Monday, December 26, 2011

Certificate in Mixology adds to a college student's coolness factor

Wednesday, November 23, 2011: Alex,
Please be careful driving home today in the rain and holiday traffic. I will pray for safe travels. Hey, do you want to sit in on my public speaking class tonight, the professor said we can bring guests.
Later, mom
December 9th, 2011: (It’s been two weeks)
Request: Update on your life. Mother
PS: Are you coming home this weekend?
I have formal tonight? So no lol
I know you have formal tonight, but I thought you would come home tomorrow.
I have studying and papers to write so I really don't even have the 45 min to drive home cuz I could get like a half a paper done in that time
Makes sense. Be careful tonight, you guys are staying at the hotel, right? I might come up during the week to pick up the fundraising things. Mom
Yeah we're stayin in the hotel yeah can u come up on like thurs and bring my pink suitcase I'm sched to move out sun the 18th
A text from me to her: During the formal:
Is the dance nice?
Its funnn
Next day:
Are you up? We’re at Uncle Tom’s party.
I just got back to campus.
In what town was it?
Oh it wasn’t too far

What kind of answer is that? Also, I sent you information about that Bartending school. Go to bed early tonight (has finals the next morning). Meet me in E. around 5:30pm (for bartending school interview), leave at 4pm, lots of traffic. Did you find out about the elections tonight?
I was still in chapter. Stop calling me all the time.
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2011 Subject: money
Hey Sweetie,
I transferred $300 to your account which is meant for the bartending school. $130 came already out for the deposit. Don’t spend the remaining $170 on anything else, you’ll need that to pay the rest of the bill.
PS: she requested to keep her love life private, so no Michael news...but I think they already stopped talking. Loser (he)
Alex is now home for winter break. She couldn't even find a job for the holiday season, but I'm not sure how hard she worked at applying. She is doing bartending school for two weeks instead. When she passes the final exam, she will have a certificate in mixology. At nineteen, which probably adds to the coolness factor. She will also look for a bartending job in a lounge or restaurant while she's off. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Total Stress - The most normal email from a college student, says mom's friend...

Thu, Oct 27, 2011
I would advise you not to drive anywhere tonight, we are expecting sleet, maybe snow, and freezing rain, and you know how dangerous black ice is. Can you walk to wherever you’re going? If not, be extremely careful, esp. when driving others.
What’s going on otherwise? Mom
Michael emailed me last night. He kept going on about how much better the library at our university is compared to his haha oh gosh I'm going to ruin him
This weather makes me want to go to salem wahhhhhhhhhhhh
Yeah I know, Salem is awesome. It’ll be there a long time, don’t worry.
Please make sure to call Wegman’s Human Resources Dept. and inquire about the status of your application. This shows you’re interested in the position. Do this with all the other places you applied to. Just call the main number of each business and ask for Human Resources dept.
Good luck, have a nice day, Mom
Wednesday, November 16, 2011Hi Schatz, good morning,
Please call Stop and Save to inquire about the status of your application.
its called stop and shop
right now i really cant look for a job i have SO much work right now and i'm so stressed i have a test on friday another one on tuesday 3 HUGE projects coming up all right after each other i have to make my big a paddle cuz shes graduating and its tradition in every greek org all over the world that you make them a paddle when they graduate and present it at the formal
 i need a formal dress still and elections are comin up for positions in my sorority and i need to make a speech so i can get elected for the position i want and like i have money for the paddle and a dress and whatever else but like all these expenses are comin up at once plus like christmas is comin and i need to buy presents plus birthday presents cuz everyones birthday is in january and i need a job but idk y i cant find one i have really bad insomnia lately and cant sleep at night so m dead all day i dont have time right now for anything  and i just want this effin semester to end
All right, breathe. The world is not ending, it just feels like it.

