Tough Stretch


It started at 4:00 am on Friday morning. Billy – the almost 18 year old – was up and wandering the property. He said he wanted to go into the shop and see what I was welding but methinks he somehow knew there was a big bag of M&Ms in there. Either way, the rule is, leaved the house in the middle of the night and get your phone confiscated for 2 days. Well, that was it. 3 hours of arguing and near violence. At one point, when I mentioned I would call his employer and update him on Billy’s behaviour, Billy said turned off the router, thinking I couldn’t phone anyone if he did that. The he said in addition, he’d cut the wires to ALL cell towers, slash my tires and cut my legs off, so there was no way I could get the message out. (I thought of carrier pigeons but didn’t mention it out loud).

We went into the garage so as not to wake up the rest of the family. At one point he went in to get a jacket but cleverly locked me out of the house. I had to find our emergency key to get back in. 3 hours later we got him back to bed.

He and I went to Steinbach with his truck to get the accident appraised – it was a write off. That was all normal but when we got back he started up again. We decided to back off on rules for that night because it was just too hard with all the push back. Unfortunately our younger boy likes rules and that didn’t sit well with him. He had a 30 minute tantrum – enough that we needed to call for back up from neighbours. He calmed down – as he always does – but the older one was still on fire. I believe his last words to us were. “I hope you both fucking die and burn in hell.”

Fast forward to Monday – no school – Billy and I went to look at a replacement truck. He didn’t like it and took it out on me. I was driving very slowly and he tried to steer us into the ditch then proceeded to rough me up for a while in the car. I was just hoping he didn’t wreck the interior of my car – I love that car. 2002 Jetta diesel wagon. He didn’t wreck anything.

Later that night we went to hear Dr. Dave Williams – astronaut – speak at a book launch at a bookstore in Winnipeg. Like nothing ever happened.


Crash into a tree

Hallowe’en Night. Today our 17 year old drove into a tree. He was going too fast. I’d like to say it was a learning experience. Time will tell. Right now, he blames me for putting the tree there.


school fight and freedom of information

Today was a doozy. The youngest (15 year old) got into a fight at school. He was arguing with – ironically enough – another foster kid about their respective youtube channels – and how they sucked. One thing led to another; a few F bombs and BOOM! punches thrown.

While that was happening, the oldest (17 year old) , stood in front of his whole grade 12 class and told them to all F- off because of his perceived mistreatment from them. Following that, he printed out Freedom of Speech fliers and put them under the door of the principal’s office.

Oh, and as an added bonus, my mother-in-law was calling all Filipinos thieves because she thought one of them stole her wallet – which she found on her chair a few minutes later.

counting money

so billy, who is almost 18 now, has had trouble sleeping the last few nights. he gets up and does weird things. going into the garage and playing with our ‘outside’ cats. eating granola bars. (i guess that’s not so weird). but last night – this morning @ 4 am – he did something even weird for him. he had taken the big jar of change i keep in the cupboard next to the fridge, went to the family room, dumped it out and started counting it.

now this is amazing on so many levels. 1) if you’re going to do something sneakily in the middle of the night, dumping change onto a table is maybe not the way to go. 2) math is not his strong suit so i’m not sure he could accurately count the money. 3) if/when he did total it up – again because math is not his fort√© – he wouldn’t know how much he had. and yet this is our life.

“I hate him because he doesn’t shave”

Today was the toughest day in months. The two boys were riding home from school in the oldest’s truck. He went into the gas station for something while the younger one waited in the car. When he returned, the younger one was listening to his music via an auxiliary cable. This was not good. The older one reacted by playing his music as loud as the stereo allowed. The younger on then grabbed the steering wheel – while they were driving (very slowly I might add). After stopping the truck and pulling over, the older one (the driver) punched the younger one in the face. Then the younger one countered with a flurry of kicks to the older one’s head. The older one countered with a blood-drawing bite to the hand.

I got a call from the older one right after the incident so I went into town to pick the younger one up.

When we got home, the ‘fun’ began. The older one wouldn’t take any responsibility for any of it. (He seems to be the common denominator but won’t cop to it – for anything with anyone).


Older: “I hate my brother because he doesn’t shave.” (he doesn’t but he’s 15 so who cares?)

Younger: “Well you don’t brush your teeth.” (he doesn’t)

Then I had to hold him back for about 20 minutes because he was going to beat the shit out of his younger brother. Again, because he doesn’t shave.

Older when I informed him that if he resorted to violence he would lose his truck and would not be able to go farming (his job which he loves): “It would be worth it to never farm again just to be able to punch you in the head.”

Older: ¬†“Heil Hitler.” (he likes to pull this one out when he thinks we have too many rules). A lot of F-bombs. And general mayhem.

Or, as we call it here, Thursday.




we’re in toronto – renting a vacation house – and each kid got a bedroom. Billy took the picture off of the white wall as soon as he entered. why did you take it off i asked him. “Because the wall was too bland.” he said.

“average” day

so it was time for a bike ride. the older one wouldn’t let the younger join him in a bike ride because it ‘cramped his style.’ the younger one didn’t want me to join him because it ‘cramped his style.’ (to finish the circle i should have refused to ride with the older one) so we went for separate rides. then the older one gets home from a 20 mile ride and won’t shower until he’s had some time to wind down. but it’s 30 degrees and he’s pretty sweaty, and i won’t let him on furniture. (the irony being that that day before, after his bike ride, we were ready to eat and i told him to wash his hands and he complained vigorously that he couldn’t shower first. meanwhile the younger one was in the bathroom shoving rice cakes down his throat. why? i don’t know. they are 40 calories each and he is 120 lbs dripping wet (at 5’11”). i told him he could have TWENTY of them if he just asked. it’s like sneaking carrot sticks.