Monday, April 8, 2013

I survived another spring break

Well, I survived another spring break.
No, I was not partying so hard I almost coughed up a kidney (like the good old days), my spring break was busy, but not nearly as much fun and barfing up body parts.
My spring break was filled with the laughter of young ones as they enjoyed carefree days away from the confines of school walls.
Sounds nice, except the ‘young ones’ I am referring too were a herd of 16- to 17-year-old boys.
There was anywhere from three to nine of them in my humble home at any given point in time. They were here for eight days, that’s more than a week of having a swarm of teens rampaging through my abode.
My wife worked for five of those days. I have never seen her so happy to go to work in my life. She would say fare-thee-well and then skip down the driveway to the car, humming a little tune while I looked mournfully out the window in anticipation of another day of semi-controlled chaos.
Aside from the constant noise of the TV, Xbox, computer and whatever else they had going on was the ever-increasing volume of their voices.
It would seem when young men get together they tend to get rather loud. They don’t mean to, but with that many people all talking at once, the volume has to increase so they can be heard.
Of course after a while the volume raises to a point where people in a different hemisphere can hear them.
They also move in a pack. When one decides to assault the food stocks, the others joined, to create a feeding frenzy that would be right at home on a National Geographic special.
Crews could set up hidden cameras and add commentary about the food lust of the young human male, especially when a fresh kill of lasagna has been spotted.
I have seen those documentaries where lions take down a zebra and they all feast on the beast by tearing it to shreds. Child’s play compared to a pack of hungry teens. Even Murphy the Wonder Dog stayed out of the dining room for fear of being swept up in the feeding frenzy furor.
They would eat just about everything in the pantry except the dust, and I am pretty sure if I put some pepper on it, they would have eaten that as well.
There are no drugs or booze allowed, and foul language will not be tolerated - period. These young men honour that, which shows respect for my home.
I like that.
But I must admit I do find it stressful to be ‘the house’ where everyone gathers.
Teenagers don’t mean to be slobs, it just comes naturally, but they do clean up when I remind them – sort of.
I have given this speech more than once: “Gentlemen, take a close look at me. Do you see the words maid or servant written anywhere on my clothes? No you do not, so that means you have to clean up after yourself.”
Most of the time they do, but occasionally dishes are forgotten and wet towels from a shower frequently end up in a ball behind the bathroom door.
It is also not cheap being ‘the house’ where everyone gathers and hangs out and eats and eats and eats and…
So being ‘the house’ is loud, stressful, frustrating, expensive and at times downright annoying.
But what else can I do? It provides a safe place to hangout, a place away from the temptations of the street and they are all very comfortable and relaxed while in my home (even if I’m not.) So as they file through the front door I smile, offer them something to eat and brace myself for the onslaught of activity that comes with hosting the herd.
The bright side of having nine or so teens running around my house is when there is the usually two or three, it is easy to handle. Almost like a stay-at-home vacation.
Spring break is over for another year so the herd has gone back to their respective homes and schools. The house is quiet, there are actually leftovers in the fridge and the milk jug is not empty – for now anyway.

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