marytkelly

I've Got Issues...And Peace

marytkelly

marytkelly
Location
Boulder, Colorado,
Birthday
October 22
Bio
Family, marital, and individual psychotherapist. Mother to four who no longer need my services but still enjoy my love as I do theirs. I specialize in stepfamily dynamics and difficult transitions. I try to write from the heart with a sense of vulnerability, humor and a frank look at myself. Art shown: "Four Pots" by Lindsey Leavell

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JANUARY 29, 2009 1:39PM

iPhone Divas-$8,076.92 Bill

Rate: 59 Flag

bill

(The iphone bill that caused the father's heart condition)

divas

(The deviant divas that caused my issues of jealousy)

 

It was the summer of ’07.  My former husband and his wife had rented a villa in Tuscany for the month of July (I suffered major divorce regret this one particular summer…I can be so shallow).

My 4 children were being flown out for a week at the coveted villa.  My daughters, Kellie and Cassie were traveling for a month.   My sons were traveling for 3 weeks.  Call me sexist.  I wasn’t nervous about the boys.  The girls…that was another story.

They were 22 and 19.  Beautiful, blonde, petite and full of life.  Translation:  MONTH LONG PARTY IN EUROPE!!!  WATCH OUT WORLD!

Before they left, the daughters were acting like Paris Hilton without the mini-purse dog.  They were buying clothes left and right for their European extravaganza.   I was in therapy for my obsessive-compulsive jealousy of my own children.

I started to worry.  They were going to Spain, Amsterdam and Greece.  They were going to Italy and France.  They were going to “figure things out” as they went along.  How was I going to keep in touch with them?  How would I know that they were safe and not being sold into slavery?

I had breakfast with the ex shortly before the vacation.  I expressed my concerns that our daughters were being spoiled rotten and that my ex might want to rein them in with all the spending, the spending that was costing him hundreds of dollars before they even stepped foot on the plane.

He assured me he was on top of things and no worries.  This was it.  This would be the last big hurrah.

He took them shopping the next day.  They called me all excited, “MOM, DAD BOUGHT US EACH iPHONES!!!!!”

Now, the I-phone had just come out.  I had secretly been lusting after them, being an Apple addict and all.  I turned green immediately and began in-patient treatment.

I reminded my daughters that they were in danger of being recruited into one of those reality TV shows that follows entitled and clueless teenagers around with a camera.  They laughed me off, “Oh Mom, don’t worry about us.  We SOOOOOOO appreciate everything Dad is doing for us.”

Hmmmppfff.

Off they went for their trip of a lifetime.  I loved the daily phone calls from them, the pictures they sent, the updates…the information I needed to know they were still breathing.

A month later, I picked them up at the airport.  They were excited to be home but running over each with stories about their various adventures and mishaps during the trip (this included being “mouth raped” by men in Greece and Cassie accidentally putting pepper spray on her lips one drunken night).

Once home, I casually brought up a recent news story about a girl who had wracked up a $3000 I-phone bill on her month long trip to Europe.  I gently suggested that they might want to check their I-phone bill to see what the damage was.

“Mom, you’re such a worry wart!  Gawd...no way is it even close to $3000.00.  Maybe, maybe $500, but $500 tops.  We hardly used our I-phones at all.”

I wasn’t convinced.

“Kellie, just get on-line and check your bill”.  I wanted to make sure their dad wasn’t about to suffer any imminent heart attacks. She complied and confidently got on-line with a smug “this is soooooooo unnecessary look on her face”.

I was talking to Cassie when all of the sudden we heard Kellie start to hyperventilate. When we asked her what was wrong, she couldn’t talk.   Kellie COULD NOT TALK, a non-sound I haven’t heard since right before her birth.

After what seemed like an eternity, she stammered, in between the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation I had to do, complete with intermittent thumps on the chest, “Well, our combined iPhone bill is:

8,076.92!!!!!!”

Let me repeat that:

EIGHT THOUSAND, SEVENTY-SIX DOLLARS AND NINETY-TWO CENTS!

The phones were in their dad’s name.  My divorce regret disappeared immediately.

 

*Note:  Kellie, now 23, is on a 3-month trip to Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.  While it is true I’m back in therapy for issues of envy, there is a bright spot.  She left her iphone in the airport bathroom in Tokyo at the beginning of the trip.  Her father is no longer on heart medication.

