Subourbon Mom


Venmo – A College Freshman’s (Unintended) First-Year Diary
March 26, 2020, 9:00 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , ,

As a parent, you know when your kid goes off to college to live in the petri dish they call a dorm, there will be times when they have to “adult,” like making doctor’s appointments or figuring out how to get to Target because because, God forbid, they can’t have a car on campus Freshman year.  What we didn’t realize was that all of these things would be documented in Venmo, the payment app.

You can parent your college kids however you want to, but one of our decisions was to let both of our kids charge Uber and Safety rides to our cards, so that they never felt like they had to get in a car with someone who’d been drinking so they could get home.

They used it.  A LOT.

(And we were glad.)

We also allowed them to ASK for help when they needed it, like for doctor’s appointments and things that normally wouldn’t be in their budgets. But what we didn’t count on, but were happy to pay for (mostly), were the MANY charges from multiple trips to urgent care, Target and CVS for medicines….and many other “necessary” items.

Since her year got cut short, I thought i would share this little financial diary.  For so many reasons I’m sad that her and her sister’s years were cut short…and one reason is because I will miss these entertaining requests:

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And then there are the requests for daily living, because adulting is expensive:

 

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Welcome to adulthood, young lady.

And welcome home.  🙂

 

 



College Orientation – You Had the Power All Along, My Dear

We recently attended college orientation for Daughter #2 at a large university, and to be honest, I was lucky it ended up on my calendar. Not because I don’t care but because, like everything with the not-the-first-kid, you are just a little more relaxed about it. Added to that, it’s very disconcerting to suddenly not have access to every detail of your child’s schedule after being in charge of it for eighteen years. I had to text her the night before and ask if there were any parking passes we had to print out, what the address was, or if there was anything else that needed to be done ahead of time – shockingly, there wasn’t. Daughter #2, like her older sister, had it all under control.

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I like to think it was good parenting that made it happen, but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with me accidentally leaving them at restaurants or school, trying and failing to explain simple math, and letting them believe that many of the phrases I use are common phrases until their friends asked what they meant. I was clearly not to be trusted (I never understood algebra and I said “Fooped” instead of “Sharted” because I didn’t want them implying the word Shit…it sounds stupid now, but it made sense when I was tired and they were little).

The orientation started with the usual official school cheer, and we stood and made arm motions over our heads and yelled the appropriate things, like a bunch of sadly sober, not-quite-caffeinated-Village People.

At Daughter #1’s orientation, I paid close attention to Dean Somethingaboutliberalartsandgraduatinginfouryears, and Associate Dean of WhatdidshesayIhavetopee.  The second time around? Nope. I was busy feeling superior and counting blonds vs. brunettes in each row to pass the time.

And then they took our sweet babies to meet with their advisors, or hang out with the cultish, singing and dancing university groupies to get them acclimated to campus life. Some parents looked scared and bereft.

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Others looked around like plane passengers do when they’re trying to decide who would be worth having aboard if there was a crash on a tiny Pacific island. There were a few that I would not have trusted with the exit aisle…just sayin’.

The Deans of Random Departments spoke about how great the school is (yeah, the choir knows – our kids applied and we are writing a substantial check for them to go here – we get it), followed by lunch in the Dining Hall. That hasn’t changed, except that we never got to pick from a pizza bar, Mexican, a grill menu, a vegan menu, and a Chinese buffet. My school had one of those things as a theme, and God help you if you didn’t like flat burgers.  I spent many a dinner standing at the cereal bar, picking the stupid strawberry things out of Captain Crunch because…seriously, who orders Crunchberries instead of plain Captain Crunch?

The parents’ Resource Fair was okay, but the table I really wanted to see would have been called “Crap You Still Have to Buy.” Since we don’t find out until August what dorm Daughter #2 is in, I’ve already decided I’m going to buy every variety of drawers and basket in Target and start playing Tetris as soon as we get there.

And finally, there was a speech by the Mental Health Professional on how our roles as parents and children transition when they go to school, what to say and not to say, and things to watch out for. For that one, I put down my Candy Crush game (sadly, I’m on level 800-and-something) and paid attention. It never hurts to hear how this momentous change is affecting your baby, and what you need to do to make the transition easier.

