May 8, 2000
No Advice is Good Advice


Daughter #1 called collect last night from her brand-spanking-new apartment in beautiful downtown Kent, WA.

David was on the phone at the exact moment that she tried to put the call through, and we don't have call-waiting, so she wound up leaving one of those AT&T Collect Voicemail Message things:

Hi Mom, it's Jaymi. Just thought I'd give you a call, but naturally your line is BUSY. [audible sigh] Give me a call when you get this message. I love you!

It's true. Try calling us anytime of the day or night and the line is invariably busybusybusy. Apparently this is a source of profound frustration for loved ones (and not-so-loved-ones) alike. What can I tell you? We're a One-Phone-Line/Two-Internet-Addicts household. So buy us a cell phone. looking elegant and *flockhart-thin*

When I finally called her back, her Boyfriend/Roommate/He Who Had DAMN Well Better Be Sleeping on the SOFA answered the phone.

"Hi, is Jaymi there? This is her mom," I said, using my very best *I'm The Mom/Don't Fudk With Me* voice.

"Yeah, hang on just a minute," he said, quickly passing the phone to Jay.


Actually I've only met The Boyfriend once, in passing   -- he stuck his head through the front door and said "Hello" when I was up in TicTac for that last visit in March  -- so it's much too early for me to assign him a cute nickname (a la "The Anti-Boyfriend"). As a matter of fact, it's too early for me to tell you much of anything about him, other than the fact that he seems like a decent guy, and that he doesn't have two heads or a forked tongue or an extra eyeball in the middle of his forehead ... and that he's a couple of years older than Jaymi ... and that his parents apparently support this relationship: they sprang for the futon ... and that he wasn't sitting out in the garage with no shirt on, smoking a cigarette and fingering his tattoos when I first met him ...

... and that he'd better be good to my baby girl or I'll hunt him down, like a wild dog, and force-feed him his own goddamn GONADS for breakfast.

[She smiles sweetly.]

Daughter #1 sounded a little pensive on the phone. I gently asked her a couple of times if everything was OK, and she assured me that yes, everything is groovy ... she was just "tired."  I interpret this to mean that Teen Party Central had shut down for the weekend. She and The Boyfriend had just finished cooking dinner together, she said  --  "Chicken sandwiches and garlic mashed potatoes"  --  and now they were just hanging around their apartment. 

"We don't get our cable until next week," she said wistfully.

You know what it sounds like to me? It sounds like that inevitable "So I've Moved Into My Own Apartment!  NOW Whut Do I Do?" feeling that we all get, when we leave home for the first time. We spend the first eighteen or nineteen or twenty years of our lives looking forward to being on our own, and then once we get there it's never exactly as we imagined it.

"Do you need anything?" I asked her. I'm thinking pots and pans, bath towels, emergency first-aid supplies, ant traps. Important, basic day-to-day necessities I can throw into a care package and send to her this week.

"Well ... we really like candles, and candle holders," she said.

Oh. OK. Sigh.

I have thus far managed to resist the urge to give her any advice about apartment life/life as a couple/life in general. If I could, though  ...  what would I tell her?

Never hang your oven mitts directly above the stove burners. Don't use that stoopid 3M double-stick tape stuff to hang your pictures on the walls: it pulls the plaster right off when you take them down.  Unless you really WANT to get to know your downstairs neighbors, avoid putting your stereo speakers directly on the floor. Let the water run from the faucet for a couple of minutes before you drink it. Never ever ever ever ever ever marry somebody you aren't completely madly 100% in love with. Don't go to the laundry room alone at night. Unplug the toaster before you stick the fork into it. Generic Rice Krispies taste the same as regular Rice Krispies, if you load them up with enough sugar. Program your mom's home and work phone numbers into speed dial, along with Pizza Hut, 911 and the cable company billing office.

Wear his socks. They're less expensive, and they don't wear out as fast.

But like I said, I'm trying to avoid overloading her with advice and suggestions and long-winded stories about *my* first apartment, at this stage of the game. She's eighteen years old. She graduates from high school next month. She has worked steadily since she was fifteen, and she has thus far managed to live her life with a fair amount of responsibility and integrity. I'm prepared to trust her judgement on this one.

But just in case? I'm programming her number into my speed dial, right now.

And I think I'll pack a fire extinguisher into the care package, along with the candles.

self-important blurb #1 will go HERE: Advance Notice: tomorrow is David's birthday. Another soppy, sentimental journal entry to follow. Consider yourself warned.

self-important blurb #2 -- probably having something to do with the WEATHER:
From the *No Comment Department* -- my horoscope for today:

"Joyous anticipation should be yours as you greet each day of work. This pleasure comes from having a chance to show your true ability and personality. Even though you may not be compensated for all you do, the recognition and the new levels of responsibility that come your way make your job very satisfying ... "

special *howdy* to: heather!!!!!!!!

a year ago

here's where i'll ask a *relevant* question:
how old were *you* when you moved out on your own for the first time?
i was twenty ... and no one had to give *me* any advice because fortunately *i* knew everything!

amazingly profound thought of the day: If you must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson, hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example. ~ George Bernard Shaw ~

throw a rock