 

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he's just lucky no one else ran up the bills before it was locked out.

hope you now have an I-phone to call your own.
Hmmm, Brian, I hadn't thought of that. I do hope her father closed down the account! As for me, thanks to Lonnie Lazar, I am the proud owner of an I-phone as of a couple of months ago. I love it!
This is great! Your daughters are indeed beautiful, and quite beautiful enough for you to skip directly to the inpatient unit when they're loose in the world. And I'm sure they are as amazingly intelligent as you, and capable of handling themselves in any situation. Just wait, your around the world trip is coming!
::gasp:: These are the nightmares I have.
Well, this serves him right for giving young women i-Phones to use during a European trip, no? That's like giving a blowtorch to a pyromaniac and not expecting your house to burn down....
Omigoodness! And I thought the one $500 bill we got was excessive. What did the man say/do?
Send to to me and I will give them a firm spanking. They are over 18, right?
Yikes! Do your girls pay their own bills now.....? Funny stuff!
Me oh my oh! That will sure sting a little. you never disappoint in the hilarity department, Mare. So also make me glad I'm childless. I don't think I have the stomach for it. Or the heart for that matter.
Your daughters are gorgeous and I'm sure you are very proud, but I bet they get away with a lot. They look so innocently tricky.
Carol, what a kind comment you have left me and I appreciate it much!

tequila: Well, you have enough on your plate with Mom! I've been reading and rating your wonderful stories...stories you should put into a book BTW...but yeah, these girls can induce nightmares on a daily basis!

Silkstone: Hard lesson for dad to learn! Probably just didn't read the "fine print". I didn't mention, but that wasn't even the whole bill. Just 3 weeks of the 4 week trip. The next months bill was $2500! My older daughter got on the phone to AT&T and talked them down to $3000.

Lauren: He paid the bill. To his credit, he got really tough with them after this...well, kind of, I mean, still, they're his "little girls".

jimgalt: Down boy down! Mama bear in the house!

cartouche: do the girls pay their own bills? In a word, NO.

Michael: forget the stomach and the heart. You probably don't have the wallet for this! I know I don't!!!
Verbal: Thank you for my new word of the day...it's perfect.
Schadenfreude: Enjoying the misery of others. Kind of describes it all!
it's probably money well spent, i suspect your daughters were contacting warren buffet each day for stock tips

and that sort of advice don't come cheap

apparently
I think the I-phone and its expensive accoutraments will contribute to the demise of western civilization. However, neither girl got pregnant nor received an STD. So think of the I-phone as $8,076.92 of contraception and disease prevention.
My jaw dropped and my a$$ puckered.

Over 8 grand! For the love of Pete … your story makes me somewhat glad that I have no kids. (At least in this regard.)

I need to somehow get my jaw to close before I start attracting flies. (And figure out how to remove the seat from my rear.)

“My divorce regret disappeared immediately.” That line killed me.
And I was appalled by my niece's $565 dollar texting bill (before she got on an unlimited texting plan).

lol
I no longer feel like the evil Technology Wizard who prevents his kids from having the coolest, hippest technotoys imaginable.

Thanks for that, Mary. :-D

Thumbed.
It's so sad that they didn't have mini-purse dogs.
Was this correct tho? I cant even comprehend that kind of phone bill. Did they not have a international plan?
I nearly had a heart attack reading this. Can't imagine having that much financial freedom at their ages. Times have sure changed.
Technically, they were right - it wasn't anywhere near $3, 000.
Mary--great story and great point---as usual---but on a side note---EVERYBODY in your family (you, kids, husband, sister) LOOKS LIKE A MOVIE STAR!

What's in the water out west?????
please tell me this story is fiction.

This is the kind of thing that really makes me ashamed to be both an American and a honky.
Angus: If they were smart (which they are, but maybe not that smart), they would have been calling Warren Buffett! One can only keep hoping.

OEsheepdog: I always love someone who can put a positive spin on a story. I was happy about that.

Anni: My daughters seem to be having a contraceptive effect on people. I'm sure there was many a college babysitter who took care of my 4 children when they were young who are happily childless!

Kaysong: Oh, those texting bills can be HUGE...hate to be a cave in, but if you have a teenager with a phone, better pay for the unlimited texting plan!

Bill: I'm happy to help you feel better Bill. These parenting posts don't put me in the best of lights do they? If you're ever questioning your own skills, just read mine and you'll feel instantly better!

Freaky Troll: Don't worry...they're working on it!

ariana: They did have an international plan. What they didn't know and their father didn't either, is that when you are Europe they charge for the internet use--it was mainly the internet use that was the culprit--you know, them getting on Facebook and posting their pictures and making youth hostel reservations. It was probably in the fine print that apparently was too fine.

emma: I can't imagine having that much financial freedom at MY age! Perhaps I need to start giving them the idea that they will be taking care of me in my old age!

Harry: A brilliant comment! You are so right.

