I’ll Miss You Like Crazy! Saying Goodbye to My College-Bound Daughter

Amanda and Taylor are so gorgeous together.

Amanda and Taylor are so gorgeous together.

Amanda and Taylor headed to Prom Night, 2015.

Amanda and Taylor headed to Prom Night, 2015.

Amanda graduated in the Top 7% of her Class of 2015! College, here she comes! You go, girl!

Amanda graduated in the Top 7% of her Class of 2015! College, here she comes! You go, girl!

Taylor is an amazing artist. This is a painting of Amanda. If you want to check out more, here is his website: http://www.twiseart.com/

Taylor is an amazing artist. This is a painting of Amanda. If you want to check out more, here is his website: http://www.twiseart.com/

I’ll Miss You Like Crazy!  Saying Goodbye to My College-Bound Daughter

After months and months of preparation, my first-born child, Amanda, 18, is leaving for college next week. I must confess…I am not handling it well.

Of course, I am thrilled for her that she got accepted to the college of her dreams. She worked really hard in high school, earned the top 7% of her class, and gained early automatic admission to a very tough, rigorous and prestigious college. This is exactly what I hoped for her future ever since she started showing signs of intelligence as a child well beyond her years.  I could not be more proud.

But I also feel terribly melancholy, sentimental and sad down to my bones. In my head, I know that this is a thrilling new beginning for Amanda, a chance for her to shine in her chosen career path, a chance to make new friends, and a chance to start a new life in a new city. I know that not everyone gets a chance to go to a college like this, and the doors of opportunity will be opening wide for her in the next four years.  For this, I am humbled, grateful and over-the-moon happy for her.

So why, then, do I feel on some level that I am experiencing a profound loss?

For a while, I will mourn the loss of that little curly-headed, bubbly toddler who used to follow me around the house like my tiny buddy. The one who curled up in my lap every night for a picture book, or two, or three!  The snuggly bunny who loved Winnie the Pooh, soft blankies, puzzles and crayon books.  The advisor, best friend and role model to her younger sister, Emily. The teenager who discovered her love for music, late night girly sleepovers and sweet boyfriends.

Speaking of sweet boyfriends, the feeling of sadness and loss extends beyond Amanda to encompass her circle of friends and loved ones as well.  This is a huge surprise to me.  When you imagine your child leaving in the future someday, you never imagine that your grief will include others as well.  I’ve watched many of these kids grow up from elementary age and turn into amazing adults. It has been the privilege of my lifetime. I will miss her friends and her boyfriend being around the house all of the time.  My house was always the “gathering place” and that’s exactly how my husband and I planned and hoped it would be.

You don’t imagine yourself getting attached to your daughter’s friends because you are not supposed to, right? But as a parent, it’s hard not to love what your daughter loves.  It has been a great honor getting to know Amanda’s boyfriend Taylor over the last 10 months. I can honestly say that we will miss him just as much as we will miss Amanda.  We’ve watched him grow and change and become such a confident, talented, and intelligent young man. He is sweet, sensitive, kind, and has a gentle soul. But the way that he obviously loves my daughter just melts my heart into a million gushy pieces.  My husband has loved having another man around the house to commiserate with (and kill bugs with), and he will miss Taylor tremendously.  Will Amanda and Taylor’s relationship last beyond the challenges of separate colleges?  With all of my heart, I hope so and I will pray that it does.

Amanda and I will always be close, so I know that I am not really losing her. She will always need me, but never in the same way as she did before. In an age of texting, face-timing and social media, I’m sure I will hear from her on regular basis, and I will able to keep up with her activities in a sense. But what I am losing is the child that she once was, and my relationship to her as a child.  Amanda’s going off to college signals the passing of her cherished childhood and beginning of her becoming an adult.

I can’t help but be a bit sad about that.

Regardless of how often she texts, or how many times she comes home to visit, I am aware that she will be gone now in a far grander sense.  She is well on the road to adulthood, and I know that I have to take the backseat now and let her take the wheel. It will be the hardest thing to do, but I take great joy in seeing Amanda make her way with such confidence, independence and determination.  She is an amazing young lady. She is extraordinarily capable of making the right decisions, following her moral compass, and leaving her mark on this world.

My sadness feels like an ending, but I know that it is just a beginning.  She is, after all, doing exactly what she is supposed to do.  God will be with her every step of her grand adventure, and I know she is going to be just fine.  I think we have raised her well.

