Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Three Things

Yesterday, The Spare to the Throne left the nest, complete with a computer that lacked some screws, a flat screen TV that lacked a power cord, and a tea kettle without a whistle.  But yep, he's livin the dream, because he's wanted to go to Butler  for pretty much all of his vertical life.  Heck, he's not even worried about the air-condition-less dorm.  He's pretty happy.

One of his roommates was already there when we arrived.  His mom was chatty, and his dad was on the floor on a beanbag chair.  The boys wandered off to unload and the parents chatted about the boys.  We found that both boys are pretty quiet, have a small group of close friends but know and get along with everyone, and both are messy (read:  pigs).  Roomie's mom mentioned that they've talked a lot about time management.  Hmmm.......I had a talk with Seth, but not about time management.  We talked about The Three Things.  "What three things," asked the mom.  "Drinking?"  "Nope, he knows my stance on that."  "Drugs?"  "Nope, if he doesn't know my stance on that by now, then he hasn't listened at all."  "Sex?"  "Nope, not exactly."

The three things are as follows, and in this order:

"1.  If you think that you want to change or deface this body of yours that I have looked at for 18 years, you need to call me first.  If you feel the need to get a piercing or tattoo, then fine.  I'm not going to try to talk you out of it.  I just want to be sure that you go somewhere reputable and that you aren't going to come home with a disease that you can't get rid of.

2.  If someone is pregnant, I do not want to hear about it through the grapevine.  This includes after you are married.  I need to be the first to know, or it could get ugly.  That being said, there are condoms in your first aid kit.  Use them.

3.  If you are calling me from jail, it had better be to tell me that you are getting comfortable for the night.  I will NOT bail you out.  You can, however, call Jim.  He might give you bail money.  I won't.  Call him, because I don't want to hear about jail after the fact.  And you know me.  I will find out.

All three kids met #3 with the same argument:  "what if it was something our friend did, and we just were in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Because then it's not my fault, so you'd bail me out, right?  WRONG.  I did not raise you to have stupid friends, so if you choose to hang with stupid people, call someone else.  "Geez Mom, that's cold."   I don't think so.  At least, not if I warned you ahead of time.

My mom is a little shocked that I tell them these things.  She says that I must think the worst of my kids.  I say nope.  If, by the time they go to college, they haven't figured out how I feel about smoking, drinking, drugs, and doing their schoolwork, then they haven't paid any attention for the past 18 years, and they should reconsider their plans, because they apparently aren't smart enough for college.  My Three Things are the three permanent game changers for a young person's life, and they are most likely to happen during the college years.

And that being said, none of them have ever cashed in on any of them.  And I'd call that a win for the mom.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Beginning and The End

Once upon a time, in 1987, a couple went to Paris and bought some champagne.  Two bottles, to be exact.  Two bottles of fine champagne, purchased to be drunk, the first, on their first anniversary, and the second to be drunk, in Paris, on their 25th.  That couple was the ex and me, and we carried it back, walking through the airport with the bottles clinking in my carryon bag (along with the two free bottles the flight attendant had given us on the plane).

Fast forward a year, and that first bottle was drunk at a picnic table at Myakka State Park, whilst eating our cake (yummy) and feeding some to the squirrels.  The champagne was strictly for us, because OH MY was it the best I've ever had.

Many years passed, but the bottle remained.  I was never sure how it would taste, given its travels, and most probably improper storage, as well as the time passing -- champagne does have a shelf life, after all.  It just sat there, starting at me, through years of sobriety as the ex tried to maintain his, and even through the divorce, ironically, the year before our 25th.  What to do, what to do............

I put a lot of thought into what to do with that champagne.  We had discussed having it on December 21, 2012, since the world was supposed to end and all, but it was Jill's birthday, and I didn't want it to be a specific person's thing.  It was ours.  Seth also whined that he would only be 18, so he couldn't have any, to which I philosophically said "if it's the end of the world, who cares what you're drinking."  But I just left it alone.  The boys said to have it at Jill's wedding, but again, that is HER celebration, not quite what I was looking for.

And so it was that I decided to have it at our last gathering before everyone spreads to the four corners of the earth.  We had to have it at Jim's, since he was still recovering from his knee surgery, so the kids came over for pizza and when we were done, I proposed a toast.

"Twenty six years ago, we bought this champagne at the beginning of an adventure that created our family, and although it's not exactly the same family as it was, you guys are all....."

Jill:  "You're not going to cry, are you?  Because I don't want you to cry."

Me (absolutely dry-eyed):  "No.  I'm fine."

Jill:  "OK, I just wanted to be sure.  Sorry."

Me:  " guys are all beginning adventures of your own now, and ........"

Jill:  "Did you plan this?  I mean, did you memorize it?"

Me: "No."

Jill:  "Well, it's going very well."

Me:  "....I want to say how proud I am of you, how I hope the best for you, and how very, very much I love you.  Cheers!"

And with that, went 26 years of history.  I did really well, and didn't get teary till after those goobs left.  Teary doesn't count as crying, especially when it lasts less than 30 seconds, right?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Seth and Chris are back from Colorado.  They did a bro-trip to help Thomas move, and it basically went off without a hitch.  Or three.  They were due to fly back on Monday -- or so I thought.  I texted them all of the flight information.  Thomas had already printed it,so they confirmed that they had it.  Monday afternoon, I got three phone calls, in rapid succession, from Seth's phone.  I was working, so I couldn't get the phone, but called him back a couple of minutes later.  "Yeah, Mom?  Uh......that flight for today?  Yeah, it's for tomorrow."  ::sigh::  Turned out that we had all missed the little detail of what day the flight was, so off they went, back to explore more trails for one more day.

Jim and I drove to the airport to get them at 11pm last night.  That man is so sweet, he wouldn't let me go alone.  So we drive up, and the boys are sitting on concrete poles with their backpacks, looking like the fairly seasoned (goobs) travellers that they are.  Non-stop babbling later, we had gotten most of the highlights of the trip.

So tonight, we decided to take them to Ponderosa for dinner.  (It was liver and onions night. WOOHOO!)  We drove through a roundabout, and saw an Asian couple jogging in place, waiting for us to pass.  Jim said "Asians jogging.  Everybody Wang Chung tonight."  Seth responded, "That's WONG."

Man, I missed that boy.