Sunday, November 7, 2004

The Energy of Youth...or Can We Say GOODNIGHT!

I was just reading another journal and I had to laugh.  Seems the writer had just survived her daughters sleepover.  Reading about her experience brought back many memories of a certain birthday party/sleep over my step-daughter Kari had when she was 14.  I swore off Tequila a long time ago, but after that night, I was searching for the bottle. LOL.

Besides, its time to lighten this journal with some good old humor, about parenting...or step-parenting in my case.

I first knew the idea was a bad one when Sam, her father, told me about it.  The second tip off was when he said she'd be having it the weekend he was leaving on his annual week long hunting trip at a friends cabin (Lord, give me strength).  Then he set the ground rules:

#1 He firmly told Kari she could have both boys and girls over for just the party, but he expected her to be on her best behavior. (Sure Dad, no prob)

#2 Guest list was limited to 20 of her closest friends (I saw the guest list--how about 62)

#3 The boys had to leave by 11:00 p.m  (uh-huh)

Picture if you will, me doing my level best to be positive and supportive, all the while knowing that H*ll Night was about to walk into my front door.  Party day arrives, and Sam leaves.  I have called in reinforcements (aka grandparents) because there is no way I am doing this alone.  Oh, and Amy, my 16 year old step-daughter (the morality monitor), is conveniently going to a high school dance that night.

Party central will take place in the family room, in our basement.  Unfortunately, that is also where our bedroom is.  But hey, they are only 14 years old...right?  Why worry?  The bar is also down there, but all alcoholic beverages have been quickly removed from the scene and stashed in an unknown location.  They will also have access to my new Kenwood stereo.  Fine, it is just a piece of equipment that can be easilyreplaced.  Myself and the grandparents will be stationed upstairs, in the kitchen, playing cards...biting our nails...whatever.

So the guests begin to arrive.  One mother actually came to the door to meet me and make sure mature supervision will be present (bless her).  One look at the gparents in the kitchen, a bit of meet and greet, and she left fully satisfied that she had nothing to worry about.  A half an hour later all h*ll broke loose.

It was the sound of the basement door leading outside, repeatedly opening and closing, that got me and my Dad off our chairs to have a peek downstairs.  We opened the door to find not 20, not 30...but over 60 kids in the basement!  Don't cha just hate it when you know somethings going to happen, but your trying your darnest to give the other person the benefit of the doubt?  Exit about 30 kids, stage left.  But, don't worry, they'll be back.

When we heard the strains of music? containing words like...well, it was colorful language...coming from below, Dad and I went down to put a stop to it.  But the door is locked (surprise!).  After threatening to remove said door with a few tools, the door opens.  Guess who's back?  Dad launches into a lecture about the offensive language with ladies in the house, while I waltz over to the CD player to confiscate the evidence.  This is immediately followed by moans and groans, with a few well placed adolescent retorts.  Call your attorney...I don't care.  This is my home.  Deal with it.

Now, I'll just summarize the remaining events.  Kids are coming and going.  I have no idea who is here and who isn't.  My neighbor from down the street shows up because someone has been throwing rocks at his house and now he has a broken window.  Kari comes upstairs, scared because some older boys she doesn't know are hanging around in the back yard.  Dad and I are dispatched outside to deal with the perbs, who fade into the darkness after jumping over the fence.  Kari disappears when one of the father's arrives to take all theboys home at 11:00 (he had limo cuz he's a used car my Dad).  I spend the next 45 minutes searching for her.  One of her friends tells me she left.  Seems she wanted to go for a ride in the limo with the boys.  She shows back up and swears she told me she was leaving.  Grandparents chime in with a resounding "No, you did not."    Grandparents hang around until 12:30 a.m. as a security measure, and leave only when I am ready to let them go.

Sleep over, I have decided, is an oxymoron.  There is no sleep when you have more than one teenage girl under one roof.  They are camped out in the basement (remember, that's where my room is).  I have an 8 a.m. appointment with my finite math professor the next morning (she works on Saturday) and I need sleep.  Before retiring to my room, I chatted with my young house guests; yes, I have been to a few sleep overs and I know what they are.  I can deal with the giggling, after all I've slept through an earthquake once, just try to keep it down to a w-h-i-s-p-e-r.   I see a room of heads nodding, and several "we will" and "goodnights" so I pad off to the bedroom.

