If you have teenagers, and have not given in to the pressure and bought them their own cell phones, then your home telephone may ring on occasion.

The rule around here is that, if you want a cell phone, you'll need to get a job and pay for it yourself. Otherwise, we have graciously provided a land-line for your convenience. Halfway Between (10 & 20) remains off the hook because he is unemployed, so his friends call the house.

"Is there?" They ask, sometimes clearly. . .

"Yes." I'll answer. Then I'll wait.

'Oh, um, can I speak to him?"

"Well, what's it worth to you?"


"You've gone to the trouble to call him, so surely it must be worth something to you to talk to him. . .how about five bucks?"

"I don't have five dollars. . ."

"Well, that's too bad. I will take a credit card, do you have a credit card?"

"Um, I'll just call back. . ."

"Oh, hang on, he's right here waving some money at me. . .okay, well, nice talking with you. . .whoever you are!"

I've started working with my seven year-old already. "When I make a call, I say, 'Hello, this is Lara. May I please speak to so-and-so?'"

"Mooom, that sounds stupid!"

"No it doesn't, you are telling them who you are, and asking to speak to the person you want to talk to."

"Why can't I just say, 'Hello, is Mady there?'"

Because, dear, you're liable to get a parent like me, who is a stickler for good manners. . .and that's a scary proposition!

Have fun!

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