Posted in College Admissions, Going Off to College, Moms of Teenagers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dear Potheads Who Keep Trying to Date My Daughter

To My Daughters: JUST SAY NO to Pothead Losers who keep trying to ask you out!

To My Daughters: JUST SAY NO to Pothead Losers who keep trying to ask you out!

Dear Potheads Who Keep Trying to Date My Daughter:

I know exactly who you are. In fact, you haven’t changed that much since I was in high school in the 1980s. Except for maybe the sophistication of your gaming console, you are still an unemployed, socially inept addict hanging out in your parent’s dark-paneled basement playing video games and eating Nacho Doritos out of the bag with one hand and lazily scratching your unshowered butt with the other.  Nope, things haven’t changed a bit.

I would like to directly address all of you stoners at my daughters’ high school. But first let me state that I really don’t care what you do with your own time. Go ahead and smoke until all of your brain cells die a slow, painful death. I don’t care.  But what I DO care about is you, and the rest of your stoner group, hanging around my 16-year-old daughter and begging her to go out with you.  NO. Just no. Never going to happen.  You need to wake up from your smoky purple haze and realize that nice girls don’t go for potheads.  She knows that you are headed for Loserville where potheads flip burgers for minimum wage, get raided for growing marijuana plants in their garage, and end up in the state penitentiary.

I would like for you to stop telling her that she needs to “try this awesome weed, babe!” The basis of your brilliant argument is that “it’s OK, everyone is doing it.”  Really?  Like that one hasn’t been used since time began. How original.  The problem is that I might be starting to believe this because she keeps running into one guy after another who turns out to be a stoner. She has absolutely no interest in dating an addict.  Do you honestly have nothing better to do with your life?

Almost every night, Emily tells me about some new guy she met at school who starts texting her and following her around.  A couple of days later, she finds out that, disappointingly, he’s a druggie.  Red flag. Alarm bells. Time to initiate the Dump Sequence. That’s like 10 guys in row this year. It’s really sad that these dudes feel the need to fill their time with reefers and bongs instead of books and studying and trying to make something of themselves in the future.

So, my little friends, I’ve had to counteract your lies about pot with actual facts. Here is what I’ve told both of my daughters about this drug:

  • LIE: “Dude, it’s like legal and stuff in Colorado and Washington, so it can’t be bad for you.”  TRUTH: That doesn’t mean it’s good for you just because they have legalized it in some states. Cigarettes are legal in every state yet the medical community admits that cigarettes causes cancer and death. Tobacco is a legal substance that is known to kill.  Although marijuana may be legal and decriminalized in some states, it’s still illegal in all states for anyone under 21 and illegal in my state. Law enforcement knows who the dealers are in any given community, and they will come bust down your door and arrest you when you least expect it. When you buy some pot, you are supporting a vast illegal import network consisting of some really bad dudes that are worse than any mobster movie you’ve ever seen. Do you really want to dabble in that game? An arrest can cause a student to lose her spot on a sports team, get expelled from school, forfeit a college scholarship or require entering an outpatient drug rehab program. But here’s the most important thing – The law doesn’t matter. Just don’t use any substance that alters your mind and affects your ability to make wise decisions. And don’t hang out with anyone who does. You could be guilty by association if there is a raid.  That is why my daughter is never going to go anywhere with you, Mr. Weedlover.
  • LIE: “It’s safer than alcohol and tobacco and it doesn’t really affect me.” TRUTH: Really? Did you know that pot is a lot stronger than when Boomers and Gen X people tried it.  According to NIDA, concentrations of THC, the chemical in marijuana which provides the ‘high,” averaged 14.5 percent in 2012, compared to around 4 percent in the 1980s. It’s stronger, more dangerous and unregulated, unlike alcohol and tobacco.  God help you if you get a “bad batch”.  If you say that it doesn’t affect you, then you must be superhuman, dude.  You are also among the most dangerous of drug users because your brain is so messed up that you think you can go around doing normal things like driving, which puts the rest of us in serious danger. Pot is a gateway drug.  It doesn’t take long to get addicted to the high, and very soon, the high isn’t high enough for you anymore.  You move on to much more dangerous drugs in an effort to stay as high as a kite.
  • LIE: “It doesn’t hurt my mind, I’m still just as smart.” TRUTH: Really? According to a 25-year, longitudinal study released in 2013 by NIDA, participants who were dependent on marijuana before age 18 lost an average of eight IQ points between childhood and age 38. Health experts tell us that the human brain is still developing well past age 20. The teen years are NOT the time to be putting things into your brain. It will kill brain cells that will never re-grow. Weed is proven to alter the clarity of your thought process and your ability to make a decision. It gives you a false sense of safety which may make you do things like jump off roofs or have unprotected sex. It also alters your memory process and can affect your ability to study and pass tests. It’s not just a stereotype that stoners make poor grades. They actually do, which puts them on the fast track to Loserville. And, yes, alcohol abuse does the same thing.
  • LIE: “Lots of celebrities smoke pot and they’re, like, successful and stuff.”  TRUTH: Ok, so, because celebrities like Seth Rogen, Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber get away with lighting up and laughing about it, that makes it cool and awesome, right? These celebrities have teams of lawyers to bail them out of any situation, should it arise.  I’m guessing you don’t have two nickels in your bank account, right?  This means, if you get caught, you are going straight to jail, plus some heavy fines which will take you an entire lifetime of burger flipping to pay off because you now have zero chance of landing a real job with your criminal record. Sounds like a glamorous life, right?

