Saturday, August 2, 2014

Dog Sitting

Brittany and Dan weren’t able to see his parents over the Christmas holidays and had planned on visiting them in February. (Dan works most Saturdays so scheduling weekends away is hard.)

In mid January they started planning the trip beginning with what to do with their two dogs. They had had a bad experience with the kennel the last time they left them and Brittany couldn’t find anyone she trusted to come and stay with them.

After talking to John… or maybe I didn’t ask him, I forget…. I called Brittany and said, “It’s far enough out that we don’t have plans yet for that weekend. We can come watch the pups.”

Then we went through all the “Are you sure?” and “You don’t have to!” and “It’s no big deal!” and “It will be fun!” comments.

It really worked out well. John ended up working with one of his sales guys in Charleston that Friday so we were able to get to her house by late afternoon to let Charlie and Ava out in the yard to run a bit before heading downtown for one of my favorite Charleston events, the monthly Art Crawl.

Usually the dogs have the run of the house when Brittany and Dan are out, but she was concerned about them running out the front door when we came in, so told us to keep them in the master bedroom whenever we weren’t there and overnight.

The first night everything went smoothly. The next morning when I opened their bedroom door they knocked me over heading to the back door, but turned around, taking a flying leap to lick my face “good morning” before heading out to take care of business.

We were in and out that day, so lots of luring them with treats up to the bedroom. (At least they were getting exercise going back and forth.)

That night however, after cuddling with them on the couch watching a movie we practically had to carry the lab, Ava, upstairs to go to bed. (And she weighs 70 lbs.)

About thirty minutes later I heard her whining. On and on and on. I got up to let them both out again, then tried to get them to go back upstairs. They were having none of that! So I said, “OK, your mom lets you sleep on the sofa during the day. You can just stay down here for the night.” I pointed to it and they walked over, turned to look at me with cocked heads and I said, “Lay down.”

Without waiting to see if they did or not (and pretty sure they didn’t) I turned off the light and started upstairs. As I got to the guestroom where I assumed John had been sleeping through all this, I heard him say, “Why are you licking my face?”

I turned on the light and somehow Ava had gotten by me on the dark steps and jumped on top of John and was licking him for all she was worth. I felt something at my ankle and of course little shadow Charlie had followed.

So I caved. I told them they could sleep on the bed with us, but AT THE BOTTOM!

Then I turned off the light, got under the covers, felt Charlie settle at my feet and Ava lay full across my body.

And I at least didn’t move for the rest of the night!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Visiting the Newlyweds

A few weeks after their wedding John and I took all the wedding presents down to Brittany and Dan’s in Charleston. Since they had left from our house for their honeymoon and went straight home afterwards our car was packed to the gills!

While we were there the newlyweds had a Pig Pickin so they could use some of their new stuff and we could visit with their friends. We had stayed with them quite a bit before the wedding, but this seemed like a new beginning. From here on we were in-laws and of course we wanted our new son-in-law to want us to visit as much as our daughter did.    

(Or at the very least not mind too much!) At the end I was pleased with how smooth the trip went.

A month later we went back for Christmas. When we stay with them we like to take them out to eat one night. This time we picked a restaurant downtown that we had tried once before and really liked. We also decided to go on Christmas Eve and Brittany would cook the Christmas Day dinner.

Again, everything went smoothly. Dinner was delicious, atmosphere delightful: we were having a terrific “first Christmas Eve” as a new family…until about 10:30 when we walked out of the restaurant and into the parking lot next door.

It was empty!

For a brief minute we wondered where we had parked. Then we all realized at the same moment we HAD parked there and the car was gone! In disbelief we walked around the empty lot thinking that the car would mysteriously reappear. No such luck. A sign was discovered instead at the very back of the lot which said “Private Parking” along with a phone number for the Tow Truck company!

After calling the Tow company to find out where they were we managed to get a cab and drive to North Charleston. $130.00 plus cab fare later we were in our car.

Brittany was feeling partially responsible because they go to that restaurant all the time and apparently have parked there before with no incident. I overheard her whisper to Dan in the taxi, asking if he had any money. But I told her it wasn’t her fault and to forget that.

Once in the car I realized this could either ruin Christmas or I could do something about it. So I mentioned a few times in the past we had left our car in questionable spots in various cities and then worried it would be towed the whole time we were gone until, relieved, I saw it again.

Then John mentioned something he had “gotten away with” in the past. Then Brittany. Finally I said, “Karma sucks!” And we all laughed.

While we all learned a lesson to always check carefully where we are leaving the car (especially in Charleston!) we also have a family memory that could have ended on a sour note, but didn’t.

I was also reminded that it is in my power to change my attitude and that makes all the difference in the world!

Maybe having a son-in-law is going to be a good influence on me!

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

My book is out in paperback on Amazon! You can preview it here

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Invading Their Space

Within minutes of walking through the door when Brittany comes home on a college break or for a weekend, her laptop gets turned on, set up and logged on to Facebook. I always ask her why she came home when all she did was “talk” to her friends back at school. (To her benefit she doesn’t say laundry.)

