The November Nutshell Ends in Vomit and Drama

This should be the last of my November nutshells. When you are a nut yourself, you have a lot of material.

After ingesting our so-so Thanksgiving meal, my husband and I walked back home. It was still pleasant weather a week ago. Today it’s 15 friggin’ degrees outside, and even the dog doesn’t want to do her business with her butt in the snow.

Back to the story… well, we watched a movie and retired to bed early. That’s because we were open for business the next day, and both of us had to get to work. (No four day weekends for these Demonics. That’s one of the downsides to owning your own business.)

I had put the feather bed on, and baby, is it comfy under there. I need such comfort, because Mr. D is cheap (I mean, thrifty) and keeps the night time temperature to about 58. I was completely out of it and didn’t wake up all night.

Mr. D on the other hand, for some reason, could not stay asleep. As is his usual modus operandi, if he can’t sleep, he will get up and go to work. It’s not so bad. Our building is about five minutes away from the house. Working in the middle of the night is best for him. He’s on the phone constantly during business hours and cannot concentrate on cleaning his office between putting out fires. His office looks like a tornado went through it, a couple of times. I’ve often said that if something happens to him, I wouldn’t know where anything is. As it is, he’s alive and doesn’t know where anything is.

I didn’t know he was gone. He was smart and didn’t wake me. About 4 a.m., my cell phone rang. It was across the room charging, so it took a while before I got up to answer. By the time I did, it had gone to voice mail.

I noticed that the area code was 415, meaning San Francisco, but the number was not familiar. Could it be my son’s roommate? Is something wrong, I thought? When I retrieved the message, I was still fairly calm. After all, it was only 1 a.m. on the Left Coast, and maybe I was being drunk called.

No, it was worse than that.

My daughter’s boyfriend’s mother was the one who called. She called to inform me that they had taken my daughter to the ER at Marin General, and that she thought Ms. MiniD had alcohol poisoning. She then told me that she had arrived from my son’s house in that condition. That was scary, in that my son lives in the City, and my daughter’s boyfriend lives across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin.

I immediately called her back, but got a message that her voice mailbox was full. I called my son, and my son’s girlfriend – no answer. (They were in bed sleeping.) Then I called Mr. D, and couldn’t get an answer. (He was on the phone with the BF’s mother.)

Needless to say, there were many tense moments in the next couple of hours. But the doctors ended up not pumping her stomach and not admitting her. She did not have alcohol poisoning but was instead really drunk. My husband spoke to both the mom and the BF, and thanked them. They told him they would call him later. They did not.

Later on, many conflicting stories came out of this situation. Of course, we called my son and yelled at him for a while. In our business, you just don’t drive while under the influence, and he does not. My son says Ms. MiniD came to Thanksgiving dinner at his house with her own bottle of wine. (BF’s mother said no at first, then admitted later that she had given it to her. She also admitted later that she knew her son had a fake ID.) Ms. MiniD stayed at my son’s house for six hours, during which she drank the bottle of wine, had dinner, and plenty of coffee before she left. My son said she was fine when she left, and if she wasn’t he would have told her to stay with them.

So she made the 14 mile trip back to Marin, with no problem. Ms. MiniD says that back at the BF’s house, they had dessert, and the BF’s mother served her another three glasses of wine (at least). She doesn’t remember anything after that. After retiring in the BF’s bed, she began to get sick. The mother freaked out and called the ambulance.

Later that same day, the BF’s mother called me. At first, she was cordial. About three minutes into the call, however, she began to berate me about my parenting skills, saying at one point that didn’t I care about my daughter. I told her I had been concerned about her ever since mid-September when she first started dating her son. I noticed Ms. MiniD had posted photos of herself and the BF obviously drinking on her Facebook page. I was so concerned, I had even contacted the school, but after speaking to the Dean, she said that the grades were okay and that this was probably minor teenage rebellion.

But the mother didn’t want to listen to me. In no time at all, she became shrill and abusive, blaming her son’s falling by the wayside on my daughter. It was obvious to me that she didn’t like Ms. MiniD much, and didn’t think she was good enough for her son. It was also obvious that her son had covered his own ass and told a conflicting story to her. I told BF’s mom that I was hanging up now, and I did. There was no reason to continue the conversation.

