It is hard to be a stepparent of a troubled teen.

So I am having a VERY hard time thinking of something funny to write about. I have wracked my brain. I just can’t come up with anything even remotely funny going on in my life right now. Maybe if I tell you all that is going on you could help me…..

Let’s see, actually, if I do that, it will just depress you all as much as it depresses me. I have come to the conclusion after much drama, that apparently I am a minority. I have done research on the internet looking for people like me. Looking for help, looking for support groups. I have not been successful so far. It is hard to describe. I believe there are thousands of people like me, but I don’t think anyone is willing to admit it. We will be ostracized. We will make people angry. Don’t rock the boat……just suffer in silence to keep the peace……
I kid you not, when I do research looking for my people, I come up empty handed.  I mean come on, seriously people???  Even people looking for their African ancestors will have more databases to peruse than people like me.  So have piqued your curiosity yet?  Are you wondering what in the heck kind of minority I am?  You may be wondering if I am really in such a small group of people?

Ok, so I will tell you…..drumroll please………

I am the Step Parent of a Troubled Teen.  Also known as a SPOTT.  And yes, I did make up that acronym….do you like it???  I have an amazing partner who I love without reservation who is the biological parent to a difficult, troubled teen. We have worked with her, we have taken her to see a therapist, (she was fired by the therapist), we have stopped yelling and started talking.  All to no avail.  And to be totally honest, as the step parent and not the biological parent, I have little or no control over the situation anyway.  As a matter of fact, the websites I did find gave me the following advice:

“Communication and teamwork are essential in a step-parenting situation.”
Yessirree folks,  that is abut all there is to being a good stepparent.  Communication……..right?  They have got to be fucking kidding me….
When you are the step parent of a troubled teen you are pretty much the same as a muchroom sitting in a dark corner.  You have absolutely NO say in what happens.  If your partner is a strong parent and uses tough love and firm parenting, things might get better for you.  However, if your partner is a parent who would rather NOT deal with confrontation and the “messy” stuff, all I can say is boy howdy you better hold on for a rough ride.  I know because I am a partner to a wonderful, amazing, beautiful woman who is a parent of the second kind.  She would rather just NOT deal with anything that is difficult.  In teenage language this really means “it’s okay honey, just do whatever you want”.  Then when there are concerns about drinking and unprotected sex and smoking, it is too late to put the brakes on and try and fix what is broken.  And as the stepparent, I can only hold on, close my eyes tight and whimper in the corner.  Sometimes I click my heels three times and say “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.” When I am done, I am still standing in the same fucking spot dealing with the same bullshit I was dealing with before.

WHERE ARE YOU GLENDA?????
So, my real question is……is there anyone else out there who walks my walk?  Anyone who finds themself whimpering in the corner because they are powerless and their house is being run by an unruly, ungrateful, teenager who thinks they can do whatever they want???? And the one adult who should have the power does nothing because it is easier to walk away???  PLEASE for the love of all that is good, there MUST be someone else out there like me??? I don’t mind being a minority, but I don’t want to be the only one………

Just knowing there is one other person like me would help………anyone?????

I am going to go eat something chocolate now……

Canning Fresh Tomatoes….YUM!

I planted my first outdoor garden ever this spring!!

I have been so happy with my little garden….my first foray into the world of gardening in the ground! In past years I have always grown my tomatoes and herbs in pots on my deck.  This year I decided I wanted a garden in the ground and Bluebell tilled me up a small 6×6 plot.  Of course I was overly ambitious it turns out and planted TOO much in such a small space, but who knew??

I planted three tomato plants, a yellow girl, a beefsteak and a Roma.  The yellow plant was diseased and we had to pull it up and throw it away pretty early in the season.  This made me very sad, since although I love tomatoes when I eat them I get blisters on my tongue from the acid content.  Yellow tomatoes have a lower acid content and don’t give me blisters.  Oh well, I knew blisters would abound, but I would enjoy my lovely tomatoes nonetheless!!

I also planted two green pepper plants and one yellow pepper plant.  In addition I have basil, chives, lavender, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, and thyme.

As the spring moved into summer, I was surprised by the early harvest of tomatoes.  The beefsteak tomato plant grew about 4 feet tall and two feet wide.  And the Roma plant grew the same !!  We have had tomatoes coming out of our ears, so I decided I wanted to can them so we can enjoy them all winter long!

