Help! My son’s gone to college and I don’t have a PS4 anymore!

Dad is saying "Don't try drugs." But the boy is seeing his dad as Yoda and thiking "Do or do not. There is no try."
Hopefully they won’t mix up the words of wisdom you have given over the years.

We took our son to college a few days ago. Now there’s a big empty space in our lives and where his stuff use to be. He’s our oldest. The one we learned how to parent with.

If you have kids, you know you spend the first 4 years of their lives saying “do this” and “don’t do that.” Then before you know it they’re leaving for college and it’s our turn to learn some things.

Basically it comes down to two things: let them make their own decisions and don’t embarrass them.     For example:

Boy's room decorated in frilly pink with a heart pillow on bed.
Don’t arrange their room the way you want it.


  • Don’t put little notes in their underwear drawer that say: “You should have at least six pairs of dirty underwear by the weekend, or you aren’t changing them enough.”
  • Don’t embarrass them in front of their new friends by saying things like: “Remember, eating too much fried foods will make your face break out. If it does, use the oatmeal/cranberry face mask I packed with the baby powder.”
  • Don’t set up an ironing board in their dorm room and insist on ironing their clothes before they go in their closet. And definitely don’t take their roommate’s clothes out and iron them too.
  • Don’t try to one-up the roommate’s family by sharing the fact that your son was the winner of the Teenie-Weenie Scientist Atom Drawing Contest when he was three years old.
  • Don’t push him towards every new student in the hallway and say “Go introduce yourself.”
  • Don’t text him the minute he’s out of sight to see if he needs you to come get him.

Yes, it’s going to be hard knowing he’s not in his room playing video games. Or out with his friends eating junk food and playing Magic until 2 a.m. Or see him sitting at the table with earbuds in watching Netflix on his phone unaware that you’ve been talking to him for twenty minutes. But you have to put on your poker face and let him go. Technically, he stays and you go, but you get the idea.

If you really want to be one of the cool parents, there are only two questions to ask:

1) Do you need any money? and
2) Do you want me to leave now?

Then get in the car, take a deep breath and cry your eyes out.

If You Must Drink – Ask Your Wife

Man buying a drink for his wife in curlers and robe.

I came across a paper in my grandfather’s belongings that had an interesting take on drinking as well as saving money. I don’t know who the writer is, but I’m guessing it was written early in the 20th century based on the perceived cost of living.


                                             SOUND ADVICE

If you cannot absolutely refrain from drinking, start a saloon in your own home. Be the only customer, and you will not have to buy a license. Give your wife $12.00 to buy a gallon of whiskey. There are 128 snorts in a gallon. Buy all your drinks from your wife at .40 cents a shot and in four days when the gallon is gone, your wife will have $39.20 to put in the bank and $12.00 to buy another gallon.

If you live ten years and buy all of your liquor from your wife and then die with snakes in your boots, she will have $35,750.40 on deposit, enough to bury you respectably, bring up your children, buy a home, marry a decent man and forget she ever knew you.

Sound advise indeed:  A saving’s plan for the spouse and keeps the drunks off the roads.

Failing a Personality Quiz

I saw this free personality quiz on line and thought, “Hmm, I could roll the trash can out before the garbage truck comes, or I could take this quiz.”

cartoon drawing of man fidgeting with jacket to avoid conversation
“Do you find it easy to meet new people, or do you pretend you’re trying to get your jacket unzipped until they move away?”

It started by asking about social skills like:

“Would you rather play charades at a party with strangers, or stay home and staple your knee caps?”


Then it moved into the self image: “Do you think of yourself as smart or average?”  I think the average person is smart. But I think above average people are smarter than below average people. So, I’d have to say I’m smarter than below average.

Then there were two questions that seemed like the same question but with different words. Kind of like when news reporters ask the same question but pretend it isn’t. It asked:

“What do you like the least about yourself?” a) looks, b) personality, or c) intelligence.” The second question was, “Which do you wish you had more of?” a) looks, b) personality, or c) intelligence.

You would think they would both be the same answer, right? After all, if you like your looks the least, wouldn’t you wish you had more of that? But that seemed too obvious, so I said “a” for the first and “b” for the second, to let them  know I had plenty of “c!”  I wonder if they grade on a sliding scale?

Next up was a series of questions relating to how you think people view you?  Which is kind of tricky, because how can you answer how people view you, if they aren’t the ones answering the question? Are you suppose to say what you think they think you think? Or what you wish they would think of you? Or what they wish you think they think?  I couldn’t decide, so I chose “a” for all of them, hoping to get at least one or two right.

I thought it was going to be easy, but it was worse than taking the SAT.

  •  “Do you need others to tell you what to do in order to make up your own mind?”
  • “Do you pretend to agree with people because you don’t know what they’re talking about?”
  • “Are you worried about the results of this test?”

I was getting so stressed by the line of questioning I just started clicking on answers without reading.  After two hours, I realized the garbage truck had already driven by, and I had clicked on an ad and signed up to adopt endangered mussels in Florida.

Luckily I was able to backtrack to the personality exam and complete the final questions, which thankfully were easy:  name, credit card, social security and mother’s maiden name.

Once I filled in the final part, I got my results:

I’m an under achieving, curious, fiercely loyal, chaos navigator, with a tendency to exaggeration, combined with a pinch of delusion and tree hugging.  Pretty cool, right!

Mattress Selection Could Determine Your Future Spouse

True story. My dad is twelve years older than his little sister. He was a good brother when she was little; always there for her. Like the time some villain pushed her into the bushes and he came running from the opposite direction to rescue her and wipe away her tears. He thoroughly enjoyed the hero worship he received and told her that one day he would marry a princess.

When he brought my mom home to meet the family, my Aunt was skeptical about whether this stranger was actually a princess. So, she did what any logical preteen would do, she placed a pea under her mattress.

The next morning my aunt, who had been kicked out of her room for the guest, inquired  how the alleged princess slept. Thinking to flatter the little girl that her bed provided the finest night’s sleep, my future mother replied, “I slept wonderful.”

My aunt, now in her seventies is aware, not only that my mom was not a pedigree princess, but that her brother was both the hero AND the villain in the bush/push fiasco. However, these things no longer keep her up at night. Why? Because she has a new mattress. But a new mattress isn’t the key to a great night’s sleep, it’s having the right mattress. That’s where I come in, as mattress consigliere.Mattress background with humorous mattress slogans

When I buy something big, say over $12, I do a lot of research. And I insist on trying out products to be sure they meet expectations.

When we bought a hot tub, we put on our swimsuits and took a dip right in the showroom tubs. (They let you do that, but they prefer you don’t bring your cooler of beer.)

When we bought a gas grill, we cooked up some hamburgers and hot dogs. They weren’t happy when we didn’t buy the grill, but those burgers were raw on the inside!

And, when we needed a new mattress, we put on our PJs and headed to the nearest mattress store. (BTW, they don’t let you sleep there overnight, so a long nap is about all you can get away with.)

There are three things you want to consider when buying a mattress.
1. Coils or foam: a/k/a slinkys or stinkys;
2. Firm or Soft – Remember the three bears: You want the one that’s just right and doesn’t have some stranger sleeping in it; and
3. Jump-ability.

Coils are great for sleeping, but can rust over time if you are a bed wetter. Permaform on the other hand makes jumping impossible and they use chemicals that are non-deadly but toxic. (Is that an oxymoron?) If you are a competitive pillow fighter, you definitely want to get the permafoam pillows as they are like a soft brick and will knock out the competition.

Which ever mattress you choose, princess beware, they are likely to mask the presence of the pea, even to the most sensitive of sleepers.