Theoden Janes

Dear daughter: Keep up the great work this summer!

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My Dearest Daughter,

So how are you? Is your summer break going well? Are you getting excited for your sophomore year?

I’m sorry we haven’t had a chance to catch up recently, but really the only times we’ve seen each other in the past week are when I’m chauffeuring you and your #squad around town – and I’ve of course strictly adhered to your policy of acting like we’re complete strangers and limiting eye contact and sudden movements when you have friends in the car.

Anyway, just wanted to pass along a note of thanks for all you’ve done to keep the house running smoothly while your mom and I are working 50-hour-a-week jobs for 40-hour-a-week pay.

During this brutal heat wave, it’s been so nice to walk in the door every night and be able to see my own breath. Which is to say, you’re showing great initiative in the area of cranking the thermostat down to meat-locker levels, kiddo!

And I really appreciate how considerate you are about leaving the TV on all day, so that no matter what time I get home, I’ll be able to catch every possible second of whatever’s on whichever channel you were watching whenever you deserted the living room.

Never mind the electric bill. That’s for your parents to worry about. Besides, what’s that old saying about money? Oh yeah: “Can’t spend it when you’re dead!”

Of course, if we did care about low utility costs, you’d get full credit for keeping our water bill reasonable – by only flushing when you’re in the mood; by re-wearing clothing three or four times, only insisting that we have them washed and dried when there are about 15 minutes until we have to take you to meet your friends at the mall; and by choosing bottled water over tap water.

Speaking of that bottled water, I know you think it irritates your mother and me when we find multiple half-empty bottles (all with missing caps) in every room of the house, but don’t give it a second thought. We’ve seen the old M. Night Shyamalan movie, “Signs.” We know that when the aliens invade our home – spoiler alert – there’s a good chance we’ll want to try defeating them by splashing them with water, so we will concede: Always having some at arm’s length might save our lives.

Not sure it’s quite as likely that miscellaneous pairs of shoes or dirty dishes or small piles of fingernail clippings or bobby pins will have the same debilitating effect on evil E.T.s, but hey, you never know!

By the way, do you know where my main phone charger is? Or my backup charger? Or my backup backup charger? How about the pool key? My favorite beach towel? The sunscreen? The bug spray? My main pair of swim goggles? My backup pair of swim goggles? No?

Eh, don’t worry about it. They’ll turn up. Either that or I’ll go find them in your bedroom later.

Well, I think that’s pretty much it. Sorry – probably could have told you all this in person, but I didn’t want to wake you, since it’s only 10:30 a.m., and I assume you were up till 3 or 4 in the morning mindlessly surfing Netflix to try to find one of the three horror movies you haven’t seen yet, or even more mindlessly surfing Instagram (swipe up, swipe up, double-tap; swipe up, swipe up, double-tap...).

Oh, one last thing, sweetie: Next summer, you’re getting job.

Hugs and kisses,


Janes: 704-358-5897; Twitter: @theodenjanes