I've learned a few life lessons along the way. Signal when making a turn. Secure the lid on the blender before turning the dial to purée. Don't put your iPhone in your back pocket. Never eat an Oreo before a dental appointment.
After my last kitchen kerfuffle -- going to the supermarket, stuffing the refrigerator, not closing the door completely and leaving the house for the day -- I thought it time to share a short tip-list with my children. While not trying to preach, especially since they are now 20-somethings and living on their own, I've gained some wisdom that bears dishing out. You live. You learn.
1. When your phone rings and it says, "Private Caller," do not pick up. Trust me, it's not Tina, Serena or Shakira.
2. Never trust parking signs in N.Y.C. If you think you've found an amazing space that's good for the entire weekend, be sure to check your car every day. (Unwontedly, Dad and I learned where towed vehicles are impounded. Pier 76.)
3. Don't mix light-color loads of laundry with anything red (even a red oven mitt that's been washed a million times.) Red spreads.
4. Dress by the weather, not by the calendar. (Remember the tale about Frozen Charlotte, the woman who froze to death while riding to a New Year's Eve ball in 1840?) Bad wardrobe choices may haunt you forever. In this case, centuries.
5. If you think you lost something, go back to where you lost it. A single earring I once lost during an exercise class at the gym was later turned in to the front desk. (I was shocked.)
Similarly, I lost a favorite silk scarf at a gallery opening but will regret forever that I never called to see if it had been found. (Anyone pick up an olive and violet Hermès scarf at a Katonah (N.Y.) Museum of Art opening about 10 years ago?)
6. Get in the habit of writing old-fashioned thank you notes by hand. A brief thank you note takes approximately 31-seconds to write. Add 2-seconds for sealing the envelope. One-second for slapping on a stamp.
7. Practice Simple Acts of Kindness. Every day. (If someone sneezes, say, "Bless you." It's good karma.)
8. You will miss many things once they are gone. Try to stay ahead of the curve and appreciate the present.
9. Use shoetrees. They help shoes maintain their natural architecture after you've worn them, and a good pair of shoes can last (practically) forever.
10. Don't spritz on cologne or perfume before a flight. (Many people are highly allergic.)
11. Don't gossip. Memorize "The Small Town Code".
12. A good handshake with direct eye contact will go a long way. Check out this primer.
13. Fry onions if you need to give the impression that you've been cooking for hours and that dinner is almost ready.
14. Make a marriage vow and stick to it. Unless there is abuse and cheating, "Conscious Uncoupling" is wimping out.
15. Call home on Sunday nights.
Yours ever truly,