So, little smoker boys, I’m glad we had this talk. You really should stop smoking that shit because, if you don’t, a few years from now you will be a paranoid, disillusioned street person painting chalk pictures on the sidewalk while people throw dimes into your dirty baseball cap so that you can feed your 13 kids.  Oh, and also, I want you to stop telling my daughter that “everyone is doing it, and you should too.”  You can also stop telling her that she ought to go out with you.  She’s way too smart for that because her brain cells are still operating in an unaltered state.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Despite the recent parade of stoners like yourself, I still believe there are smart guys out there who care about the state of their minds and their futures.  Sadly, they are rare, like a needle in a haystack, but she’s going to keep looking, thankyouverymuch.  Meanwhile, enjoy your mommy’s dank basement, your bong and your stale Doritos because that’s probably as good as your life is ever going to get.


All Parents Everywhere

Posted in Dating, Dating Tips for High School Guys, Drugs and Teens, Just Say No to Potheads | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

5 Parenting Game Apps That Will Never Make It To Your Phone

 5 Parenting Game Apps That Will Never Make It To Your Phone by Cindy Haney

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with playing games on my phone, especially Candy Crush. Seriously, have you played this thing? It’s addictive. And, weirdly, I can’t stop thinking about fruit-flavored candy. Hmmph.  Ever since I got my first smart phone a few months ago (yes, I’m very, very late to the party), I love wasting ridiculous amounts of time on Game Apps when I’m supposed to be doing something else, like cooking the crappy dinner no one appreciates or folding someone else’s underwear or possibly working.  You might call it a time-waster, but I call it an escape from the stupid mundane stuff that I don’t want to do.

Maybe it’s just me, but after cruising through the App Store on my phone a few thousand times, there really doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of Apps designed for parents. How about some games based on Reality Parenting?  We have Reality TV, so why not Reality Apps?

So I decided to invent some new Apps for the millions of moms out there who could a use a hand, and a diversion, when it comes to parenting.   And since I have two teen-aged girls, let’s focus in on that for these Apps.  How hard can it be to come up with new Apps? This is going to be FUN!  Ok, I found it really is hard, therefore I’m fairly certain you’re never going to see these on your phone. Don’t hold your breath, people.

Candy A Saga icon


Yum! Yum! Hey, depressed moms, it’s a race against the clock to see how much junk food and processed sugar you can stuff into your face before your butt explodes. Each new level is another new year of poor eating, and with each new level, your ass gets a little bit bigger. You get bonus points for never leaving the couch and forsaking all forms of exercise.  But you have to HURRY!  Mr. Diabetes is chasing you, so have to eat as much as possible before he catches you and stabs you in the ass with an insulin needle. Good Luck!

Angry Mom_game icon


Try your hand at Angry Mom®, the new game brought to you by the makers of Snarky Teenager® and Words with Sarcasm®.  Hurl creative insults at your teenager with ever-increasing intensity until your anger reaches new levels of mental illness.  But be careful! You have to avoid inevitable landmines such as sweet pleading baby voices, doe eyes, crocodile tears and seemingly sincere letters of apology. If you can successfully avoid these, you can maintain your level of screaming anger and irrational behavior which will increase your Powers to reach the ultimate level of Bitchiness. Muh-ha-ha-ha!!

