Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: Carl Grimes

What Would Carl Do?


It was these very words that sparked a new way of parenting for me fours years ago, and became the catalyst for this blog.

https://wakingthewalker.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/twd-apocalyptic-parenting-tactic/#more-2

As any parent knows, dealing with a teenager creates a whole new level of challenges. As the hormones kick in, that once sweet, little, abiding child becomes a disconnected, zoned out, somewhat disrespectful foot-dragging walker. Testing you at every turn.

One has to get creative when approaching such a creature.

Zombie Teen

Just as I was at my wits end, it entered my mind that maybe, just maybe, by using “The Walking Dead” (our new found bonding agent) as a tuning fork, I could break through the teen brain fog and make a connection that my son would understand.

My Son had already connected to the character of Carl Grimes, the teenager on the show, so that was where I turned first.

With that in mind, I thought what better a way than then to ask, “What would Carl do?” at the times my Son was slacking and not carrying his share of the load. Or just plain not making wise choices about how he uses his time, particularly with schoolwork due.

The first time I said it, my Son heard me, immediately, and gave me a strange look, like “what are you up to?” I just smiled, said think about it and walked away.

Over time these words have evolved based on what Carl was up to on “The Walking Dead.” Some seasons Carl has been a beaming example for my Son, other seasons he proved to be “What Not To Do” and I used both to my advantage.

Yes, at times my Son got annoyed, but because he was annoyed, I knew he knew what I was getting at.

Of course Carl wasn’t the only character that made for great examples. There is a huge cast on TWD, with characters behaving badly and saintly, all of which make for examples. The subject matter of the show, surviving a zombie apocalypse, sets up for a plethora of behaviors ripe for the picking.

Some may think I’m crazy for even considering such a notion as to use fictitious characters as examples of what to do or not do in life, but I can honestly say I’ve seen growth with my Son since adopting this tactic.

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WTW Is Coming Full Circle


If you’re a Walking Dead fan, you know oh to well the show returns February 25th. And with it’s return, the undoubted departure of a well-loved character.

TWD Masthead

Spoiler Alert –

If you are not caught up with TWD, please do not read any further.

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Surviving the IN-BETWEEN Time


As of late I am feeling more and more as if I’m living in a state of limbo. A limbo caused by what I refer to as my Son’s “IN-BETWEEN” stage, the time between preparing for college and actually going to college. It’s kind of an amplified level of the tweens and in all honesty worse than the tweens.

52013676 - a solitary figure in the twilight forest

My Son wants to be independent, but at the same time, in some instances, continues to hang on to Mommies’ apron strings. He keeps me at arms length. Doesn’t want Mom involved, but needs to know she’s close by, just in case.

He’s OK with me being his alarm clock in the morning, but can’t handle when I get on him to speed things up so he doesn’t miss the bus.

He’s OK with me reminding him he needs gym clothes on gym days, but can’t stand when I remind him about college prep stuff that is due.

He’s willing to share the loft space with me, which is my office, to do his homework, but doesn’t want to hear my suggestions on how to work more efficiently.

Plus, he can get ornery when I’m at my computer for an extended period of time while he’s doing his homework. He thinks I’m spying on him, not actually working. Trust me I’m not, but it doesn’t help that he acts very suspicious more often than not.

Note, it was his decision to move his laptop from his room to the loft in an effort to combat his Internet wandering while doing homework. He felt if he were out in the open he’d be less tempted to roam.  SO, he wants me to be able to see what he’s doing, but he doesn’t want me to say anything when I catch him wandering.

Can I bang my head against a wall now?

22527628_m Read the rest of this entry »

Dealing with Sudden and Unexpected Change


OK, so I may not have awaken from a coma to discover that the dead are roaming the earth in search of fresh meat, but when you go to the ER thinking your stomach and back pain is due to a side effect from a medication and find out it’s a renal infarction which is very rare, and, you need to be admitted to the hospital to have more tests run to find out what caused this, your world is most definitely turned upside down, just as Rick Grime’s (Andrew Lincoln) was when he awoke in “The Walking Dead.”

Episode-1-Rick-Door-760

After waiting for 3 hours to be seen, and then a battery tests, I was told at 1:30 AM what my diagnosis was and that I was being admitted. I began to panic. My son was home sound asleep, having gone to bed thinking his Mom would be home at some point during the night. My first thought was, what if my son doesn’t wake up on time and misses the bus?

Plus, he will freak out when he realizes Mom is not home.

This was all deja vu from 2009 when I landed in the hospital for a week with pneumonia with sepsis. My Son was in elementary school and this was most definitely a scary time for him. Thank goodness one of my sisters could come and stay with him so as not to disrupt his routine.

As a teen he could stay by himself, but on the first morning I needed to get someone to stop at the house to be sure he’s up and doesn’t miss the bus. Plus tell him what’s going on. Read the rest of this entry »

PERSEVERANCE


When the student becomes the teacher, it is time to pause and take note as to how far one has come. On a recent Sunday night, this is precisely what happened in my household.

