So, it's been a crazy day and I am so excited to go out on a date with my husband. We decided we were going to go out to eat and then to a parenting conference at church. Our weekend guy was supposed to be there by 5 pm.
Around 4:30, the grocery sacker/quacker/barker (yes, he started barking too) asked if he could go pick up his paycheck and then go to an electronics store to purchase a new video game. I told him that when the weekend staff came, he could go, as we would have time for them to do that and we could stay home with the other two. Historically, things don't go so well when they are all in the van together.
At 6:15, Lowell called our weekend guy to see what the deal was and when he was coming in. His response was something along the lines of "oh gosh, I completely forgot. All day long I've had this feeling that I was supposed to do something but couldn't remember what it was." REALLY??? You forgot to come to work??? How does one forget to come to work??? He said he could be here in a couple of hours. We told him not to worry about coming in, since our evening was already ruined. I'd stay home and Lowell would go to the conference.
I popped a frozen pizza in the oven and changed into some "just staying home" clothes. It wasn't long before I was trying to explain to Mr. I want my Paycheck and I want it now why we could not go get it tonight. Since our staff didn't show up and Lowell was leaving, I couldn't take him, but we had two staff coming in tomorrow who would be more than happy. Well, this was not acceptable as he had other plans already for tomorrow and he was "tired of this *&%$" and he headed out the door.
Poor Lowell. He headed out after him, walking down the street. Lowell passed a jogger who said that he had seen him. Yes, the 25 year old wearing a tank top and shorts (in the 30 degree weather) and a huge bluetooth type thing in his ear. So Lowell continues in that general direction. Several minutes later, when he hasn't been spotted again, we called in the troops - his dad, our supervisors and the local police. (I have the number for police dispatch in the address book of my cell phone. Scary huh?)
About 30 minutes later, I got a call from Lowell. He says, "so the jogger noticed the shorts, tank top and bluetooth. Don't know why he neglected to mention the bicycle." Heck, no wonder we couldn't find him. Well I immediately feel better that he's been found. I don't know why I thought that finding him had solved the problem.
The police knocked on our door a few minutes later. I told him that we had found the eloper and all was well, but then I had the forethought to ask if he would mind staying until they arrived home just to make sure everything was okay. While the officer was taking his report, our shopper from the morning was most excited to show off his new jeans, and his room, and his new hat, and it just brought back all the fun memories from the morning to me; and the poor police officer just didn't even know what to do/think.
When Lowell wasn't home within a few minutes, I sent the police out looking for him. He'd been kidnapped! Or Adultnapped, or whatever you want to call it. Our guy got in the van with him and told him where he had to drive, or else. The or else involved him: jumping out of the van, destroying the house, tearing up the van so that nobody else could use it (i.e. cutting the battery out). So, Lowell just sat there in the driver's seat - not coming home, but also not following the kidnapper's demands.
The police weren't just a whole lot of help. They were nice and all, but said that really no laws had been broken (yet) and as long as he didn't hurt anybody or damage the house when he got home they didn't see any reason that he couldn't go get his check and video game. (Thanks local police for your help in our positive behavior reinforcement - or not!) So just to get him home safely, Lowell went ahead and took him to the store and got him home.
Once home, the fun continued. He called his dad and screamed at him for a bit. He made a few more demands, going so far as to put a timeline on it - "if I don't have the money in my hand by 9:30 in the morning, I'll blow this house up, then they'll know not to screw with me!" Uh, yeah, okay. So we knew that things may not be any better the next day, but we were so totally done with the day, we just went to bed, hoping that Jesus would come back before we had to face the problem the next day.
With no such luck, the kidnapper's dad came and gave in to his terroristic demands and gave him what he wanted. So he's learned that all you have to do is make threats to tear things up or hurt people and you get what you want. He never learned that you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.
We got an email later from his father. He explained that the threat to damage the car was all talk because his son told him that he didn’t know how to do that and was worried about battery acid and getting shocked if he tried that. Yeah, no kidding. He says this all amounted to his son just having a bad day and we all have those. And of course on our bad days, the police get involved and we come really close to having property damage and terroristic threatening charges, right?
I later had a long conversation with my supervisor who had just gotten done with a long conversation with his dad. She said he suggested that we just let him destroy property, call the police, have him arrested and thrown in jail. "A weekend in jail might just be the best thing for him," he says. We got really excited at this thought because we've thought from day one that would be the best teaching experience he could have. But then his dad says, "he wouldn't have charges against him though would he?" When it was affirmed that you really can't spend a weekend in jail without charges, he quickly changed his mind, as he wouldn't want his kid having "legal consequences".
So we are now thinking, "Wait a minute. Just a second ago you thought a weekend in jail would be good for him. But now you don't want legal consequences? Oh, you mean you want him to go to Pretend Jail? Yeah, well too bad there's no such thing as PRETEND JAIL!!!"
The funny thing is when I was relaying all this to our weekend guy (the good one) he pops out with, "Why would it matter if he has a record? Is he planning on a Senate run any time soon?"
And there you have it. That was our day. We didn't make it to the conference, but we certainly learned a lot about parenting - especially what not to do. And although this was not necessarily a typical day for us, it certainly wasn't way outside the realm of what we call normal around here.