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.

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From the Far Reaches of the Wilderness

I am staying with my sister in San Diego. Scratch that. I am staying in northern San Diego County. I might as well be in the Alaskan outback for all that matters.

Her home is situated in a lovely rolling valley surrounded by avocado trees and citrus. This makes for a pastoral environment, but is hell when it comes to the internet.

There’s some local wireless available, but the signal is weak. I have a laptop connect card, but half of the time I can’t connect at all. The other half of the time, I’m struggling to keep a connection. In fact, I can barely get any cell phone coverage at all. I’m going to have a serious discussion with that Verizon salesman when I get home.

I can’t deal with pages loading at the speed of a snail’s pace, so you may not be hearing from me for a while. Besides, I have to get the young one up to move into college today.

Ms. MiniDemonic Smitten By Southern California, Not So For Mama

A Brief Update

It didn’t take long for Ms. MiniDemonic to become smitten with southern California, or SoCal as the trendy say. It could have been the minute we walked off the plane in LA and stepped out into a clear and flawlessly warm night. or it could have been when we got out of the car the following day at The College of Her Choice and instantly got a snootful of jasmine and verbena and a full view of the Pacific Ocean.

In the ensuing days, full of sunshine and blue sky, sand, palm trees and somewhat conspicuous consumption, Ms. Mini D has proclaimed her fascination with the far westerly state has moved from puppy love to full-blown obsession.

I like it here too, but I prefer the city by the bay, San Francisco. For one thing, it’s not as hot there. I like sun, but heat is another thing altogether. I love how downtown San Francisco smells like flowers, but the aroma is a hint of fragrance, not an assault on the nasal cavities. O’Reilly was right. San Francisco, with it’s diverse cultures and people, is more like another country rather than another city in the same state. The worst thing: it appears to be more crowded down here. The appearance could be because it IS indeed more crowded down here, or it could be becauce the freeway system is massive and never ending. The nice thing about San Francisco is that all of the action and most of the people are kept together  in a small space for the sheer lack of anywhere to go. If you jam almost a million people on a peninsula that is about seven miles square, there can be no massive freeway system.

It doesn’t matter to Ms. Mini D. Just as I and her older brother feel an affinity for the City, I can see that her true love is SoCal. I’ve enjoyed watching her as she falls deeper and deeper under the spell. It’s an emotion that’s happened to me. The enchantment she feels, while not tempered with any amount of common sense, is a good thing. It just might be her first real love.

Of course, now it’s time to bring out the common sense from the bag of tricks, or else that tall, thin guy back at home is going to think we are both crazy. An eighteen-year-old basing a life-long move on true love with a geographical location is not going to win over Mr. Demonic. She will have to arm herself with budgets and sensible arguments if she’s going to win this debate and begin her move in August.

We are working on that.

And Now, For a Little Diversion

I’m taking off tonight, for the Left Coast. This is because Ms. MiniDemonic has been accepted to a college there, and we are checking it out before signing our life away.

As a result, I will be noticeably absent this week, although I may drop in say hello or rant or rave about something.

I am so happy to be leaving! There’s still snow here, and all y’all know how I feel about the cold wet white stuff.

Yesterday

I walked on the beach for a couple of hours, which was really a treat because the previous night, it had been raining. I won’t walk long on the beach if it’s raining. The clouds broke and by the time I was finished, the sun was up and it was actually warm.

Then I took my son to school, and went back to my motel room to write for a few hours while he was in class.

After that, we took a little tour with a friendly real estate agent he had found on the internet. We looked at a couple of foreclosed homes and some in the process of short sale. They weren’t in his neighborhood, but they were easily accessible to the downtown area by train. Most were nice, a couple were very nice, and one was scary bad. That one had no floor (only subfloor) and about three years worth of garbage everywhere. Things were growing on the stove, and there was a ruined piano in the doorway. It was so scary, I felt myself getting itchy and imagined bugs had latched onto my pant bottoms.

At dinner, I asked him and his girlfriend their intentions. He’s a college student, with a year and a half to go. She’s just finishing her degree. Neither have a steady job. Oh, sure, he gets gigs once in a while, but with school being a priority he doesn’t have regular employment. Plus, he’s going to attempt a concerto competition in a couple of months, and is devoting all of his time to that. We’ve been financing his grand stay in San Francisco, but the kid is almost 21 and the gravy train stops as soon as he has a degree. After all, the Mini-Ms-Demonic starts college in the fall, and we have to concentrate on her for a while.

