Monday, December 14, 2009

Serious Business

Things have been kind of serious at HQ for the last several days.
Velvet is certainly flunking Calculus. The rule about school is that I only pay for classes that Velvet passes. I'm not sure how that rule will eventually play out. At the moment, I'm more focused on making sure he knows he is Loved and Wanted even when he fucks up.

He freely admitted that the tutor helped a lot but he started with the tutor too late. I refrained from saying, "I told you so," because he accepted responsibility for the situation. Accepting responsibility is a big deal. Ergo: Velvet is not in trouble for flunking Calculus, and I am looking forward to seeing him on Thursday when I drive up to Treehugger University to bring him home for the holidays.

Buzz Kill is philosophically opposed to my going to get Velvet. He says Velvet needs to grow up and take the bus like everyone else. I pointed out to Buzz Kill that a parent can learn a lot during a few hours in the car with his/her kid. The opportunity to review the semester with Velvet in depth before the gang floods into the living room is well worth the time and gas money. I refrained from mentioning that if he was so concerned about my finances, he could fork over the Twenty Grand he owes me in back alimony.

Buzz Kill didn't make a big deal, but he got huffy in a way that makes me wonder if he's jealous of me and Velvet having the time together or if he's bent out of shape because nobody ever came to get him from college. Maybe he really does think taking the bus is a sign of being a Man, but I suspect that attitude has more to do with the fact that Buzz Kill can't drive. In any case, it's nice to be able to hang up the phone and be done with Buzz Kill's opinions.

It was especially nice to stop his tirade about our terrace being a major liability issue because one of the kids could get drunk and fall off. I can see why he might be concerned about somebody on acid deciding to use the terrace rail as a balance beam, but if that thought occurred to him, Buzz Kill kept it to himself. I explained that when Velvet has friends over and they are out on the terrace, I leave my bed room window open so I can hear what's going on. I did not tell Buzz Kill that I already informed Velvet that he is absolutely not allowed to do hallucinogenics at home. I did point out that when you consider the liability involved with underage drinking, the terrace was the least of our worries. Buzz Kill is not concerned that an 18 year old dumb ass will get shit faced at our place then go out on the street to get hit by a car. He believes that as long as the injuries are not sustained on our property, it's not his problem. Try telling that to a judge.

Buzz Kill is getting nervous because I'm going to Texas for a week which puts him in charge of Velvet and Friends. After he made his point about liability issues, Buzz Kill said he's not babysitting Velvet and started bitching about the empty Olde English 40's he found in Velvet's room when he was helping Velvet pack to go back to school after Thanksgiving.

I don't blame him about the Olde English 40's. In fact, when I was blowing my stack about Moneypenny last month I declared Menopausal Stoners World Headquarters to be a Forty Free Zone. I may believe that it's wrong for a government to say you can't drink a couple of beers even though you're old enough to vote and to get your ass shot at in a war, but that doesn't mean I want those tacky bottles in the recycle room for all the neighbors to see.

Buzz Kill is most likely more anxious than usual on account of the German kid who might land in the living room on the 24th. We don't know the German kid at all. Velvet's buddy Circle Seeker, aka Dime Bag (Velvet Goes to College, Stonerdate 08.28.09) met the fellow at the commune in Hawaii where they are both currently living. Dime Bag spent a semester or two at Hampshire College in Massachusetts then took a leave of absence so he could travel around Africa and Asia. He's not a rich kid at all. Dime Bag's dad is a retired high school teacher. Dime Bag quit selling weed to be an Orkin Man the summer before he went to college. Now he's at an Hawaiian Commune and has directed a German kid toward my sofa.

I told Velvet that since Buzz Kill would be in charge when the German Student planned to be in New York, the matter was between him and Buzz Kill. I would be finishing up my year long 50th Birthday party with my friends in Austin. I also suggested to Velvet that the German Kid might be better off in a hostel and provided Velvet with links to three hostels in the neighborhood which he can forward on to the commune in Hawaii.

Frankly, I don't know exactly what's up with the house guest, but somebody has to figure out what's going on sooner or later. I have, however, started collecting stocking stuffers because if someone is at my house on Christmas morning, he will be getting a stocking from Santa. Everyone does. For now, there's only one of those chocolate oranges but that's because I'm tapped.

I'm seriously lamenting my decision to pay all my bills on time this month. I know it was the responsible thing to do - which is why I did it - but now I don't have any extra money. I'm clearly not as broke as all that since I got my hair cut and colored today by Max The Genius. You don't spend 20% of your paycheck on your hair when you're impoverished - but spending 20% of your paycheck on your hair can have a serious impact on your cash flow.

The color is outstanding, however, and I paid cash so it's not like I went into debt at the beauty shop. As it happens, I pay cash for everything since all my credit cards were confiscated years ago when Buzz Kill and I were trapped in a marital dysfunction.

The good news is that I stayed on budget when I was grocery shopping this weekend and I barely stole anything at all at the self-checker. I will confess that I was a bit ballsy because I had to call the clerk over to fix the receipt printer which had got knocked askew by the soda bottles. He wasn't there long enough to notice that there were six 2 liter bottles of soda on the belt and two on the receipt - and I guarantee that even if he did notice he didn't give a flying fuck. Nevertheless, I feel like it's something of a moral victory that I have curbed my impulse to steal groceries in New Jersey.

