Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Writing through the blocks!

Friday, August 9th.   I'm sitting at my computer wondering what should happen next.  I know a lot of people think I already know, but I don't.  Each morning I draw a little inspiration from something, but this morning I sit staring at a blank page.  It's not looking good...

I may have painted myself into a corner with the last installment of the Deadly Sins Series.  I never intended for Missy to turn into who she has, but sometimes these characters take a life of their own and drive me in a particular direction.

So let's get started.  I like to try and put myself into one of the character's position.  Now I just have to choose which one.  I'm pretty sure everyone can relate to Liz, and that's probably the easiest character for me to assume.  But no, not this morning.  I am bound and determined to think outside the box.

Maybe Kinsley... well, even I don't like her, so that one's pretty difficult.  I sit, assuming the identity of someone I feel is calloused, cold, unfeeling.  But is that really who Kinsley is?  Maybe she's just completely misunderstood.  Maybe there's another driving force that motivates her.  Maybe, just maybe, she's tries to act so tough that having a real emotion is impossible to share with anyone.  Not sure yet...  or am I?

Maybe Patricia...  Now there's a character I really like, even though her persuasion or passion is intriguing and at times uncomfortable, there's something about this exotic beauty that draws me to her.  Is it her skin, her hair, her ample bosom, or maybe the firm grasp she has when she grabs your ankle; a grasp that tells a broader story about her than mere words.   

What about Carlton?  Okay, I purposely wrote him out of Sloth to give the other characters a chance to develop.  What exactly is he doing in London?  And who is Mary?  Why was she at the funeral?  Who else was at the funeral?  Did I miss something?  Did you?

Chayton?  Does anybody like him?  I'm on the fence.  I'm not certain I could handle someone who's job was to wait on me, hand and foot.  I think I'd like to try that, once.  Okay, maybe more than once.  But his demeanor is pretty weird, at least for a Southern woman like myself.  I can see he holds loyalty in high regard, but I cannot figure out exactly who he's loyal to.  I'm positive it's not Liz.

Alright peeps....  here's your chance.  I'd like to know what you guys think.  Comment and share please.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Don't Touch that Button!

Dear Mt. Pleasant, 

I’m using you to stretch my fingers this morning; you know get them agile and exercised prior to doing actual work.  But here’s what got me all riled up in the first place.

Now if I’m to understand this completely, as I’m driving across the bridge, about halfway through I need to turn off my GPS, cell phone and unplug my iPod from the auxiliary port built into my car.  I’m sorry but with all that action I didn’t see the eighteen wheeler at a dead stop in front of me.  Thus your late afternoon drive from downtown is delayed and you don’t make it home in time for your son’s pee-wee football game.  But by the time the police arrive you can bet your bottom dollar that my attorney is already on his way.  I wouldn’t have gotten into this accident if it weren’t for Mount Pleasant City Council after all and I want my free government cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, I have two teenagers.  I can bitch about texting or talking while driving till the cows come home and never tire.  But us grown up’s have long switched over to hand’s free cars.  Those of us who haven’t should think about dredging ourselves over to Verizon for one of those Road Runners ($100 and worth every penny.)  We bought one for our son’s car and they act fully as hand’s free phones.  Oh wait…no they don’t.  You have to reach up to your visor and push a button to answer and according to Mount Pleasant’s new law that will be illegal. 

Here’s what I think, you folks on the Mount Pleasant City Council need to re-think this new proposed law and re-work it somewhat.  At least let’s consider re-wording it.  I’m not going to bash you here, after all some of you are old friends.  Hell the Mayor bought the house I grew up in on the island and assumed custody of my black lab when he moved in.  But I do think this ‘proposed’ ban needs some further consideration.  I’m afraid we’re going overboard, much like my beloved island has.  It still costs me $35 to walk my dog on the beach, yet I’ve researched that law and discovered that nothing stands between me and my fifteen dogs moving back to the island.  As long as I pay $35 a year for each of them and can afford a $2 million price tag for a house.  Trust me, I’ve actually thought of doing just that…to prove a point.  You foreigner’s who’ve taken up residence on my island should be glad you’ve out priced me over there or I would definitely be your worst nightmare.  It would be your own fault too, because you didn’t think your laws through.

I simply think that we, East of the Cooperites, need to slow down before we accidentally transform ourselves into Hilton Head.  Let’s see a few photos, (borrowed from Facebook group East of the Cooper 70’s and 80’s) and get a warm fuzzy of our beloved home town here.  To remember what we had.

