Another thing that happened during my blog absence was Jared. No, he’s not a new boyfriend. Jared is an 18-year-old who is the son of Michael 2.0’s best friend’s fiancé, Laura. When Michael 2.0 went to Boston in December 2013, he met Jared briefly. Two months later, Jared was in California and living first with Michael 2.0 and then with me. I’ll spare you the confusing details surrounding the move. Let’s just say he’s a teen, rather strong-willed, and clearly a little impulsive.
I offered to let Jared live with me because I thought he could provide respite services (a fancy term for babysitting) in exchange for room and board while he finished high school. He’s a nice kid, and he and Katie clicked. It’s hard to find good sitters for Katie, especially ones willing to work for $10/hour. Plus I liked him. So we talked things through and he moved in.
First I had to clear a path to the guest room bed. For years I’d been piling stuff in there and closing the door. I knew it was a mess, but good grief—how had it gotten so bad? This lead to the discovery of clothes that I’d abandoned and never given to charity. I cleared out the clothes and then Michael 1.0’s discarded possessions. Next were the random items that seemed like a good idea at the time—a rattan mirror, two black and silver lamps, a down comforter that I’d forgotten to return in the chaos of my divorce—as well as stuff I’d hidden at some point from Katie and forgotten about. I filled bag after bag for charity and organized the rest. Then furniture started moving, a complicated dance between the guest room, the office, and Katie’s bedroom. The extra pair of hands helped, but mostly it was momentum that propelled me forward. All of this was good. There were, however, other, less great, aspects of our arrangement.
To start with, Jared is a teen. He spends huge parts of his day holed up in his room texting and using the internet—my internet. He takes really long showers and eats a lot. He slept until noon and then hung out in the yard sunbathing and reading. I wanted to do that but couldn’t. He didn’t register for school until I drove him there. You get the picture. I viewed our arrangement as a roommate situation; he viewed me as a surrogate mom, which meant whatever he found in the fridge or pantry was his.
After three weeks, I was getting annoyed.
Jared’s parents divorced years ago and the kid is now a zen master at playing one adult off the other. He added me into the mix and things got confusing. Eventually the adults figured things out, but by then Jared was angling for his own apartment—an idea his mom and I thought was crazy. But dad eventually caved and Jared moved into an apartment a short walk away. Part of me was worried and part of me was relieved. It seems to be working out, however, and by that I mean he may be eating nothing but chicken and scrambled eggs, but he hasn’t starved and his phone only got shut off once.
Jared still serves as Katie’s sitter/companion and that gives me more free time to attend literary events, yoga classes, and yes, even go on dates. Plus all those random items I mentioned? They found a very appreciative new home.
Until next time,
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