Chris Hardwick - Talking Dead _ Season 5 - Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC

Chris Hardwick – Talking Dead _ Season 5 – Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC

On the evening in question, the “Talking Dead” revealed the winner of their Ultimate Walking Dead Fan Competition. The coveted price for this contest was a seat on the couch next to the TWD guests of the week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Talking Dead, this is a TWD after-show, where host Chris Hardwick and guests discuss that week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.” The guests generally include 2 actors and/or producers from the show and a non-show related celebrity that is a TWD follower.

I’m sure by now you can guess that I entered this contest, why else would the announcement of the winner have any impact on me. The main requirement for the contest was that you had to have a passion for The Walking Dead, know the show inside and out, and have an energetic personality.

To enter the contest you had to submit a 30 second video stating why you are the ultimate fan. Using this blog as my grounds to be the ultimate TWD fan, I created a video, ending with a poster size image of the t-shirt that was created to promote the blog.

WTW_TShirt_Final

I sent the video off with hope in my heart that maybe just maybe this could be the break I needed to help get more traffic to my blog, which in turn would help when pitching the blog to agents and publishers. The next day, much to my surprise, I received a request to complete release forms allowing the producers the right to air the video on national TV and post on their website, where viewers could vote for their favorite.

The e-mail stated “Based on your video, we might be interested in potentially featuring you on our show.” Plus “If you’re interested, please send us your phone number, address, and any of your social media handles (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook…)” Why they needed social media handles I wasn’t sure, but I felt that it was a positive sign, and regardless as to what happened with the competition, meant the producers may actually check out my blog and writer’ Facebook page.

Rainbow in clouds

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Finding Peace in Being Alone


Kind of ironic that in the month we celebrate “love” I’ve been pondering the ever-present fact that in the not-so-distant future I will be alone. I mean really alone, just me at home. These thoughts were triggered while writing last month’s post when I touched on the subject of the inevitable day when my son will leave home for college.

Pondering being alone

I have been single the whole time I’ve been raising my son, but I always had the company of my son. Plus my Mother on weekends, and one of my sisters, who helped care for my Mom the last two years before she ended up in a nursing home in December of 2015. So, being single never really bothered me.

Add to that, between home and work I didn’t have the time for much of a social life or to dedicate to nurturing a romantic relationship. My life was full and I was content.

In reality, the idea of being alone began to wander through my mind after my Mother’s passing last April, but it really only hit home with my son turning 16 and the serious discussion of college.

To be honest, I’m actually OK with it. There’s a certain sense of peace I get with this solitude. Which is probably a good thing, considering I’m pursuing the profession of writer. A lot of alone time required when writing.

Vacation

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Walking Among the Walkers


With the end of the regular football/marching band season the beginning of this month, I’ve been thinking about how valuable the experience of chaperoning 260 teenagers really is, particularly for a single Mom. I have truly been “walking among the walkers” for weeks now, and will continue to as long as the playoffs go. The funny thing is, I have for the most part gone unnoticed, kind of like when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yuen) from “The Walking Dead” cover themselves in “walker guts” so they can go unnoticed in a horde of walkers in hopes of getting to a vehicle so they can escape the overridden city of Atlanta. Carol (Melissa McBride) does the same thing so she can mingle with walkers to get into Terminus in order to free Rick and his gang in the Season Five opener. The stunt worked in both cases and for the most part works for me too.Glenn and Rick, walker guts

Granted, I’m not covered in “sweaty teenager stink” but because these kids hormone riddled brains keep them stuck in their own worlds, they are oblivious to parent chaperones standing right next to them. That is until you catch them saying or doing something inappropriate and you make yourself visible, then, all it takes is the look and they know they’re being watched. At least when they become aware of your presence, they don’t chase you down and try to make you dinner like a walker would.

Remaining anonymous aids me in getting into the psyche of the teenage “aka walker” brain and reminds me I was once a walker too and I would never want to go back to High School. It’s allowed me to step outside of my role as my son’s Mother and try to look with empathy at the plight of a high school student. The world today is vastly different than my high school years and there are plenty more pressures put on kids today. Not just from the teachers but from parents, like me. Teen Horde

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The “CHARACTERS” We Play


Cardigan Carol and Carl. Watch out walkers we're packing heat.

Cardigan Carol and Carl. Watch out walkers we’re packing heat.

During a recent conversation with one of my Sisters, we got on the subject of my son and my cosplaying escapade at the Walker Stalker Convention in Philly the end of September. My son went as Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) from “The Walking Dead” and I went as Cardigan Carol (Melissa McBride); cookie baking, cardigan wearing Carol from the back half of Season 5. Since my Sister does not watch “The Walking Dead,” I gave her a little background on the characters, particularly Carol.

Carol - Season 1

Carol – Season 1

Carol - Season 5

Carol – Season 5

Cardigan Carol, with Carl

Cardigan Carol, with Carl

Explaining Carol’s transition from abused wife in Season 1 to a butt kicking, take no names, badass woman who rescued Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company single handedly from the cannibals at Terminus. Noting once within the walls of the Alexandria Safe Zone she reverted back to the submissive, cookie and casserole baking housewife persona she once was, not because she believed it was safe to shed her badass mamma side, but for protection from the unknown. Not knowing who the people within the safe zone were and what they may or may not be capable of, she felt it best to hold back who she was at her core. Believing the old version of herself was the one the Alexandrians wanted to see. Plus, it would enable her to move around unnoticed, blending in, allowing her to be the watcher. Appearing to be just like them, not toughened by the walker world on the other side of the walls, Carol was able to fall right into place with the locals. Fortunately though, as we’ve already seen in Season 6, she has not lost any of her badass skills.

