The Great Smoke-OutLast week, we had a fun incident. "Elaine" decided it would be a great idea to smoke in the bathroom in our basement. This is a bit of a surprise, because we didn't really know her to smoke. Furthermore, we haven't had this problem because when kids insist on smoking, we tend not to make a big deal out of it. We just provide a coffee can on the deck and tell them to keep it out of the house. The Wife has made a specialty of complaining very vocally about how their clothes and hair smell, but we don't forbid it.
It was a little more disturbing in this case in that she pulled "Pixie" into her shenanigans, and 13-year-olds are pretty impressionable, especially when a 16-year-old brings them into their confidence. We do NOT want "Pixie" learning to smoke on our watch.
Well, I've described in the archives many of the projects we have pursued on the way to completing the basement. There are only three left. We need to install a wood stove. I need to put up some shelving in the storage room. Oh my goodness that's right...I also need to finish venting the fan from the bathroom to the outside, instead of into the furnace room as it is now.
"Elaine" wasn't aware that the fan was not fully installed yet. It was not difficult to tell that someone had recently been smoking in the basement, but she steadfastly maintained her innocence to The Wife. Later I broke her by the expedient of warning her that if she had any other smokes she needed to turn them over, or I would be finding hard work for her to do if we found them later.
"Elaine" has pretty much given up on trying to make it work here, and is spending all her time trying to figure out ways she can spend as much of her remaining time as possible at her grandmother's, where it sounds like she can do mostly as she pleases. Recently her grandmother let her go to a concert, where she decided she needed to be in the mosh pit. She got head-butted in her eye, opening a large gash that bled all over her dress. She showed her masterful decision-making ability by staying for the rest of the concert because she didn't want to miss the last band, presumably bleeding all over herself and everybody else for an extended period of time before going to the hospital and getting three stitches.
That one will boomerang out of her grandma's and back to either residential or foster care again...I just hope nobody gets hurt in the process....especially "Elaine" herself. There's a lot of good stuff in that one...she just needs the structure that apparently the powers that be aren't willing to provide for her at this point. Seems like kids need to be at least 90% wrecked before someone notices that maybe they're not in the best situation and gets around to helping them for real.