Strange question I realize, but I seriously need to know. I suppose you'll need a little more background information before you can answer that one eh? Well the explanation is a two-parter, and a little long (really though, what story of mine isn't long, I'm not known for my brevity). So here goes but just remember, you asked for it:
First, the hydro bill part... The Boy has a terrible sleeping schedule. Case in point, it's now 1.47 p.m. on a Saturday as I am writing this, and he has not yet surfaced for the day. You might think that's perfectly normal for a teenage boy on the weekend but he's like this EVERYDAY. He doesn't go to school, he doesn't work, he has nothing to live for really. And the West Indian in me is having a hard time tolerating such lawlessness. (I suggest you affect a Guyanese accent when you read that word or else it just doesn't work; note the accent should be continued for this next sentence too) But I ain able tuh row wid The Boy too too much, ya undastan? So I leave him, sleeping, all day, while I go to work, while Smalley goes to school and while The Girl pretends to go to school most of the time (she ain't fooling anyone but herself though). But if you follow this course of action through to it's logical conclusion, you must be wondering what a boy who sleeps all day does all night, right? (For those of you who weren't wondering about this yet, the rest of us will wait here patiently while you catch up...)
He is awake all night of course. Sometimes he's out roaming the streets of T.O. with his friends, but most times (especially as it gets colder) he is here. Watching TV, surfing the 'Net and chatting with friends online, cooking who knows what to eat - many of these things all at once. Which of course leads to my lights being on all night, the heat running more than it would if he was sleeping like the rest of us, the TV and computer both on all night, the microwave, stove and oven being used during the night, etc. And more often than not, when I wake up in the morning (around 6.30 a.m. or so) I find him face down on the couch with the TV on and the cable box in sleep mode which means he's been like that for a at least two hours. I have discussed the timer mode on the TV with him many times, it's like talking to a wall folks, just not getting through you know?
So all in all this behaviour has created a noticeable spike in my hydro bill. *sigh* However he claims it's an ingrained habit that he can't overcome, developed from his time of being "homeless" and hanging out all night at Internet cafes, etc. I say bullsh*t!
(ASIDE: Note the quotes around the word homeless, there's good reason for them. The Boy is somewhat estranged from his mother - aka they don't get along, he can't follow her rules, she's tired of fighting with him, so he left/she put him out, they are sometimes in touch now but they usually end up fighting after any prolonged exposure to one another. He stayed here for almost a year, but I think the whole rules/structure/parent in your face/expected to go to school regularly thing was getting to him; he started getting the "I-don't-want-anyone-telling-me-what-to-do" itch and left. That was in June 2008 and he just moved back in last September. [This time he's here more as a tenant than a dependant... can't really say how well that's working out yet, I'll let you know in a few months.] Anyhoo, during the time he wasn't here, he got by via living with a few other relatives for short periods of time, couch surfing and/or visiting out of town friends, renting a room whenever he could scrape together rent, hanging out an Internet cafe a lot, running the streets all night, crashing at youth shelters when needed, etc. He refers to it as his homeless period, and I think of it more as him being nomadic (although that's probably formalizing/romanticizing it too much). I still say he could have had a permanent home during that time with at least a handful of relatives or me, but he didn't want structure. So while that period of his life wasn't ideal, I think it's something he opted for and probably needed to go through. Man that was a long aside... back to the original story now.)
The second part to this story is: as you might recall from a previous post, we've all been sick, for some time. And while we're past the achy, feverish, confined to bed stage of bronchitis, we're stuck in the constant-chest-racking cough stage. Well, The Girl, Smalley and I are at that stage. The Boy took off to visit friends in London, ON for a week back when we're really sick and was doing a good job of avoiding getting sick. But when he came back we were in the thick of it and there was no way to avoid it. I'm pretty sure he's got bronchitis too (he won't bother to go to a doctor, remember he sleeps all day) but is about two weeks behind us in the progression. So for the past week or so he's been looking like crap, feeling worse, and coughing. All. Night. LONG!
Buckley's was helping a bit but the bottle finished. So the other night I'm in the pharmacy section at Costco and about to pick up a mega bottle of the stuff when I notice that they have a duo-pack of Nyquil for $12.99. Well that's a freaking amazing price considering one bottle at the regular pharmacy is almost 10 bucks. And then it occurs to me that while the Buckley's will help with the cough, the Nyquil will knock the kid out. I mean I don't quickly opt for over-the-counter solutions but the kid has been suffering lately (seriously, he looks crappy) and he's not doing any of the things I told him to (e.g. drink lots of fluids, drink the juiced ginger I have in the fridge [it's a natural immune system booster and good for respiratory ailments, seriously people get on board with ginger], getting some proper rest, using the zinc lozenges, etc.) so at this point I'm thinking I should just drug him!(This is about when the evil cackling started in my mind.)
So I get home and after unpacking the groceries, I just pour some out and tell him to drink it. I don't bother to tell him what it is. (He's great for this by the way, The Boy will down just about anything you offer him. The first time I gave him juiced ginger it was hee-lar-i-ous! He bounced off the walls like a ping pong ball and was freaking for like 20 minutes. Yes the juiced ginger can be a little harsh the first few times you drink it but it's easy to get used to and as I told him, Smalley drinks her's no problem so suck it up!)
Then I settle in to watch some TV and in about 25 minutes he is passed out. Gone. Zonked. And I am laughing my ass off as he snores on the couch at like 10.45 p.m. which is pretty much unheard of for him. But my joy isn't complete until I have someone to share it with. Thankfully, The Girl came home a little later and I was able to gloat to her about my feat. (Her response: Mom, you drugged him and now you're happy about it? You're evil." To which I just cackled more.) Or else I would have been forced to take pictures of him and post them here.
Except I did that anyway:
So as I go to bed I realize that there'll be no TV and computer on all night long, no late night cooking. Just sleeping. Everyone will be sleeping during the night, as they should. And I decide that the administering of Nyquil in order to reduce hydro bills should be every parent's right. So I guess I don't really care what you all say about it... just send my Parent of The Year Award now and call CAS later!
PS: even my victories over the teenagers in my home are short-lived. The Girl decided she was bored and hungry and by the time she was done puttering around it was after midnight and she'd woken him up. He got something to eat and was watching TV when I went outside to investigate. I told him he needs to sleep and that he shouldn't stay up too late. The Nyquil must have still been working because he didn't stay up too late and was still sleeping the next morning when I left for work.
PPS: When I got home that afternoon he was like "Did you know that the Nyquil makes you sleepy? I took some more today and I was like knocked out?!" So I innocently replied, "Really? It made you sleepy? I didn't know that!" while The Girl is laughing her ass off.