Notably, Trader Joe's employs live humans to check out the groceries. Most likely that's because they already knew that "Green Shoppers" are more likely to steal. I read about this trend on Alternet this week: Study Says Eco Shoppers More Likely to Cheat, Steal. The study, in my view, was total bullshit because it was all a computer simulation and didn't involve real stealing, but it makes a good headline.

I figure Trader Joe's knows that anyone with any sense will be swiping a few items when they use the self checker, and in this context I am using the original definition of "swiping," not the modern definition which means scanning the bar code into the computer or sliding your charge card through the machine.

By most moral standards, stealing groceries in New Jersey is Bad Behavior. I have no excuse. It's just that those damn self-check out machines piss me off every single time when they order you to scan another item or hit Done. If the machine tells you to scan or quit, why not pay for everything you've scanned so far and bag up the rest?

Personally, I'm hoping that the German kid is a Freegan. I figure that there is some good stuff in the dumpster behind that new Whole Foods across the street. As a nice lady from Central Park West, I would never dig through the dumpster behind Whole Foods. I would send a bunch of college kids over there to see what they can find.


Lou said...

Sorry but I can't imagine 'German kid' and 'freegan' ever going together. Good luck though, I guess I shouldn't judge a dumpster diver by his continent.

PENolan said...

Actually, the only confirmed dumpster diver among Velvet's friends is the one who lives in a yurt in Vermont when he's not at college. If the German Kid shows up at all, I'm just hoping he doesn't have bed bugs . . .

Dusty said...

I pointed out to Buzz Kill that a parent can learn a lot during a few hours in the car with his/her kid. Right you are woman!

Woah..Buzzkill is a major asshole ain't he? I knew he was a jerkwad..but the depth of it was a surprise.

As for the german kid..good luck and I hope he doesn't steal you blind when he leaves. I know..I am a paranoid bitch..but that's because I have had strangers clean me out before.

PENolan said...

I have a feeling that Buzz Kill will make the German kid go to the Youth Hostel over on Amsterdam Ave and Velvet will have to stay with his dad.

But like I said - I'll be partying in Austin.

Dusty said...

I think ole Buzzkill is very jealous of the relationship you have w/ surprise there I bet.

The German kid won't mind the youth hostel if he is bumming around Amerika.

Velvet will hate being stuck with Jerkwad aka Buzzkill however. ;p

Dusty said...

ps...this is my birthday week girlfriend! ;)

Enjoy Austin..wonderful city to party in.

PENolan said...

Not only Buzz Kill but his mother, Vagina Dentata. BK lives with his mom. It's only for a few days, and Velvet will be home until Jan 18.

Have a great Birthday Week!

Dusty said... have the best names for the people in your life woman!

Tell me you don't have to deal with his mommy much. That would be enough to drive me insane..or to murder..not sure which.

Birthday week only means I get no shit for the parade of UPS and Fedex trucks that stop by daily. I love bargains on clothes and shoes online! ;p

Lisa said...

I need to hang out with you. Austin. NYC. I don't care. I can learn some things that I need desperately to learn.

The ride in the car with Velvet is definitely worth it. I just found that out here.

PENolan said...

Come on up, Girlfriend.
You got the time, and neither one of us has any money. I just bought a case of wine, too.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

I think Buzzkill is jealous of your time with Velvet. That's my view from the outside looking in. Going to Austin for your birthday? How awesome! I used to live in Austin back in the 80s. It was a cool town then, great music scene. It's still a nice city but it seems overbuilt and overcrowded to me now. The last time I was there was for a quick visit with my mom. We went to Kirby Lane for breakfast and she and my ultraconservative sis were concerned about all the gay people. Had I taken them to a gay neighborhood, a gay restaurant, etc. *sigh* Have a great trip and a great birthday. Any particular spots you plan on hitting? I have favorite spots in each city that I just have to hit before returning home. Austin is 6th at night, Mt. Bonell at night, any number of great barbeque restaurants and finding a good chicken-fried steak. It used to be Archie's in Georgetown, don't know if it's there any more. Also, have to visit the original Schlotsky's. Can you tell I like to eat?

PENolan said...

I went to Kirby Lane last time I was in Austin too. There and many newer Mexican food places. I'd rather live in NYC right now - on account of the Red State factor - but it's damn hard to find BBQ or TexMex anywhere in this town.

I lived in Austin from 1978-85. When were you there?

Vancouver Voyeur said...

I lived in Austin from 1980-1982, 1984-1986, then College Station from 1987-1991.

Beach Bum said...

I pointed out to Buzz Kill that a parent can learn a lot during a few hours in the car with his/her kid.

It take me about an hour driving to get my fourteen year-old son to open up. After that he starts talking to the point I often want him to shut up. Only in the sense that ignorance is bliss and also for plausible deniability.

PENolan said...

Beach Bum: You can never underestimate the value of plausible deniability.

V.V. - I guarantee there is a lot of overlap in our Austin experience. One of these days, we're going to have to compare notes.

Randal Graves said...

I've learned years ago that my kids are too much like me, so I simply let them stew in their own little world. As long they don't end up going for their MBA, we'll be cool.

I ride the bus every day to and from work (yes, not a Greyhound type gig, I admit) and if smelling stale smoke and the faint stench of urine makes you a man, then flex, beat chest, ooga ooga.

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