Do your schoolwork, don’t worry about a job right now, one will come up eventually. You still have money from the one I brought back from Germany, we’ll just have to take some from there. How much do you have in the account right now? I can also check when I go to the bank this morning. Keep Christmas small, don’t stress out over it, everybody knows college students are poor. I will support you financially as much as possible as long as you concentrate on schoolwork.
So relax, do your school work, try to sleep, and you’re done in less than a month.
I am praying for you, give everything over to God, He’ll take care of you.
Sending well wishes your way,
Love Mom
Then I forwarded Alex’s email to a young co-worker who survived college and gives the best advice. I just needed to vent myself, because emails like these panic me a little. My co-worker wrote back that Al’s email is the most normal thing she’s ever seen and that if someone is not broke and stressed for at least a certain length of college, they’re not doing it right. Al is learning to suck up and cope. It’s all part of what you learn at college. Yes, the book learning is important, but a lot of college life is about learning how to deal with multiple deadlines and pressures so you are getting prepared for the real world. Just be sympathetic, but let her deal with it. She needs to vent right now more than anything. Nothing in her mail sounds like the world is about to end even though it feels like it to her. Don’t fix her problems for her. They’re normal, everyone goes through this at times, she has to learn how to solve them on her own. Just watch the insomnia which is most likely stress and worry. This time of year is a miserable time in college because everything comes due at the same time and you also have the holiday stress to deal with. There will be tears and upset emails and personal drama. And then everyone moves on.
Three hours later: Alexandra wrote: Okay I'm better now, I did my math test and I knew what I was doing so I think I did good I ordered the paddle and the stuff that goes with last night and got it for an okay price better than the other website so now I just need a dress nd like I have money in the account its just when a lot of stuff comes up at once I get nervous

Parents at Halloween Party - Not

Hey Alex,
We are invited to a Halloween party at Julie’s house, you too, btw, but I told her you will probably be at X University. Anyway, it’s in an old farmhouse, and her parties are famous, tons of people, all ages.
I plan on going as a XU student, with a sign in the front, just simple and I will wear XUniversity sweats and red face paint.
Dad could go as the last straw, with a straw sticking out of his breast pocket, but it’s kind of lame. Do you have any ideas, silly, funny, very cheap? I thought you’d mentioned something when you were home last time. Mom
no those are lame (both of them) u guys should dress up as a couple costume like thing 1 and thing 2, frankenstein and his bride, cross dress, etc
some funny and easy but last resort ideas are smarty pants (tape smarties candies to pants), a quarter back (tape quarters to ur back)
actually u guys should just put sheets over ur heads and not embarrass me
(mom’s face having weird expression as she is reading daughter’s advice)
Never mind, old couch potato doesn’t even want to go. Hey, Uncle Tom is going as a box.
u guys r so weird either u never want to go or he doesn’t

I did a persuasive speech last year on lowering the drinking age and since it was a friday my whole class was out the night before and were all for it and i got an A =]

lol, I went to bed at 11:30 on tuesday so I wouldn't be tired on wednesday, It worked for a while but by the time I got to English (my last class) I just wanted to go to bed, don't worry I did go to English. I handed in my paper on tuesday (all 19 pages of it) so I hope I did a good job. 
Good job on your speech, I'm sure you did fine
Anyways, I have to do laundry and go to the gym, tonight I'm going to XYZ fraternity, they asked me to sell jello shots HAHA! 
see you next weekend, Alex
Friday, October 21, 2011: Oh, I’m glad I didn’t get this email last night, what do you mean you have to sell jello shots? I hope that was a joke. I prayed special last night, b/c I had a queasy feeling since it was Thursday. Are you back at your dorm now?
I’m already working on my next speech. It’s the persuasive speech, we need to find a controversial topic and pick a side. So what I have to do is get informed about both sides, make up my mind which one I support, then argue it. Should really be interesting and I can learn a lot. This is fun. I know I sound like a nerd, but I’m a cool nerd, right?! Mom
Monday, October 24, 2011: hahahaha no i wasn't joking, for breast cancer  the frat was selling pink jello shots for a dollar (they do this every year) at their open and since im friends with them they asked me and some of my sisters to walk around the party with a tray of them and sell them its great u  make a lot of new friends cuz everyone wants them and people respect the jello shot girls cuz we're the ones supplying and if u piss us off u dont get one lol
i did a persuasive speech last year on lowering the drinking age and since it was a friday my whole class was out the night before and were all for it and i got an A =]
My head is spinning…(Mom)