Ten minutes later, she called back. Again, I said thanks for your concern, but you don’t know me, my daughter or my family, and I hung up again. About three minutes later, her neighbor called to give me the same condescending work over, and told me she had a number to a rehab place in Malibu. I also told her I wasn’t going to listen (not that I didn’t think my daughter needed intervention – she might, but because I didn’t need a couple of self-righteous rich bitches telling me what to do) and promptly hung up. This continued for another fifteen minutes. I was so upset, I text messaged my daughter and told her to tell her BF to tell his mother to give it up.

As my readers might know, I have given my daughter alcohol on occasion. However, I did so when I knew she wasn’t going to drive. I would never give any of her friends alcohol. A person could get into a lot of trouble doing that.

The end result was that the BF flew back to LA (mom didn’t want him in the car with my daughter), my daughter drove her car back alone (and almost ran out of gas) and supposedly they are broken up. However, they are broken up only on Facebook, and so they are not really broken up.

Mr. D wants to send the BF’s mother the medical bills. After all, she gave Ms. MiniD the alcohol to begin with. He agrees with the Dean’s assessment of the drunkenness, in that this is temporary. He also wants Ms. MiniD to come home. However, he’s not going to force the situation.

I really didn’t need this. I just wanted her to go to school where she would be happiest.

Drama like this is why I enjoy my emptied nest.

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.

Job Options: A Comprehensive Technical Manual

As the person running a business that employs about 90 people (more in summer, less in winter), I’m constantly amazed at the type of people who work here.

I wish I could run psychological tests on job applicants, but there’s no way we could afford it. Besides, doing so would probably eliminate most of those in the job pool.

This weekend, I ran a Craigslist ad for office help. In the title was prominently displayed “Part-Time” and “Perfect for High School Student.” This is because I am looking for a warm body to fill the dreaded 3-7:30 p.m. slot. Plus, I rather like the malleable, impressionable minds of high school students with very little office experience. They don’t have any bad habits I need to break.

Thus far, I have had over 400 responses. I interviewed ten. Out of those, some were NOT students, but had graduated from college with degrees in psychology. Some were college students studying nursing and business. One was pregnant. (You can’t see that on a resume.) Some were workers who had been downsized.

I chose a 15-year old girl within walking distance of the office. She was the only true “high school” student. She replaced “ElastiGirl,” who took off running and never came back. I don’t know. I think ElastiGirl thought the job would be more glamorous. There’s nothing glamorous about this office.

Take the other side of the business, our teachers.

You would think that a job that involves dealing with teenagers aged 14 and eight months through 17, in a car, the applicant would have some forethought as to whether or not they would be good at the job. In our state, you have to take a graduate level college class in order to get your instructor license. This involves a considerable outlay of time and money. You would think that a person would weigh all the factors before trying a job where they are ill suited to perform well.

I have the utmost respect for anyone who is a good teacher. (I know plenty of bad teachers, and I have no respect for them at all.) It takes a special person to teach anyone how to do anything. That is why I do not teach anyone anything. I am not that special. I know deep in my heart that I would be a very bad teacher.

We have hired some very bad teachers. One neglected to wear underwear in the summer, and his family jewels were visible through his shorts. Some people keep their foot on their brake the entire time. That explains my daughter’s inability to drive. Some are yellers and screamers. There’s the occasional wack-a-doo who has spoken inappropriately to a kid. We have some who may have touched one either by accident or on purpose. Those guys are long gone. Of course, there was the unfortunate incident with the nutjob who held a class hostage by telling them she had a gun. (She didn’t. She had a bottle of bourbon in her purse though.) We fired her on the spot, but not before she made national news.

Every time we get a call on the questionable behavior of one of our employees, I have to wonder: why the heck did you pick this job to begin with? I mean, really. Teenagers of any age are likely to be noxious, but those between the ages of 14 and eight months and 17 are particularly foul. If you can’t drive worth a crap but have a company car with logos all over it, would you not drive a little more responsibly? Would you stop if you were involved with a hit-and-run?

My level of expertise involves organization. I’m a whiz when it comes to spreadsheets, organizing files, and maintaining the scoop on our 85+ people. I need to be organized. If you saw Mr. Demonic’s section of our empire, you would need a hatchet to cut a path through his room. It’s littered with papers, and littered with litter. I don’t go in there, except maybe to have office sex, in which case, I have designated an area of the conference room to be a litter-free zone. (Thank God he isn’t like this at home, or he’d be living alone.)

I will readily admit that I am sadly lacking in customer service. I can be pleasant, but not for eleven hours a day. I can be pleasant, but not if someone is yelling in my ear.

