College Life-How Sweet It Is!

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One of my college kids called me the other night.  Well actually she text-ed me.  Because that is what kids do today.  When they have a complex question that involves a response that could exceed 100 words, they of course text.   My standard response when this happens…”call me”.

So the phone call shortly arrived.  The whole purpose for this communication involved a certain movie streaming application that her new television came with last summer.  She has been enjoying this application with no charge associated.  She thought Dad had set it up but I had not.  So, all I can figure is there was some type of free introductory period. The freebie had now ended and daughter was hoping that Dad would either provide his log in to this program, or a credit card so this right of college life could continue.

Matters like this are better not to hit me with at 10pm at night.  I understand just enough about business to know that no company has set up a video streaming app that all one person needs to do is share their password with their college student and pretty soon an entire dorm is streaming movies on your account.  I was not entirely sure how the business model worked, and daughter swore she would keep my login secret (I really believe she would do her best to keep it secret), but I was not buying it.  I enjoy the service, we use it at home, and the last thing I wanted was to get our home blocked because my password was also being used at a college campus not exactly in the same location as my home.   I thought maybe there was a usage model that might solve this issue but as my tired head tried to figure out a solution at the company’s website, the solution hit me.

The solution was so obvious frankly I got a little upset at myself for not having immediately thought of this.  Our goal is for our kids to come out of college debt-free.  So, we cover tuition, room and board and books.  Social items are on the kids so they need to work whenever they can to pay for their social and entertainment.  Same program I was on with my parents and I am forever thankful to them for not forcing me into the world of student loans.   I was not handing over my log in information, so this problem was not mine.  Clearly an entertainment issue…this was daughter’s to decide.  Plus in my research I found out the cost of an unlimited plan was less than two grande lattes at Starbucks!  We know how often college kids make that pit stop!  (To daughter’s credit, she called me later and apologized for expecting me to handle this expense-much appreciated.)

Which brings me to the end of the story but I just could not stop thinking about this.  What a world we live in!  For $8 a month, you can have unlimited movies streaming into your college room.  My first memory was that we had a small black and white TV in my college room and we hardly could watch it through the snow on the screen as we strained to pick up stations 75 miles away!  We did buy record albums (kids-ask your parents what they are) and I remember those being about $6 each.  One album with 40 minutes of music, 35 years ago, cost more than the limited plan for the movie streaming application!  If they sold albums today they probably would be $15!  College kids in the 70’s collected record albums like the Harbaugh family collects coaching victories.  Our kids have no idea how great life is for them.

Of course, I sure hope they find some time to study!


Reverse Migration

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It seems like just the other day I lamented about the change in our lives brought on by the return of our two college students.  We have experienced this migration and disruption for several years now.   The expected total change in lifestyle took place through the summer, but with a little more calm.  I guess that is part of the kids being 21 and having jobs and maybe finding they enjoy mornings more?  Not sure…but as the summer has gone on we have had to start to see our lives change even more significantly.  Our two 18 year olds would also be leaving.  One to Purdue.  The other had a decision to make.  He is our hockey goalie and despite my ranting and raving about the world of hockey when kids reach this age…it didn’t change anything.  He wants to play in college and the colleges like the players to spend an extra year in what is called Juniors.  Tryouts ensued and as the summer rolled on it became clear that his selection, and the best choice for his development as a hockey player and young man, was 2300 miles away in a place we have never been..Medford Oregon.

How do you move a soon to be 19 year old boy across the country?  We spent the summer on that one.  Fortunately we discovered that he qualified for on- line classes from Indiana University.  We really wanted him to not just sleep and play hockey.  Starting his college classes and having the most flexibility for the future was our goal.  Being the partisan that I am I must brag… Indiana University offered the solution.  So we can officially also now say we have four in college!  Bragging rights is what this game is all about!  Look..we are much more broke than you are!

