You Are My Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

My Only Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

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14 January, 2015

Dear Twentysomethings, Here's Your Answers.....

I think I'm still inspired by my last post..... I'm really in shock the things that these twentysomethings ask. So, I've decided to answer all these questions for you.

1. So do I really NEED a 401(k)? 

Only if you want to retire and have any money to live on. Doesn't anyone in your generation watch the news? Or are you all still in the bars? Listen, there's rumors that Social Security is going to run out of money, and if you aren't old enough yet to watch your parents try to exist on Social Security alone, it's terrifying and heartbreaking. So, google it. I know you guys know how to do that. READ, RESEARCH, COMPARE, TALK TO PEOPLE WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS AREA. There, you're welcome.

2. What’s the difference between a PPO and an HMO?

Again, here's more of that researching and reading thing we talked about in number 1. Read the information that comes with your insurance packet. It's all right there for you.

3. What number do I claim on my taxes?

TURN THE W-4 OVER. Now ask yourself, am I married? Do I have kids? How many? Add. Put this number on the appropriate line. You're welcome.

Once you fill this out and figure out the answer to number two, someone of you will want to consider a reliable birth control method also.

4. How the fuck do I cook rice? 

Read the fucking directions on the package genius.

5. So what do I do if my tire is flat?

STOP THE CAR. PULL OVER TO THE SIDE SO YOU DON'T BLOCK TRAFFIC. CALL AAA, A TOW TRUCK, OR EVEN BETTER: LEARN TO CHANGE YOUR OWN DAMN TIRE.

And while you're at it, learn to check your oil and water.

6. But how long can I drive on a flat tire…?

You can't dumbass.

7. WHY IS HEAT SO EXPENSIVE HOLY SHIT?!

Because the electric companies have a monopoly on heat and air. And the price of fuel is insane. Watch the news every now and again. PS - Welcome to being a grown up.

8. How do I know if steak is medium rare and not going-to-get-salmonella rare?

If it's still jerking it's too rare. The end.

9. Is there any way I can appeal jury duty?

No. It's your civic duty. Welcome to America. Now shut up and show up. Have a nice day.

10. What happens if I don’t show up to jury duty?

Does the word "contempt" mean anything to your generation? If not, I'd google it.

11. How much do you think a dog/cat would cost?

Dog:
It costs you having to come home and take it out before you go to the bar, and then coming home after to take it out again - and having to get up early to take it out again. Plus you have to feed it and shit.

Cat:
You have to clean the litter box. I hated this in my 20's. I cleaned it as little as possible. That's not pretty. And you have to feed it and shit.

12. What do I bring to a dinner party?

Whatever the host/hostess tells you to bring. 

13. What do you mean not all doctors are covered by my insurance?

Again dumbass, read the information that comes with your packet. Your doctors are now conveniently listed somewhere on a website for your insurance company, or you can go old school and call the doctors and ask if they participate in your plan. 

Note: You'll have to actually call, on a phone, and talk to someone. 
 
14. How do I get a referral?

For a job? By being a good employee.

For a doctor? By going to the doctor and asking for one.
 
15. Can you read an email for me before I send it?

Really? Please tell me this is a joke.

16. Can you read a cover letter for me before I send it? 

Here's an inside tip for you: You can google these. Find a good one, model your cover letter after it. The end.

PS - CHECK YOUR GRAMMAR AND SPELLING. Nothing says "I'm a dumbass, don't hire me" like poor grammar and spelling.

17. What the fuck is a CV? 

If you don't know what this is, then you don't need to be applying for the job. The end.

18. I got in an accident what do I do?

Ask yourself: Am I injured? Yes? Call 911. No? Call 911, file a report with the local law enforcement, exchange information with the other driver, call your insurance company. Here in Florida you have 14 days to seek medical treatment if you are going to file a personal injury claim. Find a good PI lawyer. (Note: PI = Personal Injury) You're welcome.

19. How do you like…learn to cook?

Dear God.... Find a recipe. Buy all the stuff it tells you to buy. Follow the directions. If you like it, make it again. You can find recipes on the internet, Pinterest, the Cooking Channel, Food Network, cookbooks, your grandma's kitchen....

20. Should I get a cookbook or something?

Well, that would require you to like, read it or something.

21. Why doesn’t my chicken taste like your chicken?

Because you obviously suck at cooking. Just kidding. Nothing you'll make will ever taste like your mother's. It will always suck, and then one day it'll be better than hers - and you'll NEVER tell her this. SHE will tell you this someday far in the future, and you will thank her and then immediately tell her she's nuts because it could NEVER be better than hers, like EVER.