Okay, now that you are all cozy remembering what we had let’s consider what we want for the future.  Keep in mind these are only MY thoughts.  If you are one of Mount Pleasant’s Finest and you see my son or daughter driving down Houston Northcutt with their cell phone plastered to their ear I want you to put on your blue lights, get out of your car and slap handcuffs on them.  I’ll bail them out before they need to move into their dorm rooms.  Expect me late August sometime.  However, if you see me riding down Highway 17 seemingly talking to no one in my car and you pull me over then we have a problem.  You may KNOW by the simple reality that I’m talking on the phone (handsfree) that at some point I’ve had to push a button to engage said call but you can’t prove it.

So you (Mount Pleasant’s Finest) buck up and say that the City Council has banned me from talking to my Mother but I’m going to call bullshit and hire a lawyer.  If I live on Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms then I can afford South of Broad baby.  It’s going to cost you a fortune to argue with me about whether I actually pushed a button or not.  But what if I tell you that Siri made the call?  Are you prepared to battle Microsoft?  This could get out of hand pretty fast.

Stupid, frivolous, lawsuits that will nearly instantly drain Mount Pleasant of all funds they are using to construct all of those silly traffic circles on Ben Sawyer.  (In retrospect this ban may not be a bad idea afterall.)

While I LOVE Hilton Head, and who doesn’t?  I don’t want to live there, a few weeks in the summer of not being able to find Walmart because of laws concerning signage and I’m ready for home.  I’m not quite ready to hand over Mount Pleasant to frivolity without a full battle.  We need to be adults here.  Let’s consider re-working this new ban, perhaps gain some support from Charleston County as a whole.  Something that makes actual sense to us grownups out there who are smart enough to resist that phone call while we’re in traffic and certainly know not to text.

What we NEED to do is educate our kids; this is yet another matter of letting the government teach our children.  Perhaps instead of this new law we could spend those funds creating a class that new drivers MUST take in order to operate a vehicle on our streets?  Hang on isn’t that called “Driver’s Training?”  You can’t get a driver’s license in South Carolina without taking that class.  Well if they aren’t teaching cell phone/vehicle lessons in those classes what exactly are they teaching?  Are our high school classrooms so politically correct that we can’t go there?  Or could it be that talking about ‘death by cell phone’ would lead to discussions about God which would offend our frilly students?  The word here is EDUCATE folks.  Teach your own kids, (since the government apparently won’t) not to text or make calls while driving.

Again, I reiterate to Mount Pleasant’s Finest, if you see my kids talking or texting while driving do not hesitate to lock their unruly behinds in jail.  Pop them with a fine so high that they won’t be able to afford to pitch in for that keg party.  (You get that irony right?  They aren’t old enough to drink either, but they’re going to try it anyway.)  But because I was raised East of the Cooper, I will not, under any circumstances, tolerate such behavior and I WILL leave them overnight in your jail and will happily slip you cost of their room and board.  You know why?  Because I, me, myself, (and husband) were taught to raise our OWN children.  This proposed ban is nothing but another attempt to teach our children after the fact.  This matter needs to be addressed much earlier, BEFORE they drive on our streets at all.  I resent being lumped into ‘humanity’ when I’m a responsible adult who can push a button in my car without hitting someone in front of me.

East of the Cooperite

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Just Call Me the Jane Goodall of the Hipster Habitat

I suppose I'm in need of laughter today.  And when I'm in the mood to laugh I head over to The Charleston Grit. These young writers have such a distinctly charming talent that I can't help but be drawn into their worlds.  This particular post was their Blog of the Week.  I promise you that I just had to go change my shorts because I laughed so hard.  However, since most of MY readers are over 30 I'll explain that their (under 30) term, "hipster" is identical to what we over 30'ers used to call, "tree huggers."  We've all got these friends.   Cudo's to the young writer who posted this, you have a gift!  And thanks for the laugh...I needed it.  Click on the link below to read!

Just Call Me the Jane Goodall of the Hipster Habitat | Charlestongrit.com | Bold. Smart. Local. Now. | Charleston, SC

Slightly to the Left (or Downhill)

GUEST BLOGGER! -Christopher Cooper

“Come here!” she exclaimed.  “Read this now!”

That’s how it always starts.  Not “hey, would you…” or “Baby, I need…”  No, no.  It’s right here, RIGHT now.

