Time Off From School?

Mr. Demonic Jr. announced via email that he would like to take time off from school once he graduates in spring 2009.

I’m all for it, but I sent him a brief email back stating he’d better think about a job. Remember, the gravy train makes its final stop sometime next year.

By spring 2009, he will be close to 22 years old. Except for a short stint as an ice cream boy in Ghiradelli Square, he hasn’t had a real job, ever. Especially since we employed him before that. We own a real business, but when you are the boss’ son or daughter, it’s not like having a real job. I know this from working in my father’s gas station. Working for family is sort of like slave labor with loads of benefits.

From working at the tourist trap-chocolate factory, Mr. Demonic Jr. knows that 1. nothing chocolate is in his future and 2. he hates foreign tourists.

I had to bite my tongue with him (or, in this case, curb my urge to type angrily) with regard to old stories of my own checkered youth. I didn’t have parents who funded my upper education. With five other kids, they couldn’t afford to. I worked like a dog for the two years I did get in, but fell to the wayside when I decided eating was more important than a degree. Even my husband, Old Mr. Demonic, foot the bill for his own college studies. His parents gave him room and board, but nothing else.

My sister has a wonderful idea when it comes to children and how much of your wealth you should share with them, especially with adult children. She’s worked hard all of her life, and is thrifty, which is why she’s got a nest egg the size of an ostrich’s. Her own daughter has a kind heart and is a good mother, but has tended to make poor choices. Let’s say her nest egg is about the size of a frog’s.

My sister called me about five years ago asking my advice on what to do with her money. She would have loved to have given some to her daughter, but felt it would not have been spent well. My niece is the type who would take a windfall, buy a vehicle, and promptly crash it before getting insurance. I suggested donating some to whatever charity she likes best.

After some conversation with my brother-in-law, she decided what she was going to do. She would spend it all before she dies. They just returned home from a vacation to Disney World, where neither had ever been. Now they’re planning a vacation on Tahiti. After that, I might go with her to Japan.

It’s nice to have children, and it’s nice when they are adults. It’s even nicer to forget about your adult children and do what you want to, what you dream of. I think I’ll try to pen this idea in a sensible way, and answer Mr. Junior Demonic’s email.

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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.

Every Action Has an Equal and Opposite Reaction

I’m not much of a scientist, but I did come away from my high school years with Newton’s third law burned into my brain. Yes, even though I probably didn’t pay much attention, even though I sneaked out of school too many times to recount; even though I smoked pot a bit, I did retain some grains of knowledge.

Lucky me! When you’re a parent, some of this scientific stuff comes in handy.

My daughter is 17, and her boyfriend is one year younger. Both are seniors in high school and are currently looking forward to going to college next fall. I like my daughter’s boyfriend. He’s quiet and doesn’t say much, but he’s polite to us and seems to be very kind and loving towards her. Although we’ve only known him for six months and she has some minor flaws, like being a slob and sometimes getting lippy, there’s nothing in a major way wrong with either one of them. They’re both basically good kids. We could have kids that are much worse.

The Daughter’s Boyfriend’s Parents, on the other hand, do not like either one of them, and especially don’t like them being together. I have to admit that my daughter is a cute, young thing, who often dresses in provocative clothing and (I think) wears too much make-up. The DBPs also thinks that she’s a snobby rich girl. We are by no means “rich”; we live in a modest suburb in a better-than-average home, but it’s not a mansion. In the past, my daughter has had wealthy friends who have jetted to the Rose Bowl one week and were off to France the next, but normally speaking, my husband and I don’t travel in circles like this. We own two businesses and are hard-working people.

The DBP are quite vocal about not approving of the relationship. The mother has held the fact over the Boyfriend’s head that he’ll still be a minor child when he goes to college in the fall, and thus wants him to study in a local college and commute back and forth to school. He wants to go somewhere where he can live in a dorm and be independent, but she won’t pay his way through school if he leaves, and technically, he can’t leave. Since he’s a minor, he also can’t apply for a student loan on his own.
My daughter is equally adamant about leaving the state, and she doesn’t care if the Boyfriend follows her or not. She likes him a lot, but she has dreams. Besides, she figures if he can stick it out for a year here, when he does turn 18, he’ll be free to go where he wants.

The disapproval of the DBP, I think, is a grave mistake on their part. The more they push the Boyfriend in one direction, the more he will pull in the other, with the same amount of force. My husband and I are smart enough to figure that this is young love and both of them may find many, many other loves before they settle down. That is why neither of us are pushing. If we did, we might find that the combined pressure from two sets of parents would make ourselves grandparents.

Newton’s Third Law has a way of biting you right on the ass if you don’t give it the respect it’s due.