Ever heard of the Molly Maguires, and Campus living

October 14, 2011: today for dinner i had potato soup cuz I really wanted soup but then I remembered how we made it at paul bunyan with the scallions, bacon, cheese, croutons and salt and pepper so added that stuff from the baked potato bar and salad bar and my friend was like omg that looks soo good and she made the same thing and then walking to our table some kids were like omg what is that!? so I told them how to make it and then they got some too haha so we kids like it even if the judges at paul bunyan didn't
On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 Hey,
It was good seeing you yesterday. My poor baby is sick, awww.
I know, this week is brutal, the midterms, homecoming, cold, but after this it should get better, right?
I am glad you like your roommate and suitemates, I hope it’s a lot better for you than last year.
Last night I practiced my informative speech on Dad and Max, both were sitting on the living room couch (speech is about the Molly Maguires) and when I started shouting when I got to the part with Alexander Campbell’s handprint, Max got up and left the room. I will probably crack up during my speech in class when I get to that part, haha.
Just think how horrible the Mollies and their children had it back then.
I send well wishes and Bussis your way. All my love always, Mom
yeah it will get better once homecoming is over and on sunday at 330 is a nighmare before christmas and then tim burtons corpse bride my two favorite movies so i will be looking forward to that lol
and good luck on ur speech dont yell too loud or youll scare everyone
it was good seeing u too!  
2011/10/19 Hey, Am doing my speech about the Mollies tonight.  Are you feeling better? Mom
yeah i'm feeling a lot better and I went to bed mad early last night so i wasnt SO tired when I woke up this morning
Wow, the things we learn in college… look at this learning process. (I’m referring to the early to bed, so you’re not so tired the next morning, and figuring that out all on your own). That’s why I encourage campus living, because you learn just as much outside the classroom as inside.
Can you believe that other than the professor, nobody else had heard about the Mollies? I did a really great speech, but then I stumbled because one of my friends gave me a hand signal, and it totally threw me off. She meant well, I’m not mad, she wanted me to also address the other side of the room, b/c that was one of the critiques on my first speech, that I kept concentrating on only one side of the room, so she tried to remind me to look at the others too. Anyway, I picked up fairly quick and continued, and it was really a great speech.
Michael gave me his email address for you and cell phone number, and I gave him yours, just in case he contacts you. Just start with a small hello and see if it leads anywhere.
One of the ladies is buying my book, so I’ll bring that to class next week, and Rachel who works at the xxx library, brought one to her director for review, to see if they want to include it in their collection. So little baby steps toward success I hope.
What’s mad early, like before 1AM? Are you done with your paper? What do you have left to do for finals? Are you watching the movies here or there?
Always in my prayers, my love, Take good care of yourself,
Ttys, Mom
yeah i'm gonna watch on campus i dont think im coming home until halloween weekend
That’s fine, I’m so glad you like being on campus, you sound much better than last year. I’m busy anyway with getting the first draft of my new book ready. Hey, my Social Media trainer recommended the Mac Airbook, it’s fantastic, but expensive. Dad is researching, but no promise yet. We’ll see.
Her answer: Mac Airbook is really thin which is good but it's so thin that I feel like it would break easily.... I want to go with daddy to the applestore to look