I looked for ball jars and canning supplies at my local Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Target.  Nobody had a large canner, so I had to order it from Walmart online and have it delivered to the house.  I found a great website that walked me thorough the canning process and away we went!!

We blanched the tomatoes in boiling water for 45 seconds, then put them in an ice water bath. 

Tomatoes blanched on boiling water for 45 seconds and the skins removed

The skins came off very easily!  Skins in the canned tomatoes make the tomatoes tough.

The tomatoes were chopped and put into the sanitized jars, with 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

Blanched tomatoes being placed into prepared jars.

 

1 tbsp of lemon juice went into each jar to keep the tomatoes fresh after canning.

 

Jars filled to the top with tomatoes and lemon juice.

 

Lids on the jars, getting ready to place in canner

Once the lids were screwed on tightly, the jars went into the canner for 45 minutes.

Jars boiling in the canner for 45 minutes.

 

Jar “remover” tool and the jars after canning.

 

All done, ready to be eaten. YUM!

I will let you know how the resulting canned tomatoes taste!!

Did she say, “Dump the poop tank?”

Bluebell and I have been working feverishly over the past few years to pay off bills.
 Well, I have been working feverishly.
 I say “I” because I balance the checkbook, pay the bills, and decide how much to pay on each bill.  I have been “stacking” payments on some bills for the past few years.  What that means is you pay as much as you can on the bill that has the lowest balance.  Pay it off, then add ALL of that money to the bill with the next lowest balance, etc.  We have paid off a car loan, a credit card, and three store cards that way.
We had a goal!  All of that feverish paying off of things was done for a reason…….
 
TO ADD A NEW BILL!!!!!
Bluebell with the new camper!
YUP, we bought a camper. DON’T JUDGE ME!
Yes, friends, camping in a camper is still camping.  You will still have smoke, and fires in a fire ring, and toasting (burning if you are one of my sons….burning to a charred mess) of marshmallows.  There are still mosquitoes and bugs and spiders.  The difference is they are OUTSIDE, and I can be INSIDE.  Look at it this way, the most important part of having a camper is this:  a clean potty only 15 feet from my bedroom……..  it is the little things that make me happy.  I don’t need diamonds, money or cars….I just need a clean potty in the middle of the night that I don’t need a flashlight to get to.
Oh and the other thing that is very important is a bed.  My old bones can no longer take sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, and the air mattress is always deflated by morning time.  NO MORE TENT CAMPING FOR ME!!!!
Okay, so we bought our camper from Dodd RV!  Fabulous people!  Very nice, very reasonable, and extremely helpful!
Our salesperson and the Dodd RV Manager were so wonderful!!
 We bought a camper they did not have on the lot because it is a new model, so they ordered it for us.  It was made to order in Elkhart Indiana, where LOTS of campers are made….little known fact about Elkhart.  (I used to live near there in Mishawaka, Indiana, well actually South Bend, but that is another story…..)
So we went to pick it up last week, and an amazing man named Bobby showed us the ins and outs of the camper.  Bobby has been with Dodd RV for over 50 years!!!!  This man KNOWS campers!!
Mr. Bobby knows campers!!
He showed us the camper from stem to stern, and from top to bottom.  He showed us how to fix things, how EVERYTHING works, how to put antifreeze in the lines to winterize, how to make drinking water for our fresh water tank, he even showed us the electronics and the guts.
  Okay, so those of you who know me KNOW that he really showed all of that to Bluebell.  She is a mechanic.  She understands how to fix things.  I just like to look cute……oh, and I can bake, cook up a storm, do laundry and get my honey a beer, all while trying to look cute. I was being cute with Bobby and taking pictures.  Bluebell learned about the camper.  THAT is the truth of it….so here are the pictures, ’cause I surely was not paying attention to how to drain the hoses, or the poop tank, or the shower.  I sure hope Bluebell was!!!!  LOL
Mr. Bobby showing Bluebell about the stereo system.

 

The kitchen. Now I need some new Pampered Chef pans for cooking!

 

Dining area. Folds down to a bed.

 

Our new baby!
This is one of the extra amenities we bought.  It is a kitchen on the OUTSIDE of the camper.  It has a fridge (for cold bevvies), a microwave, a sink and a two burner cook top.  This way I can feed the family without having to have their dirty feet inside my clean camper……

So we will take our new baby out next week during the kids’ Spring Break.  We are going to a campground about 45 minutes from the house, to test her out.  I will post pics, and let you all know how it went…….bugs, poop tank and all.