So that’s my mindset as I sat in front of Laura’s computer.  The great thing about that is where I find all the little things I was so convinced the Gremlins had taken off my desk.  Look, there’s my pen (which coincidentally may be the only actual ink pen in my house since we have kids) and my ear buds, my ipod.  The list goes on and on.

So I sat there reading, carefully guarding my pen which I held in my lap and began to go through her post.  Yes, most of the stuff she writes is pretty spot on.  But this article (BDSM) was probably more than accurate.  But as I read, not for content, but for a single word.  Can anyone guess?  I suppose every author has a particular word they are in love with, and more often than not that word is overused or flat out wrongly used.  And Laura’s word:  strode.  The word alone just doesn’t sound right.  But you watch…  Every damn thing she’s ever written has had that word in it, and I’ve made it my life’s mission to seek it out and shoot it down.

But back to the the real reason I wrote this post.  How does she come up with ideas?  What is her particular slant?  SLANT!  That’s the word.  And now, my dear followers, I’ll pass on to you what I’ve only just discovered….

READY?  Her desk is … (wait for it)… slanted. 

I just realized that her desk leans slightly to the left.  Okay, actually more than slightly.  My favorite pen won’t stay on it if you lay it down perpendicular to the screen.  And now, my dear readers, mystery solved.

The BDSM Meeting

Let’s start by commenting on our apparel for the evening.  I wore a pair of white Bermuda shorts with a semi-sleeved blue and white striped button down, my usual array of tiny diamonds on my ears, neck and arms.  Chris donned his sexy jeans, a blue button down and saddle oxfords in brushed tan.  The only thing I can think of that would’ve made us look more like co-ed’s from another era would be if I’d wrapped a sweater around his shoulders and wore a hat with a spinner on top.  But here we were, at the monthly meeting of the local BDSM Chapter donned in preppiness.

You see we’re writers, writers who know nothing about hard core sex.  Chris, who has something to say to every single person he meets, has only one thing to say during sex.  “Am I hurting you?”  I think that paranoia has something to do with his size, (ooh you nasty minded girls!) I mean his overall physical size.  Obviously, we needed to get out and discover what all this BDSM fuss was about.  During one of his late night internet porn sessions he’d come across this group and had requested to join.  We assumed they got together and spanked one another with whips or something.  At least that’s how I envisioned it.  But the ‘Meeting’ was being held at a very popular downtown restaurant.  Hence I dressed us according to the style and respect I had for the establishment rather than what I suspected members of the group to be wearing.  I seriously imagined them all showing up in black leather complete with chains hanging from their belt loops, and you’d have a better chance of seeing the Pope at a strip club than finding me downtown in slutwear.

Picture this-above-NOT THIS-below.

We were greeted by a girl of around twenty two with frazzled, blond hair currently streaked with neon red and purple highlights.  Countless piercings in her nose, eyebrows and lips looked painful to me but we followed her to a collection of round bar tables they’d pushed together for ‘Orientation.’  Our partners for said orientation were a couple who appeared as though they must live in a cardboard box on the corner of Nowhere and Huger Street and a very young woman, around the age of our daughter, who was seemingly confused to the fact that she was a female.  She’d gone so far as to change her name to something like Ben.  Chris and I looked at each other fumingly as this girl professed that she was a slave and that her Master would be along shortly.  Noticing her deep accent I asked her where she was from.  “Norway,” she told me with a pale smile.   

My motherly instincts kicked into overload as she proceeded to explain her confusion as a freshman in college, in a new country, no friends and to top it all off she was currently confused about her own sexuality.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her Master; already I was ripping this boy apart in my mind.  I was seeing blue lights and handcuffs in my immediate future.

But we signed all of their ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ documents, no doubt written by a seriously twisted mind and made it through orientation.  We were now versed in the terminology used by BDSM’ers.  I admit we were a tad startled at the mention of candle and wax play.  Somewhat perplexed by the concept of scenes versus slaves, but I thought Chris was coming off of his barstool when they talked about fire cupping.  What the hell had we gotten ourselves into?  Oh come on, I reassured myself, what could happen in this restaurant at five o’clock on a Friday night?  Not a damn thing.  So we graduated from orientation without a hiccup from Chris, although at any minute I’d fully expected for him to stand up and tell them just how screwed up they were.  He’s not a man who keeps his thoughts to himself well.  Keep in mind, we’d told them who we were and why we were there from the get go so they had no real misconceptions that we were their newest fire bearing members.  It's long been our opinion that as part of the over 40 crowd we have quite enough aches and pains as it is.  We certainly don't need to add burns from fire cupping to the daily arsenal of pain we have to medicate.