22. How do I renew my passport?

Learn to cook and define CV first before you go getting lost in a foreign country.

23. Do you have my passport? 

Listen, it's time to put on your grown up panties. Get a file, manila envelope, something, and put your birth certificate, passport, and any other important papers in it and keep them in a safe place, which for you is probably in your nightstand under your vibrator.

24. How do I get a visa?

Again, if you can't define CV then you aren't going to be doing anything that requires a Visa either.

25. How do I know if I have strep throat?

Because like all of us you will have a sore throat and you sit on your bathroom counter where the light hits your throat just right and you'll see if you have puss pockets on your throat. If you see white puss pockets, then yes, you probably have strep.

OR - you can also go to the doctor and have him run a q tip down your throat, like us grown ups do, and he'll tell you. That's why he's got that really expensive medical degree.

26. Can you look at a picture of my throat? 

Why does she need a picture? Just follow your umbilical cord back to her vagina, then ask her in person.

27. What’s that place I always used to get my hair cut?

FML... I can't... I just can't.....

28. What’s my prescription for my glasses?

It's whatever the doctor tells you it is. Your mom won't specifically know your prescription. She's going to tell you that you're near sighted or far sighted, then she's going to tell you to call your doctor. Prepare yourself. You're going to have to pick up a phone, dial a number, and talk to someone. Like, a real conversation.

29. Do I have any allergies?

If you're asking this, then probably not. But again, prepare yourself, you could develop them later in life. I did. They blow.

30. Can you call my insurance for me?

No. She cannot. Call them yourself lazy ass.
 
31. You can’t smell carbon monoxide, right? 

Nope. It's odorless, colorless, and tasteless. This is why you don't grill in your house, and why you don't run your car in the garage with the door closed. Never try to get away with either. You're a dumbass if you do.

32. So… can I have your Netflix password?

Fool, please. Get it from your friends like all the rest of us do.

33. Can you get HBO GO and give me the password?

No asshole. Get your own overpriced cable package like all the rest of us do. Or be new age and get a Roku, but don't pawn your need for channels you'll probably rarely watch (like the rest of us) off on your mother.

34. Can I use some of your airline miles?

No. She earned them. She raised your ass and now she's off to travel and do all the shit she couldn't do when she was having to raise your codependent ass. Get your own miles. 

35. What’s the difference between a green mailbox and a blue one?

I googled for you. You're welcome. 

The blue box is the normal collection box for the public. The green box is the drop box, or relay box that a walking letter carrier will use to leave their picked up mail and packages obtained mid-route for another carrier to collect; it also may store some extra forms, extra bags etc. It's for internal use only and saves the carrier form lugging around too much. 
http://askville.amazon.com/green-brown-mailbox-usa-blue-boxes/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=2300763

Another answer to this is that originally all U.S. mailboxes were green, then later they changed to red and blue combined, then to mostly blue as they are today.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_box

36. How do you know how many stamps to put on something?

Take it to the post office and they will tell you how many to put on it, but stop bullshitting everyone. You know you don't actually mail anything. You Tweet or Facebook, and then pay all your bills online.

37. What happens if I put my mail in the wrong box?

They send it back to you. Amazing, I know.

38. How do I check my credit? 

You request a report from the three major credit reporting agencies like the rest of us. Then you get the report and cry, then figure out how to dispute everything like the rest of us do. Dumbass.

39. How do I sign up for a credit card?

Follow the directions on the application and lie about your income, duh!

40. Are you supposed to ride your bike with or against traffic? 

Who rides a bike? You shouldn't be. You don't even know what mailbox to put your mail in and now you want to ride a bike on a street with actual traffic. For the love of God, just don't.

41. Can you read my lease for me before I sign it?

You're going to have them paying your rent for you too, aren't you?

42. Who do I call to turn on my electricity?

Please don't have children. Like ever.

43. Why are haircuts so expensive?

Because you get what you pay for. This has to be a guys question. No woman would ever ask this.

44. So what happens if I don’t pay my bills on time?

See number 38.

45. What is an appropriate wedding gift?

Money. Money is always good. Nobody ever returns it. 

Or alcohol. Whoever got married will need alcohol as soon as they realize what they've done. Trust me on this.

46. WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME BEING AN ADULT WAS SO HARD?

Because they didn't want you living at home with them forever.... dumbass.

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Questions I Really HAVE Asked My Mother.....