Roger: Well, your comment is my favorite so far! Have you ever heard of "photoshop"? I'm such a fake.
Edgar: You think it makes YOU ashamed to be an American and a honky? I'm mortified. Why did I post this? I might have to take this off.
Wow! This makes me want to take away my kids regular old cell phones and make them start using tin cans and strings to communicate. They're not going over seas any time soon!
Oh the fear of those bills!! Thanks for sharing your story.

I turn my iPhone off whenever I travel. Petrified about mistakenly turning it on. Haven't figured how to work this out yet....
I can relate. My daughter and I were in Rome last Easter and when I came home AT&T almost caused me to have grande mal seizure. I
have shared your story with Mothers @ http://www.Mommyhumor.com Very funny....keep em' coming!
great story Mary T
my question is ...How do you send pictures on the I phone ?
Got my son one for Christmas and he swears he can't do it ...
so I guess this actually happened.

You don't need to un-post (not that you're actually considering that). Still, this piece does disgust me. I'm sure that your girls and family are nice folks, but the fact that you could laugh off and brush aside such blatantly grotesque materialism and selfishness on the part of your daughters boggles my mind. Then again, Kellie and Cassie's example here seems to come right out of what is expected and accepted in middle-upper class white America.

And don't take it personally, Mary. My outrage really is a case of, "it's not you, its me." I readily admit to being prejudiced toward rich people--especially rich people who act so cavalier with their wealth.
yeah, what you said Jane. But I guess I'm in better shape. The phone bill would have only been a third of my annual income.
Oh my god... and I thought the dollar was weak in Europe. Glad I still use 'smoke signals' to communicate since I speak not other language.

Never-ending therapy should be included as well!
Your girls are gorgeous and no one should begrudge them that. Smart girls...they were contributing to the stimulus package before there was a stimulus package.
Oh holy shit. I'm pretty sure my parents would have sold me into slavery to pay off the phone bill.

I studied in England in 2000, and had to use the bank of pay phones in the school's basement, and I remember bitching about how expensive that was. Technologically backward and annoying, yes, but at least it kept us from unknowingly racking up huge phone bills--if you didn't deposit 40 pence when the lady said you had to, you got cut off.
I learned the hard way and stopped paying for my kids phones. They are much more responsible with their own money than they are with mine.
These parenting posts don't put me in the best of lights do they?

You're kidding, RIGHT???? Remember, you are only half of a team. When the other half overrides you, what do you do?
I think I'd be more concerned about YOUR parenting skills, missy, if YOU had bought the phones and had to foot the bill.
Your Ex's pain is my gain, if you know what I mean. :-D
jane: I appreciate your comment. I am truly sorry for your situation and so many others during this difficult economy. In defense of my children, they are not to blame for their father's success. Their father's success I am hoping helps the economy because he is a good consumer and a generous person to many charities, something I cannot and you and others afford to do. This post is in no way intended to be flippant or insensitive.

Jess: This is when you think it may be nice to go back to the day when communication like this wasn't possible. Many were caught off guard by the hidden and double charges of any cell phone use when going overseas. Now we know!

Lea: I can see why you turn off your I-phone, that's for sure.

Jacqueline: Thanks for sharing my story and I'll check out the site. Moms need humor or we would be looking for the nearest razor blade! Thanks for your comment.

Trig: Great question and one you should ask Lonnie. One of my daughters could do it and one couldn't. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll look into it. Thanks for reading!

Edgar: I welcome and appreciate your comments. If you've read my posts, my hope would be that you will also know I'm not as shallow as I come off. My profession and my passion is working with those in pain. I have clients who have millions of dollars and clients with little. People suffer at many levels. I grew up in a very wealthy suburb and developed my own prejudice towards "rich" people. I understand. But ironically, some of the wealthiest people I know are also the most generous people I know. And it's not because they can afford to be. I think each one of us needs to look at how we consume and how we give of ourselves to others, whether it be through volunteer work or through the gift of money.

I use humor to get through many difficult things in life...the loss of my parents, an unexpected divorce, and the challenges that raising 4 children bring. If I didn't have a sense of humor, I would not be a pleasant person to be around, I can tell you that.

Your point is very well taken and I'm glad you are making it. Thanks for taking the time.
George: Did you not read my "author tags"? You and I are on the same page!

lori mac: I appreciate the non-judgment. Truly.

Leonadra: You bring up the important point about the "unknowingly racking up phone bills"...my girls were truly clueless and duly horrified when they realized what had happened. My daughter spent hours on the phone with AT&T to reduce that phone bill.

jimmymac: This is an area where my former and I made many mistakes. My children are still paying for it. You are a wise father!