Chris bought drinks and we settled into iron chairs on the side patio to await the other members.  Ben sat with us still regaling us with her mental instability.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the jackass who was taking advantage of this immature eighteen year old freshman.  Finally couples started making their way onto the patio.  Another man, close to our age, joined our table.  He was the biker type.  You know what I mean, scruffy, bearded, red bandana so his balding head, complete with gray ponytail, wouldn’t get bugs stuck to it while he rides his Harley down the interstate?  I think he was wearing a black leather vest with the name of his motorcycle group on the back and actually did have a chain hanging from his belt loop.  Well, see there, at least someone dressed as expected.  I leaned back in my chair and sipped my drink watching an elderly man with a cane slowly walk towards us.  Damn, I guess it takes all kinds…I thought curiously as he neared.  This guy really needs to be in a retirement home somewhere having his food pureed.  Certainly he wasn’t into all this?  Forgive me here but I swear I was picturing wrinkled balls and a penis pump beneath his pants.  The image kind of turned my stomach but then again I’d forgotten to take my ranitidine this morning so who am I to talk about being old.

We turned our attention to the only normal looking couple on the patio.  Chris had been talking to them and I noted they’d moved their chairs closer to him.  At least they appeared normal, aside from the Gamecock shit on their shirts.  A CPA and a small business owner, I was pleased with their conformation to society (it was rare here) and eager to discover what had brought them here this evening.  This was the kind of couple I needed to hear from.  But the old man kept slowly walking towards us with his cane.  Seriously he needs a walker, I thought as I returned to listening to Chris and CPA discuss how piercings enhance sexual sensation.  They were now explaining how a bull ring attached to your clitoris guarantees multiple orgasms.  Chris kept glancing at me hopefully until I pinched his arm as hard as my rock hard acrylic nails could pinch.  “How’d that feel?” I leaned over and whispered as he flinched and a drop of water appeared in the corner of his eye.  “Imagine me doing that to the head of your cock?” he nodded, he got my point, crystal clear.  “Right, no clit piercing for Laura.  Got it!” he said with a grimace.  (Sorry no clit piercing photos here, I can't even look at that without feeling pain.)

Finished with that conversation I turned back to biker dude.  “So what are you into?” I asked plainly.  Clearly we weren’t muddling our words tonight.  “Nothing much right now, but tomorrow I’m headed to my Mistress in Indiana.  Things’ll be better then.”
“Oh you must miss her if she lives so far away?” I smiled; missing a loved one is something I could wrap my head around.  I was struggling to find anything to relate to.
“I do and she bought me a new dress and shoes to match.  I can’t wait to get there,” he said wistfully.
“Excuse me?” I said not at all sure that he’d said what I thought he had.
“Here, let me show you, it’s gorgeous!” he seemed excited as he flipped open his phone and pulled up a photo.
I took the phone from him and slid my reading glasses down from the top of my head for a closer look.  “It really is gorgeous!” I said with a laugh as I studied the green slinky dress complete with long, tall slit up the side.  “And the shoes are perfect with it, what are you thinking jewelry wise?” I said trying to hold my laughter to a low roar.  I mean what the hell was I supposed to say?  The guy only had hair on the lower part of the back of his head and it was in a ponytail, he was obviously a member of some local biker gang and had a gray beard that hadn’t been shaved since 1979.  Rule number one from ‘orientation’ had been not to judge others so I had no choice than to go along with it.  After all, these people play with fire…literally.  I was intimidated a great deal by that.  But here's a photo I found online of the exact dress.

Alas the old man with the cane made it all the way from the door to our table, a distance of all of fifteen feet.  His spotted wrinkled hand went to Ben’s shoulder and he tapped his dentures together after clearing his throat.  “Ben, come on you need to come with me,” he said with only a few shakes in his voice.  CPA and his wife and even dressy biker dude smiled and said hello to the ancient bent creature with the cane as though he was a normal fixture at these meetings.  “Yes Master,” Ben stood up and kissed his cheek lovingly.  A mosquito fluttering around my lips eventually caused me to close my jaws.  This was Ben’s Master?  Suddenly I felt deflated, his old bones were going to fall apart soon enough as it was, no need for me to speed that process along.  Really?  What could he do to her that would cause her harm?  It’d taken him twenty minutes to walk from the door to our table…he couldn’t even bite her without an ample supply of Fixodent.  The only thing that concerned me now regarding this young eighteen year olds health was what if he tied her up and then forgot where?