So, three at Purdue and one going to Indiana University while living in Oregon!  While I am not sure this fully qualifies that I finally got one of my kids to go to my school, at least for a semester,  I can feel a little better about how the college savings flow.  If you know anybody who has saved enough to have four kids in college in the same year they have likely either 1. inherited wealth,  2. won the lottery, or 3. sacrificed for years.   We fall under #3.  Maybe this helps a little more to explain my conservatism?  Not an excuse…but a lifestyle choice.

So, the point today is that 30 minutes ago, our son and my wife hopped in his Chevy Silverado to make the trek across country.   My first observation is thank goodness he is a boy.  He is able to move himself and make decisions I have never seen our girls make.  Travel light.  I carried Jennifer’s suitcase downstairs and realized she would pay the suitcase up-charge if she was flying.  She took up 25% of his cargo space and she flies back in a week!  He was lighthearted about it.  He knows his Mom and had saved plenty of room in the covered truck bed for her (suitcase that is)!  Our 8 year old son said his goodbyes and I know I was about to lose it.   I hugged our hockey player/IU student and told him I am proud of him.    I do not believe I could have ever made the decision he made at his age.  As Mom and I said our goodbyes, her face full of tears, I realized just how hard this was going to be for her.   Not the three day drive, but leaving her baby boy so far from home.   This is not a one hour drive to Purdue!

On Thursday I will have a U Haul truck loaded up to deliver the rest of our girls to Purdue.  When I return it will be the 8 year old and me until Mom comes home.  Then it will be just three of us in a house that is now too large for three, but needs to be able to accommodate seven.  The kids do migrate home.  Then they fly the coop again.  It is a stage of life.  One between needs and support, and total independence.  It is a time of growth and excitement, and a heart tug that can’t be described unless you are a parent experiencing it.    The birds have flown from the nest again.  It is quiet.

For some reason, I am sad.

The Difference Between Boys and Men

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In February,  I had two daughters turn 21.  Last year, my other daughter turned 18.   All three are in various stages of their dating lives.  I realize I might have a little bit of influence, but mostly at this point it is up to the girls to make decisions about their lives that turn out to be good ones.  That statement is a mouthful because how many of us as adults have always made good decisions?  I think as an adult we have some ability to at least acknowledge the bad decisions and dissect where they went wrong.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to always recognize a bad decision before you make one?

When it comes to my daughters and their relationships, I came across this over the weekend.  The writer is unknown.  It is wisdom that I think comes across well in the written word instead of the dad lecture.  Maybe you will find value in this no matter if you are a Dad, Mom, or a Daughter.

When you start to have a relationship with a boy, you want him to act like a man.  If you are in a relationship with a man, you don’t want him to act like a boy.  What is the difference?

A boy will flatter you.  A man will compliment you.

A boy will spend money on you.  A man will invest in you.

A boy will view you as property.  A man will view you properly.

A boy will lust after you.   A man will love you.

A boy is someone  who believes he’s God’s gift to women.   A man  remembers woman was God’s gift to man.

I want my girls to look for and recognize the difference in a boy and a man.  I also want to teach my sons to be a man.   I realize that involves a lot more than being a good sportsman, or not being a slob.  Sometimes with boys we forget the important things when it involves girls.  Maybe this will help.

What About Your Kids?

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So I know the annual “I sure miss my kids” post is soon to occur as we see three of them go away to school over the next two weeks.  In the mean time though, I am reminded  of how much fun kids can be when I discovered this website:

Shit My Kids Ruined

claiming to be “the strongest visual birth control on the market today” this site will provide you with memories of those moments that remind or set your body to fear (depending on the age of your children).  There is also a companion site

Shit My Pets Ruined

I actually have several submittals to both.

So that my young adult kids do not think this is just a site about 3 year olds, take a look at the teen driver pulling into a garage and not finding the brake pedal.  Actually, I have a friend whose wife also did this (not picking on women here…just telling the story!).

The site even has a mission statement:

Comic relief, Commiseration, & Birth Control.

I think we can all use the humor in big doses.  Commiseration feels much better also.  Birth Control?  Despite the way these things make you feel when they occur there will likely be moments in raising kids that far exceed the frustration these events command.  

Occasionally kids give you memories that are so priceless, it will make you glad you suffered through all of these Kodak moments.