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mom's meddling again

Hey sweetie,
You’re going to the nurse today, right? I hope you’re feeling a little better.
I talked to Rachel last night in my class about Wegman’s and she said, you have to apply online. She says for the holidays they do hire a lot of people and it would be unusual not to get a call. They have shifts up to midnight, and need a lot of people to keep all registers open in Nov, Dec. I would definitely apply there, you can also stop by on your way home, and go to the information desk asking for an application.
Another thing. There’s a young man in my class who stands out because he is so nice and down-to-earth, and when he gave his presentation last night, his hands trembled. All the mothers were like, awww, that poor thing, he was so adorable telling us about a game he plays, similar to chess. His name is Michael, he’s 22, is taller than you and single. That’s all I know so far. Oh, and he doesn’t have Facebook. b/c one girl talked about it and she asked who has fb accounts and he said he’s probably the only one who doesn’t have one. So I made it a point to show your pictures in my wallet to the girls next to me and he saw it, he said, wow. He’s shy, so the girls were like why don’t you ask her (you) out, and he seemed interested. (He’s decent looking, average, but certainly not ugly, wears glasses when he reads, but not all the time and he’s slim, but not too skinny). Anyway, if you want, you guys could exchange email addresses, I think that’s the way he said he could contact someone, I hope he has a cell phone and knows how to text. But he is a man who’s past the silly, getting drunk to act stupid stage, and I know that’s what you’re interested in, not stupid drunks. Let me know and I can give him your email address next week. He would be the type who lets you do what you like and is patient, but of course I don’t know him that well. Just a quiet, nice, decent person who respects others, hopefully that doesn’t sound boring to you. You could keep living your life and have someone to depend on at the same time. And you could wear heels.
All right, let me know what the nurse said.
he seems really nice, but can i see a picture of him somehow?
I can ask him either to send you one or take one of him, since the topic was already put on the table, haha. Honey, you have to remember that you are so pretty that boys automatically assume that you have a significant other in your life, especially since you wear a heart-shaped ring on your finger, they think you’re engaged. I don’t want to meddle, but on the other hand, when God sends us an opportunity, we have to grab it. He’s just too good to be passed over without giving it a try.
Later, Mom
we have to grab it?? I'm pretty sure you don't need to be involved in my dating life but whatever and if I want to get married on halloween on a saturday i have 5 years nd I dont think i want to be with same person for that long before I get married maybe like 2 years…
…And then hopefully for the rest of your life…By we I meant I found him and you grab him. I ain’t grabbing nothing nomore…Mom

I want a new computer

Thursday, October 13, 2011: Food for thought: Heyyyy 
just thinking since to make my Wednesdays more obnoxious my Earth Science professor requires us to bring a laptop to class because we do a lot of online lesson type of things in class but my math professor also requires us to take our text books to class plus the book I'm reading for English, therefore by the end of the day my arm feels like its going to rip off and fall on the floor on my way back to my dorm. Sooo here is my idea, since you want a laptop to work on your writing and since you dream of sitting in a coffee shop in NYC somewhere and writing all day, you can do this more efficiently with a laptop since every Internet cafe has free wifi, you can take my laptop because there is absolutely nothing wrong with it other than the fact that it is quiet bulky, I mean its fine if you're not carrying a massive text book along with it. And I can buy a smaller, thinner laptop to take to class with me  
Idk think it over
I’ll send this to dad and ask him, not sure yet, since we had a lot of expenses lately. Mom
I know it was just an idea since you want one and there is nothing wrong with mine and it already has microsoft word and all that. Don't get me wrong I like mine its just a pain in the butt to carry around like it is not campus friendly.

Working with frat boys is like working with five-year-olds

Wednesday October 12, 2011: sooooo right now I'm crazy busy especially on the weekends with sisterhood events and service events and homecoming and midterms that it seems that i wont be able to come home until like halloween weekend because I'm hopefully still going to XY University with  Hannah. But i'm pretty sure that i am free on sunday the 16th if you wanted to come up and get food or something and I will also see you at homecoming if you guys are still coming. I just wanted to let you know that right now i really dont have time to come home and that right now things are pretty hectic and a little stressful, plus my throat is killing me and yes I am taking my Emergen-Cs lol 
anyway thats my life right now, I can't believe my favorite month is already almost over! waahhhh lol 
xo Alexandra
wow. You sound really busy and productive and involved in campus life. Of course I can come up on Sunday. Can you please put schoolwork before sorority stuff? You don’t have to be at every meeting and event. And of course we’re still on for homecoming next Saturday. I hope you have a lot of fun this month, your favorite one. Please watch your money, you don’t need to eat out every day, other than what’s already pre-paid, okay. Let me know if you need anything. Mom
Wednesday October 12, 2011: I made an appointment with health services for tomorrow at 10 so hopefully it isn’t anything and its just cuz the weather is changing or something like that. and i do put school before my sorority im just saying i have a lot of stuff to do with them on the weekends like on saturday we are going pumpkin picking at xxx farms! But homecoming is next weekend so we have to like build and paint stuff and at least we are working with a frat so they are like building everything but its like working with 5 year olds
At what time does homecoming start, just in case dad wants to go in to work in the morning?
tailgating is at 10 in the xxx arena parking lot (thats where I'll be cuz thats where are the organizations have booths) at 1030 there is food and games and other fun stuff in the visitors lot which is right by xxx, there are a bunch of balloons and stuff like you cant miss where all this will be (well maybe YOU can loll) and the game starts at 12
Awesome, you sound like an adult. Great stuff, kid. Keep up the good work. When do midterms start? When I come up on Sunday, what shall I bring you grocery-wise?
next week are midterms