Bill S.: You're right in that I was quite powerless to control this situation. One of the many tough things about divorce, although plenty of bio parents go against one another at the children's expense. However, I'm not dissing my children's father--a man who is generous to a fault. I've yet to meet a parent who's done it perfectly. HOWEVER, doesn't mean we shouldn't try. I know what a great heart you have Bill and your children are incredibly blessed to have you as father.

Luland...Ah, it's good the Geek left his phone on the plane. My son did that when he was 16. But it forced him to be more resourseful...nevermind my new gray hairs when it happened. Can't stand humid heat...so yes, I was much better off!
HA! What did he think was going to happen? Yeah, no need to regret anything.
Hi Mare! Congrats on this EP! Good job! Very, very funny post! I remember how so many people had these huge bills in the early days of I-Phones. You and your girls were not alone. They must have fixed the problem because I have a cellular phone plan with Julie, who has a new I-Phone and our combined bill has gone down!
I'd better keep a watchful eye on this!
in the words of the immortal troll ... ::thud::
odette: I don't think there was a lot of "thinking" going on. Hopefully, some lesson has been learned.

Just Cathy: You're right to say many were caught unawares. Nasty trick on the part of AT&T and the double charges.

jane: I am not in your situation but I'm not in my ex's either. If I was in your position, I would resent a post like this...it would feel a bit like an "in your face". I wasn't thinking about that when I posted. Financial stress is HUGE...it causes depression, illness, marital discord, etc. And it truly is no laughing matter. I appreciate your accepting my response.

irritated: Does anyone have smelling salts handy?
Very funny and I needed a good laugh today. Thanks as always for making me smile!
I'm reminded of a time as recent as the early- to mid-90s when it wasn't uncommon for people to have their long distance service cut off--without notice--because the charges had run up above $100 and the provider was afraid the bill might go unpaid. How times change!!
Spoiling or ennobling? My dear Mom (grhs) used to say, "Sin in haste, repent in leisure." Gifting your daughters with iPhones is wonderful. Picking up their bills is another issue. Would you say that you are training your daughters to remain as children, dependent on the Alpha male(s), or independent, self reliant and responsible women? Just wondering?
What a fabulously written story... I hung on every line ~ and when it got to the 'grand' total I was staggered!
Holy Mother Of God.....
"Become a Parent at YOUR OWN RISK" might be a warning sign hung on the door to the maternity ward...
(((only kidding!)))
How is your sanity these days?!!

Kudos!
Great blogging.....[continue]

{rated}
Ha! That's all I got...but it's enough.

HA!
Wow! I am feeling so blessed right now. Not only do my teenagers - 14 & 17 - mainly use their phones in the evening, when it's free, but they both think that texting is "stupid"!
I’m going to be honest with you: I have a hard time with this story, and it’s not because your daughters unknowingly ran up a huge phone bill. That can happen.

I live and work in a tourist area, and I see girls exactly like your daughters all the time. They drink too much, they party till dawn and puke all over my front steps, they do stupid, stupid dangerous things…and Mommy and Daddy foot the bill and excuse it as “well, they’re young and beautiful, so let them have their fun.”

They’re not THAT young. They were, at the time of this trip (during which they apparently got drunk enough to be “mouth-raped” and confuse their pepper spray for lip gloss) 19 and 22 years old. That’s legal adults behaving like spoiled children with no concept of the real world.

The tone of this post (and the one about your girls as teenagers stumbling home drunk and throwing glasses at each other) reminds me of the folks who say “Oh, isn’t he just so cute when he’s mad?” as little Tyson throws a tantrum in the Wal-Mart…and everyone EXCEPT Tyson’s parents nods and smiles and secretly wishes they could give the kid AND his parents a good smack.
I remember the huge lines at the cell-phone stores when iPhones first came out – and shortly after that, hearing about the incredibly detailed AT&T billing statements people were getting. I think the media at the time said most people felt they could do w/out the reams of pages outlining every online minute, purchase and toll.

Ha!
Wow...your girls are cute, but dogs sure are easier. And can be neutered. (Hey, I thought you were supposed to be off working on some work-related project this week....)
once again.. i say my children will not have cell phones of any kind until they are old enough to pay for it them selves..
at the age of 13 * a carry over rant from another NOT funny post* my girls shouldnt be going any place that they cant easily call me..

seperate thought.. i hate it whe divorced parents think they need to Buy their childrens love..
Apparently you never heard of a neat little company called Globe Dialer. Has saved me thousands. You could get it to stay in touch with them, but don't tell their Dad...
I understand at times being thankful that divorced dad is on the hook for a bill or responsibility. The highest I-Phone bill we had was for $500 one month and I had to shut down my checking account and open another one since the I-Phone account had been linked to my checkcard. There was no other way to ensure no further charges.
Beautiful girls. You are the cover girl diva darling. ;-)

Thank God he got the bill.

