You Know You Have A Teenager When…

You have forgotten what your child looks like behind their smartphone.


Bathing is now a four letter word.


They had better teeth brushing skills at five years old.


One chore is equivalent to asking them to move Mt. Everest with their bare hands.


They want you around when there are bees but you better not be seen by another living soul.


One YouTube video makes them subject-matter experts.


You know nothing because you don’t understand what it’s like to go to school.


Nature plays cruel jokes on parents by turning off the teenager’s sense of smell.


Childhood toys fill box after box because, while they never want to look at them again, the thought of giving away their toys is tantamount to asking them to cut off a limb.


Bedtime means anytime before dawn.


The new clothes purchased last week are now too small.

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Beware the Man in Gray

The man in gray traveled alone. Always alone. He never stayed long in one town and never carried more than his sketch book and pencil that never seemed to whittle down to nothing no matter how many sketches he made. News traveled fast in these parts. Stories about the man in gray and the dead he leaves in his wake. Women in Empty Gulch saw him coming first and hollered for their children. Shutters slammed shut as he made his way through town. The miners quaked watching him sit down under the oak tree and open his sketch book.


This 99-word story was inspired by Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge to: in 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that is a sketch or about a sketch.

Her Flower Garden

Lily couldn’t understand why her Frank was so obtuse about her garden. Didn’t he understand that the ability to raise a flower from seed to bloom year after year was good training for being a parent. Sure, she had tried for nearly forty years to get her garden to take, but he didn’t have to go berserk every time she ordered seeds from the catalog. The latest spring catalog was just part of a tome she ordered in the fall. This year she was sure her daisies, phlox, winter jasmine, and pansies will grow.

Frank sat in the porch swing looking at his wife in her garden. Over forty years she had grown more beautiful with her red hair getting redder and her freckles getting darker. He often wondered what their children would have looked like, and if he would have been a grandpa. These thoughts remind him of the nightmare he has been living since he married Lily though. Years ago, he decided that he could hate his life and their life together, but still love her. That made the years manageable. Still, he wondered if she would ever figure out that he’s a park ranger in Death Valley National Park.


This was inspired by the following prompts:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: nightmare
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: tome
Word of the Day Challenge: obtuse
Three Things Challenge: berserk, husband, freckles