The Return of Pandemonic

I can hardly believe it has been three years since I posted as Pandemonic. However, lest you think I have been lazy, incarcerated, or perhaps both, my real life person has been busy writing novels. Also busy working in the Real Life business, but that’s boring.

So far, I have completed three novels, self-published one, and am in the process of editing the other two. Also working on finishing a fourth. So I have been very busy. I’ve also been blogging in my real name.

So why would I come back to the Pandemonic blog?

In a word, anonymity. I love that while here, I am a nameless, faceless pandemonic person. My other blog features my real name. There I feel as though I can’t quite cut loose as myself. You always have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes. If you can say one thing about the modern man, most of us are too sensitive to take a joke, and too closed minded to look at things from varying perspectives.

This is why Pandemonic’s Time and Space was started: as a way to vent and bitch and moan and be politically incorrect without suffering the slings of Internet trolls. Been there, done that, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

I nearly forgot the password and the email address I had used to launch this area of WordPress. But…obviously not. Perhaps I am not getting as old as I thought I was.

Anywhooo…I will be changing around the look of the blog. I feel a bigger need for anonymity.

Mohawk Boyfriend

This weekend we were treated to a visit from my daughter’s current Boy Du Jour.

Now Ms. MiniD has had countless BDJs in the last year. I’ve run out of fingers and am working on the toes for my abacus. This is because Ms. MiniD is quite attractive. She’s also flighty, ADD, loud and seemingly self-absorbed. The ADD could be the reason why she tires of them quickly and then moves on.

BDJ showed up at the house on Thursday. He had taken the train from Chicago. He lives in California with his family, his mom, a successful character actress of small and large screen (if you saw her, you’d know who she is) and step-dad, a director. They were visiting the older brother and his girlfriend in the Windy City.

My daughter had only been home three days when BDJ came over for a visit. It wasn’t even enough time to let the dust settle on her suitcase.

BDJ endured a five hour train trip, but arrived with plenty of enthusiasm. It is at this point that I’m going to refer to him by his new name, The Mohawk Boyfriend.

That’s because just before he left California, he decided to get a Mohawk haircut. And he doesn’t just have hair, he has red, curly hair.

Lest you think this kid is Goth or some sort of aberrant creep, I will reassure you that he’s far from it. In fact, Mohawk BF is quite personable. He matches my daughter in verbal decibels which is a good thing. Her first two boyfriends were soft-spoken.

He also seems to be quite intelligent, even though his speech is peppered with California-isms like “gnarly.”

He ate everything I put before him, including brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus.

The Mohawk BF stayed in my daughter’s room. This was quite upsetting to my husband. Mr. Demonic tends to view his youngest child as a child, when in actuality she is almost 19.

I like the Mohawk BF and told him so. I also warned that my approval is the kiss of death for the relationship, to which he laughed it off.  This is true. My daughter once loved Beanie Babies, but as soon as I expressed an interest, hers cooled. When she got a bird, I found I liked it a lot. Then she decided she didn’t like birds. I liked the first boyfriend and the second boyfriend, but she didn’t like that we liked them so much. I think that’s why she dumped them.

Taking a Sabbatical from Garbage

The current political season has left me spent. Add to that our declining business, shaky economy and my girls-gone-wild 18 year old on the Left Coast, and I can honestly say there were times in the last month when I really and truly wanted to run away from home. You know, jump into the car and head south or west and drive until I hit an ocean. Before the Republican Convention, I had toyed with the idea of Alaska, but I’m now thinking that our last frontier is not far enough away. (It’s not Sarah Palin, really…)

Politics is starting to irk me. The barrage of television advertising in particular has gone from the Annoying Level to the Sickening Level. I can’t even find “Forensics Files” or “American Justice” without having to be subjected to continual mudslinging. I tried to find a weather forecast as Hurricane Ike’s eye ended up right over my house, but all I had to channel surf through commentaries. (For those who really want to know, Ike came, it rained like a monsoon for a day and a half.)

I write on another (couple of) forums, and petty political sniping is all I see there. What used to be interesting reading (I especially like reading others’ views) has become nothing less than a free-for-all. Emotions are running high.

People are now yelling at each other when they’re not trying to insert “gotcha” moments, you know, something like pigs in lipstick. What sows wear on their lips not important to me; for Petey’s sake, I seldom wear lipstick myself, and don’t recommend it for any mammal. Besides, there are far more serious issues than comparing people to animals in various forms of make up. For all of the fray, for all of the noise, no one is being heard. In the end, though, it’s all garbage.

Friday, I decided to take a “mostly” sabbatical from garbage. I say “mostly” because I managed to come here and rant about my daughter, and I managed to go over there and rant about the stupid level that the political process has now sunk to. I refused to get sucked into any ideological commenting, which was fine by me. I also refused to watch TV, and only looked briefly for hurricane reports.