(rated)
Ha ha ha! Your story is funny. Congrats on getting an iPhone of your own. They are soooo cool!
i love to listen to the financial travails of the (moderately) rich.
Ack!

That's why I always SMS hubby and my sis when I'm in the far reaches of the planet. Text is dirt cheap. I send messages several times a day when I was in SE asia for 3 weeks and I think the extra on the bill was less than $30. Ditto for China.

Thailand. Sigh. I MISS Thailand...........
Paris Hilton without the mini purse dog.

Classic.
"The phones were in their dad’s name. My divorce regret disappeared immediately." HA HA! I love it!
Great post and funny and heartfelt and appreciated. Your self-effacing honesty and humor is absolutely appealing. And I suspect the whole world knows about Skype; but, if you don't you can download it free and talk worldwide computer to computer for free. When my daughter lived in Spain I could talk directly to her Spain purchased cell phone for 17 cents/minute. Now in Nicaragua she bought a pay-as-you go cell phone and I can talk directly to her for 22 cents/minute. Receiving a call costs her nothing. And this is up in the fairly remote highlands of Nicaragua.
Thanks Mare and get onto that project thing.
First of all, this post is hilarious. Absolutely freaking hilarious.

Second ---The phones were in their dad’s name. My divorce regret disappeared immediately----See, things like this make me reconsider that whole "Is there a God?" question.

I would have INSISTED that I be present when they told their dad. With a camera. And a smile.
Lea Lane, Jeseppi and avid Decker each win a special prize for knowing how to type iPhone.

Trig - 3rd party software is attempting to address the issue, but for now, photos must be emailed on an iPhone. That is, you can't send a pic to someone's phone number, but you can send it to their email address. Just open the Photos app; click on any pic and at the bottom left you'll see a little box with an arrow coming out of it. Press that and you get a variety of options.

Mary, a funny, well-told tale, as always. AT&T is bunch of fargin bastiges for not being more clear about the fact that they offer international data plans that would have kept the girls' bill down to a manageable level. Good for Kellie talking 'em down to $3K.

Remember: iPhone.
Love the story!

fyi to anyone travelling - get a local sim card (and phone, if your phone isn't a world phone). Waaaaay cheaper than US prices abroad.

Need internet? Internet cafe.
Great story. And not so hard to believe the way kids (young adults) seem to miss the deal where someone has to pay the bill. Your ex had to be a pretty good sport to pony up that much money. Glad his ticker is still ticking.

Monte
I laughed so hard I nearly needed cardiac resusitation after I read that!

rated
Just think, if we ladies could all take the smarts we have developed after 40, and pour them into 20-something containers as pretty as your daughters...women would totally rule the world.
Yikes! I didn't think a phone bill that high would be possible! At least there is some poetic justice that it was on their father's account.

By the way, I saw a commercial last night about the iPhone showing various apps that can be added. One is actually a construction level! The little bubble moves around just like a real level. I'm not a carpenter or anything (although my husband is) but I SO need an iPhone now so that I can tell if things are level. Pathetic, huh?
Sorry to get her so late, but I passed out after I read that number and just came to! I can't imagine spending that much in a year. And I'm willing to bet 90% of the usage was unnecessary. As tell my son all the time, you'll never begin to grow up until you learn the difference between a tool and a toy.
Hi Mary!

This story hit me at home on a number of levels! It was great fun!

I totally share your daughter-envy :-)

I finally caught up on a fraction of my (missed youth) world travel starting in 1997.

I got hit with a $1200 internet bill for 4 nights in a my nice downtown Sydney hotel. I'd thought I was dialing in on my network's 800 number (DIALING IN - YES - IT WAS 1977) , but I'd been logged into their brand-spanking new broadband system instead and had been charged through the wazoo! I fought it down to $300, still way too freakin much for their mistakes.

BTW- I'd gone to Australia by myself on the strength of friendships made in my first on-line social community, and I still have 2 of those friends 12 years later!

As to your daughter exhilarating times: I'd be scared to death if they were my babies, but I'd also be wanting them to have it - do it- experience it - what a dilemma! I know you have instilled good sense in them, and I'd try to trust in that.

But can Dad afford some inconspicuous 24 hr body guards too? Just a thought!

Thanks for the fun of sharing.
Holy frijoles! I would have a heart condition with that phone bill, too.

Your daughters are gorgeous.
This was funny, Mary. I love your references to therapy.
That's a hilarious story, except for the part about the divorce.
Sandra wrote:
Just think, if we ladies could all take the smarts we have developed after 40, and pour them into 20-something containers as pretty as your daughters...women would totally rule the world.