It's now 2:30 a.m. and after several trips from the bedroom to the family room to repeat my simple request, I have convinced all but 4 of them to go nighty-nite.  But someone, who shall remain nameless, is wide-awake and fanning the flames. 

I hear voices in the night.

"Are you guys asleep?"           (Go to sleep girls...pleeeeeeze)


"Don't shush me!"                    (Did I just hear a door open?)

"Please be quiet."                              

"I don't have to."                 

"You heard what she said."     (Finally!)

"She's not my mother!"        

And on and on.

By 4 a.m. my patience is gone.  I decide to pull out the heavy artillery.  I walk back in the family room, with telephone in hand, and announce that if I'm not going to get any sleep tonight, then neither are the parents of the late shift.  I know your names and I will start making phone calls.  This is met with wide-eyed stares and several "Please don't call my parents.  They're sleeping!"  Gee, what a novel idea.  At which point I am then reminded that I am not someone's mother and therefore can't tell her what to do.  True, perhaps, but I'm in no mood to be trifled with.  After a brief, but lively exchange of words and pleasantries, I return to bed...drifting off to a restless slumber.

Wake up at 7 a.m.  The phone rings.  Turns out my professor is now sick, so the meeting is off.  Fine.  The basement looks like a war zone.  Pop is spilled everywhere.  Cheetos (and God only knows what else) have been ground into the carpet.  Out comes the vacuum and towels cuz I'm certainly not cleaning up their mess, and no one is going home until the room is back in order.  Put the cleaning detail to work, which wasn't too difficult since some of the girls are feeling really guilty and are all too eager to get back on my good side.

By 10:30 a.m. my home is mine again and Kari is now catching up on her sleep.  At noon there is a knock at the door.  I open it to find my new next door neighbor standing on my porch, with steam coming out of his ears.  He knows there was a party here last night.  And he has called the police because someone kicked in the front door of his new house (he hasn't even moved in yet).  Wonderful!  So nice to finally meet you.  Kari is then summoned to the door to hear the story too.  But she is still in la-la land and doesn't get it.  I do my best to calm him down.  He finally leaves.  Now I'm steaming. 

Fast forward to Monday night.  I've dropped Kari, Amy and her friend off at dance class and returned home to find Sam waiting for me.  I give him a run down on the lovely party (believe me, I did not enjoy it...there is nothing worse for a step-parent than the task of having to tell the other parent about this kind of stuff).  He goes off to shower while I pick up the girls.  The entire drive home I'm listening to the constant chatter of three teenagers.  Amy is siding with her sister (for once) and lecturing me about how I should just "chill out" about what happened the other night.  It wasn't that bad, she says.  The new house next door is just a tow-house (manufactured home) and the guy is a sleeze bag.  I listen calmly and nod my head at the appropriate times.  She's still pointing out the falacies of my thinking as we near our home.  Suddenly, our driveway comes into view.  And the three voices are silenced at the sight of the Dodge pick-up now parked there.  This is followed by several furtive glances, capped off by Amy's friend who asked, "What's your Dad doing home?  I thought he was still hunting."  You could actually feel the energy in my car, as I pulled into the driveway.  Uh-oh.  No one spoke a word as we got out of the car and walked to the front door.

I have it on very good authority that in over 20 years Sam has never had to come home from a hunting trip.  Ever.  To this day, neither Amy nor Kari know how I got the message to him.  After all, I was home all day Saturday and Sunday, taking mid-terms all day Monday, and there are no telehone lines to the cabin.  But, I can be very resourceful, if need be.  Where there is a will...there is a way.

And I am very good at keeping secrets.


robinngabster said...

LOL! You win the sleep over nightmare contest!

delela1 said...

LOL!  Kari and I do laugh (and giggle) about that night now.  But back then, I was ready to strangle both her and her father! Every time he left town, she kept Amy and I on our toes at night!  Believe me, there are more stories like this one.