So what did I do?

Here’s one thing I did:

I made jewelry. Lots of it. I just started experimenting with it a couple of weeks ago, and now find myself inexplicably drawn to bead shows and craft shops. I found these really cute little charms, and voila! the “Be Here Now” bracelet was born.

“Be Here Now.” I remember that mantra from the early ’70s. Even though there was a war going on, things seemed tranquil compared to today. There was plenty of excitement, but no sniping.

I also canned a lot of tomatoes and corn. Buying a pressure canner was the best investment I could have made. We can’t eat the tomatoes fast enough, and I’m going to love opening a jar in December.

This weekend, I also started Chapter 13 of my novel. Coincidentally, Chapter 13 is when my main character gets the worst of her bad news. Her life plummets from a pleasant complacency to the gates of Hell, before taking a turn toward normal. I toyed with the idea of skipping right over Chapter 13, you know like some hotels do with the 13th floor. But serendipity intervened, and I’m not arguing with that kind of Karma.

I knocked off a couple of restaurant reviews I had on the back burner as well. Remembering what I had to eat during my vacation put me back into a California kind of mood.

I also took some time to read. Yes, read a book. Although, I have to say I am reading books written by our major political candidates, but I figured doing so would enlighten me more than watching TV would.

And finally, I finished cleaning out Ms. MiniD’s room. I took all of the photos stuck onto the walls and boxed them up with her knickknacks and doo-dads and put everything in the attic. I plan on painting the room, in a color she will no doubt hate.  She had admonished me NOT to do that before she left, but seeing that her behavior has led to some consternation on my part, I found that I no longer gave a damn what she thought. It was somewhat freeing, even though I found evidence that in addition to drinking and having sex, she was also smoking weed.

*sigh*

There’s garbage everywhere, isn’t there?

By the way, if any of you see a gray Prius speeding south or west, please do not stop it.

When Too Much Information is a Bad Thing

In my last post, RN commented that do we really want to know everything our grown, college-aged children are doing?

After the past couple of days, I would have to say “no.”

Late Friday, my daughter’s last Boy Du Jour – now her EX-BDJ – messaged me on Facebook to tell me the news. If you know me, you know my relationship with my daughter is going through a phase of sorts. (Honestly, at one time she and I were best buds, but now her personality is rather split on whether she wants to be my friend or completely disregard me. I think that’s normal teenage rebellion, that might work its way around in, oh, say maybe ten years or so?) I had just enjoyed a lengthy conversation with her the night before, and so felt the universe was back on an even rotation.

Well, I might be wrong.

After writing of his teenage angst over being dumped, Ex-BDJ then informed me that he believed she was partying (wildly) and hooking up with guys. How he would know this from 2,400 miles away, I’m not sure. I witnessed myself a gradual cooling of their relationship over the last three weeks just by reading their Facebook posts. In some ways, I was not unhappy about it. They had gotten a bit too close to each other for my tastes, and it’s not because I didn’t like the kid. I liked him plenty, it’s just that both are too young to pledge undying and eternal love. I know this as a parent (and someone who has lived this exact scenario before), but try saying that to a headstrong couple of 18-year-olds.

My initial reaction was to lose whatever breath I had in my lungs. Then I thought about it. He has to be pretty pissed off over the dumpage, so coming up with an elaborate “gotcha” for mom would be in order. No one takes rejection so well that they forgive and forget, not within the first 24 hours anyway. My daughter’s campus and her dorm area are DRY, and if she gets caught with alcohol on premises, she is likely to be tossed out (of the dorms anyway) on her cute little behind. Being 18 and on her own, I know she is wanting to drink, even though it’s not quite legal for her to do so. We’ve given both kids a little alcohol in advance of college, so that they would not want to get totally plastered once two thousand miles away.

This approach has had mixed results. My son, normally a level-headed person of extraordinary means, pretty much got tanked every weekend during his first six months in San Francisco. After his violinist girlfriend dumped him and that late night Golden Gate Bridge fiasco (which was captured on his piano teacher’s voice mail-which is how we learned about it), he settled into a rhythm of partying, which was to rarely do it during the semester and go nuts after finals. (I think he inherited that method of operation from me.)

So I wrote Ex-BDJ back telling him to stay strong, and back off for awhile. Then I called my son to see if he could shed some insight. My son and daughter are 500 miles apart, which is a long way, but it’s much closer than the parental units are to either one of them.

My son, who is painfully truthful about anything in his life (please don’t make me come up with an example… you will not want to hear it) told me his sister text-messaged him (coincidentally, right after she talked to me) about how big that bottle of Jaegermeister was that he had brought home this summer (he’s 21 now, so it’s legal for him), and that hers was just as big!