Kids burn out early in this rat race

September 30, 2011:
My friend Maureen emailed me with a plea to pray for her oldest daughter who graduated in May of last year and started a teaching position that same fall. Now, in her second year, she already feels burned out. It began to sink in that after all the hard work of studying to become a teacher, this is what her life will be now for a very long time. She seems down and discouraged.

I will keep her in my prayers. You have to remember, these kids go to high school, have activities, enter college, and then boom have to go straight into their career. It's too much. I had a year off, not really off, but as an au-pair, I got to travel, didn't have to study, just learn the language, and weigh my options. Then I came back home and worked in a factory for a couple years, only 4-5 hours a day! Had a lot of down time, figured things out, lived at home. We didn't go straight from school to a career, I actually took my sweet time and lived carefree at home until I got married. Why is it so hard today? It's great and lucky that she has a real job right out of college, but now she knows what it will be like for the next 40 years, which is scary. I think when Al is done with school, I'll let her take a break for a while. She can live at home, work part time, or spend some time in Germany. This rat race life is not healthy. I am okay with it now, because I had years of different jobs and experiences. Since we have a mortgage and a kid to raise, I know what's expected. But in my early twenties, I wanted to do things before I got serious. Jen is having a lot of fun, but when does she ever have time to relax? It's so much pressure from all directions. The world nowadays is too set on performance and I refuse to be dictated by it. Okay, so I make less money, but I manage. We have a smaller home, drive used cars, shop at Goodwill or wear my sister’s hand-me-downs, and we hardly ever eat out, the hell with instant gratification. This rat race attitude makes my head spin. Not sure why I started ranting like this, but you know what I'm saying. Jen feels stuck in her career and never got to take a break, but it would probably have been good for her. Remind me to let Al goof off when she's has her degree...

Maureen wrote back saying she emailed her daughter and encouraged her to take a year off, or move back home to save money until she sorts things out.

I responded: To tell the truth, for me it's more important that Al is in college for everything else, not just the education part. Of course I want her to have a degree in something, but it's not the main thing. She's finding herself out there and she is so much happier than last year. I think it's worth it.
A wise father said to his son (now a famous author) who dropped out of college and moved to the other side of the country. "Well son, I tried to help you out, but you want to do it your way. If it doesn't work out, you know where we are."
Isn't that the most comforting thing to say to your child? Go out into the world, look around, and if it doesn't work out, you can always come home.
Let's remind ourselves to be parents like that.

PS: Sometimes I'm glad to be average, and to have an average child, expectations are just not that high and we can relax. Right now she is working on homecoming, a huge paper, and laundry. That to me is a nice mix, but then again, I'm weird.

I can't make this up

Mon, 26 Sep 2011
Hey Alex,
Hope you had a nice weekend, I got a lot of writing done, read a novel I was waiting for for 2 months, so that was good. Dad worked most of the time, and our pool has now turned a bright lime green color. We're getting our outside basement steps and doors replaced this week, all for the cat so he can go out at night in style and comfort.
We just love our kids and pets,
Happy week,

I had a dream last night that my toilet was haunted and bit my butt when I peed at night o.O (Alex)

That is the silliest dream I ever heard of. Can I use it in a book? Mom

Idk what type of book you’re writing where that would fit in...

The fantasy with the cupid and at one point she does have a strange dream, but I think that might be way to strange. Can you think of a funny/crazy dream?

No I can't make this stuff up

Wednesday, September 28, 2011
im famous! the incredible comedian gabriel iglesias (the really fat one with the
hawaiian shirts) is following me on twitter! Alex

I hate Wednesdays!