The President of the Chapter invited us to come along to their ‘after party’ but Chris was already downing his drink, pulling his keys from his pocket and picking my purse off the patio floor…  Clearly we weren’t where WE belonged.  We had however gathered some rather humorous accounts and a much more defined view of BDSM.  Whips and chains are only a small portion of what turns these folks on.  Which leads me to ponder, if THIS is really what BDSM is all about then how did Christian Grey get away with a room full of leather whips?  What would Anastasia have done if he’d popped into bed wearing a green sparkly dress?  Betcha she wouldn’t have signed that contract so eagerly…

Note: Go back up and click on the word Gamecock! ;) 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Helicopter Parenting 101- Things You Need to Know Before Sending YOUR Poopsidoodle off to College!

 I was standing in a parking lot an hour and a half away from my home crying as my daughter walked away from me.  Now I don’t cry often, but when I do, I cry like a babbling idiot, and this was one of those days.  My husband shuffled me into the car, handing me a xanex and a bottle of water for the ride home.  I was inconsolable for approximately six weeks after dropping my baby girl off at college.  At some point I even began searching the internet for College Mom Support Groups.  But then something happened…I began to have fun.  I stopped worrying over having dinner ready on time, hell, I nearly stopped cooking altogether.  Gone were the days of ironing tee shirts and washing the last pair of clean jeans she owned.  Instead I took to the pool, instituted five o’clock cocktail hour and bought lots of things to make sandwiches with.  I had a full dental done, my hair is highlighted and my toes and fingernails shine with an entirely new gloss.  Oh and my husband?  Whew!  All of a sudden that man is smoking hot again!
If I’d had someone to tell me, prepare me, it might have saved me six weeks of dehydration.  Hence, I’m here for ya babe!  Of course now I’m preparing to send my poopsidoodle baby boy to the College of Charleston (my own alma mater) and am reminded of how much I needed advice two years ago.  So let’s get started.  Anywhere on the internet you can find a list of things they need to take with them.  That’s not what I’m here for; I’m going to tell you the stuff they need on top of that car load.

1)      Condoms-I don’t care a hill of beans whether you want to buy them or not, do it.  Consider this, can you really afford their college AND their child support?
2)      Microwavable food-Popular are macaroni and cheese, Uncle Ben’s Rice packets, Nacho cheese dip, oatmeal, cheese grits, and Chef Boyardee (can opener!)
3)      Laundry Detergents-It astounds me how many parents forget that your babies will be doing their own laundry.  Do yourself a favor and include a packet of Ritz color remover for when all their clothes come out pink.
4)      Refrigerated foods-Alright, don’t go crazy here.  A half gallon of ORGANIC milk is what they need.  Why organic?  Because the expiration date is longer!  We need to remember that other kids may be sharing this fridge so let’s keep what’s in it to a minimum.
5)      Ziploc bags-All sizes.  They’ll go through them like water for everything from rubber bands and paperclips to the rest of their granola bar.
6)      Dry foods- Aforementioned granola bars, cereal, chips, dried fruits, poptarts, small can’s of Dole fruits, popcorn (Good Lord don’t forget that!) and so on.  You’ll waste money by purchasing too much.  Besides having them run out of food is a good way to get them to come home for a weekend.
7)      Fans-I think they tell you to bring one, bring two.  Those dorm rooms are saunas.
8)      Paper Supplies-Besides their regular school supplies they’ll need plastic forks, spoons, knives, cups, plates and bowls.  Along with that toilet paper and paper towels.  If you think they’re going to wash a dish…oh hang on I can’t stop laughing.  My daughter and all of her roommates didn’t brush their teeth for three days because their sink was overloaded with dirty dishes.
9)      Flip flops-Buy four or five solid rubber pairs from the Dollar Tree.  They’ll need them and they’ll lose them at an amazingly fast pace.  Used for nasty dorm room floors and showers.  Buy Tinactin anyway, they’ll need it.
10)  Finally they are going to need a bank account that’s joined to yours.  That is unless you enjoy making midnight runs into town to make a deposit into their account.  This step is absolutely crucial for providing them spending cash but also for monitoring what they’re doing.  You can SEE where they use their debit card and at what times of day!  Trust me it’s easier to walk to your computer and click transfer funds than it is to run to the bank every time they need money…which is a LOT.

All that being said there are other tips I have that will help you monitor their behavior as well as keep yourself sane.  Some of them seem ‘Big Brotherish’ but these are my damn kids after all!

