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Dum Vita Est Spes Est

Chasing the dream only matters if the dream can be caught.  I had mine as I’m sure everyone else does, or did.  Certain things are bound to change the overall plan’s minor details, but the end result is supposed to be the same.

Then comes that day when every hope for the future is lost.  My tagline for Kat’s Den is dum vita est spes est, which is Latin for “where there’s life, there’s hope.”  That’s a rough and simple translation, but you get the idea.

I think dreams and hope are wasted on the young.  They have their whole lives ahead of them and it’s a time and place where nearly anything is possible.

Then one day you realize it’s not.

With age comes wisdom ya know.

I don’t think I could stand to be any wiser.  What I know now has shattered any hope for the life I thought I had, for the rest of the life I thought I was going to have.  That growing old part, with somebody, you know, life.

I know that my actual physical breathing life isn’t over, but life as I knew it certainly is.  I recognized the turn.  Probably not as soon as I should have.  Because I have been here before.

There were several points in our short history together when I should have left.  It’s like playing go-back with your computer where you restore to a point prior to the last update that crashed everything.  I can see those points clearly, and if I’d taken any of them, just one of them, we wouldn’t be where we are now – all crashed and broken and irreparable.  Only we can’t find a restore point.  Except for actual time travel, there’s no possible way to go back and undo what’s been done.

I told somebody once that what few men realized about women is that when we’re done, we’re just done.  It’s like that last little piece falls into place and we just can’t do any single thing more.  The motivation, hope, and desire to keep it together are gone.  And all of a sudden, with the snap of a finger, I’m just done.  The only possible thing left to do at that point is to extricate from the thing that’s tearing us apart.

I can cast blame anywhere I want; it’s a woman’s prerogative after all, right?  But some of the blame lies with me.  All those restore points when I should have left were probably of my own making.  I can see that now as I look back over them.  But I also think they were warnings of some sort.  That inner voice that tells you to get out now was screaming at me into my own past with knowledge of what the future would bring.  I didn’t listen. Dum vita est spes est. So with hope and expectations, I stayed.

In my newfound wisdom I have also discovered that I have not been easy to live with.  Apparently I’m not easy to love, either.  I am a creature of very many faults.  I am aware of most of them; others have been pointed out to me in hostility.  I own them all.  I can work on them and try to improve upon them, but they are what make me who I am.

I used to say that my strengths were also my weaknesses.  I have now come to the conclusion that it is the other way around.  My weaknesses serve also as my strengths.  My struggles to face and overcome those faults has only made me stronger.  That’s how I know I can now do what needs to be done.

Because I’ve been here before.  And because I’m done.

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Lucky Charms

I’ve always considered myself to be quite lucky.  I’m the lady who takes twenty bucks to a casino and walks out three hours later with anywhere between fifteen and fifty dollars in my pocket.  That may not sound like a lot, but when you factor in everyone who lost big money that very same day, I’d say I was the one on top.  Right next to the big winner, who probably just went back the next day and blew it all anyway.

Husband says that the quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.  In my case, the twenty dollars I’m willing to lose is a small price for three hours’ entertainment.

I used to find quarters in pay phones before the druggies started putting their needles in there, scaring everybody away from the little silver flap hiding the coin return, way back when there used to be pay phones everywhere.  I used to find whole dollars in the bottom of the plastic ball pit at fast food places when I’d jump in with my toddlers after their Happy Meal.  I can take a walk and find a five dollar bill on the creek bank.  I once found a twenty dollar bill in the parking lot of Big Bear, an old grocery store my grandmother liked to frequent.

A friend at work was telling me about all the four-leaf clovers she’s been finding lately.  It makes me wonder what other good things are in store for her.

I’ve noticed that the luck in my life has usually happened in curves.  Not sharp dips and swings from one end of the luck spectrum to the other, but a generally steady run of even good fortune with small curves either to the left or right of it.  Usually when the curve away from the center of good fortune occurs, I can count on the sway of the next curve to take me to something wonderful before I glide back to the center again. 

Sometimes good things and bad things happen concurrently, making me wonder which side of the middle I’m on, or if maybe my general run of prosperity just suddenly widened out a little to encompass both sides of things.

It gets interesting.

One thing that’s always remained fairly well is my health.  Aside from an occasional cold I’ve been okay.  I did have to have a hysterectomy at 39, but my first grandchild was born just a few months later.  Usually, every curve to the left in my world is balanced by a sway to the right, after which I seem to land right back in the middle.