Dinner Rush Gourmet icon


Talk about a time crunch!  Race through the maze of your hellish workday, weave through 5 o’clock traffic, pick up your non-driving teens from various places and then… oh shit! You forgot to plan for dinner! Never fear, Dinner Rush, is here!  Brought to you by The Tired Gourmet®, players are presented with a maze of fast food restaurants, and then it’s a race against the clock to assemble an edible dinner before your looming 9:00 bedtime.  But watch out, though!  Obstacles such as last minute 14-page essays due the next day, Geometry homework that doesn’t make sense even to Einstein, and emergency late night laundry (oh my god, I HAVE to have those jeans tomorrow) are determined to ruin your evening.  Throw caution to the wind and don’t even think about nutritional value!  Who cares! As long they eat something, right?  Good luck, Mom Chefs!

Drivers Ed artwork


And speaking of non-driving teens, it’s about damn time your teen starts driving herself around, amIrite?   This is a game for parents with nerves of steel, the patience of Job, and a permanent prescription for Valium. Yes, you’ll have to leave your anxiety at the door as you climb into the Passenger Seat of Death and hand your keys over to your not-overly-thrilled teen. As the driving simulation game begins, your stress levels will go through the roof.  Your driving training will include all kinds of obstacles to avoid such as innocent pedestrians, hidden stop signs, emergency text messages from hot guys, and road-crossing squirrels.  The trick is to avoid screaming like a maniac every 5 seconds and causing an inevitable metal-twisting crash.  If you make it to the second level, congratulations, you’re still alive.  Now get out of the car immediately and run to the nearest bus stop.

Mall Money Blitz


Cha-Ching!  Hear that?  That’s the sound of money leaving your bank account at an impressive rate of speed. It’s a game of stamina, smarts and clever manipulation.  Only, surprise!  You’re the victim and your teen daughter is the clever manipulator.  First, she talks you into going to the Mall.  Big mistake, stupid parent. In the next level, you get trapped in the dressing room of Forever 21.  Uh oh! There’s no way out!  What? There’s a big Homecoming dance coming up?  Shit, you’re going to be here all day. And, damn, that outfit really does look awesome on her!  Before you know it, your powers of resistance are all used up, plus your feet hurt.  If you’re not careful, you’ll spend it ALL, just to get out of that mall.  Spoiler Alert:  Moms, there’s NO WAY in hell you can win this one.

I told you this was going to be fun!  Anybody know any App Game Creators?  Call them up and tell them we have some really BIG SELLIN’ game ideas for them.  Take that, Candy Crush!

Posted in Apps for Parents | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

13 things that will happen to you in your 40s

Mirror Mirror my butt is huge

Lately, I’ve been spending a disturbing amount of time in front of my mirror plucking gray hairs from my temples.  Every day there seems to be a few more of those little bastards than there were the day before.  My bathroom mirror also likes to remind me about the ever-growing size of my gargantuan butt.  I’m getting close to the end of my 40s, and as I look back on this decade of my life, I realize that there were many events that happened that, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t avoid.

So don’t even try to fight it, sister.  These things are coming for you.  So if you’re not there yet, then I can tell you with a certain amount of authority exactly what you can look forward to.

13 things that will happen to you in your 40s:

  1. You will ask yourself every single day of your life why you are still working at the same shitty, low-paying job. You will fantasize about throwing a curse-filled tantrum in your bosses’ face and quitting on the spot, then leaving in a blaze of glory. But then you remember that you have bills piling up on the kitchen table.
  2. You will put on weight. You will go a strict diet. Then you will join a gym, where you will gain even more weight. Then you will quit the gym, and proceed to gain even more weight. Then you will re-join your gym.  You will repeat this cycle at least seven times in this decade.
  3. A “party” in your 40s means something totally different than it did in your 20s. If you are going to a party now, it usually involves a trip to Toys ‘R Us, rainbow wrapping paper, screaming little kids and a bottle of Excederin headache medicine.
  4. Binge-watching a TV show while binge-eating is the only entertainment you can afford. Movies worth watching can no longer be found. In my neighborhood, they closed all of the Blockbuster Video Stores. All we are left with now is NetFlix and it really, really sucks. Hey NetFlix, why don’t you offer some movies made in the last decade that people have actually have heard of? You really suck, NetFlix.
  5. You will suddenly realize that you look like every other middle-aged crabby old fart on the street. Everywhere you go, people will remark how beautiful your daughters are.  But no one will mention how beautiful you are. Ever again.  Because you aren’t anymore. Not even your husband will say this to you.  My husband wouldn’t even notice if I put on nothing but fishnet stockings and a lampshade and paraded up and down my street.
  6. “No” will get easier and easier to say. To everyone.  Especially to your teenagers.
  7. You will spend 90% of your weekends, and your paycheck, at Forever 21. You will seriously consider writing the CEO of the company to ask him to put Mom Chairs outside the dressing rooms because you are sick to death of sitting on the floor.  And, P.S. Mr. CEO, cut the crap with the super-loud, head bangin’ music.  I can’t hear myself being depressed.
  8. You no longer give a rat’s ass whether or not someone you know likes you or not. You are now too old and too tired to care anymore. Besides, you hate everyone, especially that perky blonde Botox-ed PTA president. “Hey Bambi, you can bite me.”
  9. The most exciting thing you will buy in this decade is a new Washer and Dryer. You will research the shit out of it, like you did when you bought your first car in your 20s. You will be so excited when they deliver it that you might actually pee in your pants a little.  Which is OK, because that awesome machine will wash that pee right outta’ there.  I bought a new set recently, and that pair of freakin’ technological awesomeness has changed my life.  You moms know exactly what I mean.
  10. You will start thinking about making up a last Will and Testament and wonder why you haven’t done that already. After all, let’s face it, you are ridiculously unhealthy and could kick the bucket at any time.  Then you remember that you don’t own a single piece of valuable property worth over 20 bucks. Never mind about that Will.
  11. On a regular basis, you will stay up all night crying into your pillow because you can’t stop thinking about how you are going to pay for college. Poor planning, bad financial decisions and soul-crushing regret will make you a sleepless zombie for this entire decade.
  12. One day you will make a list and realize you have over 100 reasons to go see a doctor. Weird things are happening with your body…. You start seeing suspicious moles and skin bumps in oddball places, little black hairs start popping out of your face where they don’t belong, and strange pains start happening that you can’t even describe. So you start complaining about all your aches and pains like your grandmother used to do, and then people inexplicably stop inviting you over.   WebMD is your favorite website.
  13. Everyone you knew in high school and college has already gotten divorced… even the couples you thought would stay together forever. You often eye your spouse with suspicion when he’s not looking and wonder what he’s planning and why in the world he’s still around to put up with your endless bullcrap.

Well, I have a couple more years to enjoy this terrible decade.  I hear that the 50s are going to be much easier. Why? Because it’s supposed to be the Era of Self-Acceptance. Basically everything that you tried to change in your 40s will suddenly become totally OK with you.  I hope that’s true.  But right now, I have to go buy some hair dye and re-join the gym.

Posted in ; Feeling Old, Moms of Teenagers | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

When the Kids are Away, The Parents will, um…. Sleep

This is my husband (not really) during our exciting, fun-filled, kid-free week of Summer.

This is my husband (not really) during our exciting, fun-filled, kid-free week of Summer.

When the Kids are Away, The Parents will, um…. Sleep by Cindy Haney

Well, there’s a first time for everything, right?  This week is one of those Firsts.  It’s the first time ever that both of my teen-aged daughters went away for the entire week… in the same week!  This is so historic that my husband and I made plans to break out the champagne on the first night and toast to our new found (albeit temporary) freedom!

Ahhh, you gotta love summer. Amanda went away to her annual Choir Camp and Emily went to her best friend’s family’s farm.  I am sure that while they are gone, they are imagining us moping around, depressed, bored and empty without them, counting the minutes until they return.  They think that we are crying in our margaritas (mere distractions, of course) while watching their baby videos in slow motion for hours and hours.  *Sniff*Sniff*  “When will we ever feel WHOLE again…!”

Hang on, let’s tap the Reality Brakes a little.  If you are one of the tens of thousands of parents who shipped their teenagers off to camp this summer, then you already know that you don’t have time for all that sentimental bullcrap. They’ll be back before you know it, so you’ve got to GET BUSY being F-R-E-E!!  This is one glorious week of no homework, no driving kids all over the place, no trips to the damn mall, no painting anybody else’s fingernails, no cooking dinner (pizza EVERY night, oh yes!) and no washing 47 loads of barely used bath towels.

Oh sure, we’ll miss them. On the first night, the silence was eerie and deafening. On the second night, the silence was divine and peaceful.  I could get used to this!  Ok, no, just kidding. Of course it’s weird when they’re not home.  But, trust me, they’ll be back all too soon, so I might as well make the best of it and live a little.  This week, I don’t have to be a Mom, I can be a regular grown-up.  What does that mean anyway?  I have no idea.  I forgot.