Facebook is a popular website, which until recently was only open to college students and alumni with a school email address, Brittany has 901 friends scattered all over the country. (I know this because every time we get together she shows them to me – after all they have put new pictures on and added funny new quotes since the last time she showed me!)

She told me once that it was hard to leave the site and said “I know what every one of my friends is doing this minute by their away messages!” The kids work hard at leaving interesting away messages!

My Space is probably the better-known site though. NPR reported on a program about that online communities are replacing malls where kids hang out. USA Today reported that My Space has become the dominant force in the social networking sphere. They have over 200 million members. In fact, one of the two founders, Tom, had 230,004,827 friends the last time I looked. (He comes with every person’s My Space page when they join). Do you suppose he makes his mom scroll through all his friends? His personal page has 793605 comments. Things like “You are my hero!”

I’ve seen all this because I joined too. Yep. Adults are members too. In fact it is well known that it’s a great place for people with online stores to advertise. (Which is why I’m there.) It takes awhile to figure it out. And there is a lot you just have to ignore. The site itself is kind of junky and at times incredibly slow, but you can post free classified ads, join groups (everything from fitness enthusiasts, vegetarians, sororities, fraternities, schools, “over 40s”, shopping addicts and a lot I wouldn’t want my mother to catch me looking at! (And I don’t!) You can also listen to new bands, download music, add music to your homepage, play games, rank friends from pictures they submit and blog.

Any adult who thinks there is something wrong with this hasn’t been on too many online forums. I read several different business related ones regularly and all of them have the ability for their members to join groups, private message other members, put people on their buddy list, add a picture and even a profile about themselves which include hobbies and interests. We seem to be a world of people looking for connection.

I wasn’t really thinking about Brittany when I was surfing around I was pretty sure she was a member, but knew she spent most of her time and energy on keeping Facebook up to date. But, one day I typed her name into the “search for friends” bar and there she was in her low cut red formal. I typed a message to her: “Hi, I’m here to promote my site – what are you promoting? Mom”

I’m not on the site very much at all and really haven’t done much to my page. The only reason I put my picture on it was because the default picture was one of those head silhouettes like the police shoot at for target practice. Brittany’s page (besides the picture in that dress) has music and pink and brown polka dots!

She doesn’t mind me being there. She even asked to be on my “friend” list. (one of my 8…the rest are some of her sorority sisters and of course Tom.) In fact she also asked that I send her messages through rather then her regular email. She says they are easier and faster to get and respond to.

She has changed her picture though to one where she’s wearing an aqua sweater!

If you'd like to buy my book; 'In These Days of Cell Phones, Texting & Social Media ... Can the Nest Ever be Truly Empty?' visit:

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

College Students Should Be Poor!

I got so much feed back from my story about Brittany wanting a tattoo! One person emailed me, “Does Brittany know that tattoos are PERMANENT?” in very large font and then went on to suggest that pink and blue sharpies would work just as well!

Her aunt emailed to ask if Brittany knew she wouldn’t be able to give blood for a couple months. (and Brittany gives blood every chance she gets.)

A very sweet lady stopped me after church and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you about your daughter? Have you checked her over? I hope she doesn’t get a tattoo!” I told her so far Brittany hadn’t been able to save enough money for one and she replied, “Then don’t give her any money!”

I’m probably safe. Brittany is not and never has been a saver. She has babysat since she was 11 years old and worked for Jersey Mikes Subs for two years in high school. She also has housesat, pet sat and plant sat! She has always made good money, but it goes out as fast as it comes in. Seriously, she made a lot of money over Christmas break and was broke within three days of returning to school!

Part of it, I can’t fault her. She is very generous and buys very nice gifts for people. She also has been known to call her dad on her way home and tell him not to have lunch; she’s bringing him one. She has brought me flowers, treated me to manicures and taken me out to many lunches all for no other reason then she thought of it and felt like it.

However she’s feeling the pinch in college. And she doesn’t like it much. We had told her we didn’t want her working her Freshman year and that we would put a certain amount of money into her bank account every week. This is supposed to happen every Friday. Usually about Wednesday the call comes, “Could you transfer the money a little early?”

The first time this happened she said she had no money to put gas in her car. But, she had bought an orchid for her dorm room!

We have a family phone plan and a couple months ago were stunned to see a charge for $49.00 worth of text messages! While we were still staring at the bill in wonder though and saying, “This is ridiculous! Why is she doing this?” John’s phone received a text message…. from Brittany…saying, “I “heart” you, dad.” And of course dad says, “We can’t take her text messaging away!” (We have since paid to put her on the unlimited plan!)

The thing is college kids don’t know how to be poor anymore! They have way too much stuff: refrigerators, microwaves, laptops, futons,

In our first house while living in Germany we made a bookshelf from concrete blocks and boards. I always remember when the German packers were packing up our stuff to move back to the states and seeing boxes labeled “rocks”. (Yes, your tax dollars moved my “rocks” across the ocean!)