I’m expecting something wonderful to happen.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m anxiously awaiting it.  I’m experiencing a current curve to the left a little, and I can’t wait for the situation to be rectified.

I’ve put off having a tooth pulled for a couple of years now.  Fortunately for me, I was able to just avoid that tooth by chewing on the other side.  And I’m busy, so I kept putting off the inevitable.  This past Wednesday I broke a tooth on the good side. 

My dental appointment is next Wednesday.

The lady told me she could get me in on Thursday.  But I had an interview at work on Friday for a possible promotion, and I didn’t want to risk something happening that might cause me to be out on Friday and miss it.  So I opted for an appointment next week instead.

Husband went to the store and bought all sorts of stuff, like gelatin and pudding snacks.  He also picked up broth, soup, and baby food. 

If it’s been while since you had any, pulverized carrots are pretty good if you’re hungry.  My favorite is the mixed fruit, but the banana isn’t bad either.

I think the interview went well, but I won’t know anything until the end of next week at the earliest.  I’m competing with three other very skilled and talented people, so if you’re in to that sort of thing, cross a couple fingers for me.

In the meantime, I’m on my third day of protein shakes and near liquid food. 

The irony is that I’m still the one doing the dishes.

Hopefully, when I look back at this curve to the left, I’ll be able to pinpoint what the sway to the right looked like.  Surely the Universe wouldn’t let me put off much needed dental work, and consume baby food for an entire week, for no larger plan than the loss of a few pounds.

Whatever happens, though, I know I’ll be okay.  I will, after all, end up back in the middle where life is good – a place where there are cheeseburgers, tortilla chips, and eggrolls.

And popcorn.

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Advances in Technology

I’ve done well to keep up.  I was born at just the right time to grow with the advances we’ve made.  By the time I was in grade school, A-Frame computers had already gone down in size from requiring a warehouse to only requiring a room.  By the time I was in high school, desk-top computers were entering businesses and schools.

I learned how to type on an actual typewriter with a return carriage that I had to reach up and pull at the end of every line.  I don’t recall any left-handed typewriters, either.  The carriage return lever was always on the right.  I had to either properly hyphenate on my own or decide that the next word in the sentence should start on a new line down.  I remember the keys that always got stuck when I typed faster than the machine could keep up with me.  Nod if you remember those metal arms with letters welded at the ends of them so that when you punched the appropriate key for the intended letter, the corresponding arm would fly up and strike the paper, capturing ink from the black ribbon that was woven from one side to the other just in front of the paper, and imprinting that letter permanently onto the paper.  Mistakes were just awful to correct, especially if you were making two copies.  You had to use a little white eraser to gently rub the paper away, which took the ink with it.  Then you had to turn the carriage wheels to get the paper to roll up out of the machine just far enough to peel apart the pages, get behind the carbon paper, and make a second correction on the copy you were making.  Then you had to roll it back down and hope your text was lined up correctly.  Otherwise, you might as well just start over.

Then typewriters became electronic.  The keys didn’t have to be punched so hard, which meant we could type even faster.  Mistakes were still time consuming to correct because we had liquid paper, which had to be dabbed and allowed to dry before we could continue.  The carbon never adhered to the whited out areas, though, and so it was always best to avoid mistakes if at all possible.

Then typewriters became little computers with digital displays that showed you what you were typing.  You could back-space over a mistake, but only if you caught it at the time you made it.  When you thought you were done, you hit a special key and the whole thing would type out seemingly on its own.  It was only then that you could see the mistakes you hadn’t caught while you were typing out the original.

Making copies started to get a little easier.  From mimeographs to actual digital printing, those little white erasers have become extinct.

During my first attempt at college, back in the fall of 1987, I was working part time in a student center where big computer towers were hooked up to small television sets.  Everything that ever got accomplished on those for student use only computers always began with a c: prompt.  

I kept up.  I never knew the techno-babble associated with how the damned thing worked, but I managed to get done what I needed to.  I had figured out some of the basic mechanics of it without ever quite learning the technology behind it.  I once fixed a dot-matrix printer with the eraser end of a pencil.  The folks in my department thought I was a genius. 

We went from having computers in big businesses to having a computer in every home.  Laptops that were once only used by the jet set are now being used by students at almost all levels of academic participation.  And while I’ve still managed to keep up with the mechanics, I have never become technologically inclined. 