“So what will I do with myself?” I ponder in between pages of my romance novel while lying in my lounge chair in the backyard.  Well, I have a few ideas for all you empty and lonely parents out there…

Things to Do While Your Kids are Away at Camp:

  • Enjoy a Staycation. Hubby and I still have to go to work while the kids are gone, unfortunately, but in the evening we can go to the pool or just put our pajamas on at 6:00 pm and then sprawl out on the couch.  We can even eat pizza in our underwear. And while you are enjoying the peace and quiet of your own home, why don’t you…
  • Take a really, really, really long bubble bath. Wouldn’t it be nice to use all of the hot water for yourself for a change? Wouldn’t it be lovely to soak in the tub without any interruptions, such as, “Moooommmmm, I’m out of face wash, can you take me Walgreens right noooowwww!”
  • Use the laptop ANYTIME you want. I never, ever, I mean never, get to touch that thing. It is permanently attached to one of the kids at all times.  Wouldn’t it be historied to use it without having to issue a five-minute warning to get off the computer…twenty times.
  • Cook a five-star, four-course gourmet meal. Hahaha, just kidding. Are you on drugs?  Hell NO to that suggestion, you wacky jokester you.  Haven’t you been listening? This week, I am F-R-E-E and that means absolutely no D-I-S-H-E-S!
  • Go see a Rated-R movie during dinnertime! And have popcorn for a meal. I know, scandalous, right?  We’re going to go see the most violent, curse-word filled, mostly naked movie we can find.  Without any teenagers tagging along.  We’re going to wear black hoodies just in case we see any parents we know, that way they can’t positively identify us.
  • Re-Organize all the closets in your house. Gotcha’ again!  Hell NO to this one too.    Just seeing if you’re paying attention.  I think you’re catching on.  Go take a long, uninterrupted late afternoon nap instead.

Speaking of sleep…the first night, we were anxious to put into practice one of the above suggestions.  So we got home from work, and decided to start our exciting kid-free evening by having a heart-felt and stimulating, adults-only conversation, uninterrupted by whiny kids and listening ears.  It went like this:

“So, how was work?”

“Fine, you?”


“Whaddya wanna do?”

“Let’s watch the Bachlorette.”

(15 minutes later…)

“Zzzzzzzz. *Snore*Snort* Zzzzzz.”

Yes, getting used to our precious daughters not being home this week has taken quite a bit of effort on our part.   It’s an adjustment, for sure, but rest assured, we are soldiering on. Don’t call us with your sympathy, though, because we not answering the phone.  I think, with a little bit of adjustment, and some tequila, we are starting to forget all about our pain. Plus, we’re catching up on a whole of lot of sleep. I highly recommend it.


Posted in Lazy Summer, Summer and Teens, Summer Camp, Summer Vacation Humor | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stupid Things I Did As a Kid

This is me as a kid. We lived in The Danger Zone and it was awesome!

This is me as a kid. We lived in The Danger Zone and it was awesome!

Stupid Things I Did As a Kid by Cindy Haney

Now that Summer has finally arrived, a predictable routine of sloth-like laziness has taken over my teenagers.  Since they are taking a 3-month break from anything even remotely requiring active brainwaves, they purposely sit around all day staring at various blinking techno-screens.

I was not allowed to lie on the couch all day when I was kid.  Of course the difference between then and now is that my mom was home during those long summer days and she exercised her god-given parental rights daily by literally kicking my butt right out the door.  We were told to “go find something to do outside” and that’s what we did.  All day.  Until dusk fell and we’d hear my Dad’s obnoxious whistle, which usually meant, “get home fast or else!”

I’ve been thinking about my happy, carefree childhood and all the stupid things we used to do to entertain ourselves.  We had to actually use our imaginations because we didn’t have video games and smart phones to do our thinking for us.  It makes me a little bit sad when I think about how my kids’ generation will never get to experience some of the things we used to do, like……

Crank Calling on Home Phones

During our slumber parties, we were always daring each other to “crank call” the “foxiest” guy in class.  We’d dial the guy on our rotary room phone, whisper something like, “Owww, I love your butt!”, hang up and then laugh until we barfed up grape Kool-Aid on our lime green shag carpet. It was awesome.

But the invention of Caller I.D. and personal cell phones changed all that.  You can’t dial anyone anonymously anymore.  We haven’t even owned a home phone in years.  As the Edward Snowden scandal proves, there ain’t no such thing as privacy anymore. Big Brother is watching you, apparently, so my girls have to find other ways of annoying guys anonymously.