I'm not sure about "totally rule the world", but I but you could avoid being "mouth raped".
we europeans are well aware that international calls made from roving phones cost double or triple rate between countries.

Even if they phoned each other in the same room the call would be routed via USA twice.

The trick is to buy a local SIM or phone.
Ahhh. The American Dream.

I was out of the house at 18 and living off of 600 bux a month. When I got a cell phone (at 21), I damn well knew the roaming fees on my phone and made sure I could pay them.
Pay as you go is the way to go with kids. Also, roaming will kill you faster than anything else. Roaming texts are a lot cheaper than roaming voice. If you're going to do international travel, you need an unlocked phone and get a local pay-as-you-go sim card.

I get an ATT prepaid sim card for $25 when I am in the States and I avoid the $3.00/minute roaming voice and .50$ roaming text charges my home phone company charges (which is probably on the cheap side).

And read the fine print on your contract!
This is funny, Mary.

I want an iPhone bad.... Lonnie and Barry and Julie all have iPhones.

Hey, where were you last weekend? I was hoping you would come.
lalucas: Thanks for reading and smiling...my original intent.

Blake: You make a great point. So many people got hit with these AT&T bills, not being aware of all the hidden charges, it would have been nice to have a warning system.

Jeseppi: Whil I appreciate your earnest question, I wonder if you read the post. I am divorced. My daughter's father bought them the iphones after I had met with him pleading with him to stop indulging our daughters ...that this type of indulging was hurting them. He bought the iphones and he paid the bill. One of the consequences of divorce...you lose some parental power. My daughters got plenty of air time from me (and continue to) on the importance of independence and the beauty of the simple life. Their oldest brother (26) has taken on role of encourager to them as well to make their own way in the world. I appreciate your nudging.

nahatusu: Glad you appreciated the humor of my post. How is my sanity these days? It's questionable to be totally honest! Humor is the only way to get back to sanity. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Leaandra: Well, wow, you certainly didn't mince any words did you. You read 2 posts, made a summary judgment of my entire life of parenting, as well as my daughters. I don't know if that's impressive or just cruel. I hope you feel better. "Judge not lest you be judged."

David: You remember correctly. People were getting their iphone bills in boxes! Every single text was being printed out. It was crazy. Thanks for the non-judgmental tone of your comment.
I'm sorry, but I'm with Leeandra on this. I know you're putting an intentionally humorous gloss on your story, and you do express some concern about your daughters' behavior and safety, but it's hard not to be disturbed at the attitudes and behavior on display, the epitome of "Ugly Americanism": the wanton materialism and conspicuous consumption; the lack of self-discipline and personal responsibility engendered by the knowledge that someone else would pay the bills; the heedless behavior and casual jokes about "mouth rape". (This last is a particularly ugly phrase, one I'd never heard of before. I had to look it up to know your daughters had merely been kissed against their will. "Merely kissed." As if even that relatively minor violation of their consent should be laughted off.)

Your ex should have, after paying the bill, required your daughters to work out a payment plan to pay him back over time, and you should have insisted on the same thing. We see writ large in the world at present the consequences of such behavior and assumptions as portrayed here, the expectation that we are entitled to have a wastefully good time coupled with the lack of concern as to any costs involved.
Laurel: Hmmmm...pondering the neutered thing...and you're right, abou the work deadline: Busted!

Barbara anne: You are a wise mother and will be saving yourself and them a lot of suffering.

Sally: Thanks for the recommendation! Right now, my daughter is using Skype to call me. Much better solution. Will look into Globe Dialer.

Dorinda: You're right. Sometimes after divorce we're still connected to things without sometimes even being aware. It's tricky. Thanks for your comment.

Greg: No way I would have paid .01 of that bill. No way.

Stephen: You are a parent doubly blessed! I'm sure YOU have something to do with that.

Scruffus: You're right...I love my iphone :)

al loomis: Happy to accomodate.

Cherie: My daughter is enjoying Thailand, but right now they're in Bangkok and now feeling very comfortable. They leave for Vietnam on Sunday and looking forward to that. Thanks for reading!

Geoff: That was the line I used with my ex, but I don't think he got it.

MB: Thanks for reading and enjoying!

grif: Thanks for your kind, supportive and non-judgmental comment. I so appreciate that! Yes, my daughter and I are now using SKYPE...it's such a great system. And yes, I'm working on that project but needed a light hearted break...so...back to work...(although it is Friday :)).

m.a.h.: I'm so glad we're secret identical twins and you so appreciate my humor. It's such a comfort! You're right..I blew my chance...probably could have gotten on America's Funniest Home Videos. Damn!