I am rethinking my job options. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to make a living from my book-writing venture. For me, writing is a fun hobby. In a rust belt state with few options, the best thing that could happen would be to hit the Megamillion jackpot. Unfortunately for me, some yay-hoo in New Jersey won that last night.

Egged! Argh!

Late last night, I was rudely awakened out of a sound sleep by the noise of battering ram proportions. Bang! Bang! Bang! Even Maxx Attaxx jumped from the spot near my feet and ran to the front door.

By the time I got to the front landing, my daughter and her friend (who should just move in, she’s here all the time anyway) were already at the open door, surveying the damage.

We were egged.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have cared much, but this was a bad thing. We had just had our house repainted, and they finished yesterday.

Obviously, it had to be a “friend” of my daughter’s. My acquaintances wouldn’t waste the eggs or their time by doing something this sophomoric.

My husband, the dear Mr. Demonic, was in the throes of a death sleep. He didn’t even wake up. He has plenty of employees who are mad at him, but it’s doubtful any one of them would come to the house to egg it.

It appears that Ms. MiniD’s car was also hit.

The two girls cleaned up the car and the front door before going to bed.

Ms. MiniD thinks she knows who it was. (It was NOT her ex-boyfriend. That’s good, because it would make working with him on Monday rather interesting in a tense way.) It was a “friend” of hers whose mother owes me $350 for the plane ticket I bought for her back in March, when we checked out colleges over on the Left Coast. The “friend” was caught with dope, so the mother nixed the trip, thus leaving me holding a rather expensive bag with someone else’s name on it. I also think this “friend” is the one who absconded with some money, my mother-in-law’s ashes, and some other things lying around the house.

“What’s wrong with that girl? I don’t want her in my house.” I warned Ms. MiniD this morning.

“Don’t worry, I won’t.” Ms. MiniD snapped. She was late for work and cranky. She didn’t like scraping yolk off her car.

Is there a moral to this story? Maybe. I can’t find it.

Mom Blows Stack

I have re-read some of my posts, and in many of them I’m sure I appear to be a reasonable, level-headed woman of some intelligence. However, if you knew me in “real life” I’m sure that you, my dear audience, would be amazed at the fierceness with which I attack. I’m very opinionated, make no bones about that. I feel things deeply. Don’t get into the ring with me regarding religion or politics, because I can outlast the best debater.

My daughter, Ms. Mini-Demonic, likes to think of herself as a Girl of Privilege. I would insert the word “woman” but she’s far from that moniker. She hasn’t earned her wings yet. In fact, many days I shake my head and wonder how she will do in college without her parents (meaning ME) nipping at her heels. Granted, I worried the same things with regard to Mr. Demonic Junior, but he was different. He never thought of himself as a Gentleman of Privilege. He still doesn’t think of himself that way. He has the potential for greatness (as do we all) but likes seeing himself as an “everyman.” Ah, but he’s another story.

And now, for my latest tale on the explosive release of my temper: Yesterday, I opened up our company phone bill. With 25 cell phones and more things to do than I have time for, I didn’t get around to it right away when the bill came in the mail. We provide cell phones to the employees who want them, and charge them a nominal fee for them so they can use them for personal calls. This is a great plan, because all calls to anyone with the same service are free, whether they are on our plan or not. If the employees go over on minutes, or call the Cayman Islands, or use the internet or send pictures, I charge for the overage.

Mr. Demonic, Mr. D Junior, Ms. Mini-D and I all have cell phones on this plan. For the obvious reasons, we don’t charge the family for cell phone usage. (Hey. There has to be some perk for living in this hell-hole of a state and working for family.) Mr. Demonic, who spends much of his time in the car, uses his phone all the time. He does it the old fashioned way, sans Bluetooth device, but manages to rack up more minutes than anyone else in the company. Says the earpieces make his head hurt. Mr. D Junior uses a normal amount of talk time and text time. He knows the phone is free to him, and being the frugal college student that he is, respects the fact that he even has a free phone even though he hasn’t worked here in over a year. Most of my calls go to the three of them, or to employees, so most of my calls don’t even count.

On the other hand, Ms. Mini-D has a problem. She, like many of her age, likes the text messaging feature. I have a huge problem with this. For one thing, I don’t like that she’s wasting her time doing this. If she has enough time to send and receive 1,700 texts in a month, she should be working on her homework or her college dorm application. For another thing, all of us on the plan only get 300 texts a month – either coming or going, and unlike the talking minutes, none of the texts are pooled. She always goes over her allotted texts. At fifteen cents a piece, that can add up. Most months, it’s right around $100, which she takes care of with one paycheck.