Anyway, I think my son and his lady are going to get married. I asked them, and all I got was stifled giggles. I must admit that they are a very cute couple, and she’s done a good job of making him over. (My thought is, I taught him all this stuff years ago, but now with positive reinforcement, it’s coming out.) They have only been together for about nine months, and I wish they would wait until they’ve known each other for a couple of years. Right now, they’re in the honeymoon stage, and I’ve been in that stage myself at least a dozen times. Most of the time, the glow dims with time. Then we had a serious discussion about the gravy train making its final stop. In about a year, he’s going to have to have a concrete plan for the next couple of years. Is it going to be graduate school? Is he going to get a full time job somewhere? Perhaps a teaching certificate so he can at least teach K-12?

Young Mr. Demonic has a college fund that he knows about that we’ve not had to use…yet. We’ve been blessed to have enough discretionary income to fund his junket into higher education, and we’ve been holding onto it in case he needs it for graduate school. I wouldn’t mind giving him the money for the down payment on his little house here, but for now, looking at houses is a pipe dream.

As I did when he was younger and now with Mini-Ms-Demonic, I told him to write out a concrete plan as to how he will make this work. I can’t wait to read it.

After that, I dropped them at his house and was too tired to do anything, so I fell into a very deep sleep.

The Sting of Rejection Fades With An Acceptance

Actually, that should read “the sting of two rejections fades with an acceptance” because the day after the first college rejection letter, my daughter received another rejection from another college.

She’s a master at administering the guilt. After the second rejection, she informed me that she was too stupid for school and now she was going to be a hooker or a stripper. Then she laid the blame on me for poor parenting in that I didn’t get her learning disability checked out in time. (She forgot how she vehemently didn’t want to get tested all through junior high school, even though I had a feeling something wasn’t right with her reading ability.) Of course, it’s always the parent’s fault. I probably ruined her entire life by not drinking milk during my pregnancy with her. (I am lactose intolerant.)

Then the following day, she received a phone call from a university in Carlsbad, California. I took the call, and it was late at night. The caller wasn’t aware of the time difference. I took the message and relayed it to my daughter the next day, telling her to call as soon as possible.

She was ridden with anxiety, wanting to know what the phone call was all about, yet afraid to know what the phone call was about. She called twice from the office, the first time slamming the phone down when voice mail came on. I told her to leave a message! What? This wasn’t an adult way to deal with college! Finally, she overcame her fear and did leave a message.

At home later that night, the woman called again. This time, I refereed the phone call and asked what she wanted. She was quite helpful and asked about my daughter, her age, when she would be out of high school and when she would be thinking about starting.

This is a different kind of university (National University), which is geared more to adult learners who are working full time. Much of the course work is done online. It’s fully accredited, but doesn’t exactly offer the traditional college experience. Only one fourth of the students are her age. There are no dorms, but several centers in southern California. However, they will take anyone with her low average, and are not even looking at her college test scores.

An acceptance is an acceptance. I needed her to have at least one so that she wouldn’t feel completely defeated. The day before this came, I was ready with my speech on how there was no shame if you get a good job right out of high school. She would have to be self motivated to attend this school, but maybe it will be a good fit for her.

I called her and told her she was accepted, and she finally perked up from her depression. “Sweet!” she screamed from her cell phone.

Now for the other letters… we can wait on those.

Rejection is Tough

My daughter received her first rejection letter from a college today.

Let’s just say that there were lots of tears and hysterical screaming. This was her supposed “back up” school, and they unceremoniously told her to try community college instead. She’s not a brainiac, but she’s not stupid. She could definitely handle a regular four-year college, with some assistance, since she has ADD and is dyslexic.

I think one huge problem is that she’s trying to get into school to study psychology, and with her weak grades in that area, she’s not looking like a good candidate. On the other hand, she’s a gifted flautist. However, she doesn’t want to go to school for music, and God forbid if she follows in her brother’s footsteps. I don’t want to tell her that she’s setting her sights too high. People are entitled to their dreams. If she really wants it, she’ll get it.

When I returned to the office from my errand, I helped her fill out a few more online applications. I tried to tell her that even smart and talented people (like her brother) are sometimes rejected. Out of the seven applications and auditions he submitted, four told him he wasn’t good enough. He kept plugging along, and didn’t take it seriously. I expect once the initial sting lessens, she will, too.

You can’t get everything you want, but if you’re ambitious enough, you just might get what you need. Yes, stolen from the Stones.