I have grown to live in an age where two little c’s and a colon has changed in definition from ‘carbon copy’ to ‘courtesy copy’ at the bottom of our letters because the need for actual carbon has virtually disappeared.  I’ve long since forgotten how to change a typewriter’s ribbon, and if I had to reach up and physically return a carriage to begin a new line of type I think I’d go mad with the frustration of it.  Although I do think I could still configure my own hyphenation points at the end of the lines.

So with all this growth I’ve experienced with technology, with all the mastering of mechanics that I have achieved, why is it I still can’t work my phone?

 

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Grocery Expedition

I had prepared a list.  It was a combination list of things I could pick up now as well as things I intended to pick up early next week.  After all, who wants to pick up celery eight whole days before the first stalk will be used?  The crisper drawers in our refrigerators just don’t work like they’re supposed to, so the list was divided appropriately.

I probably wouldn’t have even gone to the store after work at all except that my youngest needed a couple of things for school.  Food class, to be more precise.  Rolls, Poptarts, and Doritos.  Nice, huh?  I’m not sure those things go well together, but hey, I’m not the teacher.

I know most of you probably live in a much larger metropolitan area than I do, so I really shouldn’t complain.  I’m almost positive that regardless of where you are, there are more people who occupy there than who occupy here.  However, the one thing I can count on is that at 5:00 p.m., I can automatically add half an hour to the travel time it should take to get wherever I want to go within a five mile radius.

While long and tedious, mostly the trip to the store was uneventful; however, getting into the parking lot required driving skills that I’ve spent the last thirty years accumulating.  You know how ants look when they’re carrying something back to their nest?  That’s what the parking lot must’ve looked like from the sky.  All those people pushing all those shopping carts out to all those cars.

I squeezed through the mess slowly and wedged my vehicle into a spot that wasn’t too far from the parking lot’s cart corral.  I don’t mind parking some distance from the door.  What I mind is the knowledge that the farther I get away from one of those corrals, the more carts there are littering the parking spaces because their previous pushers were just too lazy to roll them the few required feet to get them to the appropriate place.  Besides, the walk would do me some good.  I gathered my coupons; made sure I had my list, firmly held my purse against me lest I drop it while beating the crap out of a would-be mugger, and braved my way into the store.

There were only three unoccupied carts.

As if the state of the parking lot hadn’t already prepared me for the worst, I had just entered a major grocery store the week before Thanksgiving.  What – a – mess.

I was thinking that I could just zip through and between the other shoppers, pick up the few necessary items on my combination list, say excuse me a lot, and then leave the remainder for, I don’t know, let’s say Sunday morning at 6 a.m.  I could be sure to only be shopping with the zombies at that hour.

Bread was on the later portion of my list and was one of those items that really could have waited, but there were only four loaves left on the shelf.  An image flashed in my head of the next bread truck’s contents being scattered across a busy highway, thousands of birds pecking away at their new-found bounty.

Two of the loaves went into my cart.

I wasn’t planning on getting the turkey, the ham, or the green beans yet, either.  But everything was in such short supply, I really felt like I had no choice.  I almost went ahead and got the Christmas turkey, too.  More and more items on my list were being moved from the later section to the now section.  On top of that, my excuse me’s were falling on deaf ears.  It seemed as though everyone there that day had read my rant about too-crowded stores and was each staging his own revolt by planting himself firmly in the middle of the aisle so that no one else could pass through.

I was a little proud.

There was even a line at the butcher’s counter.  I stepped into it.  Folks behind me sighed heavily when I stopped moving and managed to maneuver their way around.  Some of them excused themselves as they went by.  Others cursed.  I remained polite and friendly and ignored the mayhem that surrounded me.  Not only did I get a great deal on the thicker cut bacon I didn’t really need just yet, I also got a great deal on some ground round that wasn’t necessary at all.

My cart was full when I approached the check-out lanes.  All of them were backed up but seemed to be moving quickly.  My turkey had a really good chance of not completely thawing out before I got it home.

Getting it to my car unscathed would be the trick.

With the cart safely stowed in the corral where it belonged, I settled into the driver’s seat and reviewed my list.  The only things left were celery and onions.

I wasn’t kidding about Sunday morning at 6.

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Double Trouble

You know how when you’re in the grocery store wishing with every ounce of your being that they would open up another register?  You can barely see the top of your cashier’s head because there are so many other heads between yours and hers.  And when you look back behind you, all you see are angry, jittery shoppers, just like you, who are helping push your invisible wish along in the hopes that somebody, anybody, would just open another register. 

Ice cream melts, frozen dinners thaw, and the worry about spoiling milk and meat is pervasive.

