Friday, December 10, 2010

A: Empty Wallet. Q: What Is Being Right?

Why is it when you stand for a principle or even better, assert your right as a parent, it costs you money?

Case in point: I've been having a long running battle with both my son and my mother over him wanting to get a driver's license. Long story short, I made it crystal clear that in order for me to allow him to get a license, he has to get a job.


I suppose it has to do with the fact that the nano-second he gets a license my poor paycheck, already stretched to maximum capacity as being the only source of income in the house, cannot absorb the financial hit that a lazy teenager will inflict on it.

So in order to help defray the cost of a teenager latching onto my paycheck, said teenager got a job flipping burgers, which in and of itself was a good thing. Responsibility and all that jazz, I'm all for it.

Anyways, at about the same time he got the job, he also signed up for driver's ed classes (Connecticut says that you have to have "x" amount of hours of a particular type of driver's training under your belt before you can take the exam). Which was fine. Again, responsibility and all that jazz, I'm all for it.

And he also makes an appointment to take the test, which is also fine. Responsibility and all that jazz, I'm all for it.

A few weeks later, once it became clear enough that son was gainfully unemployed due to being dropped after a weekend of training, it was decided by me that a rescheduling of the driver's test needed to be done.


You thought I uttered a profanity against the Prophet Muhammad. Next thing I knew, I'm being jumped by my lazy ass son and my overbearing mommy dearest.

After an intense rock 'em sock 'em battle in which profanities, threats and objects were hurled with deadly accuracy, and of which I tried (again) to get my point across about it being financially unsound in the most direct way that I knew how, I left the household battered and bruised, and unsure whether or not I was going to win this latest flareup.

By Monday (this donnybrook having taken place on Friday morning so my day was severely shot to tiny little pieces) the acrimony had died down to the point where I was on acknowledgment terms with lazy ass son and mommy dearest.

So I'm busy typing away on keyboard at work with pretty much an empty mind, when my phone rings. I looked at the caller i.d. and considering its from home, my tone is somewhat brusque.

"What?" this is how I usually answer the phone from home.
"Hey, where do you want me to take the money from?" as you can see, wife is more than used to this kind of 'tude from me.
"For what?"
"Cancellation fee."
"Again, for what?"
"Cancelling the driver's test without two weeks notice." driver's test was the next day.
"How much?"
"Forty bucks."
at this point I'm swearing under my breath because if I did it out loud I would be hip deep in pig shit.
"G?" she really didn't call me that but you know....
"Where do you want me to take it from?"
grumble, grumble, grumble "Checking I guess."
"You sure?"
"Not really."
"Thanks, bye."

So in the end, this debacle (for it was a debacle) cost me a great deal of peace of min, made my wallet a tad lighter and made my mood just that darker for the next week.

I often ask myself is it really worth it to hold your ground in order to make your point, when in the end all you've accomplished is to widen the chasm between yourself and your kids, yourself and your wife, yourself and your parents, and sadly enough, between yourself and your peace of mind.


  1. Very dififcult to know what to do in such cases. Parenting is far from a science. Not knowing all the issues I couldn't second guess you.

  2. It's hard to take a stand and then try to make it through the assault, but I think you're right - responsibility is only learned through hard work and contribution so I think your stand is a good one.

  3. Yes it definitely is. With gas costing nearly $3.50 a gallon, property taxes and maintenance, along with the privilege of driving comes responsibility. Just call your insurance agent and get a quote on adding said son to policy and you'll be glad you stood your ground.

  4. Charles: I agree that parenting is definitely not a science, but mostly a trial and error kind of prospect.

    This was/is a microcosm of what I go through in my household on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Older parental interferance at its best, or worst.

    Talon: Hard work is something that my son studiously avoids at all costs and its becoming more and more apparent that he will go through life with this particular approach.

    Sad part is, when I was his age, my mother use to pester the crap out of me to get a job, get a license and take responsibility for my life.

    Joanne: I don't even have to call my insurance guy for a quote because I go by on how much it cost me when I was his age and add 25%.

    At this point, he is not that responsible enough to drive, let alone have a license.

  5. For what it's worth, I totally agree with you (but I don't have kids -- which, I've been told by various parties, means I can't have an opinion about parenting :)). But I'm a big believer in teaching kids about responsibility...

  6. Well that sucks. I think you are definitely right in principle...he doesn't seem mature enough to handle the privileges of having a license.

  7. That's tough - household strife is the worst. I think it is good to hold your ground though.

  8. Lisa: Thanks. And for the record, just because you don't have kids, doesn't mean you can't offer an opinion about parenting. I accept all opinions and comments here about parenting.

    Besides, someday you may become an auntie, which means you get to become a defacto parent.

    M: Definitely sucked indeed. It seems that I always pay a heavy price for my principles, which I'm getting kind of tired in doing.

    And no, he doesn't.

    Lynn: Thanks. People wonder why I sometimes look like I got a major chip on my shoulder and its because of incidents like this that I do.

  9. Ha! I have been through all of this year with no 1 son who has just turned nineteen. The insurance was £2, wallet is considerably lighter.... and now to cap it all the government has taken the cap of university tutition fees! There's nothing like a kick in the teeth is there?

  10. Jane: Nope.

    And it still hasn't ended. My mother has been throwing subtle hints that I should let up on my once condition of him getting a job.

    I probably would if he was making a concentrated effort to find one, but he isn't.


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