Mon, 19 Sep 2011

The puppy my co-worker was supposed to get this weekend got into some chocolate
and died after having seizures. So no Jett
The breeder is giving them this one instead, Maximilian. I want it!!! Mom

omg thats horrible!
but at least the breeder is giving them another one whose just as cute

Good, at least you're up Mom

I've been up since 715! I hate Wednesdays

Listen, do not resign from the 8 o'clock class just because you hate to get up that early.
It's only until December, you can sleep in on Thursdays, and I am running out of money if you cut out classes because you don't like the time. You will finish up all your courses, do not get the dumb idea of doing this class next semester. Absolutely not! It's only for a few months. Mom

Woah chill mad work. All I said was I was up since 715 u really need to stop overreacting to every little thing I say that's why families stop talking to each other for like 10 years or until someone dies.
(She dropped a class before, so I didn’t pull this out of my nose)

Holy Moses, look who’s overreacting now.
I just wanted to mention that before you get an idea of dropping the class in your head. Mom

Ik ik but I wasn't thinking that I was just saying that wednesdays suck cuz I have a 3 hour 8am nd 2 classes back to back right after it before I can even think about getting food or taking a nap therefore I hate wednesdays being up early doesn't bother me
(Well, at least she’s still talking to me.)

Don't go to New York this weekend!

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011
Hey Sweets,
Was everything all right that I brought last night?
Did you like the tiger marionette Dad bought at the street fair?
How much did you spend on your books, do you have everything now?
Please don't drive anywhere north today, there will be flooding everywhere. Try to stay off the road, okay?
Take good care of yourself, do your homework, see you when the other books arrive, Love Mom

Yeah everything was fine and the tiger is cute!
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2011
Subject: this weekend                            

Hey Alex,
How was last night? Just nosy.
Listen, are you still going to NYC with your friends tomorrow? Dad is very nervous, because there have been real terrorist threats sent out for NY and DC areas. The security will be through the roof, but I would avoid the subways. You don't want to be in a tunnel if a bomb goes off. (haha, always thinking positive) Could you go on another weekend? Please talk it over with your friends, maybe their parents are trying to tell them not to go, either. It's really risky this weekend, with it being the 10th anniversary. If you do go, just keep texting us periodically, so we know you're safe.
When will I ever be done worrying about you?

Will u relax! Alyssa's birthday isn't till the 25th so we're not going this weekend anyways but I think I have a sorority yard sale so I'm prob staying up here still

And last night was so fun! Alex

As long as you can manage to go to all your classes on Fridays.
Have fun, I am glad you're doing all these things. Love, Mom

Yup I made it to my first class I'm on my way to English now and for the first time since being in college I understand 100% what I learned in math class today

Late night calls result in little heart attacks

Okay, Alexandra is safely back at school after four months of summer break, the third semester will begin in a few days. Originally she wanted to room with a friend from last year, but during the summer the girl withdrew because she couldn’t afford living in a dorm anymore and has to commute. I was more bummed than Alexandra who now knows none of her suitemates but says she’s not worried.  I hope we don’t have the same drama as in the first semester.
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2011: Hey Sweetie,
How are you? Take care of yourself. We miss you very much, but will see you this weekend, yayyy
Until soon, Mom


miss you too but i hung out with my friends yesterday so it was like nothing changed since last year so its good
i met my other suitemates yesterday, they seem pretty nice but room change day is sept 11th so we'll see till then how it goes
love you!

Tue, 6 Sep 2011 Hey, good morning,
You forgot Tracey's Biology book. I hope it's okay when I bring it up with your other stuff, and not too late for her.
Have a wonderful week,

oh man im such an idiot but yea i told her and she said it was okay she doesnt really need it yet and if she does shes gonna tell her teacher that she ordered it online and that it hasnt come in yet. but i also left soo many other things at home!

my black and purple fuzzy slippers (they're prob under one of the beds or in the loft area or in the shoe box)
my round brush (need it to blow dry my hair)
my sweat pants (should be on the banister)
and i think thats it lol for now

xo alexandra

Okay, I'll make a run up there this week and also bring your bagels. Mom (she has an apartment with three other girls, and a kitchen with fridge/freezer, sink and microwave, stove/oven is in a common kitchen downstairs.