Last month, her bill came to close to $200. She pleaded innocence, since it was her dastardly ex-boyfriend who was sending her annoying text messages which she refused to open. I forgave part of that, because I knew what was going on, but she still ended up paying $175. She only works here part time, so it took two paychecks before that was settled.

Yesterday, while perusing the bill, when I got to her number, I almost fell off my chair. Her overages came close to $250!

After the top of my head blew off and I regained some composure, I got on the horn to the cell phone company. I was livid! I was ready to turn off the text-messaging feature in all 25 phones, which was an option back when I first signed up for the service. In my rage, I had to be careful. Mr. Demonic had already had a conversation gone wrong regarding his own lost phone and $300 worth of calls to Yemen. See HERE for that wonderful tale of woe. Our contract is up at the end of July, and I didn’t want to do anything to inadvertently extend it.

The lady at the company was sympathetic. She explained that they no longer blanket the account and turn off the text feature as a safety measure, in case the company wanted to contact the person, that might be the only way to do it. She did, however, inform me that I could turn off Ms. Mini-D’s text messaging feature, if I could get a hold of her phone.

“Get a hold of her phone?” Like there was any way I wasn‘t going to get a hold of her phone?

I took copious notes on how to shut off Ms. Mini-D’s text-ability and waited for my little princess to come to work.

She knew I was upset from the rather terse message I left on her voice mail, and didn’t call back during school or right after to see what the extent of the damages were. Boing! Another reason to get my blood boiling again. A “responsible” and mature person would have called me to see what was causing my upset.

So when she flitted in, I asked for her phone nicely. She looked in a panic and didn’t want to give it to me. Then she started in on how she could get another phone with unlimited text messaging. “I’ll pay for it myself, and it will be less than my overages!”

I said, “Go ahead. See if you can get a contract with a part time job and no credit references.”

“Well, you could co-sign…” She looked pale yet hopeful.

“No way!” I could tell the pitch of my voice was gaining in decibels, which is a bad thing to do in a busy office full of people answering phones. “What am I going to do when you leave here this summer? Be stuck with another cell phone plan?” This led me to launch a full-scale oration on responsibility, usage of company equipment, trying to be thrifty in a bad economy, how having a phone was a privilege, not a right and the fact that she text messages more than the other 24 phones combined. While I spoke succinctly and without anger, I’m sure the rest of my employees were cowering in fear.

She reluctantly gave me her phone and I punched in the codes to disable the text feature. I was still not happy. According to the phone company, she was already $92 over in text messages and the billing cycle was only 14 days old.

She’s going to have to kiss some major butt for me to come around.

Secrets and Lies and Promises

I’m thinking of this today because my daughter, Ms. Mini-D, is in big trouble. She, with her best friend, managed to pull the wool over the eyes of both sets of parents. The friend’s mother is completely livid with me and my husband for believing her daughter. I would like to believe my daughter, but she’s been known to have secrets and tell lies. Let’s just say that the entire thing is based on some pretty well-known character traits of teenagers. Amazingly, they are much the same as when I was an adolescent. These items of contention include sex, drugs and rock and roll.

The friend’s mother has some written documentation as to the bad behavior of Ms. Mini-D. These are in the form of notes passed back and forth during school, and written in my daughter’s hand. The mother has informed me that she will give me the notes today. I told my daughter, whose reaction pretty much told me that the mom was right and not some kind of alcoholic-induced wacko like the two girls led us to believe last week. It ranged from “if I tell you what’s in the notes, will you shred them?” to “Mommy, you’re looking wonderful today, how’s your day going?” (A tip: the former revelation of honesty will work far better on me than the flattery of the latter.)

I’ve had the “secrets and lies” talk with her before. I would rather know the truth than have her tell me a lie. After all, I’ll find out about it eventually. In addition, I pride myself as being fairly liberal minded. I’ve invited her to share the minor details of her life, but have never forced the issue. She’s almost an adult, so I give her the benefit of the doubt. I know she thinks I’m stupid and/or judgmental. This is a phase that may pass as soon as she gives birth to a nine pound baby. Giving birth to a nine pound baby changed my outlook on my mother for the positive.

