Passenger Side

As much as it pains me to quote Wilco, I don’t like riding on the passenger side– particularly when a newly-permitted teen is in the driver’s seat.

When my sister was learning to drive, my mom always made me accompany them. It was awful. I curled up as small as possible in the back seat of the Escort and cranked up my Walkman, but it didn’t drown out them yelling at each other. Nor did it do anything to mask how bad my sister was at working a clutch.  I didn’t get my own license until I was 19, in no small part due to those driving lessons. Oh, and a botched lesson of my own wherein I was taking my mom to the doctor for a post-surgery follow up and she wasn’t supposed to drive and I stalled us out at a four-way stop and couldn’t get started again. That, too, was awful.

(I did eventually master the stick shift on a drive from Indiana to Key West; I had 24 hours to work it out).

I have to be honest, teen-permit-drive-time is the only time I wish we were dealing with visitations from the other parent on a regular basis. I would totally say, “You know, as merely your step parent, I feel unqualified to do this.”

As it is, I shove as much Driver’s Ed responsibility onto CC as possible. Inevitably though, there comes a time when the teen bounds up to me, permit in hand, batting her eyes and asking hopefully, “Can I drive?” I can only say no so many times before I feel like the complete a-hole that I am acting.

At a recent graduation dinner, #3 loudly asked CC to tell her grandparents what a good driver she was.

CC: Meh…you’re okay.

#3: Hey! I’m really good!

CC: How many times have I had to yell at you for rolling through stop signs?

#3: {waving away his comment} Please. There are no stop signs on the way to the mall.

Here’s my latest post on Family Circle’s Momster blog with the tips I’ve learned to make teaching teens to drive more bearable: Driver’s Ed 101:The Parent Edition.

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When Your Kid Isn’t Ready for College

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Have you ever heard the phrase “If you can spot it, you’ve got it”? Basically, it means that many of the thing that annoy us in other people are things that annoy us in ourselves. Things we’d rather not face.

Don’t believe me? Next time someone pisses you off, do a little soul-searching and see what you find.

I had a whole year of spotting things before I could write this post. The judgment I heard from other people, I had it in myself. The maddening, paralyzing fear in my kid- I had that, too. So I saw stuff, and I owned it and worked through it and blah blah blah… and now I have something to say.

Please go read my post on Family Circle’s Momster blog: When Your Kid Isn’t Ready for College.

Fool Me Once…

I’m not a big fan of practical jokes. Mainly because when people say, “practical”, they really mean, “something that makes you look an ass and feel like an awkward teenager.”

So I’m always on the lookout for April Fools Day Jokes that

  1. Wouldn’t piss me off too much if they were played on me
  2. Won’t cause me a lot of extra work or cleaning
  3. Won’t come to the attention of the authorities and
  4. Won’t get me fired.

This does limit the field, particularly where the kids are concerned.

My new post on Family Circle’s Momster blog discusses some options. I’d love to hear yours.

In doing my “research” for this post, I came across what I think is the best idea ever, but I don’t have an appropriate person to play the prank on: Take a screen shot of the prank recipient’s (I really dislike the term “victim”) computer desktop, hide all their icons, and use that screenshot as the desktop wallpaper.

You’re welcome.

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PS: My icons are already hidden. Don’t even try it.

Do you have any good April Fool’s Day pranks?