Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've had small irritations building up lately with "Celeste", and I made the mistake of not venting them a bit at a time. What happens when you buy a 12-pack of soda while on a long road trip, and then start drinking cans one after the other? Sooner or later, my friend, you WILL be making a pit stop. Tonight was that pit stop for me.

I was in a mildly pissy mood when I got home. I was able to be pleasant to The Wife and greeted "Celeste" and the dogs as usual, but my mind was working through some unresolved problems from work and I was a little distracted. UNTIL..."Celeste" started in on one of her patented never-ending strings of negativity. She decided she didn't like dogs anymore, even Willy. She asked The Wife what was for supper, and when she was told that it was wild rice and turkey soup and that carrots had been withheld to cater to her taste, she LOUDLY pronounced it "gross" and started to put together a sandwich. Everything that was mentioned was "stupid". Blah blah blah.

Finally I had had it, and this little irritated mood of mine rapidly blossomed into something like controlled rage. I started in on her, telling her in no uncertain terms that this was going to stop. Not just tonight, but every night for the rest of her time here. She would treat us with respect, and if she couldn't be grateful to The Wife for the incredible amount she does for her, she would at least be civil. Or she would be sorry.

And I'm not just blowing smoke here, either. No, I'm not going to hit her, or starve her, or anything like that. But I will get in her face from now on every time she cusses and every time she gets negative. She claimed loudly that she was "hardly ever" negative. Well, now I'm just going to do her the favor of pointing out every single negative thing she says. Heh. The honeymoon is over and the gloves are now officially unlaced, if not off. Mom has been saying for some time that we put up with too much from her, and it took me a little longer but I'm right with her now. Never thought I'd see myself on the same side of a parenting question as Mom, but hey, men went to the moon too, am I right?

Anyway, as the discussion progressed and I warmed up, I began to improv and branch out. I riffed on the fact that she feels compelled to write stupid crap on her clothes. I pointed out that while she may or may not be gay, bi, straight or autoerotic for all anybody knows or cares, she doesn't need to make a huge public production of it. She may feel the need to do so, but then she has to accept that with that decision comes consequences, especially when you live in a basically conservative small town. Fair? Maybe not. So what? Them's the facts. I've got Cystic Fibrosis. Not fair. Didn't do anything to deserve it. So what? Them's the facts.

She went in circles in her logic and I gleefully followed right on her tail, pointing out her inconsistencies and how she had a habit of saying something in one breath and then two breaths later directly contradicting herself. Oh, I love this stuff. I used to be a political blogger, you know, and what is political blogging if not indulging in childish gotcha games? Yeehaw.

There was a lot of back-and-forth, and I was actually fairly proud of the way I stayed controlled yet firm through most of it. I had to keep reeling her back in as she kept starting to yell and go off on tangents...and I don't know whether it was on purpose to distract from the gaping holes in her arguments or just a result of confusion from having me confront her so directly.

It doesn't really matter, of course. It was a useful exercise/example for her in how to be angry at each other and have a, uh, "spirited discussion", and then walk away from it without any particularly hard feelings.

She also said some pretty revealing things. She outright admitted, as she has other times, that she won't let anybody get close enough to her to hurt her badly. I asked her why she thought The Wife or I would hurt her, and she didn't answer. She can never answer that one. I think she knows we would never hurt her, and she's just scared. I don't blame her...I probably would be too, having the parents she's got.

The Wife had her own interjections from time to time, but a lot of it was just "Celeste" and me , um, "exchanging information". The Wife was most definitely the good cop to my bad cop this time around.

Finally I just had to repeat myself until she ran out of breath and had to hear me tell her that no matter what she did, how she felt about it, we care about her. Nothing she can do about it. She REALLY doesn't like to hear that, which is why I've said it to her several times over the months she's been here. One of these times one of us (or both) are going to break through this tough-kid exterior. I think we probably already would have made significant progress in that direction except that the social workers are dead-set on getting her back with her family. Her knowing that she could be yanked out of here at any time no matter what we do or want is probably the biggest obstacle to us getting any kind of bond with this girl. And we're so close it almost hurts sometimes.

The best part, and the reason I know she's not still too mad at me, is that awhile ago she got off the internet within 2 minutes of the first time I reminded her that her time was about up.

All your teenagers are belong to us. Mheh.

Oh, and not word on The Wife's job prospect. She felt like she had screwed the pooch on the interview, but here's the thing: she interviewed with three people (all at the same time, if I understood correctly). One of them just so happens to be a foster parent in town that we know very well, whose house we've eaten at regularly and who already knows what The Wife is like. A second one is one of the people at the school that we've had dealings with due to him working with some of our former foster kids (like "Jenny" and "Josie", I believe). He also has a pretty good feel for who she is and her history. The third was the superintendent, and I think it was this one that made her nervous.

She called after the interview and expressed to our fellow foster mom that she hadn't felt well and didn't feel she'd done her best on the interview, but was told that she thought she did fine. She also mentioned that apparently there were a couple of other interviews that didn't go so well, which bodes well for The Wife's chances. However, it sounded as though there were about 10 applicants, so there is some competition. After hearing the salary, hours, and knowing what benefits are like for government jobs, I can see why. This job could be a HUGE boost to our household income, which wouldn't make me cry.

And now, the Zulus and Spanish have joined forces and declared war on my one flank and the Russians need a hard lesson on the other flank, and I've JUST ABOUT discovered computers so I can build the Seti Program, which should get me to building my spaceship to go to Alpha Centauri in another 50 years or so.

Did I mention I'm a nut for playing Civilization II?



At 5:58 AM , Blogger Yondalla said...

I have often found that things are better between a me and a new teen once they ... um ... see that I what I am like when I am angry and that I still care about them.

Hope it works out that way for you too.


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