Wednesday Sept. 7, 2011
Hi Alex,
You better be in your 8AM class.
Please send me the list of things you need me to bring up tonight, yellow shorts, bikini top (which one).
Love, Mom
PS: When you call us that late at night, we are having little heart attacks

Sunday, October 9, 2011

We were so happy for her that we almost jumped up and down on the marital bed; eight long weeks of pledging, and she had reached her goal and survived.
The next day she called at noon. “Okay, I’m going to a birthday party now, I am freaking out with happiness, but this has been the most nerve-wracking experience in my whole life.” I said, “So the rest of college should be a breeze now, right?” and she said, it will.
Here is something that boggles my mind: Alexandra and I each had a goal, a dream, for the last few months. She wanted to receive her bid, pledge, survive hell week, and get into the sorority she had chosen last summer. My dream was to publish a book before I die. I was working on my sixth manuscript, a Young Adult paranormal novel titled Immortal Link. I felt in my gut that this would be the one that would make it. The writing, proof reading, rewriting, editing, waiting, changing things, querying agents, finally deciding to self-publish, creating the cover (with my daughter’s hand reaching for the indestructible, ghostly handprint of Alexander Campbell in cell #17 of the Old Jail in Jim Thorpe, PA), all these things consumed me since March of last year.
On Saturday, a friend helped me finish the cover on her laptop at our monthly writers’ group meeting, and I submitted the pdf files for the text and cover to CreateSpace which is connected to The format got accepted a few hours later and I ordered my proof early Sunday morning.
Alexandra and I reached our goals on the very same day…

Monday, September 5, 2011

Is the nest half full or half empty when they come home on the weekends?

We just survived our daughter's first year of college. Everything that I imagined could happen happened. Wrong roommates, partying, home sickness, a friend's alcohol poisoning, average grades, and 2AM texts to get her out of there. But it was good too in a way. She learned to manage and grew emotionally. The second semester went much smoother and she had good grades. She pledged to the sorority of her choice and called us at one in the morning when she got her bid.
For you parents out there who don't know what you're getting into in a couple of months, or for you who know and would like to compare war stories, I created this blog titled: A child's first year of college from the parents' point of view: Is the nest half full or half empty if they come home on the weekends?
Why do I use parent in singular form even though her father lives under the same roof? Because it is different for the men who, as in our case, snore away obliviously on the couch while the mother gets texts and horror emails from her only child away in college. The father gets clued in when the drama is over and the kid has moved on.
I will give you detailed updates at least once or twice a week about the previous year (I saved all our emails). Since I already know that it has a happy ending, I can give you the gory details without worrying you too much.

For privacy, I have changed all names.
Now come along for the ride...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How A Warehouseman And a Receptionist Put Their Daughter Through College Without Loans, Scholarships, or Financial Aid

We live in an old, Cape Cod style house in Central New Jersey, where property taxes and car insurances are one of the highest in the country. With overtime and both working full time, we make under $90,000/year, and now live on $22,000 less. (The daughter works part time and pays for gas, clothes and her entertainment) We own three paid-off cars which we bought used, and other than a mortgage, we have no debt, not even in college loans. Our daughter is able to live on campus because we changed our lifestyle years ago. Here is what we do:
29 1/2 Ways to Keep Your Money