And then it happens.  A register opens.  And does the next person then, the one who’s been waiting the absolute longest of anybody there, get to go and be first?  Nope.

It’s the guy who just showed up at the back of the very long line, way behind you, whose time in line can be counted in seconds with the use of only one hand.  HE’S next.

Whatever happened to single file?  We did it when we were kids.  I distinctly remember my teacher saying it, repeatedly, every time we lined up for something. 

Yet twice in the last month I’ve paid for somebody else’s biggie meal because of a double lane drive-thru mishap. 

The oldest granddaughter and I had gone shopping.  On the way home, she asked for an ice cream cone.  Thinking I could just run through the drive-thru quickly, that’s where I headed.  And that’s all I ordered.

It was a double drive-thru lane.  And, typically, the dude in the parallel lane was in a hurry and jumped line.  When I got to the cashier and handed him my card, he punched a few buttons, handed me my card and a receipt, and closed his window.

I noticed that I had paid for two biggie meals, fries, drinks, and milkshakes.  The single kid’s cone for the grand baby in the backseat had just cost me upwards of fifteen dollars.

Waving at the cashier while still in my car did no good.  His back was turned.  The guy in front of me saw me waving madly and just grinned into his rear view mirror.  He knew what had happened.  He had paid for the ice cream, and gladly so.  And then I saw the lady hand him the ice-cream cone meant for my granddaughter. 

And then I witnessed Mr. Rudy Pants refuse and act like she’d made the mistake.

The store made it right with me, but the dude in front of me had just absconded, intentionally, with a butt-load of relatively free food.

I blame the double line.

It happened again this morning.  While taking my youngest daughter to work, she asked to swing by a drive-thru on the way.  So we did. 

It was a double lane.

I don’t know how many people in line they were ‘off’ or how many got the wrong paper baggie of food before they realized it, but we promptly handed our wrong order back to the clerk.  And then blamed the double line.

Out loud. 

We then held our spot in line until the problem had been rectified and I had been given the correct change for what we’d actually ordered.

Will I avoid double lane drive-thru places in the future?  Sure.  But on those occasions when I can’t, you can bet I’ll be hyper-sensitive to what they’re charging me.  I’ll also be closely inspecting the contents of my paper baggie.

I will also make a concerted effort to shop only in places where there exists a single file line.  The person who’s waited the longest should always be accommodated next. 

Period.

Department stores are already doing that.  They’re setting it up so that there is just one rapidly moving single file line up to a string of multiple cashiers.  When a cashier opens up, he or she calls appropriately for the next person in line.

This is not so with most grocery stores and my frustration mounts with every visit. 

But at least at the grocery store I can count on only being charged for my items and not the guy’s in front of me.  And what I take home with me is exactly what I put in my shopping cart.  All inventory errors before, during, and after my check-out experience are solely mine to bear.

Just try talking to a store manager, though, about the follies of a double lane drive thru and all you get is a runaround about how Corporate says this is more efficient. 

I like how the manager’s nose wrinkles just a bit when he says it, as though the very idea that he is supposed to believe this crap is about to make him choke on his own words.

 

 

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Forget the Rearview?

Sometimes, I guess, forgetting what’s behind us and trudging forward is a good thing.  It’s in all the advice columns, and it comprises most of the messages in social media. 

What’s past is past and what’s done is done.  Keep moving forward, away from the rain and into the sun.  Catchy little things like that.  Of course, I just made that up.  But you see how easy it is to say.  And I guess it’s a good message to receive.  After all, everything that’s ever going to happen to us still lies ahead.

It’s the stuff behind us, though, that haunts us; the stuff in our rear view that shades our own outlook on our future.  Or maybe even how others will forever see us if they are privy to our past deeds.

But should we completely forget to look back there?  Should we intentionally decide to ignore what’s behind us?

The dude who backed out in front of me today did just that.  Luckily, I was looking forward while he wasn’t looking backward and there was no collision with his past into my future.  In fact, there were at least two whole inches separating us.  And he just kept going, never once hitting the brake.

Later, an arrogant dude in another parking lot just assumed that his present and future would be okay as long as the other guy in his great big truck was watching behind him as he was backing out.  The walker was counting on it; had banked his very life on the idea that the driver would be looking backward while he himself plunged forward without ever slowing down, eyeballing the driver the whole time.

This particular gamble paid off.  The truck stopped, thereby ensuring that the walker still had a future.

The walker cursed the driver for not stopping sooner. 