Well, it was hard for me not to make that scathing bitch-mom phone call to LA, but I managed not to do it. I waited until yesterday to call, but of course, now that she has a bit of cash in her bank account, she is not picking up her phone or answering voicemail.

There are some days where I would like to subject myself to the Vulcan mind-meld and erase the memory of having children. Hmm, add their friends to that, and while you’re at it, include the stupid first husband and all the bad boyfriends.

There are many more days when I say a prayer and keep my fingers crossed.

Back to General Silliness…

My husband, the Dear Mr. Demonic, went out of town yesterday. I think he’ll be back today. He’d better be back before the symphony tonight, as we have a date.

I use the opportunity for an empty house to do things I don’t usually do. You know what they say… “when the cat’s away, the mice will play…” Well, I’m guilty as charged.

I used to do crazy stuff while he was away, like paint the bathroom or buy unfinished furniture and finish it. I don’t mind painting small bathrooms, and I really needed that little cupboard that I stained cherry to match my kitchen table. Ah, but that was years ago. My current take on the painting situation is that they have professionals that can do that, and much quicker too. As I get older, I find that I “need” less junk. I used that cupboard to store linens, and now I have decided to give my tablecloths and place mats to the Goodwill. The cupboard followed suit.

My initial plan last night was to knock off a couple thousand words on my novel. I really want to get to the end so I can start editing in earnest. Oh, but how plans can get waylaid…

First, my daughter, the Ms. MiniD, called from California. This call was nice; bubbly, full of news. She was positive, for a change. Of course, she was positive that she needed money, which was one of the purposes of the call. (The major purpose, if you want my opinion.) But it was not all “Mommmmeeeee, I love you Mommy!” which is normally how a call begins if she wants something. (Oh, she wanted banana bread too. I guess that chocolate zucchini cake didn’t sit well with her, although her roommates chowed it down.)

Ms. MiniD also thanked me profusely for sending her David Beckham poster. It’s a monster of a poster from Pottery Barn Teens, and she loves the Becks (or whatever they call him). Then she went into a long launching of how she needs to get a job, and how she hasn’t filled up the gas tank in her car since I left there three weeks ago. I was amazed at her resolve to let her tank go down to fumes before filling up again. Luckily, in California, there is no hint of hurricanes, so their gas prices will stay the same – high. Ours has already gone up 30 cents in anticipation of a storm that hasn’t arrived yet, and we live in the freakin’ Tundra!

I didn’t want to cut my daughter short. After all, I don’t get many happy phone calls from her, so I let her talk about her roommates, her classes, the food at the school, etc. This was a nice bonding experience, but the call cut into my precious computer time.

After the phone call, I got up to stretch my legs and get a glass of wine, when POW! the muscle in my neck (on the right side) spasmed. I had been fearing this happening for a while. It’s happened before, and I can tell when it will happen again. I have to blame my current condition on carrying a huge purse. My doctor says I should stay away from heavy purses, and usually I do. I started carrying this massive tote on my trip to the Left Coast four weeks ago, you know, to have everything handy just in case. After I got home, I neglected to change purses.

Wine and Advil go great together, but the pain was too intense for a long sit-down with the computer. I managed to write a book review that I needed to get out, and that was it. The situation called for another glass of wine, a ThermaCare wrap, and digging the heating pad out of the junk drawer. After a night of sleeping with a rolled up hand towel under my neck, I feel a little better. Not much, but a little.

As for the general silliness, my internet ex-boyfriend (MIB) and still-friend and I participated in some real whacko nuttiness on the instant message the other day. Our conversation took a turn to the weird and funky. We decided to collaborate on a sci-fi fantasy novel set in space. As he is the bona fide scientist, he will provide expertise on the technical aspects, and I will concentrate on the interpersonal. The funny thing is that we live thousands of miles apart and have never met. We plan on never meeting until after the book is published. Maybe not even then.

Frank Sex Talk with the Daughter’s Boyfriend

That’s right, you heard me correctly.

I was answering my Facebook mail when I witnessed a rather tense exchange between my daughter, Ms. MiniD and her current boy du jour. BDJ is still in our Midwest Rust Belt declining city, going to community college and working at the local broasted chicken place (18 outlets in the metro area), and pining away for Ms. MiniD, while she has been busy at school, making friends, and going to the beach and Disneyland.

He has a visit to LA planned for a month from now, and their notes to each other started out with “oooh baby, baby, miss you, love you, blah, blah, blah” and have now ended up with tense “get off my dick”s (that’s from Ms. MiniD… yes, colorful language she has, I agree).

