plays but then they miss the coach when he high fives their son, they miss seeing their boy sitting alone and dejected on the bench, because he missed a big tackle.  We are all missing out on the moments that give life flavor.

As long as teenagers are texting or waiting for their phone to go off and make their butt buzz, they aren’t really engaged in life. If they are texting while they watch tv with the family, are in the car or sitting at the bus stop, they are in two different places at one time and they are missing the show.

I hate writing off an entire generation but, I think it’s too late for the teenagers and twenty year olds(sorry guys, you can’t be saved). The dye has been cast, so we might as well move on. But as parents we might be able to help our younger kids. Before you give them their first phone, make some rules for texting and make sure they apply to you as well.

1. No texting when you’re eatting with another person.

2. No texting when you are involved in an actual activity, like deer hunting, skydiving or wake boarding. Enjoy the moment, even if it’s a quiet one.

3.  If I’m driving NOBODY gets to text in the car. (you don’t want to miss seeing that dead goat)

Technology has gotten ahead of us.  Once upon a time we thought it was  a good idea to put cocaine in Coke-a-Cola and to give it to depressed middle aged women. We thought cigarettes were actually good for us. Doctors believed mercury baths were a great way to cure stds or venereal diseases (yup it cured the disease alright  but it also killed the patient).

After a while we figured out mercury and cocaine were actually BAD for us. Maybe that’s the case with of texting. We have an amazing technology but we don’t actually know how it will effect us socially, intellectually or physically in the future.

I recently read a report that teens make far less eye-contact now because they are so accustomed to looking at their damn cell phone.

Once, my son Jack, said, “nothing really important ever gets said in a text,” and he’s absolutely right. It can all wait. Don’t let texting blind you to the beauty, tragedy and taste  of life and stay away from the mercury baths.