I flashed back to my childhood and remembered being taught how to walk through a parking lot, almost hugging the bumpers of the parked cars, and always watching out for the ones that are about to move.  I was told to stop and wait for the car to be out of the way before I proceeded.  I must’ve been about four or five years old. 

That walker today, at what must’ve been forty-something, had either never been taught that particular lesson or otherwise really was that arrogant. 

My husband would have muttered something about fools being allowed to procreate had he been with me today to witness the potential disasters.  My youngest daughter was with me, and might have had something to say, but she was too busy texting somebody from the passenger seat, oblivious to our surroundings and the dangers they presented.

She’s learning to drive.  My mantra while she’s behind the wheel is mostly comprised of, “Watch out for the idiots, and be prepared because they’re everywhere.”

Well, I say everywhere.  But today I think they were all congregated in one town, and I think I met them all.

So is there a moral to my story today?  Probably, but I’m not sure I can paint that picture.  I am just optimistic and sparkly enough to know that my future lies in front of me, and looking back does no good.  After all, you can’t see where you’re going if you’re always looking in the wrong direction.

But……..

If backward is the direction you’re traveling, please watch out for the idiots who are boldly forging straight ahead and into your path.  And please, especially, don’t be that person who doesn’t look where he’s going and forgets to watch out for the person who is already there. 

Sometimes forward is in reverse, in which case the rear view mirror is a substantial part of the journey.

And sometimes, every once in a while, we just wish it would rain.

 

 

 

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Things We Noticed Today:

  1. Five Guys Burgers was operated today with four chicks and a dude;
  2. Weed-eaters, whether gas powered or electric, require attachments (just like a vacuum cleaner);
    1. One such available attachment is a leaf blower;
  3. One can opt to pay three hundred dollars for a table-top round fan with three settings;
    1. The one that came home with me was only sixteen dollars;
  4. You can tell a movie is about to be over at about the same time your butt starts going numb in the theater seating;
  5. The large bag of popcorn that offers free refills never gets refilled;
  6. Iron Man III was good, but not as good as the Avengers;
  7. Saturday evening traffic starts to suck around 6:00.

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An All Girls’ Journey

Journey:  A Daily Prompt — WordPress suggested “Tell us about a journey — whether a physical trip you took, or an emotional one.”

 

Five years ago, when our oldest grand daughter was almost three months old, my girls decided they wanted to go to the beach for their birthday present.

My husband, knowing that he would be the only male on the trip, opted out.  It was going to be just us girls.  All four of us.  Which quickly turned into five of us when my youngest asked to take a friend.

In a way, I think I got off cheap.  Both of my daughters were born in July and I’ve always tried to separate their birthdays.  Having them eight years apart helped in that endeavor since neither of them were ever interested in the same thing at the same time.  Ever.

This was a birthday, though, that I could combine one activity for them both and still have some fun for everybody.  Even me.

So we made our arrangements, packed up everybody and everything, including the baby and all the stuff that goes with that, and off we went to the beach.  We were in no hurry.  My husband would have had a full blown fit if he’d been in that car.  We took about ten hours for a six-hour trip.  We stopped, we shopped, we played, we talked, and we giggled.  We pulled over to feed the baby, to feed ourselves, and to potty.  There were no hurries and there were no worries.

The sun was just beginning to set when we reached the hotel.  It was one of those tiny cheap hotels a block back from the beachfront.  With two beds, a small bathroom, and a television, we settled in for our two-night stay.  For our convenience, we also had a small refrigerator and a tiny microwave.

The three-month old stayed in the room with me a lot while the older girls went down to the beach.  At thirteen and twenty-one, I figured they could all take care of each other.  I was counting on the grand baby to entertain me.

When the baby ran out of bottles, I used the microwave to sterilize more.  I filled each up with water, placed them in the microwave, and let the water boil in them for about a minute.  It probably wasn’t ideal, but it was the best we could do under the circumstances.  She survived it, at any rate.

The trip back was just as lazy.  My husband swore we crawled home.  But really we were just enjoying each other’s company.  The baby slept most of the way, and if she cried we just pulled over again someplace else until she was settled.

It’s what you do with family.  Just pull over, rest a bit, and let everything settle.  And if you love each other, the pace at which you get back on track will never matter.

It’s the company throughout the journey, and the way you treat each other during it, that matters the most.

And plenty of diapers.  That’s important, too.

 

 

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The Cost of Convenience

I stopped at one of those all in one, buy gas and food places the other day.  I went in to pay for my gasoline and to get a bottle of Diet Pepsi.