But, where is the satisfaction that someday after eating Ramon noodles for years while going after that medical degree they realize that as a doctor you can buy a restaurant or two!

What will they have to look back at as a measure of how far they’ve come? Already they drive nicer cars then their parents!!

We’re doing our best to teach Brittany there is a lot of fun to be had as a poor starving college student.

At least it keeps her from that tattoo!

If you'd like to buy my book; 'In These Days of Cell Phones, Texting & Social Media ... Can the Nest Ever be Truly Empty?' visit:

To purchase the hat above, shop HERE

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Parenting your College Student – or Saying No Long Distance

When people used to tell me that the reason I was involved in so much was because I didn’t know how to say no, I would joke, “Of course I can say no! I’m a mother! I can say no without hearing the question!”

It’s a good thing I got all that practice!

Brittany called me during her second week at college to tell me that two of her good friends who were attending different schools from hers had gotten their noses pierced! I have known both of these girls since early grade school and neither is the type I would expect to do this. But, I knew Brittany wasn’t telling me this just to pass the news along. With teenagers there is always a hidden agenda.

And it’s not that she wanted to get her nose pierced herself!

No, it was the beginning of a different campaign.

She loves to take pictures and when she does, she puts them online in folders to share with people. When she sends them to me she makes sure we are both on the phone looking at them at the same time so she can tell me about her new friends.

“Look, Mom! That’s my friend Andrea. I went with her when she got her tongue pierced!”
“She pierced her tongue?” “UH! You took a picture of her tongue???”
“And, Mom, look where Taylor pierced her ear. I think it’s cute! Have you ever seen anyone pierce that part of the ear before?”

Actually I hadn’t. It’s the part of the ear that holds your iPod earbuds in. You know, the part that looks like it would really hurt if you put a hole in it!

Brittany has three holes in each ear (all around the rims) and I’m pretty sure she’s happy with that. So where was she going with all of this?

Tattoos! Yup! Christmas break freshman year she was home for a whole month. She planned to babysit and save the money to get a “small, tasteful tattoo.” (I personally don’t think those words go together.) When she was telling me about it she suggested a tiny pink cross. I told her pink would look like a scar. She said, “Well, maybe teal then.” I wrinkled up my nose.

I told her I would write about this for the newspaper. She said “Wait till I get it and I’ll take a picture of the tattoo to include!” I know she could get one in a place I would never see. I also know Brittany is incapable of keeping a secret from me! So we are at a friendly standoff….it could be a whole lot worse!

If you'd like to buy my book; 'In These Days of Cell Phones, Texting & Social Media ... Can the Nest Ever be Truly Empty?' visit:

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Can They Come Home Again?

Brittany made her first visit home from Western Carolina University for her fall break in October. It was also the first time she had made the drive by herself and although we told her to use MapQuest for directions, I don’t think she had them with her. John got a call on his cell that afternoon and heard her voice say, “Quick! Hendersonville or Asheville?” Luckily he is quick and realizing she was coming up to an exit, (and most likely very fast) said Asheville!” She replied, “Thanks!” and hung up.

She brought all her laundry. All. Toward the end of her stay while I was on the fifth or sixth load I mentioned there couldn’t be much left in her dorm room. “There’s none!” she replied proudly, “I even brought the T-shirts I hadn’t worn yet because they were all wrinkled in my drawers and I knew you’d smooth and fold them”!

She seemed to have a great week. I marveled at her executive skills as she juggled phone calls, putting different friends on hold while finalizing all their plans like a giant jigsaw puzzle. She managed to see everyone she wanted to and still get some sleep!

The only complaint I heard was actually overheard when she told a friend of mine, “I knew I was home when I opened the refrigerator. They have no food in the house! There was milk, carrots and some yoghurt that I put in there two months ago! I have more food in my dorm room then they have in their whole house! I should have brought them food!” (I haven’t taught her my secret talent of making meals out of nothing yet. It never ceases to amaze John.) Not that she was home for more then one dinner in the five days anyway!

She was back again for Thanksgiving and since we spent most of that long weekend at her aunt’s in DC, the refrigerator was still empty when she arrived. But, she had one day here before heading back to school and we spent it decorating the house for Christmas and making our own turkey dinner so we could have leftovers, which I packed up for her, because she told me the kids at school said they always bring Thanksgiving leftovers back with them. “That’s what’s done!” She left me with the decorating about 5 minutes after we started to visit different friends and then left on Sunday in a whirlwind. At least she took the 6 pairs of shoes that spent the weekend at our inside garage door!

I figured out fast, or maybe just remembered from when I was in college; it’s best to just let them go. They will be the first to tell you that no one at college tells them what time to go to bed so for short breaks let them make their own plans. You can deal with the rules and chores when they’re home for the whole summer. For now just ask if they had fun when they come in and listen to their answers, knowing that the house can’t get too messy in a weekend or a week and you can get it back to normal after they’re gone again.

Because after all when they are gone is your new normal.

If you'd like to buy my book; 'In These Days of Cell Phones, Texting & Social Media ... Can the Nest Ever be Truly Empty?' visit:

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