Thursday, June 19, 2008

On The Road With Pain & Panic

There are times, when boys are very young, that a parent thinks, This kid is a knucklehead. It'll be a miracle if he survives to his 18th birthday. 

But the day finally comes when the parent looks at the boy, now grown into a young man, and the parent realizes, Shoot. He really IS an idiot.

I give you Exhibit A: my own sons, who for purposes of this entry will be called Pain and Panic.
After the big tire blowout in Dallas, and after waiting three hours at Pep Boys while the mechanics re-enacted the Battle of Gettysburg in the garage bays instead of changing our tire, we were finally ready to get back on the road to Florida. But, realizing that kids sleep better when their bellies are full - and are therefore quieter and less likely to make smoke come out of Dad's ears when he's driving - we decided to get some dinner. Hubster chose IHOP. Oh, yeah. Nothing like a quadrillion carbohydrates in the form of sugar to settle a kid down.

As the children plowed through their pancakes and bacon and whatever wasn't glued to the table by thousand-year-old maple syrup dribbles, Hubster quizzed them with some catechism questions. For every question they got right, they received another glass of orange juice. I was seeing a lot of potty stops in our immediate future.

After we'd paid the bill by arranging a second mortgage on our house, we headed for the exit. Naturally, Pain and Panic had to finish off an hour of spiritual exercise by jacking a couple of packages of crayons on the way out the door. Which just goes to show you can lead a horse to righteousness but you can't make him repent. Or something like that. 

And then they proceeded to terrorize their sister, FashionBug, all the way to Florida. Every time we saw a police car, they stuffed the hot crayons onto her lap and shrieked, "AHHH! The cops are after us for stealing!" FashionBug, who has a law authority phobia anyway, was convinced the whole lot of us would end up in a filthy Mississippi jail, guarded by Mongo.
We arrived in Florida without any other major incidents.

Second day there: Pain and Panic announced they'd like to go fishing in the pond behind Grandpa's house. Grandpa fixed 'em up with a couple of rods and sent them on their merry way, which was rather foolish given that Grandpa's own son, Hubster, could barely be trusted on his own for more than 22.5 seconds until he reached age thirty.

One hour later, I went looking for the boys. They were nowhere to be seen around the pond.

Did I mention that this pond is home to a 10-foot alligator?

And did I also mention that Pain thinks he is the long-lost son of Steve Irwin, the late Crocodile Hunter? 

I had visions that my boys had approached the gator with the intent of bringing him back to Texas as a pet, but that the gator had approached them with the intent of bringing them into his stomach as dinner. 

Turns out the alligator DID play a role in their disappearance. Or rather, the lack of the gator. After they had fished for, oh, 4 minutes, and there was no sign of the Big Dude, the boys decided to hike over to another pond in hopes of "catching more fish" (which, in boy-speak means, "finding another alligator"). 

In a rush, it all came back to Grandpa how to parent two wayward boys. The rest of the day was rather, shall we say, unpleasant for Pain and Panic.

Third day in Florida: We had been advised by Grandma that there had been some break-ins in the neighborhood, and that we were to be diligent in keeping all doors locked at all times. This applied especially to the house next door, where we had been given permission to stay, by the owner who had gone north. (Tommie, if you're reading this: When you go back to Florida in the fall, if you find any of my sons' socks or underwear in that spare bedroom, DO NOT - I repeat, DO NOT - attempt to remove them yourself. Call the authorities.)

It was close to midnight, and I was still up over at Grandpa's house when I heard a banging noise from outside. FashionBug and Pain and Panic had all gone to bed at the neighbor's house next door. The banging continued. I finally realized what was going on. Pain had likely gotten a phone call from a friend, taken his cell phone outside to talk, and was locked out the house. I smiled to myself as I decided to let him suffer the consequences a bit longer.

The banging kept getting louder and more insistent, and I figured I'd better speak to my son before the whole neighborhood was awake and pelting us with rocks and garbage.

I swear I felt every organ in my body shut down when I opened the door, looked across the driveway, and saw three police officers standing there with their weapons drawn. FashionBug was standing in the doorway of the neighbor's house and turning the color Gwyneth Paltrow might be if she spent a year living in a cave. Pain and Panic were, of course, sleeping soundly.

Well. It seems that a vigilant neighbor had noticed lights in the "empty" house, and given the recent rash of burglaries, had called the cops. I explained the situation to the men and they drove off in search of some donuts. 

Then I went to do my parenting duty of comforting and calming FashionBug. When I asked her what went through her mind when she opened the door and saw officers with a guns, she said, "I really thought they were here about those crayons."


Kaitlyn said...

PRICELESS!!! Thanks for finally explaining your little teaser!

Jen said...

Hey TC!Glad to see you are still at it! Not sure if you remember me from HSB...I have finally made the move to Blogger--I'm going to add you to my blogroll.

I love this--I have two teen sons as well who keep my life interesting!
Jen (AFJen88)

Antelope said...

OH MY GOSH. That was just what I needed to keep me up all night. Thanks. =D That was hilarious.

Have I mentioned that I love your kids? We all have so much in common...=D


Anonymous said...

You are an excellent writer and your humor is beyond me. I know Kyle can relate. I'm glad you made it home without an arrest.
Love, Lizzie

TobyBo said...

wow. You really know how to vacation.

I am glad how to parent came back to Grandpa. :D

Keeley said...

Oh my! Poor FashionBug! That can't have been any fun for her at all.

I can just imagine opening that door and feeling your spleen urp up through your mouth and your brain leak out of your ears with fright. Erg!

40winkzzz said...

(1) Do you take your family on vacation for fun, or because it makes great blogging fodder?

(2) I *really* would have liked to see that Gettysburg reenactment at PepBoys. Did they use period artillery, or improvise with firecrackers?

(3) How long will FashionBug need to be in therapy?

CrossView said...

Thank you for making my dull life seem safe. =P

Anonymous said...

Bless Fashionbugs heart, I can only image how she felt.

Love to read you posts. Thanks for letting my stop by

Linda in Miszippi

Hope Grace said...

I can't quit laughing over the ending! If I need a quit "pick me up," I just think of the guns and the crayons!

(Oh, if you need some fuel for the next fire, how about writing about those silly little "word verifications" at the end of blogger posts...distorted magnifying glasses may work for most of them!)

Oh, of course, has great word verfications, it's all those "other" sites that are, um shall we put it?

Anonymous said...

omg that sounds soo much like my three ,my oldest is pain for sure,my second son is panic and the daughter is fashion bug,we had an incident where we were at the mall and she they kept messing with excercise equipment and a small piece broke off and we high- tailed it out of there all the while telling our kids i told you not to mess with those, stay away from that stuff etc.we left the mall and all the way my husband (yes hubby is worse then the kids about the teasing)and my sons were teasing her saying oh no the cops are going to come and get you now..just about that time a cop turned his headlights on and pulled us over..for not useing the poor baby was traumatized!