So this morning I read an article entitled "46 Questions Every Twentysomething Still Asks Their Mom". I gotta tell ya, I don't know who the "twentysomethings" were, but I'm thirty six, and I haven't asked my mother three quarters of these questions, and some of them, well I couldn't help but think that the world is doomed if these are the questions our "twentysomethings" are asking (i.e.: 42. Who do I call to turn on my electricity, and 44. What happens if I don't pay my bills on time).

Maybe I wasn't given the opportunity to ask these questions because I was the daughter of a poor Southern family... Okay, that's not true, but my parents were normal middle class folks. They graduated from high school (the first generation to do so), got married, had kids, and worked - until my mom became a homemaker and decided to have me. (I'm sure she regrets that every now and again. It's ok, I still love ya mom.)

Is it common for people to have frequent flier miles? Because I didn't fly until I was 17, and that was for a special occasion - my senior trip to Quantico, Virginia. My dad flew - in the Navy, he kept his feet on the ground after that. My mom, well my mom never flew until after my father died. She was almost 60 the first time she flew. So swapping miles, and getting passports, well, we never had no need for such nonsense! (And I still don't have any frequent flier miles - or credit cards.)

As far as asking about a 401K, what number to claim on my taxes, and what to put in a CV, the family strategy on such was simple. With respect to the 401K, you lumped as much money into it as you could possibly afford until you retired. There's a check sheet for what to claim on your taxes, and I still have to fill it out and count it up every time I apply for a new job. And my parents probably think a CV is something that has music on it.

I don't recall either of my parents being called for jury duty, matter of fact I'VE never been called for jury duty. I'm willing to bet I haven't because I'm on some secret black list of potential jurors. They just don't want to deal with me. That being said, I'm usually the one everyone calls to find out how to get out of jury duty and what happens if you don't show up. I never asked my parents about jury duty because it was understood that the courthouse was somewhere we never needed to go. People who lived their lives right didn't wind up in jury pools, the defendant's seat, the county jail.... It was also understood that in my house, being arrested for ANY crime no matter how "minor" carried a penalty of death - and our parents eternal shame and disappointment. Note: Death was the merciful part of your sentence. Matter of fact, I don't think I'd even been IN our local courthouse until my baby daddy took me to court over our daughter - that was my fault for not listening to my parents and getting pregnant out of wedlock - but that's ANOTHER blog post.

What do I take to a dinner party? What's an appropriate wedding gift? Never asked them. I don't think they knew either. My parents were hermits. Actually, my father was a hermit, and that meant EVERYBODY was a hermit. I currently find these answers on Pinterest. In fact, I find everything related to being social on Pinterest, Or I ask my friend Cathy. She's amazing and should teach classes on how to be social. Primarily because I need them.

Pretty much number 21, "Why doesn't my chicken taste like your chicken" was the only one I could identify with, and it has nothing to do with chicken. My mom makes the most amazing Eggo waffles ever. My brother, niece, and I will not make our own waffles at mom's house. We will all wait until she makes them, and she still has to cut them for us. At 48, 36, and 21 years of age, we are not ashamed to admit this publicly because they DON'T taste the same if we make them. They just don't. She will probably be on her death bed and we'll wheel her to the kitchen and put the fork and knife in her frail little hands so she can still make and cut them for us. I'm not even joking.

So this leads me to come up with the questions I HAVE asked my mother. I realized as I contemplated this list that while my parents weren't wealthy or well traveled, and didn't hold some high executive position, they still managed to prepare me for life, and give me enough to get me pointed in the right direction so that when things came up that they had no experience with, that I'd at least be able to find the information or have the balls to ask for help.

In my life I didn't have the most expensive stuff, and I didn't get everything I wanted, but close enough. Better than all that though, I had the most amazing parents. I have been blessed with more love than I ever deserved. Thanks Mom and Dad.

And now for my list:

1. Can you come over and help me decorate my Christmas tree?

2. Do you prefer to season your collards with salt pork or bacon grease?

3. How many tea bags and how much sugar do you put in your tea?

4. How do I fry chicken again?

5. Does this dress look slutty?

6. Can you go with me to help me find a bra? And does this one fit right?

7. How do I lower my electric bill? And is $350 to high for AC in August in Florida?

8. I have $50 for food this week. What do I cook to stretch it into enough meals for three of us?


That's it. Because as every good Southern woman knows, nothing else really matters so long as we can fry a chicken and wash it down with a swig of good sweet tea.
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