Stellaa: Hadn't thought about the youtube thing but I wouldn't be surprised. Facebook and making reservations at youth hostels was also used frequently.

Lonnie: I knew you would come to the iphone rescue!!!!! Thank you! And I hope you notice I edited my post. And you know you are responsible for the bliss I am experiencing with my iphone. I love it. Thanks for your comments.
mary -
this alone -
The phones were in their dad’s name. My divorce regret disappeared immediately.
is hilarious.

hang in there with all the criticism and judgment flying your way. ah, if only we lived in a perfect world. while your girls behavior may not be exemplary in this situation, I think you were/are trying to keep it in perspective and recognize that it wasn't in your control and isn't an indictment of your parenthood.

This is, obviously, a snapshot and doesn't capture the love, warmth, generosity, and intelligence that I'm sure is a part of your lives together.

hugs,
Lisa
Mary, I apologize if I seemed overly judgmental. Obviously I don't know you or your daughters and am only going on a few blog entries of yours.

I'm seeing this from the perspective of a "local." I live and work in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and every day I see young (and not so young) people who treat my extremely historic neighborhood like a Disneyland with daiquiris. Not only do these types of tourists behave like animals and are oblivious to the fact that 3,000 people actually LIVE here full-time, where large groups of cash-flush and falling-down-drunk people congregate, muggers, pickpockets, and sexual predators will follow. This makes the Quarter more dangerous for ALL of us, including residents.

Your daughters' descriptions of their behavior in Europe mirrors what I see every Saturday night on Bourbon Street a block from my apartment. While this story is a funny story to many people here in America, I'm guessing that there are folks in Italy, France, and Greece who weren't so charmed by your girls' antics.
Thanks Sandra, for making me feel not so square for my "WTF?" reaction to the term "mouth rape." Sometimes is great to be 45!
Redstocking: Maybe your daughter is perfect because she has a kick ass mom! Good for you and her.

Sandra: "Mouthrape": Being in a nightclub and being grabbed by men and kissed. These poor men didn't know who they were up against. My girls may be petite and pretty, but they are FEISTY.

marcel: Internet cafes are everywhere and it is easy to communicate. One thing I would add as a tip is to download your pictures from your camera onto a computer. My son traveled on his own for 5 months (with no cell phone), kept procrastinating and when his camera was stolen in Bangkok, he lost 4 months worth of pictures. So easy to quickly download.

Sandra: What's the expression? Youth is wasted on the young. Yes, if we could pour all our wisdom into young women, everyone's lives would be a lot better off!

Monte: A kind and gracious comment. Mike is a truly generous and good person.

Susanne: Thanks so much for appreciating the intended humor.

Lisa: That's no pathetic, it's practical!! I love my iphone. Apparently there are 4000 applications for the iphone. Mind boggling. Thanks for reading.

Tom: glad you finally came to! I like that...the distinction between a tool and a toy. Don't tell him too many times or he'll do the opposite!
kellylark: Love the body guard idea and will pass it on...so, you know..$1200 internet bill in your hotel??? Yikes. How many more stories are there out there like this.

Denise: Thank you for reading (and your wonderful message).

Lainey: Thank you for reading and life is humbling, isn't it.

Proud and Progressive: Thanks for appreciating the humor...as for the divorce...it's been years. Everyone is good. But divorce really isn't funny...it's painful...it's a grief and in some ways, the grief will always be there.

Hugh: I think Americans have finally wised up to the ways you Europeans are used to...some at a high price. Thank you for the comment.

rbomb: Someone raised you right or you are just smart all on your own. Thanks for the comment.

Malusinka: Great comment...and you're right...the fine print had it all.

Rich: I would have loved to have come! It looked wonderful. As for the iphone, Lonnie talked me into one. I've been resisting for a couple of years. I love it. Thanks for commenting.

Robert: I appreciate your comment. The post invites comments like this and I am not in disagreement. I am not happy nor proud of some of the things my children have done. I was a teenager once so I can't say I did it perfectly myself. As for the mouthrape...my daughters talked about this at length. They took care of themselves. I'm glad they didn't dramatize this and start acting like big victims who needed years of therapy because they were grabbed and kissed. Back in the day, I had my fair share of being grabbed by the ass at a college kegger or kissed. Never appreciated...darnright violating, but there's a time and place to move on.

