Monday, August 24, 2009

Benefits All Around

We bought our house without even considering the advantages of living almost “down the street” from a major university. Okay, thankfully, we’re a little farther away (under five miles) or we’d have all the traffic and noise/hassles of frat houses. But, we’re close enough to enjoy the cost savings of “living at home.” I thought that would be the greatest advantage. I was wrong.

The biggest opportunity is a second college education. In the one week that Ariel has been in college, I have learned how to read a corporate accounting statement (corporate accounting), and I know why inflation is right around the corner (the Microeconomics professor gives excurses on macroeconomics). Other classes have been less helpful. For example, in Ariel’s public speaking class they played three truths and a lie (Ariel won—you go, girl! Though as a PK you have to wonder about her.) And there’s her rhetoric class, which is only meeting once this week because the prof is having individual meetings with the students.

Luke has been less forthcoming about his classes. I say, “How was bio/chem/econ/etc.?” Luke says, “Fine. It’s mostly review.” Then he shovels food into his mouth; the conversation is over.

I’m not the only one who benefits. Luke and Ariel never have to worry about quarters for the washers or who stole their load of clothes—they always have clean laundry. A college mother once confessed to me that her freshman son didn’t do laundry between August and November. (She did the washing during Thanksgiving vacation.) In horrified tones I asked, “What did he do about underwear?” She whispered, “He wore each one twice, right-side out and then inside out.” We both shuddered. “And after that?” I asked. “He bought more packages of underwear,” she answered. So getting by with a sane number of briefs, that’s more money saved living at home. Of course, the son could’ve washed them, but…

Besides laundry and food (Luke won’t eat anything that hasn’t been slaved over.), the other at-home benefit for Luke and Ariel is last minutes paper edits. Instead of going to the writing lab or handing it to a roommate whose writing skills are questionable, they can hand it to their mother who’s worked at a publishing company and done freelance writing and editing. Of course, they don’t get copyediting and I won’t write anything for them. Instead, I leave notes like “paragraph two is totally redundant—rewrite” or “your prof is not dumb—you’ve padded this essay for word count, get rid of all the adverbs.” Of course, I’ve been known to make the occasional grammar comment, especially “a comma goes before a ‘which’ unless it’s preceded by a preposition.” I ignore the rolled eyes—eventually, they’ll learn and repeat “a comma before ‘which’ unless it’s preceded by a preposition” to their own children.” And when they get eyeballs rolled at them, I’ll laugh.


  1. golly, us Dukes are dumb-bunnies! Except my dad...

    Grace Dook

  2. When Heather came back from college, she usually always talked with my mother about what she learned. Duncan is much more like Luke in that everything is simply "fine," which is all my mother needs to know. Heh heh.

  3. Mla Mla! Eat your head! I'm totally forthcoming about everything I do!

  4. Wow, Duncan what a temper tut tut.

  5. Duncan, Andrew can't eat his head, his mouth is in his head.

  6. I think Duncan was implying that he was going to eat my head with his mouth. However, why he would do such a thing when we are obviously out of ketchup is beyond me. Everybody knows that heads ONLY taste good with ketchup.


  7. Hmm, well, I haven't had to write a paper yet. (Although I'll totally have you look it over before I turn it in when I do have a paper.)

    But, I have had in-class writing. And I didn't have any grammar or spelling mistakes in my essay!