So, I wrote an encouraging private email to the lad, advising him to lay low when she gets bitchy. Her level of bitchiness comes and goes, just like the tide. She can be an annoying pain in the arse, but she means well and snaps out of it once the meds take effect. I also stressed to him that she really needs to get straight As or Mr. Demonic is going to have a major fit. He’s already pissed off about the school situation, and none of us wants to see him SUPER pissed.

BDJ wrote back and asked me what I meant about putting the chill on the situation. (You’d think an 18 year old would know what that means, but hey…) So I explained it to him in words that a twelve year old could understand. Then I said, “Oh, by the way, I found some interesting surprises in Ms. MiniD’s room as I was shoveling out the garbage. Care to explain yourself?”

The interesting thing was an empty condom wrapper.

My daughter is 18, which makes her a legal adult in the eyes of the law. Also, in my eyes. It’s her body. I’ve been trying to talk to her about sex since she was 8, but she is loathe to ask my opinion or discuss the topic. I remember the first day of her first period, which also happened to be the first day of middle school. She was aghast, mortified and crying, but still didn’t want to talk to me.

BDJ hurriedly wrote back that the wrapper belonged to the previous BDJ, the dude who up until last week worked in our office. OH, GREAT, is what I thought. I was contemplating if my daughter was indeed a skanky ho, or just a girl with a lot of hormones. But I thought I would use this moment of incredibly uncomfortable candor to slip something else in.

“Do you think you can talk her into getting on BC?” I wrote back. “You know, condoms are NOT 100% effective. I’m too friggin’ young to be a grandma.” Then I said, “Oh, by the way, you’re welcome around the house any time.”

BDJ wrote back that he would certainly work on that for me. Then he told me when he would be online next and that he would talk to me later.

Hmm… That worked fairly well. Now I have to get Mr. Demonic Jr.’s girlfriend to talk him out of taking a year off and into applying for graduate school.

Becoming Adept at Biting My Tongue

Two days ago, my daughter and I took off from our Rust Belt home, on the way to SoCal and getting her registered for school.

I’m sure it is easier to launch the space shuttle than it was to get my little birdie into the car.

Regrets? I’m sure she had a few. First off, she’ll be a couple thousand miles or so away from mom and dad and their open pocketbooks. She inherited the spendthrift gene from me, and let’s face it, she’s had a comfortable life. It’s going to be hard for her to keep a budget, although God only knows we’ve been trying to get her to do that the last couple of years. If all else fails, she should do as I did and find herself a mate who is a tightwad (um, I mean thrifty).

She’ll also be a couple thousand miles away from her friends. This includes the current boy du jour. Yes, they are in love. Well, as much in love as a couple of 18 year olds can be. I was half expecting her to back out of moving to California.

It’s not like she’s going to be completely adrift with no friendly faces nearby. Her older brother will be somewhat close by, if you consider a five hour car trip to visit a sibling you’ve been in competition with all your life close. My sister is an hour drive to the south, but Ms. MiniD thinks my sister doesn’t like her. She just doesn’t know that my sister is quite opinionated (like me) and not very laid back (not like me).

The teary goodbye with the boyfriend and the best friend on Wednesday lasted for an hour. I was only moderately annoyed, because I was in tears too. The only way I was able to get her into the car was by flipping the radio over to a classical station and turning it up loud. She got in to change it back to rap-n-crap, and we were on our way.

I tried to talk to Ms. MiniD during the long car ride to the Rockies. You know, say sage nuggets like sure you’ll make new friends, this is a great opportunity for you, you’ll probably have a new boyfriend in a couple of months, etc. Don’t worry. I never got to that point. She did not want to talk, and instead spent a great deal of the time sleeping.

I instead remembered back to when I was 18. I was married. I left home without much fanfare. I don’t remember saying goodbye to my parents, much less to my best friends from high school. One day, I decided it was time to leave my city (having already left my childhood home a few months before that), canceled my lease and my telephone and left. I didn’t have money from my parents, or a credit card, but my own money. A year later, when I “came home” I went to my friend’s house and stayed there until I found an apartment. Later, when I moved to the Tundra to go to college, I was responsible for the tuition, living expenses and trips home to visit mom and dad. Money (or lack of it) was the reason why I didn’t finish college, and it limited my trips home.

My daughter is planning her triumphant Christmas return, even though I have tried to explain to her that we have depleted our resources just getting her to California. If I have to limit my own pleasure trips to the Left Coast because of the money, she will have to bite the bullet and get a job to buy a plane ticket. The days of wine and roses has past, especially with two kids in private college. Besides, if you’re truly an ADULT, you should be able to figure it out on your own.

I still want to say something, but know I shouldn’t do it. She’s not going to listen to me. Kids that age think they know everything. They won’t admit they know nothing until they have their own little birdies.

Instead, I’ve become adept at biting my tongue.