I was surprised when my Sister told me she sees me more as the badass Carol than the Cardigan Carol. Yes, I have on more than one occasion been the Momma Bear protecting my son, and even walked out of a dead-end marriage to save my sanity, but, comparing this to a character like the evolved Carol I would not. This made me ponder the “characters” we all play in our daily lives and how we see ourselves vs. how others see us. In addition, how much fictional characters may actually influence our behavior. Read the rest of this entry »

Apocalyptic Hygiene


Mother Nature Shower

Mother Nature’s Shower

Considering how heavy the past couple months posts have been I just couldn’t resist lightening things up a bit this month.  What better than apocalyptic hygiene to serve that purpose? The opportunities to thoroughly bathe are far and few between when living in an apocalyptic world on the run from zombies and humans who just might want to cook you for dinner. Something we take for granted is a luxury in this world.

Bearded Rick

Bearded Rick

This was extremely evident as Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) band of survivors in “The Walking Dead” finally landed in the Alexandria safe zone. Although they may be having trouble settling in and assimilating there, they certainly were thrilled to have hot, running water and toiletries. Upon arriving in Alexandria, all but Daryl didn’t waste any time taking advantage of the opportunity to shower, brush their teeth and in Rick’s case, shave. (Definitely like the clean shaven Rick better than the bearded one. Love that chiseled jaw line.)

Clean Shaven Rick

Clean Shaven Rick

If you think about it, I’m sure the humans don’t smell much better than the rotting corpses roaming the lands. Something tells me if this show could be viewed in smell-o-vision it would not be as popular. That’s real sweat on the actors from the ever oppressive Georgia summer heat. After 10 hours in that heat I’m quite sure their deodorant isn’t working that great any more. If we could actually smell how ripe all the survivors are, I would think we would all be turned off. In addition, I don’t think the female fan base Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Rick have would be quite as large as it is. Let’s face it, there is nothing sexy about an stinky, unbathed man, especially one that hasn’t bathed in days, weeks, or months. There is absolutely nothing appealing about running your fingers through greasy, uncombed hair. Could you actually run your fingers through greasy, uncombed hair?

Sweaty Survivors

Sweaty Survivors

Considering all the life threatening situations the characters of TWD face, thinking about their hygiene may seem like a trivial thing, but there are days I feel like my fifteen year old son believes he is living in apocalyptic conditions and his life would be threatened if he paused to take a shower. Getting him in the shower is as much a challenge as getting him out of bed in the morning. You’d think I’m making him donate an organ or a limb. Once he’s in though, I can’t get him out, and he uses up the hot water.  There is no happy medium with him. Read the rest of this entry »

Give It Your All


“The average person puts about 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes its hat off to those who put more than 50% of their capacity into their work, and the world stands on it’s head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.” – Andrew Carnegie

Besides the weekly task of waking my walker and battle to cut back on video game/electronic use, I also struggle with trying to impress upon my son the importance of not just showing up. The importance of giving your all, not just enough to get by.  This is a huge frustration for me because I can see my son’s potential. Potential just wasting away with each passing marking period. The issue has been getting progressively worse since middle school, and with his freshman year in high school it has come to a head.

Snoozing TeenHis grades are see-sawing and he’s carrying a “C” in his engineering elective class. A class I figured he’d ace because it’s hands on and he loves building stuff.  At first I thought the “C” was an indication that maybe engineering really isn’t his thing, even with his Lego junky disposition. Since he was a toddler, he has been building sets well above his age level. Engineering just seemed like the perfect fit. How could I be so wrong? It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to speak with his engineering teacher that I found out it was nothing like that. My son does get the material, he just doesn’t give it his all and it’s not that he doesn’t enjoy what he’s doing, he does. The bottom line, he’s become academically lazy. He starts out with gusto, but fizzles out three quarters of the way through. His follow-through has become a follow-stop.

A habit that is getting increasingly worse as he gets older and one I believe has occurred because in his elementary days he was never really challenged and didn’t have to work hard to get good grades. He never really learned how to “Give it his all.” because he didn’t really have to. When he hit middle school, more was expected of him, and at times there was evidence of more effort, but in general, he found a way to just get by, even though his teachers and myself told him this will come back to bite him in high school. He needed to pick up his game and change his habits before he got to high school, otherwise he will fall behind and end up playing catch-up.

Now, all our predictions are coming true. Although he may still be getting A’s and B’s in his academic classes, he’s had more and more poor test grades, especially in math, which used to be one of his top subjects.  Eventually this will trickle into his final grade if he doesn’t wake up soon. He is actually getting help with math after school so he can get caught up. His mid-term exam was horrible. This is a first and a major red flag, not just for me, but for him, because he thought he did fine on the exam.
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