Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Having had the ResidentAdo ruin the previous evening, the day started tensely. However, the sun was shining and I had plans for the garden, especially having been bugged by Monty Don talking about allotments on the tele yesterday. With the RA out for the morning, we were able to fall upon Botanic, with plans to max out the credit card on plants, seeds and a compost bin.

I wanted to renew some of the lavender in the front, and turn some of the weed-infested garden into a vegetable plot in the back. The compost bin has been on my mind for years. Twice, I've applied to have one from the local authorities who were promoting them as a freebie, only to hear nothing afterwards. Botanic had some lovely ones for 50Eur - 400litres, a discreet dark green plastic and shovel hole at the bottom.

It was Grandmother's Day today, so Botanic was heaving, and actually getting hold of the compost bin of my choice was not easy. In fact, I was given a 700litre one, and only realised it once the 125Eur it cost had appeared on my till receipt. I wondered how I could have possibly spent so much money on a few packets of seeds and lavender!! Needless to say, they had none of the 400litre ones left in stock, so my hanging around risked being for naught until the salesman offered me the one on display. I immediately agreed, but said he didn't need to dismantle it as I have an estate car. Come to think of it, maybe I should have asked for a discount!!

Unfortunately, we couldn't get digging in the garden after lunch as I had to take my eldest to a bowling party. Since it was so far, there was no point coming back home, so the rest of us went to Palavas, to the Parc du Levant to wander round and cross the lagoon to the pretend castle. The bowling place had been so noisy and revolting that it was a huge relief to be outside in the sun, watching (very) young mothers and fathers with their children in the kiddie park. There was an interesting spectrum of Palavasian life there - smoking mothers, fathers decked out in bling, grandparents worrying over other peoples' children and looking disapprovingly at seemingly careless parenting.

Eventually, we went back to the bowling place and suffered the noise and smell for a further hour while my eldest did himself proud on the alley coming in a close second after leading for much of the session. The party was then removed to the sofas, and the cake brought out. It was a quite revolting synthetic chocolate affair, and I couldn't agree with birthday boy's mother who was in raptures over it. Finally, the presents were opened and we were able to leave that hellhole.

Once home, I fell upon the garden digging and weeding in preparation for planting. We couldn't plant today as it got dark before we had finished, but the plot is looking promising. J took his power tools to the useless fence and made a more useful plant support fence out of it.

ResidentAdo has been absent for practically 25 out of 48 hours, has made no apology for ruining our evening last night, done bugger all to help in the house, and, as far as I'm concerned, is on "Going home to mum warning", and I don't care if it is in the middle of the school year!

The iron has entered my soul.


  1. Iron and toxicity give rust. Watch out for brown stains

  2. A little late to be asking questions here: but what is a ResidentAdo?

  3. Time you laid down some rules, Sarah! Otherwise you will be stamped upon!

    This is my house, these are the rules, that is the front door, this is what you will do round the house, you are on a week's trial EVERY week and what I say goes.

    I don't know how old the RO is but girls are too, too awful and will make your life complete hell if you let them. A part of them can't help it, I know, but if you don't pull her up quick, it will be downhill all the way.

    Been there, done that, and when I did really put my foot down, things got a whole lot better, believe me!


  4. Oh Louise - I feel so good about what you advise Sarah....have sung so exactly the same song that you and I sound like the Andrews Sisters!!

    My girl ado was so awful that she drove us up the walls - we never gave in but it was a long haul.

    I advised practically the same words about My house & My rules or OUT... but I'm glad you feel that too. Together we stand....


    At a girl, Sarah

  5. Oh Louise - will you please come round to my house and say things like that to my three teenage girls? Please?

    I'll swop if you like. I'll come over and look after Angus and your adorable son and you come and tell these three what it's all about.

    Since their ex-army officer of a step-father left, they've been stamping all over me...:-(


    I was a step-mother to my husband's twin daughters for a while but it was easy because they were adorable (to me anyway) and they were only here every other week-end. We didn't have to live with each other!

    Anyway, I think all ados are a bit toxic...

  6. Sarah, you would do well to reference your position....legally with this responsibility.

    Exactly what are your responsibilities to this minor.
    Can you uphold them.
    Are you liable to the parent.

    If you cannot provide for the safety and welfare of the minor, then it is time for the social services to step in.
    Contact the school, inform them of your concerns.

  7. Gigi, my horrible ado was only one - and is now over forty....but when I think of you having this multiplied by three....makes my experience seem like a pinic with Winny the Pooh!

    Really brought a few memories back when you say "stamp all over me"...yes so did mine & with hobnail boots...making me feel very bruised and squashed at the time.

