Hop in the car kids we're gonna go get the stuff to build a cornhole set!
13 year old: "This is stupid and I hate it."
Well, this is getting off to a nice start.
Me: "We're doing this project, a family project together. Get in the car we're going to Lowes. Do you have the supply list?"
13 year old: "I'm not going. Its dumb. You guys go and I will stay home and play Minecraft and build something that I want to build. Why can't we just buy a cornhole set? I don't want to go out in public with you guys because you act like such weirdos"
Me: "Get in the car. Let's go. We're leaving."
13 year old: "No! I don't care about this stupid family project!"
Luis: "Get in the bleeping car or your not going to Lacrosse tonight."
He got in the car.
And the good times continued at Lowes. We divided up the supply list. Luis and Maya gathered the plywood and 2x4's. Jack and I were assigned to get the hardware. This is where we were supposed to teach our kids how to navigate hardware store, how to find the right materials for the job. I am certain Luis had a joyful time explaining to a politely listening daughter about the variations and thicknesses of plywood while I tried to figure out where the 3/8 by 4 1/2 galvanized bolts were among the hundreds of little drawers. I got the hard part. And the hard kid. He grumbled and pouted and in the end Luis had to get the hardware himself because we couldn't figure out a lag bolt from a carriage bolt and what does galvanized mean anyway?
At the check out Jack went into begging mode for a Gatorade. He asked 10 times and I said no 10 times. Then he said some magical words, "If you get me a Gatorade I promise to work hard and have a good attitude when we work on the corn hole set!". I admit I had been worn down, weakened by his grumpiness. He had found a break in my perimeter. 'Really? You will?" I realized then that I had been an emotional hostage to his attitude. He was successfully convincing me that the key to escape was as easy as buying a Gatorade. Plus my mom recently stated, after offering Jack a dollar to get out of the car so we could all go into Belk without incessant complaints, that she wonders why she didn't resort to bribery when we were kids. She made it sound lke she should have done that all along. Hey, why not learn from my mother's mistakes? Heck yeah, get that kid a Gatorade becasue he promisies to be nice if I do.
Seriously. I really did that.
I did buy that drink, but when we got back to the house I had to remind him of his promise to be nice every 10 minutes. It was a lot of work. But that's a middle schooler for you. I work with a brilliant administrator who likens this age group to the T-rex's in Jurassic Park. Their mission is to find breaks in the perimeter and when they sense a weakness they make run for it! I'm good at building the fences, but have trouble maintaining the weak spots.
And speaking of work, we did get some done that first day. In fact, we very well would have finished them in record time if I hadn't gotten mad about everyone's pissy attitude. You see, for whatever reason everyone but me thought we had to barrel through and complete the set by the end of the day. That's a pretty tall order, even for a skilled wood worker with nothing but time. So to my kids it was seen as a day of indentured servitude. To my husband it was a day of dealing with kids who were uncooperative and bratty.
So I was like, whoa, what's going on here? I explained to my family that I really wanted to do an activity that we work on bit by bit over the rest of the summer and have a nice accomplished project to show for it. An activity we can putter with on rainy afternoons in the shed, a cool game we can bring to parties, a tangible object that represents something we did together over the summer. When I made my vision more clear it changed everything.
Once she got over her initial fear she was pretty adept at using this chop saw, under Dad's close supervision of course.
He can drill a straight hole, which is more than I can say for myself.
By the time we are finished we're going to have a nice set!