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I made notes about what local delivery services were available (every college town should have Insomnia Cookies) to send things on bad days. I felt guilty about not writing more letters to Daughter #1, but realized that probably wasn’t going to get any better for Daughter #2, so then I felt extra guilty – I suck as a parent for not doing that for the first one, and suck even more for knowing I probably won’t do it this time, either.

I was nervous and scared for my baby, until I remembered that I’d already had my chance to be an attentive mom…and I was. Aside from accidentally leaving them at restaurants or sports events (I swear, it was a mis-communication…OMG let it go!) and swearing a lot, I know I must have done something right because they’re ready. They are strong, independent young women, ready to try new things, accept new challenges, and let me know, “I got this, Mom.”

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Spring Break – 5 College Guy Body Types

Lots of people have asked me if there was any eye candy on the spring break cruise we took, which apparently had most of the University of Georgia on it. I hesitate to say yes, because a) the “men” were the same age as my daughters and b) eye candy is only fun in this situation for someone my age as long as you have your headphones on.  As soon as you actually hear the eye candy speak, it’s all over – it’s like getting what you thought was a caramel chocolate out of the candy box, and it ends up having that nasty pink creamy stuff inside.

But while I waited at the back of the pool crowd (see photo above) for the waiter to bring my next boat drink, I did notice that there are essentially 5 main male college bods:

  1. The football player who will eventually be a real estate broker or work in his Dad’s car dealership. This guy has already peaked – in fact, he may have peaked in high school but is riding the wave until the bitter end. His bulky size is beginning to go or will go to fat as soon as he stops working out in the gym, although he may re-acquaint himself with his neck when that happens. He always enters the belly flop contest and does the beer yell while dancing like Uncle Kracker. He also has some of the worst sunburn because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and guys generally just aren’t that helpful to each other with sunscreen application.
  2. Dad-Bod. This guy has already achieved that settled look that usually comes after baby #1. You can already see what he’s going to look at when he’s 40. He’s wearing the pastel button-down shirt (probably unbuttoned) and a university hat. But he is someone who might be able to hold a conversation, and his sunscreen is evenly applied because he has a girlfriend (or potential girlfriend) who cares.
  3. The Gym Rat. This guy, no matter how tall or short, spends the same amount of time in the gym that Oprah Winfrey spends telling people how to live their lives better (BTW, I’m still annoyed that one of Oprah’s “favorite things” was a pair of slippers for $300, as if we’re supposed to be able to afford them – bitch, please). He has perfected the flex-and-scan, which involves – you guessed it – flexing his pecs and abs and scanning beneath his $200 sunglasses to see who noticed. This is usually followed by a smirk if he’s spotted a fan, or a frown if he hasn’t.
  4. The Head of the Back (a-la Michael Anthony Hall in 16 Candles). These leaders of the non-Ken Doll contingent tend to lurk around the outskirts of the big crowds, drinking as much as the rest (or more), but never quite make it to the inner circle. They may not spend as much time in the gym or in the girls’ dorms as the other guys, but they have an amazing assortment of professional sports-related clothing to choose from, such as baseball and basketball jerseys. Sunburn? See Bod #1.
  5. Baseball player bod. These guys aren’t necessarily baseball players – they just have that naturally athletic look to them, without all the gym work. They either are already in the military (hence the look), they’ll work 20-hour days on Wall Street, or they will climb some other corporate ladder quickly with their combination of looks and charm (and probably smarts as well) – unless they go the opposite direction and do something interesting/noble like joining the Peace Corp or becoming a Wilderness adventure leader in the Rockies. Their sunscreen is applied evenly by pretty much anyone they ask.

At the risk of being accused of body-shaming, these are generalizations only. I don’t know these people and haven’t spoken to them except to ask them to please aim their vomit down the stairs and not down my front (just kidding). And no, I’m not going to talk about the girls’ body types because…I’m not stupid.

And yes, I was jealous of them for a bit, but then I had a revelation:

College kids don’t have cash, and pool wait staff like cash.   A lot.

Grownups have cash.

So, we grownups grabbed some chairs first thing in the morning while the partiers were still sleeping, and camped out all day enjoying the partiers’ annoyed looks.  We tipped the wait staff each time they took our orders.  Soon we didn’t even have to ask – they just brought. No standing in line amongst the sweaty, rum-breathing hoards, vying for the bartenders’ attention among the belly button rings and thongs. Just drinks on a tray when we needed them.

It’s good to be a grown up.




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