Friends Right Next Door

I don’t know if I was just lucky, or if everyone had friends to play with on their street back in the day.  Whenever I got bored, I just walked right next door, flopped on Helen’s bed and we’d talk for hours about The Bay City Rollers, Andy Gibb, Donny Osmond and whether or not her cousin’s best friend Kevin wanted to kiss me or what already!  Back then, if you didn’t know anyone on your street, guess what… you’d go knock on someone’s door and make new friends. Pretty soon, you were eating their food, feeding their cats and having slumber parties (see above).  That’s just how we rolled.

In stark contrast, when my girls were little, there weren’t a lot of kids their age living on our street.  And I never, ever let them knock on a stranger’s door. Charles Manson or Edward Cullen might live there. Maybe it’s our fault, as parents, because we tend to shelter our kids more than we should.  I blame it on the “too much information” age, where they scare us to death on the damn nightly news.  As a result, my girls didn’t play outside very much.  I regret not being there to shove them out the door like my mother used to do. Luckily, today, they have lots of great friends, but it’s an effort to go see them, especially in the summer, because they don’t live right there on our street.  Isn’t it a shame that no one even knows their neighbors at all?

Loads of Freedom

The most striking contrast is the freedom I enjoyed. I was basically a Free Agent, especially in the summertime.  I’d eat breakfast, and then I’d walk out the door.  I would wander around the neighborhood on my bike.  I’d hit the convenience store for some Pop Rocks, Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum or Candy Cigarettes,  and then I would wander around some more. Aimlessly.

Sometimes we’d go hunting for “Hobos”, which my crazy aunt insisted lived in the fields behind her house. We’d catch “craw-dads” and lizards with our bare hands, way before someone invented the word “Salmonella”.  Sometimes we’d climb the huge tree in my front yard, stealthifully hide in the branches, and then pelt the neighborhood boys with “chinaberries” whenever they stupidly dared to ride their bikes past my house.

Most summer days involved everyone meeting up at the neighborhood city pool, and then we’d stay the entire day.  Later, when I became a lifeguard at that same pool, I realized how annoying this was to the staff.  For the low, low fee of a dollar a day, these kids got babysitting services all day long.  What a deal! My mom must’ve LOVED that!  We’d be gone so long, sometimes we’d forget to eat lunch. Imagine that!

And then that obnoxious whistle would sound just as the crickets began to chirp and the day began to turn blue.

My daughters didn’t get to experience this level of freedom.  It’s a different world now.  What I wouldn’t give to go back to that kind of innocent life, where we seemingly had nothing to fear!

Danger, Schmanger!

What’s a little danger?  Back in the day, we didn’t know danger was all around us, and that’s a very good thing.  There weren’t lawsuits lurking in the bushes at every turn.  For instance, we didn’t even wear seatbelts in the car back then.  I remember laying across the backseat, laying across my brother and sister, laying across the back window, jumping around in the backseat or possibly attempting cartwheels, but never sitting quietly and restrained.

Then, in 1984, “Buckle Up, It’s The Law” went into effect and now we restrain our kids with straight-jacket belts made for the Space Shuttle from the time they come home from the hospital until they are 30. No siree, there was no jumping around in the backseat of my car!

And what about helmets?  I didn’t own a single helmet and yet I rode my shiny blue ten-speed all over that town, and I somehow survived.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for helmets. In fact, I super-glued them onto my kid’s heads when they were little. But that still didn’t stop Amanda from breaking her wrists three separate times (trampoline, bunk bed, scooter) and spraining her ankle once (swing set).   I think danger is bound to happen no matter how much we try to bubblewrap them.

And how about the Militant Childproofing we do to our homes when our kids are born? I took every one of my hazardous cleaning products and stored them in the attic, protected by laser beams and titanium padlocks.  I kept things like scissors, hot dogs, pennies and permanent markets far away at an undisclosed satellite location.  Not so at my house when I was kid. Our policy was, if you ate poison once, you sure as hell never did it again.

Things were a lot simpler when I was a kid.  If we could un-invent the computer, video games, and smart phones, would we do it?  I don’t know.  Maybe.

But one thing I do know for sure…  today when I get home from work, I’m going to force my teenagers to strap on their helmets and ride their bikes with me to the neighborhood pool, where we are going to do some cartwheels off the diving board and into the deep end.  Then we’re going to chew some Hubba Bubba Bubblegum while running with scissors.  *SONG*  “Highway to the Danger Zone…Gonna take it right into the Danger Zone….”