    Now she has children, boys, so she will never know what it's all about - and its perhaps as well for her...and any girl she might have had.......would not wish a toxic ado girl on my worst enemy.

  8. Thanks ng - I feel better when others say they've had the same experience. But I am no disciplinarian and could probably Do Better...

    Ah! When they Were Young...they were so sweet - I would love to have a picnic with Winnie the Pooh :-)

  9. Wow, thanks for all the moral support, ladies (?)!

    ResidentAdo is the 16yr-old daughter of my partner who was living with her mother until last August and is now 'with her father' only she's in my house. I have no legal responsibility, and, in fact, her mother is still the official guardian but she is now 9000km away.

    There are already house rules which she tends to obey during the week (now), but weekends are a problem as she pushes her luck until it runs out and backfires on her.

    Basically I think she had a free rein with her mother, and it's a shock to live in a house with rules. She improves and then reverts back to type which is when she becomes really toxic. I'm not sure we'll ever 'get there', or if I want to be part of her ultimately 'getting there' if it means the wreckage of my household along the way.

  10. It sounds as though Mum has 'palmed off' daughter to ex, and subsequently you have been 'left holding the baby'. Not a happy situation for anyone.

    My daughter at the age of 16 was a complete and utter s*** and quite frankly if I could have sent her to her father I would have done so - unfortunately we were still married at the time, so there was nowhere to send her! For example, the photos I have of her at that age she is actually snarling at me/the camera - you can almost hear her!

    If you haven't already done so, now is the time for the three of you to sit down and thrash it out. It may be something that can be clarified quickly (like a boyfriend problem) or it may be deeper and she is missing her Mum and doesn't want to be in France, or that she is being bullied at school or maybe drugs... a rdv with her professeur principal will perhaps shed light on whether she is happy at school, who she is mixing with etc. Does the school know the circumstances?

    It's awful to say, but you are number one (if you aren't happy then no-one is) and your boys are number two, and the cannot allow yourself and especially the boys to be involved in something that at the end of the day is none of your making, especially as the boys are young and impressionable.

    It must be a horrible situation for you to be in, especially when it isn't your 'fault' but do make a stand!

    One final tip - I found that with my daughter when I said black, she said white - I soon cottoned on and rephrased everything - like when I wanted to go out riding, I'd say 'Don't think I'll ride today, looks as though it might rain' - she was off in a flash, catching the horses, brushing them, saddling them up, and saying 'Well are you coming, or aren't you'? It wasn't 100% but damn near it!

    Et merde encore!

  11. Sorry - just a PS to my waffling. Gardening is the most therapheutic thing in the world, so get digging and planting!

  12. Thanks, Louise!

    We have been doing a lot of what you are suggesting - school, sitting down talking to her etc. She begged to come back to France when her mother left to go to the Antilles so she is theoretically where she wants to be.

    However, there is a lot of family baggage that she and her father need to sort out together.

    I think a lot of it is pure dyed in the wool ado behaviour. She wants to be independent, doesn't want to be involved in family life - the usual stuff. It's the undercurrents that are toxic, and you're right, I am number one in my house and the boys are number two.

    I will not have them badly influenced by a tasmanian devil who will wreak havoc for a couple of years and then waft off to her own life leaving us to cope with the mess! Grrr.

  13. Sarah

    Maybe you shouldn't have picked up that sdf in the first place.

  14. Thank you for your words of wisdom, Richard...

  15. The last of the big advisors here.

    Maybe a weekend job, or after school would open her world for her.
    Something to look forward to, in the summer.
    Volunteering to help an elderly person, or visit the local animal shelter.
    Boyfriends at 16, rob children of their childhood , worse than being a mall walker at 60.
    If she has no known medical issues, then offer her the thought of finding someone to help in this world.
    Makes her feel a little needed.

  16. Don't be so prudish. Children can start to date with the opposite sex at 16 without necessarily jumping straight into bed. It's all part of growing up you know, the kissin' and the cuddlin' ......

  17. There seems no point in continuing to blog.
    Someone with an obsession is panting at the back of my neck.

    Keep up your blog, good wishes to all.

  18. Spoken like a true Alabaman, Anonymous 3. Are you a friend of Anonymous 1 ? Where's he/she tonight ? Still reading the Ottawan newspapers ?

    Hope you enjoyed your read of Roads of Stone.

    What is it they say: just because you're paranoid doesn't mean to say they're not out to get you.

    All those who lurk behind "anonymous" as a means of making spiteful remarks at others expense should realise that their devious abuse of other people's blogs is now over - they can be tracked and exposed.