I noticed that the 20 oz cold bottle was $1.79.  I had just passed a display of 2 liter bottles that were $0.99.  I asked the cashier, as she was only a few feet away (these places are never really big inside), if the pricing on the little bottle was right.

“Yes it is.”

“But the 2 liter over there is only ninety-nine cents.”

“Then buy a 2 liter.”

I don’t have a mini bar in my car.  I do, however, have one of those nice little round cup holders in my console in which the 20 oz bottle fits very nicely.  And the smaller bottle is already cold.

I bought the 20 oz.

Yesterday after work I picked up my youngest from school.  I still had a couple of errands to run before we could get home.  She wanted fast food.  I reminded her that we had leftovers at home, and since I’m still getting used to this new schedule, tonight was going to be leftover night.

She still wanted fast food.  I explained again that we had food at home and there was no sense whatsoever in spending money on the fast food when what was already cooked at home was relatively free.

She told me that she was hungry NOW, that she was also still getting used to my new schedule (which means she has to stay at school longer) and that there were no leftovers in the car right NOW.  Nor does my car host a microwave so she could have dinner NOW even if I’d had the foresight at six o’clock this morning to pack the leftovers for this eventuality.

The small coffee cup size of Dr. Pepper (mostly ice) to go with her drive-thru meal was an additional $1.59.

It fit nicely in the console so she could have her meal hands-free while I ran my errands.

My husband and I had leftover spaghetti.  Well, it was almost spaghetti.  I’d made a wonderful red sauce the night before, but we were out of spaghetti noodles.  Instead of running out to get another box, I used a box of macaroni noodles instead.

Because it was more convenient.

 

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Know it All

     It was a bad idea, and I knew it.  My attempts to convince my teenage daughter of it seemed to have no effect.  Our conversation quickly turned angry.  She was using her teenager’s frustrated voice and I was using my mommy’s authoritative voice.  I told her I thought it was a bad idea and she said she knew it was a bad idea.  I asked, “If you know it’s a bad idea, why do you want to spend good money to buy it?”  Her answer was simple: because she wanted it.  It was pretty.  Further arguing prompted, and I am not lying or otherwise making this up, “I KNOW, Mom — I know EVERYTHING!”

     Oh my.

     The issue at hand was whether or not to purchase, from eBay no less, a flimsy and whimsical polka-dotted, rabbit-eared case for her very expensive touch-screen phone.  Granted, she purchased the phone with earnings from her part-time job.  And she was also promising to reimburse me the $4.99 plus shipping for this atrocity she so desperately wanted.  But the Otterbox she’s using (on loan from her sister until she can buy one herself) is highly protective of the large purchase, and practical, albeit plain, while the flimsy baby blue polka-dotted bunny is neither protective nor practical. It’s only benefit is its apparent beauty.  I thought I was seeing reason.  My daughter just saw red.  And this is the argument that led us to screaming at each other.

     “So, you want me to buy the pretty case off eBay so you can do what exactly?  Set it on your dresser and admire it occasionally?  Because it will do no good whatsoever….”

     I was interrupted from my reasonableness.

     “Gawd, Mom!  Just BUY it; I’ll pay you BACK!  It’s MY money; I should be able to do whatever I WANT with it!”

     I’m reminded of how often I, having once been a teenager myself, thought I actually knew everything.  I’m comparing that internally with how often I actually did.  I’m definitely coming up short.  But how many times did I actually come right out and tell my grandmother, “I KNOW, Mamaw!  I know EVERYTHING!”

     You know, regardless of how many times I may have thought it, I never once said it out loud. 

     Upon her bold utterance, my daughter wheeled around and left the room.  Half-way up the stairs, I heard a muted “Whatever!”  I imagined she was about to use her expensive new phone to send an outrageous text to one of her friends with all sorts of accusatory remarks about her hateful mother. 

     Now the argument I’m having, as I sit here alone, is with myself.  It is her money.  She should be able to do whatever she wants with it.  Almost.  I do believe I should, as any good parent would, monitor her purchases and make sure they’re not harmful.  In that regard, the pretty little case is not harmful – as long as it sits on her dresser to be admired occasionally.  But if she actually puts it on her phone, and then drops the phone and it breaks…

     Some of you may say, “Well, it is her money; and it is her phone that was likewise purchased with her money.”

     I was thinking that way, too, until it occurred to me that if she did drop the phone, and it broke, she’d probably be looking to Mom for a bailout.  At that point, would I be afforded the rightful opportunity to refuse?  Maybe I would say, “See!  I told you!  I know EVERYTHING!”

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