As for your recommendation to what you think the ex should have done: I couldn't agree with you more.

lsprocks: I so appreciate your loving comment!!! Thank you and you are right. Believe me, this will be my last post at my children's expense (well, maybe one of the lasts). I guess I could write a post bragging about them but that's so boring. There's been a fair amount of criticism. Because of the work I do, I know I'm not alone. We have some control over our children and then again none, especially at these ages. My daughters are fine conscious human beings. I hope they have no regrets over their wild youthful days. I was the model of obedience at their age and I believe I missed out on some fun and adventure. Thank you thank you for your compassionate comment.

Leaandra: Thank you for your most recent comment. I appreciate it and I do value your perspective. My daughters, 2 years later, are not proud of their antics. With age comes more wisdom. I wince from the things I know about and don't know about. My children are already talking about how much stricter they are going to be with their own children, so there is some solace in that. Your experience in New Orleans is a valid one and one many of us don't experience. (BTW, all of my children have read this post and the comments...they are open to learning.)
There is a new fight that the EFF (Electronic Freedom Foundation) is fighting.

It's called http://www.freeyourphone.org/.

The iPhone is 'locked' to AT&T forever. You can not go to Europe and get a SIMM from some provider like Orange and save potentially thousands on your cell phone calls back home.

I had a Treo from AT&T and got them to unlock it. I got an Orange SIMM and paid about 5 cents a minute compared to the $1.52 per minute that membership in the International Club at AT&T would charge.

Yes, my phone number changed to one there and yes people trying to call me would have had to pay long distance but since I was calling them and dealing with emails too, it wasn't an issue.

BUT

With the iPhone. Traveling with the iPhone is a problem. Even you aren't using it, all it has to be is on and it will use up online minutes. If you have any apps that check for new data (KA-CHING) Have it receive email (KA-CHING) You get tagged! Even if you don't even physically check your iPhone's email account, you get tagged. And in the strangest places... Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean too...

Some foreign countries have to sell unlocked iPhones because of their laws but before you think of getting an iPhone in a foreign country, or from a foreign country you have to realize that the iPhone is also region coded almost like a DVD.

If you buy an iPhone in Europe, it has to be registered with Apple and your local provider before it comes here. You can't (technically) take an iPhone from Europe and register it here. You could even have a problem buying an iPhone on the west (or East) coast and registering it on the opposite coast!

They have you (and me) by the short hairs...

I am keeping my unlocked Treo so that when I travel, I can get a SIMM chip where ever I land and get the best rates for calling home... It's not as advanced as the iPhone but it also doesn't have the ball and chain either...

NOTE: I have no idea if AT&T will unlock the iPhone after a certain amount of time, say three years. I guess it's possible but they seem to be keeping a tight lock so far.

Note: You can 'jailbreak' your iPhone but you run the risk of 'bricking' it. (making it as useless as a brick)

I love my iPhone (new model coming out this year potentially) but really had a problem signing the agreement knowing the 'we've got you where we want you' aspect from AT&T...
email pictures from iPhone:

Take picture or if you have already taken the picture start at 'Open Photos'.

Close Camera.

Open 'Photos'.

Tap on 'Camera Roll'.

Tap on thumbnail picture you want to email.

Tap the picture.

On bottom of screen is a row of icons. If you don't see them, tap picture again.

Lower left icon looks like a box with an arrow pointing to the right. Tap it.

Tap 'Email Photo'. (Email opens)

Tap blue-circle-plus sign and select the contact in your contact list OR start typing the email address.

Tap 'Subject' and type your subject text. You can also type text above or below the picture by scrolling and tapping above or below the picture.

Tap 'Send' and wait...
Mary, your daughters are beautiful, just like you. After, reading this I'm glad I don't have young daughters now and my sons were older when cell phones came on the scene. Can't imagine a bill like that and the nightmare it was. Funny about Kellie leaving her phone in Tokyo! You're a great writer, this is hilarious! Thanks for sharing!
Gee, I remember when pay phones were a nickel in Louisiana, circa 1977. We have come so far so fast. Interesting story and comments all the way around. Too bad a "Bad Bank" wasn't involved so the debt could be passed on to Uncle Sugar (taxpayers). We always want for our children what we didn't have or experience. It's everywhere...:{)
marytkelly

Know you know why I have my daughters locked in the basement. They have been there since they were 4.

Good news, the oldest turns 25 next month so she get out.
Hear that sound? It's the iGiggle!
gonzoid: Thanks for all the great steps! I appreciate your generosity of time!

Just Pam: I'm glad you enjoyed. I've been thankful my kids didn't have cell phones in junior high or My Space or Facebook. Always a bright side to a story.

Texas: I appreciate your comment...you're right...as parents we want to sometimes make up for what we feel we didn't get. Love your line about the "bad banks".

catnlion: Your 25 year old is getting out? Remember what they say about repressed Catholic girls!

Del: The igiggle? I smell another application for the iphone. Hop on it!