Posted in Stupid Things I Did as A Kid | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lying to College Admissions Committees is a Valuable Life Skill

Maybe if Amanda had done THIS last summer, we'd have something interesting write on those college applications!

Maybe if Amanda had done THIS last summer, we’d have something interesting to write on those college applications!

Lying to College Admissions Committees is a Valuable Life Skill by Cindy Haney

School is finally out for the summer, thank god.  But there will be NO lounging around and doing nothing this summer. No, sir!   There is work to do!

This is the summer before Amanda’s senior year, and according to those annoying College Planning Guides, she is supposed to spend the summer sweating over the perfect Pulitzer-prize-winning college essay and filling out enough entrance paperwork to fill up a landfill.  She’s also supposed to look for ways to boost those “extra-curricular” activities that colleges seem so overly interested in.

I’ve always thought that it was the SAT scores that colleges cared the most about.  Stupid, naïve Mom. But, hey, we did get the results from Amanda’s SAT test last week, and we almost fainted when we saw them.  The scores were amazingly high.  And this is from a kid who could not be bothered to pull herself away from texting and Spotifying long enough to even crack the spine of the brand new $39.99 SAT study guide I bought her. Not once.  This stupid book sat on the coffee table for four months collecting a stunning amount of dust.  Whenever I suggested she look over the mock tests in the books, she would shrug and say “Meh.”   Her friends were signing up for “SAT score-boosting” classes on the internet, but she never studied once. Suprise, she did better than her friends, so I guess that shuts my mouth.  So how’s that for natural SMARTS, people?

So checklist….she’s got the scores, she’s got the GPA, she’s got the class rank, hopefully the bullcrap essay will fly, but what she doesn’t have is “extracurriculars”.  For some reason, admissions committees are VERY concerned about what you do with your spare time.

Amanda didn’t get a chance to do a lot of outside activities over the years, basically because her parents are broke assholes.  So that’s not really her fault.  Can we say that in the essay?  She didn’t get to volunteer to heal Lepers in India, intern as an understudy on Broadway, or build houses for the underprivileged in Cambodia.  She didn’t get to go on any great excursions or life-changing trips to war-torn developing countries. She didn’t get to live in a mud hut for 3 months and subsist on grubs, worms and tree bark, and then come back with a new appreciation for fast food hamburgers.

Oh sure, there were plenty of summer trips like these available in our area.  For the low, low price of $10,000 bucks or more, all for the chance to go to Guam to teach the villagers how to grow kale hydroponically, or to go and teach the tribal monkey-men in the remote rainforests of Africa how to trade in their loincloths for Levis so they can become more American.

All of these are worthy points-winning activities in the eyes of any Admissions Committee, I am sure.  But none of them happened, so what in the world are we going to write in that section of the application?  We can’t tell the truth, can we?

“Well, sirs, for the last ten years, I’ve spent my summers locked in my house with the blinds closed while my parents went to work. I learned the valuable skills of sleeping until noon, watching re-runs of “Hey Jesse!” (hey, Jess-ayah!) and eating peanut butter sandwiches in my underwear.”

I’m sorry, but these committees are forcing us to lie and make shit up.  Which I plan on doing to the fullest extent.  Do you think the following BLATANT LIES will help her get into college?

1)      I spent a challenging summer at a National Food Supplier studying International Nutrition and Food Distribution.  (She works at local grocery store).

2)      I spent several fulfilling summers studying the fascinating work of Child Development and particularly the issues of Give and Take and the Art of Negotiation in the context of Sibling Relational Studies.  (She babysat for her younger sister for years).

3)      I spent numerous summers studying the Field of Hospitality and Entertainment and how that relates to Guest Satisfaction in a Geriatic setting.  (She went to visit her grandparents).

4)      I spent one summer studying Relational Behavior of the Male/Female bond and experimented with mixing different dating partners in an effort to define the Perfect Personal Dating Match.  (She dated a bunch of different guys last summer).

Okay, so you get the picture.  It’s a good thing I know a thing or two about “creative writing”, amIrite?  Otherwise we might not ever get Amanda into a good college and out of my house!

Maybe it’s not too late to add some of that real-world experience to her resume.  I just receive a flyer in the mail for an opportunity this summer to go backpacking blindfolded and barefooted while wearing adult diapers through the Australian Outback.  There’s also one for an unpaid internship juicing carrots and beets at Jamba Juice.

Hmmmm…. how will we choose…..?

Posted in College Admissions, Life Skills | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments