The Case Of The Four Missing Assignments

(Tonight’s blog post is a little story about the boy.  He’s read it.  And he gave me permission to hit the PUBLISH button on the post, so that we could share it with y’all.)

Sometimes you have those lazy weekends, where the fireplace and Netflix both run nonstop, while you shuffle back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, IN YOUR PAJAMAS, for hot cups of coffee and popcorn refills.

Or maybe it’s just OUR family that enjoys a weekend of nothingness like that.  Maybe other families are responsible and productive and contributing to society every Saturday or Sunday.

Well, we pulled our weight there THIS weekend.  We spelled Productive with a capital P, and then we sort of decorated it with balloons and streamers, because LOOK AT ALL THE PRODUCTIVITY WE ARE PULLING OFF, IN THE NAME OF GET ‘ER DONE!

It all started on Friday morning.

The boys didn’t have school on Friday, because our semester here has ended, and teachers had in-services around the district.  I was shown the Favor of the Lord on Friday, because OUR in-service at the little private school where I teach was all about science.  Our principal pulled our art teacher, our music teacher, our Spanish teacher and ME, the PE teacher, aside and whispered the words that are every bit as magical as YOUR LOTTO TICKET NUMBERS MATCH THE ONES ON THE TV SCREEN.  She said, “Since you four don’t teach science… I don’t see why you need to be here Friday.  Go forth and sleep late, and please!  Enjoy your day off!”

I assume that she meant, “Sleep exactly as long as Thing 2 will let you on Friday morning,” which turned out to be until 5:50.

Our calendar for the ENTIRE LONG WEEKEND was one blank slate, and we had exactly zero intentions of changing anything.

Netflix and popcorn and pajamas, WE BELONG TO YOU!

Until, of course, I checked the boy’s grades online first thing Friday morning, because I was just checking to see if there was any real possibility of him SOMEHOW getting an A in the Class of Death.

The Class of Death is a college-level, college-credit history class, and I am OVER. IT.  My child, the straight-A student who doesn’t know what the letter B actually looks like on his report cards, has labored like a giant elephant stuck in a mud hole to keep from sinking in this class.

Calculating the mass of the universe is easier than this class.

Bringing peace to a nation divided over the recent election is easier than this class.

The boy studies for his Advanced Placement United States History (also dubbed as APUSH) class for a minimum of two hours, every night.

Monday nights?  Yes.  Two hours.

Tuesday nights?  Yes.  Two more hours.

Wednesday nights?  Well… sometimes they have pop quizzes on Thursdays, so sometimes Wednesday evenings require three hours of dedication to APUSH.

Hubs and I have gone to bed over and over and over, and left our teenager up, sitting at his desk with a book the size of Saturn in his  lap, STUDYING.

The class is hard, the teacher grades hard, and lectures only cover one-fourth of what the tests will cover.

The boy got a big, fat B in APUSH the first quarter, and he was frantically clutching at another B for the second quarter, and WHAT ARE THESE B GRADES???  WE NEVER SEE THOSE!!

So on Friday morning, I looked online, hoping that MAYBE the boy’s GLAD-TO-HAVE-IT 88.9% had somehow been transformed into a 91%, after the 4,000 hours he spent studying for the final.

And that, y’all, is when I saw that we had FOUR (One, two, three, FOUR!!) missing assignments in APUSH on Friday morning, AFTER grades had closed.

You know when you spray a wasp hive with water?  And do you know how the little flying snots come zipping out, ready to slam a stinger into anything that moves?  Well, those wet wasps are capable of showing more CALMNESS than I was capable of showing on Friday  morning.

I talked to the boy, and this is what he told me…

“Mom, I did the math.  I ran the numbers.  I ran them several times, and what I decided is that there was NO WAY I could get an A.  So then I ran the numbers a different way, and I decided that even if I didn’t do the last four assignments, but did FAIRLY OKAY on the final, I could STILL keep my B.  And if I had any intention of doing FAIRLY OKAY on that giant final, then I needed more time to study.  So, I took the time that I would have used doing those last four written assignments, and I devoted it all to studying for the last exam of the semester.  And… guess what?  I did FAIRLY OKAY on the final, after studying like I was trying to pass my medical boards, and I’m still going to get a solid B, even without turning those last four assignments in.”

And WHAT, pray tell, does a parent do with THAT?!

I called Hubs.

He had to tell me to stop talking so frantically and fast, because I was jabbering on faster than the speed of sound.  He couldn’t keep up with ALL THE WORDS being thrown at him, because SONIC BOOMS.

Thankfully, Hubs saw things MY way, which was, OF COURSE, THE RIGHT WAY.  We decided that since the boy didn’t want to do SCHOOL work… then he could do HOUSE work.