1)      Shopping should be done out of necessity, not for entertainment, unless you’re a seller on eBay. Think of malls like museums; you can look, but you can't touch.
2)      Read these books: “Not Buying It – My Year Without Shopping” by Judith Levine and “The Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn
3)      I don’t care about shoes and I hate shopping, especially nowadays with all the questions you have to answer at the cash register. Can I just buy the damn shirt without having to go home and fill out a survey?!
4)      You don’t have to buy everything you want. Sleep on it for three days, then make your decision.
5)      I do my own manicure, pedicure, and eyebrows. I also cut, perm, and color my own hair, but I have been trained as a hairdresser, so I get away with it.
6)      Eat at home. You don’t have to cook every day, just make a couple sandwiches and have some chocolate afterwards. It won’t kill you. I never buy lunch at work.
7)      I hang-dry the laundry, in every season. You can’t replicate the fragrance of cold winter air.
8)      Walk the dog instead of going to the gym. Our office building recently added a gym and every employee can use it free of charge. There are free exercise programs on TV.
9)      Divert a set amount from your paycheck directly to a savings account, so you won’t miss it. I will not tell you how much both the husband and I are able to add into it every month, but it is substantial.
10)  Reuse and wear it out. Learn to sew on a button and fix a tear. My grandmother taught me that after she lived through both World Wars.
11)  My hobbies are reading and writing. Ninety-five percent of the books I read are from the library. When I write, I am entertained for hours. I hardly ever feel the urge to go out, go shopping, or go on a trip.
12)  If you do go on a day trip, bring water bottles and sandwiches. In New York City, buy street vendor food. It’s good and cheap.
13)  Thermostat setting: Wear sweaters. 'Nuff said.
14)  Turn off: Water while brushing teeth, lights, TV when not in use
15)  Visit an elderly friend or relative instead of hanging at the mall on a boring Sunday afternoon. Ask them to tell you about the past. That's the real reality show.
16)  Forget sales; don't buy it and you save even more. Yeah, yeah, then you don't have this or that. The euphoric feeling lasts what, five minutes? Oh, and about helping the economy: First of all, there are too many stores and restaurants to keep in business. Second, what hurts the economy more - buying less and paying for it, or going bankrupt? And third, not everybody has a kid in college.
17)  Children do not need to eat lobster for dinner. People are crazy.
18)  Thinking of going away on vacation? Not for awhile, buddy. Unless you visit family/friends out of state/country and stay with them. No freeloading, so don't forget to reciprocate.
19)  Christmas presents: Tell friends and family that there will be no or less presents while you’re getting your child through college. There is no dishonor in that because it is the plain truth. It will not be like this forever. Make home-baked cookies and get together anyway. If they have issues, wait until their kids go to college, hehehe.
20)  The more tchotchkes, the more you have to dust.
21)  Having three or more children can break the bank, even marriages. I see it all the time. I have 1.5 children (stepson who lives across country), because that is all we can comfortably afford.
22)  Don’t even think about gambling.
23)  I buy mostly food that is on sale, and make from scratch.
24)  One kid, one dog, one cat, one husband. Keep it simple.
25)  House: Buy smaller than you can afford. Brag about how frugal you are, not how you spend all your money. Being broke is embarrassing and very stressful.
26)  Admit when you can’t afford something. Or say, “I don’t want to spend my money on this.”
27)  Look at saving and accumulating money like a sport, a challenge, a game.
28)  Stay married
29)  Save up
29.5) Try it for one…
I am not telling you what to do. I am telling you how we do it and that it works. For the third time in a row, I was able to write an $11,000 check, with money coming straight out of an old-fashioned savings account. When the daughter is done with college, we will get an automatic pay raise. Oh wait, then there might be a wedding next J

Monday, August 29, 2011

These parents are way ahead of me:

I don’t know who said they can’t wait until their kids start college and move out, so they can get their lives back. This empty-nest stuff stinks! But there is a real-life family who truly enjoys it: 'Gypsynesters'.  It is worth checking out, they write extremely well and know what they're doing. I admire David and Veronica, but I am nowhere near that point in life as they are.They are veterans with the third kid in college, I have an only, and everything is the first time for me. I am trying, though.
I work full time, write, take classes at the community college, walk her dog, and still find time to miss her. Roy feels the same way. It’s like we live from weekend to weekend, when she’s home. We better get over this soon.
Well, tomorrow our daughter is going back to campus, for her second year. She had all four of her wisdom teeth pulled, survived hurricane Irene, and the earthquake on Tuesday. With all this going on, moving her back to school was shoved to the backburner for awhile, but now we are fully aware that she is leaving us again. This time with her car. I pray to God that she is safe.

This is a little conversation we had at the beginning of the summer. She was offered to work at my job for four weeks, then at her usual summer camp for an additional five weeks.

Alexandra: "I am not getting up at 6:30 AM for the next 9 weeks. No way, I'm not doing it. Absolutely not." (Very grouchy tone of voice)

Me: "Heck, nine weeks sounds good. So far I did this for 30 years, with 20 more on the horizon."

She worked the full nine weeks, got up every morning, did a good job, and now has money in the bank for the next semester.
The car is packed, the husband and I are mentally prepared, (Alex is psyched to go back, a good sign).

The first year of college blog posts have now come to an end, but I promise I will post important events throughout the next three years. There is just too much to pass on and help other parents find answers to inumerable questions. May God be with us, and of course, with you.
Heather, your parents' point-of-view ally.