1)      Swipe their cell phones secretly when they’re home and read through their texts.  Anything mentioning adderall, drinking or sex should be discussed openly with them.  Adderall is HUGE, I mean gigantic in college.  Your kid WILL try it.  It’s best to monitor that as best as you can and in every way possible.
2)      Be their friend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and wherever else they hang out on social media.  If they block you they can sit at home instead of going to college at all.  This is serious; kids away from home for the first time tend to get severely depressed.  You have to listen to them when they call but also watch how they interact with their peers online.  That is usually a more telling source.  Just because they are at college does not mean they are equipped to handle this monolithic change in their lives.  The best way to keep them from blocking you from these pages is to only stalk them, don’t post cutesy Mommy misses you crap.  (Wow! that a do as I say, not as I do comment if I’ve ever heard one!)
3)      Set them up on an allowance.  We chose $30 a week for our daughter but our son will need $50 a week because he’s going to school in a more expensive area.  It gives most of them their first budget ever.  Also if they suddenly start needing more you can start nosing further into their business to find out why.  Adderall is around $15 per pill, cigarettes around $4.50 a pack and a bottle of vodka is about $18.
4)      Give them three $10 gas cards.  It’ll take all of about an hour for them to find someone with a car.  Most colleges don’t allow freshmen to take their vehicles so they quickly learn to get around with friends.  They’ll need to pitch in for gas.  Handing a friend a $10 gas card is a sure way to ensure that they won’t have trouble catching a ride to Walmart for anything they desperately need.
5)      Make sure you text them every single day.  Kids don’t always like to call so texting them and having them text you back is sometimes the only way to communicate.  If you don’t text then learn, now.  I text things like “So how was your day?” or “Did you see Katherine had the baby!”  All things that require a quick answer but don’t demand too much of their valuable study time.  (I say that sarcastically, read on.)
6)      Expect the worst.  These kids are acclimating themselves to college, expect at least a ten point drop in their overall GPA.  I know some kids who breeze right through; mine didn’t and ended up on academic probation.  She spent last year busting her behind to bring it back up.
7)      Sorority/Fraternity?  I say yes.  Although they do entail drinking and other things no matter what they say.  But these groups are expensive; my daughter’s sorority had a $500 start up cost.  The monthly dues are $70 thereafter until graduation, what happens after that I don’t know.  Nevertheless, I don’t know how she would have gotten through the past two years without her sisters.  If you can afford it and they want to join, research the group first and ask millions of questions.  Personally I think they’re all about the same.  Beware, if your child signs up for a Fundraiser and doesn’t do anything to raise funds…the sorority/fraternity will bill YOU the entire amount he/she committed to raise!  Betcha didn’t know that tidbit!  Those t-shirts?  Yeah you’re getting that bill too.
8)      If they aren’t too far away then go get them and bring them home one weekend a month at the least.  Cook their favorite meals, do their laundry and when they go to the store go through all of their stuff.  Again looking for anything unusual that you need to know to keep them alive through their first year.  I may get a lot of bashing on this but I’m a big believer in snooping.  I can’t tackle a problem I don’t know about and these are my babies no matter how grown they look.  Just don’t be a fool and wait for them at the front door with a pack of ‘found’ condoms in your hand.  Bring it up later as a different subject.  Letting them know you’re all in their business is a sure way to never see them again.
9)      Send them mail.  My daughter was the only girl in her dorm room that ever got mail.  She LOVED it.  I sent her magazines that we’d enjoyed together (after I’d read them first of course.)  And whatever mail she got here at the house, or pictures that I scanned and printed that I knew she’d like on her bulletin board.  Simple things.  Usually I’d stuff a $20 into the magazine for play money.  It's a nice way for Mom to send an 'I love you' message!
10)  Don’t be hysterical.  Things are going to happen.  My daughter was the most perfect teenager you can imagine… but she’s tried everything there is to try now.  Do not criticize them; these are choices they’ve made-good or awful, instead encourage them.  Momma used to say you catch more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar, live by that rule.  Talk to them openly, be the ‘cool’ parent.  You find out more that way, plus your kids begin to realize that you see them as an adult now and that boosts their confidence.

As I contemplate buying my last set of plastic drawer units on rollers, I give you my final piece of unsolicited advice, enjoy yourself!  Renew your relationship with your partner or find a new one, read (preferably my books,) take long bubble baths and fix yourself up.  You aren’t the Mom covered in spaghetti sauce anymore shave those legs ladies this is YOUR time to party!