When the kids began driving, I made it perfectly clear. I DO NOT pay for speeding tickets. Jess, our youngest, was the first to come home with a speeding violation. Being raised with a Mom that would terrorize you with some awful punishment and a Daddy that would give you a cookie during your time out, Jess quickly sought out her Daddy for help. She explained the fact that the cop should not have been sitting at the bottom of a hill and therefore the ticket really was not her fault. With rightful indignation of his daughter’s entrapment by our local’s finest, those two little birds headed off to the courthouse to “take care of it”. I was not happy. Dave slyly ended our vigorous argument by saying that he paid for the ticket out of his allowance money and it was his money to spend any way he wanted.
Fast forward a few months and we find Jess, once again, sitting on the side of the road with blue lights flashing in her rear view mirror. This time, Daddy did not come to the rescue. Jess, being a lowly college student existing on Ramen noodles and cup of soup obviously did not have a couple hundred extra bucks lying around to shell out for the fine. Without her Daddy safety net, Jess was stuck having to come to me for the money to pay the ticket. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled. I briefly thought about not paying the fine, but even though Jess looks amazing in orange, I wasn’t about to have her sporting a county jump suit just because she was found to be in possession of a lead foot. So I paid the ticket and sentenced her to Mommy Community Service.
What, pray tell, is Mommy Community Service? This is where you take whatever money you have had to expend on a child’s less than responsible behavior then divide it by the current minimum wage (which is what their current job skill level will bring in the open market). The result is the number of hours the child will have to spend with you doing something that is totally what you want to do such as gardening, going to the plant store, spending hours in the wallpaper store having the child pull the heavy books on and off the shelves as you sit casually perusing their content and my absolute favorite, shopping for household items such as family room furniture, a mirror for over the bathroom pedestal sink and hunting down patio furniture.
Jess just had the fateful luck to pull Mommy Community Service when I was beginning to look for a double chaise lounge for the patio. Jess and I spent hours scouring every patio furniture shop in Middle Tennessee. Jess was in charge of taking pictures and keeping copious notes on each piece I found interesting, including manufacturer, dimensions, price and location. Amazingly just as the final hour ticked off her community service time we went back to the very first shop we went into and I purchased the first double chaise lounge we had seen.
Fast forward five years. I am headed to the beach house in Florida for a week by myself. I ask if Jess wants to come down with me for some girl time. I told her I would be making sure things got done for the new pool we were putting in and it would be great fun to go into Panama City and look for patio furniture. Her answer was quick and succinct, “Oh, Heck No.”
Oops, I guess she is still traumatized by her stint in Mommy Community Service.