Makin’ Conversation


I was on a plane today, waiting in line to use the lavatory, and recalled a flight in 1999 when I stood in a similar line with my youngest son, Eliot, then 6.  A gifted conversationalist, eager to engage (see above), he tapped the guy in front of him and said “Hello”. The guy turned, frowning, and nodded.

Determined to go deeper, Eliot tapped him again. The man turned again, clearly annoyed. Eliot looked up at him and cheerfully asked, “So, are you going to pee or poop?”


Rosie is travelling and thus temporarily unavailable to weigh in on Brad, Maria, AnnaB, Susan and Sarah’s thoughts on cutting the cord.  We shall see who she takes aim at when she returns in time for the Super Bowl. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I know I (Sam would say “endlessly”) whine and complain about the empty state of our nest. But what Sam doesn’t know is that my bitching gets results. While he’s being all stoic and looking on the bright side, our chicks are taking pity on me and sending gifts from afar.  Here’s a sampling of recent arrivals.

From Henry…

From Quinn…

From Eliot…

Don’t tell Sam.

My Master Plan

before we knew better...Because I’ve been winning the Airport Wars, I got to make two trips to LAX in the last two days.  Yesterday, Henry. This morning, Quinn.

Before we left, I asked Quinn if he had checked-in online.

“No,” he replied breezily, “I’m checking a bag so I’ll just do it when I get there.”

It being a) the crack of dawn and b) part of my master plan to let my kids suffer the consequences of their own actions, I said nothing.

At the airport, we took our requisite cell phone photo memento (see above), then I headed home. It’s always hard to be sad when Quinn goes away because he’s always so HAPPY to be going where he’s going. But I couldn’t help myself.

I  had just settled in at my desk when I got a text from the traveler.

Him: “Can’t locate my record.  (Expletive deleted) American.”

Me: “Need I say this is why you get your boarding pass the night b4?  Or is that gratuitous at this point?”

Him: “Gratuitous.”

The texts that followed included him bitching about an uncooperative ticket kiosk and an obtuse human agent, and my advice about how to guilt trip said agent into giving him priority access when she realized the error of American Airlines’ ways. And then I got this one…

Him: “Apparently, I booked my flight for January 29…”

We’re all aware, right, that today is December 29?

What’s a mother to do?

If I stick to my master plan, nothing. I send a few sympathetic texts, go about my day and let him suffer the consequences, in this case, an insanely expensive same-day ticket purchase, connections through snow-bound cities, and general holiday airport misery.

And then I think….what possible harm could it do to see if I have any frequent flyer miles taking up virtual space at

Cut to… me discovering that for a mere 25,000 miles I could get him a non-stop ticket just a few hours later. Oh. And did I mention that it was a FIRST CLASS ticket?

I hesitated briefly, and then I solved his problem.

Of course, he was thrilled. First class travel. No baggage fees. Lounge access. What’s not to like? As far as he was concerned, the only downside  was that it was too early in the day to take advantage of the free Sierra Nevada on tap.

I, on the other hand, was torn.  What had happened to my master plan?  When did I lose what I thought was my steely resolve to let my chicks suffer the consequences of their actions?

My only excuse is that it’s so hard to let them go that I’ll do anything, including being a bad parent, to take care of them just a little bit more.

Go on, be honest. Was that a giant parenting FAIL?

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Two of our chicks are in the same city. One flies home today, the other Friday.

Brief pause while I cheer…HOORAY!

Text exchange with the one who’s coming home Friday.


Chick: Will you make him (his brother) take my gear and check it on the plane today so I don’t have to?

Me: No.

Chick: Irritating. Why not?

Me: Why?

Chick: Because I dont want to carry it across town and then through the airport.

Me: And he should…why?

Chick: To be nice.

Me: Oh, that. Don’t think I can help you there.

Chick: Well making him do it would be nice of YOU.

I’m sorry…Not.

So I was annoyed at one of my chicks the other day. We went back and forth via text.


Me: Where is the card?

Chick: Left it in the top 2 drawers.  Actually didn’t take it this time. (Notice that he says he left it in not one, but 2, drawers? Neat trick.)

Me: It’s not with the other cards.

Chick: Well, it’s there somewhere.

After this there ensued a span of time in which the card was diligently searched for and found, in one of the drawers, it is true, but hidden under something.

Me: Found it.

Chick: My b.


So my question is: does that count as an apology?

I’m getting the feeling that all this texting is something of a cheat – a way for us to avoid the sticky emotional wickets.

I think I’ll call next time.

But he probably won’t pick up.

Counting the ways…


Henry sent me this picture today, unaccompanied by text of any kind.  I’m not sure which of the following three items makes me happiest:

1. That he knows how much I’d love to see his newly installed knife rack; the one we bought together a few weeks ago, the one, I’ll admit, I had my doubts would ever be installed.

2) That he invites me in on the dailiness of his new life in a tiny apartment in a big city.

3) That the stove is so clean.