Which is why I made a second cup of highly-caffeinated coffee to fortify myself with, before I sat down at the computer and literally TYPED OUT a to-do list that included all the chores I’ve been wanting done, which were also all the chores I had no real desire to DO.

Clean the giant linen closet in the bathroom that looks like it holds towels and junk for thirty-six different families?  CHECK.  That kid’s gonna do that!

Organize the pantry that looks like a grocery store after it had been hit by a tornado?  CHECK.  The boy’s gonna spend some quality time with boxes of cereal and cans of tomato soup.

The list went on and on.

And then, as the boy got busy with his consequences, I finally cooled down long enough to realize that I KIND OF… SORT OF… thought he was brilliant.


Part of me was downright giddy over HOW CLEVER I thought that kid of mine was.  Part of me was really actually QUITE IMPRESSED with what he had done, and how he’d managed to MAINTAIN his grade, minus four assignments.

And then the part of me that’s HIS MOTHER was still freaking out, because HELLO?!  McFly!!!  WE DON’T SKIP ASSIGNMENTS IN THIS FAMILY!!!

In this family, we turn assignments in!

So, I kind of helped him with all the ugly tasks…

… except the linen closet, which he did completely by himself, while I cleaned our kitchen and swept our floors and folded our laundry.

And now?

Well, I have cooled completely off.

Our linen closet is perfectly organized.  Bed sheets, towels, and washcloths are meticulously folded and stacked.  Bubble baths and bath oils are all organized together.  Sudafed and Benadryl and Band-Aides and asthma inhalers are all in one tub, neatly.  The Windex and the Clorox and the Pine-Sol are all corralled in a plastic tub, too.

The closet glows with all of it’s beautiful, perfectly-aligned luster.

Our pantry is even better.

I cannot even tell you how many times I have thrown open the pantry door this weekend, JUST TO STARE.  I gaze, and then I kind of hold my heart a little bit and think, “This!  This is the definition of Beautiful Organization.  My heart will go on…”

IMG_0920 IMG_0921We’ve had burned out light bulbs in all of our ceiling fans, which are sixteen feet in the air, because of this little thing called VERY TALL CEILINGS.  Those burned out light bulbs have needed someone to haul the ladder in from the garage and go from room to room, changing them.  The effort has always seemed greater than the inconvenience of living in darkened rooms…

… until this weekend.

Our house is so bright now, we actually have to wear sunglasses, as we try to adjust to having FULL LIGHTING CAPABILITY around here.

My floors are vacuumed.

My stairs are vacuumed.

Bed sheets have been changed and washed and folded and PERFECTLY PLACED into the clean linen closet.

The boy and I were like well-oiled machines this weekend.

The laundry is done.

The kitchen sparkles.

There are no crumbs on our floors.

Thing 2’s toys have all been gone through and reorganized.

We are ON TOP of our game around here.

Hubs, not to be left out, caught the GET ‘ER DONE bug this weekend, too.  The brakes on his Honda have been squealing, so he and the boy ripped them apart and replaced them.

Hubs climbed the giant ladder and VACUUMED our ceiling fans off, and then wiped them down with wet cloths, after the boy changed all the light bulbs for us.

He pulled the refrigerator out and fixed the waterline that has been giving us fits for weeks.

He dug a blue Lego brick out of our garbage disposal.

And we even squeezed in a lunch date with good friends this afternoon.  We went out for Mexican food, and finally relaxed for a bit, after all of the chores we pulled off.

IMG_0937 IMG_0943 IMG_0958Thing 2 was so happy to spend some time with his best friend, that he got a little rambunctious with hugging her neck and declaring his love for her.

IMG_0949And now, we are facing Monday morning tomorrow as an organized family.

If you’re in the neighborhood, PLEASE!  Stop by and see the glorious work the boy has done on our linen closet and pantry.  Please!  Admire our clean ceiling fans, that were cloaked in dust for the past three years.

And if your own boy ever calculates his grade to determine exactly how much homework he DOESN’T have to do, to still maintain one B and six A’s, don’t be too hard on him.

I’ve decided that it’s a bit of genius.

I’ve decided that sometimes sixteen year old boys get overwhelmed with too much homework, and when we tell them to SAY NO TO SOME THINGS, sometimes they say NO to written assignments.  And granted… that’s NOT what we want them to say NO to, but sometimes the stress of keeping your head above the water in a class that is just flat-out, ridiculously hard needs to be acknowledged.

I love my teenage boy.

I’m proud of that kid, for who he is.

But… from  now on… we are going to say NO to OTHER THINGS.  We are going TO DO ALL OF OUR ASSIGNMENTS, because it’s our responsibility.

Right, Boy?!


Y’all have a fantastic Sunday evening.

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