I Take Thee, House, Back into Possession

I just came back from dropping Ms. MiniD off at the airport, and I am giddy with excitement. Please sing after me: She’s going back to college! She’s going back to college!

Now I don’t dislike my daughter, but let’s face it, she’s high maintenance, moody, negative, and a slob. She’s the perfect model for one of the characters in my next book. I won’ t even have to fluff anything up, because the real Ms. MiniD is quite the character and seems to have quite the adventures.

Did we cry at the airport? She didn’t, but I could have when I paid for her checked luggage. $165! And for three bags that weren’t particularly heavy. Airlines are getting rather adept at nickel and diming a person out of their money. You’re lucky if you get free soft drinks these days. I can remember past trips on other carriers where a hot lunch or honest to goodness Subway sandwiches were served. Alcoholic beverages were actually worthwhile. Now they cost as much as the ones in the airport bar. Me, I’d rather sit in the airport bar and get tanked in comfort, rather than drink a $6 glass of wine on a crowded plane.

I’ve yet to go back to the house, because I’m supposed to be working all weekend. (Don’t worry, Little Cat, I’m not visiting the dreaded monster time-sucking Facebook.) I’ll have to clean out the bedroom she was using, and that should take a couple of days. Thank goodness it wasn’t her old bedroom, because Mr. D has that room completed gutted for his long-term painting and wood moulding project. No, we put Ms. MiniD in the microscopic bedroom slash sewing room, where her mess could be contained.

I’m not looking forward to cleaning her bathroom, but I am looking forward to soaking in the bubble tub.

In the meantime, I’m trying to steer Ms. MiniD toward a path of staying on the Left Coast for summer break. That’s because I will likely kill her if she comes back here. You don’t know how close I came in the last week. I love Ms. MiniD dearly, but I told her if she decides to come back, we would be laying down some ground rules first. Like, one, you can’t sleep until 1 p.m. every day. And two, you have to load the dishwasher and clean up the kitchen after you make two boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

It’s funny, but I don’t feel like a bad mom for taking my house back. I feel like a conquering warrior. I feel like Cortez, the explorer. I feel like the peace and quiet and lack of drama will be curiously Utopian.

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.

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.

They Missed Their Flight

It was a Chinese fire drill of sorts around here this morning.

My son and his girlfriend awoke at a leisurely hour (10 a.m.). They had been to the symphony last night, and thought their plane was leaving at 2 p.m. Just to be sure, my son checked online. WRONG! They were supposed to leave at 12 p.m. and arrive at their destination at 2! They hadn’t even packed yet, so they rushed around the house trying to get dressed and scoop up whatever they had lying around.

My son’s girlfriend brought an enormous suitcase with her that she couldn’t lift on her own. She travels internationally, so I can see the need. Besides, they brought back some California wine for me, so at least on the return trip it was about 10 pounds lighter. Still, it was as if she’d brought her entire wardrobe. My son had a huge duffel, in which he jammed all of his clothes without folding. (I winced, but didn’t say anything.)

We are about 30 minutes from the airport, so we jumped into the car, intent on making it there in time. We pulled up to the departure area at 11:10. If they could get checked in and through security, they could still make it. While saying goodbye, my son found that he had forgotten his cell phone. He fretted. He felt naked without it. I said, I’ll mail it to you, get checked in so you can leave, and shooed them away.

I was still on the freeway when they called me about thirty minutes later. The lines were long, so they didn’t get up to a counter until after the plane had started boarding. The lines for the security check were even longer. They couldn’t find the reservation using my son’s driver’s license. Searching for it took a while. The plane was at the farthest most reaches of the concourse (of course). Getting to it at all was going to take time. The ticket agent suggested that they book for a flight this evening, so they took her up on it, and checked the big bags.

I wasn’t even halfway home, so I spun around and went to get them, again. We returned home, where my son retrieved his cell phone and then found a bunch of other stuff he forgot to pack.

They are out getting hamburgers even as I type this.

I’m going to go to the store one final time, and then come home and have a good stiff drink. I’m not going anywhere else today. My husband can see them off next time.

**thud** is the sound of me passing out.

Women (and Other Things) I Would Totally Not Sleep With

Now that some of my gender are discussing the women they would totally sleep with, I thought I would take this moment to discuss some of the women and other things I would totally NOT sleep with. Let me preface this by saying I’m not a lesbian, but as you will see later on in this discussion, that’s not the least of it. I can keep my options completely open and still draw some parameters as to bedtime partners.

The list of women and other things I totally would not sleep with:

1. First of all, need I say it? Britney Spears. I couldn’t sleep with her. Frankly, I don’t know when she sleeps, but she can’t be on the same circadian cycle as me. Plus, she doesn’t wear panties, and that might be one late night surprise I don’t think I’d want to delve into. The mental picture of me unconciously sliding my hand over her naked ass, well… yech! I don’t want to go there… Also, I don’t want to sound shallow, but her body is horribly out of shape. Instead of having the washboard of a pop princess, her stomach sort of looks like… well, mine.

2. Hillary Clinton. Again, I must be shallow. Hillary was no beauty queen at Wellesley and she’s packed on a few pounds since becoming a senator. Perhaps she shouldn’t eat at all on the campaign trail. Also, she couldn’t keep her man happy, time and time (and time and time) again, so I can only deduce that she’s unimaginative in the sack.

3. Rosie O’Donnell. ‘Nuff said.

4. Dogs. I’m a cat person. I can sleep with cats, especially if they’re well behaved and don’t like to pull pranks when you’re sleeping. It’s disconcerting to have your eyelids licked or your earlobes munched on, but these are minor inconveniences, considering 1 through 3 above. Besides, dogs smell.

5. Rocks. I’ve slept with small TVs in my bed, with fast food wrappers (I was younger!), with books, telephones and sketch pads. When my son brought a large hunk of gold ore into the bed, I had to say “no” to that.

6. My children. As long as we are talking about what the children bring into bed (donuts, potato chips, pop tarts, cookies, etc.), let’s also discuss my children. The last time the three of us shared a bed was about ten years ago at my sister’s house. She had a huge king sized bed and we thought it would be big enough. It wasn’t. My son, who is now twenty, tends to sleep on the diagonal. Yes, even now. My daughter kicks, and kicks hard. I can sleep with other children in my bed, just not MY children.

7. And finally, the ultimate deal breaker. A dead person. I definitely could not sleep with a dead person in my bed. At first I was going to limit it to skeletal remains, but I think any dead person would negatively affect my sleep. This includes zombies, vampires, and those who spontaneously combust.

A girl just has to draw the line somewhere.