This morning before leaving for school, she reminded me that I promised I would shred the notes. (I did promise to shred them, but I didn’t say when.) I was fairly vague about my promise yesterday. Being a mother provides one with a lot of poetic license as to what the job entails, and that includes maternal promises. Besides that, I could always plead menopausal symptoms and temporary insanity. I know I didn’t promise not to give them to her father. He tends to look at his little girl like a “little girl” and not like some gangsta’s ho, which is how she sometimes dresses, or like a conniving female, which she sometimes is.

I personally don’t get the entire thing about lying and cheating. I’m not speaking as some holier-than-thou Bible thumper, although I do have a few years of Catholic school under my belt. Lying and cheating are not only bad ethically, they’re also empty actions that do not gain the liar or cheat anything. I’m pretty old, but I’ve found that it’s far easier to be forthright. Lying and cheating involve a network of support that’s flimsy at best. It’s exhausting to uphold.

Let’s just say that no good can come from it.

As for promises, I tend to keep mine. However, I reserve the right to change my mind. That’s what being a woman is all about.

Plenty of Teen Angst, Damn It

Ms. Mini-Demonic thinks she is 17 going on 25. There are some days when I can see that in her; however, there are far more days when I see her as 17 going on 12. She is very comely; nice hourglass shape (which I’ve never had), long thick hair and long legs (also accoutrements that I don’t possess). We resemble each other in the face, but don’t tell that to her, or she will run off screaming hysterically.

Ms. Mini-Demonic has a two-part dream. It’s a dream that reaches far beyond what I would wish for her. The first part of the dream is that she wants to become a psychiatrist. Not a psychologist, but a bona fide head-shrinking doctor. Ms. Mini-D suffers from dyslexia and ADD and her grades in high school haven’t exactly been stellar as a result. She’s having a difficult time getting into college, but did get the nod from three schools so far, two in our state and one in California. There are three other schools in California that she hasn’t heard from yet. Oh, that’s the second part of the dream. Mini-D wants to live in California, SoCal, to be exact.

Mini-D has been dating a very nice boy for almost a year. He seemed like such a nice boy that I hired him to work for us. I paid him $2 an hour more than what he was getting at the grocery store he was working at, and thought he could use the office/customer service experience on his resume. I thought he was a very nice boy until just recently. While I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, I learned they had broken up. Both were very hush-mouthed about the entire thing.

My first thought was that Mini-D was responsible for the break-up. Sure, she can be happy, upbeat and personable, but she can also be caustic, moody and mean. (I think she takes after me.) The day I came home from the Left Coast, they were in negotiations in our upstairs spare bedroom. I tried to pump her for information, but she didn’t want to divulge. The next day was his birthday, and she treated him to dinner. This was a surprise to us after all the crying that was going on the night before. Mini-D explained that it was a mini-break up, in preparation for her leaving for California this summer.

All has been hunky-dory until a few days ago, when her school had their winter break which doesn’t coincide with his school’s winter break. She spent time with her girlfriends, who she had sadly been neglecting, and her flute, which she had also been sadly neglecting.

The Boyfriend called into work on Wednesday, which wasn’t a big deal. Except my daughter, Ms. Mini-D, came home from her flute lesson begging me to fire him for leaving us in the lurch. I couldn’t understand her vitriol, but stayed out of it. The next day, I received our company cell phone bill. Her number was 866 text messages over her limit, but considering that the time in question was during that break up weekend and 679 of them were from him, I told her I would split the difference. Later that day, she and her friend informed me that the night before he texted her 30 times in an hour, with the same five letter derogatory word. It appears that he flipped out over her winter break re-association with her high school chums.

Thursday, he showed up to work but feigned sickness and left.

This scenario leaves me with many problems.

1. I liked the kid, but I certainly can’t stay on his side if he’s texting my daughter the five-letter derogatory word.

2. I need the kid to work here, to show up daily. Sure, he’s just a part time high school kid, but Mr. Demonic impressed upon him during the interview process that we expected him to do a good job no matter what the relationship was between the two of them. I also had big plans for him, maybe kicking him up to a more full-time position once he entered the local college.

3. This puts an incredible strain on me, because if he doesn’t show up, I must. If he quits, that’s even worse. It will mean training someone else, and that takes time. This also may put a damper on our spring break plans, which was to go back to the Left Coast to check out the potential colleges.

4. On the other hand, I don’t like the stalker-immature-weirdo-flakiness of the entire situation.

Damn. I’m going to have to take an aspirin or two now. Or maybe a margarita.