    Colin Berry (Dreams and Daemons)

  19. I'm not sure you can say that having a boyfriend at 16 robs a child of his/her childhood. It's over by then anyway. They are into young adulthood at that age with raging hormones and desires to break loose the shackles of parents who are out to ruin their lives (sic).

    We've all been there to some extent, some more unpleasantly than others. I got up to some hairy stuff, but I hardly ever imposed on my parents, from what I can remember, anyway.

  20. I'm afraid our RA in question will not be drawn to good doing of any sort. She actually has at home and nearby every ocassion to help out with our charity work, and will not, and heaven knows we spend hours and hours everyday getting it going, and all helping had could be so useful!

    When I was a child we all did "things to help", it was part of our lives. I chose visiting elderly without families, but there was a very wide range of possibilities, and absolutely all of my family and friends did something. Another era? Another form of approach?

    RA could have done tons to help already and never even asked to.

  21. I was a Brownie when young and we did all sorts of charity work, the most memorable being the Easter bonnet visit to the old people's hospital when we had to make and Easter bonnet each and wrap up a simple little present for one of the patients.

    They loved it and were always so touched by our childish efforts.

  22. I meant 'an' Easter bonnet, of course.

    I agree with NG in that the RA is not a charitable girl in the slightest.

  23. Maybe she doesn't want to do charity work with you, if you know what I mean! I find that most children nowdays are far more aware of the suffering in the world than we were - or I was at least, and normally are more than willing to help out.

    If she likes animals, perhaps she might help out at the local SPA, or schools often run an 'aide aux devoirs' for younger children, where they have help from those who are in the lycée, or the Restos du Coeur...

    My favourite daughter was awful at home, but with others she was brilliant, and I had nothing but compliments! I sometimes wondered if we were talking about the same person!

  24. She's told us she's not interested in charity work; not with us or anyone else. She just wants to see her boyfriend and go shopping. We've suggested she do other things, given lots of ideas, tried to interest her in the local sports clubs, you know the sort of thing. She has the list of local associations including charities. You can't make them do anything though, can you? It has to come from them. Maybe one day...

  25. Sarah

    1)Either the ado is English. No hope in that case.

    2)Or she's French. In which case you're going about things the wrong way.

  26. She's neither specifically one nor the other, Richard.

  27. Having a list of clubs/charities is only a piece of paper.
    It needs life brought to it, such as a person providing an introduction.
    Having a boyfriend take up after school time sounds like a palm off.
    He sounds at loose ends as well.

  28. As I said, you can't force them. They need to be in a group which does things like that. The boyfriend is an excuse not to go out and do things at the weekend (no after school visits).

  29. Well if she is at least partially French you have some constructive material to work on.

    I would say that the number one problem is that she is number 6 in the household: SH 1, boys 2 equal, partner (or live in lover as we used to call it) 2 also, cats and dogs 5, ado 6. So until you fix that problem and make her feel as if she is actually wanted you will get nowhere.

    Remember égalité and fraternité have the same weight as liberté.

  30. Richard, believe me, she is welcome, and we have gone to more trouble than you'd believe to make her so, turning lives and houses upsidedown to cope with her arrival. She is number one in her father's heart and is treated as a big sister by the boys. She has it all, even a 'nutty granny' falling over themselves to make her feel welcome.
    But we can't live her life for her. She is responsible for her own happiness. She has the opportunity to be contented, it's up to her to take it.

  31. Perfect post from Orleans.

  32. Richard - do you have girls? I think not - I seem to remember you have boys...

    Believe me, ado boys are a treat compared to ado girls.

    You can fall over backwards for them and they just spit in your eye.

    There is only one comfort - they do eventually grow out of it, but in the meantime it is a lot of blood, sweat and tears and tears and tears.

  33. Well I agree with Louise...I had boys and girls - and heavens there is no comparison. However much you love them, cuddle them, make life super and show how much they are cared for and wanted.....they just spit in your eye, loathe you, make a terrible mess of everybody else's family life....boys are different. Trouble, yes as ados, but good clean forthright boyish trouble!

    I am sure you don't wish to be unkind Richard, for you are in Sologne.....but if you just have boys, don't even try to understand a female ado! It's impossible unless you have gone thru it. Nightmare. And as Louise says so many buckets of tears you could fill a swimming pool!

    I sometimes wonder if you don't comment just to be hurtful, but I can't bring myself to believe that of someone who writes elsewhere with such poetic and sensibility about other sujects. And you appreciate St. Nicolas.....

  34. You all sound like a bunch of misogynists. I was standing up for the underdog, it's my good Samaritan nature.

    Besides my niece was a lovely ado and is a lovely young lady and gets on with my sons like a house on fire.

  35. Richard, your sympathy is misplaced. Sorry.


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