That’s not a turret, my friends

Everyone knows I’m counting down the days until my son goes back to school—eight, to be exact, so I can write in peace again. My writing goals were so far from being fulfilled this summer that I’m embarrassed to even call myself a writer. Writers write, after all.

Even though I failed miserably in the writing department, I also had Son Goals this summer.

1. Do one cultural thing—and eating ethnic food doesn’t count. WIN. We went to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This is when my son’s ADHD comes in handy, because while I adore museums, I adore them in short doses—meaning I cannot spend hours upon hours in one. Unless it’s the Louvre. So we whizzed through everything pretty quickly, yet still came away feeling very yogurty (cultured).

2. Get my son to finally sleep in his own bed. Yes, I know how old he is…sigh. This has been a bone of contention with every human being I know. Opinions ranged from my son possibly turning gay, to winding up with an Oedipus complex in the future, to him being twenty and still sleeping in my bed. It’s not like I haven’t tried over the years; it’s just that I wanted the decision to be his, rather than us having to wage battle every night. WIN. We both decided once he turned ten in July, it was time. I’m happy to report so far, so good. And I won’t have to witness his very first wet dream.

3. Teach son that Mom is not a maid. This one has been particularly difficult for me, because not only am I borderline obsessive-compulsive, I’m also a control freak and a perfectionist to boot. See, no one else can do “it” as well as me, so I may as well just do “it” myself. A lot of women are like this, which comes back to bite them in the ass. My ex used to say, “Why should I clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, do the laundry…when I know I can’t do it the way you want me to do it?”

Theoretically, I’m supposed to let my son wash dishes even if he doesn’t use scalding hot water to get them clean, right? Or I need to let him fold clothes even if the sides and hems don’t line up, right? Wrong. I’m so not there yet, and if I could go there, I’d worry I’d crack all my teeth from gritting them so hard. Maybe next year. I give myself a FAIL for this particular goal.

4. Go to the beach. We live in Southern California. It would be truly pathetic if we didn’t get to the beach at least once. My excuse for not doing anything that requires me to drive into Los Angeles is fear of traffic. I can’t stand not going more than twenty-three miles per hour for two-and-a-half hours. And yet there are folks who do it every freaking day. Maybe they use the time to learn Cantonese, or they relish the time away from their nagging wife and bitchy teenage daughter. But me? My blood pressure goes up and I wind up feeling like I have a ruptured aneurysm.

But for the sake of my son’s happiness I braved the traffic, and because we brought three different kinds of cookies with us, instead of high blood pressure, I had a sugar-induced high, which felt much better. We brought one of my son’s friends with us, so I did have to be hyper-vigilant about making sure the undertow didn’t suck him out to sea. Besides a flock of seagulls ripping open and devouring our family-size bag of potato chips while we were swimming, it was a great day.

On our way home, as we were stuck in traffic and playing that game where you spy words beginning with the letters of the alphabet (words beginning with Q and X are impossible to find, btw), my son decided he had to pee. There was no way I was going to pull over, so he thought it’d be fun to try and pee into an empty plastic water bottle. I told him it was a good thing his penis was small enough to fit inside the opening of one. He had a ball trying to stick his penis into the bottle, and it was all fun-and-games until I considered the repercussions of him spilling a bottle of urine all over my car seat and floor. Fortunately, he was unable to pee sitting down while belted in, so all in all, I’d have to say this day was full of WIN.

Has anyone had a summer more exciting than mine?

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