Today I want to talk about the leetle surprises that come your way when you live with teenagers. But first I want to give a brief history of the telephone since 1956, which (coincidentally) is the year I was born.

1950s: Telephones were black. They were heavy. They had dials. And when your mother went downstairs to do the laundry, you called your grandmother who lived in Wyoming long distance because (strangely) even though you couldn't tie your own shoes, you figured out how to do this.

Otherwise you didn't notice the telephone much except when your parents called the doctor because someone was sick, after which the doctor showed up at your house with a little black bag. Wow. That's how old you are. You remember doctors who made house calls with little black bags filled with tongue depressors. Also leeches.

1960s (the early years): Telephones were still black. They still had dials. The biggest difference was that you knew numbers other than your grandmother's. Like your own, for example. They made you learn it in the second grade in case you were kidnapped. Knowing your own number would for sure come in handy if you could only find a phone.

Numbers were more than just numbers in those days. They were letters, too. People who lived in Orem had numbers like AC5-5555. People who lived in Provo had numbers like FR4-5555. And then! Suddenly they didn't! It's like everyone decided to stop using the letters one day. Except, of course, for your grandmother's sister whose phone number remained "Franklin-4-5555 until the day she died.

One last thing. Your family had a party line. This meant you not only shared the phone with each other, you also shared it with Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

1960s (the remaining years): Think "revolution." Things they were a-changing, baby, including the telephones. Now they were tan. And pink. And baby blue. Also, they had push buttons. Your baby sitter had something she called a "princess touch-tone phone," which you thought sounded dreamy. You imagined her stretched out on her bed like Sandra Dee talking on the phone to her boyfriend, Moondoggie.

Fast forward to the early 1990s: Hello, cell phones! The first cell phone you and your husband bought weighed 80 pounds. Also, calls were expensive, which meant you only used your phone in case one of you was kidnapped.

Fast forward to 10 years ago: No way were YOUR kids going to have their own cell phones. Only drug dealers and spoiled rotten rich kids had their own cell phones.

Fast forward to this very minute: Dude. They send babies home from the hospital with cell phones in their diaper bags now. Of COURSE your kids have cell phones. Which is why you're sitting in the principal's office. Your son had his cell phone taken away from him in class, yet (oddly) YOU'RE the one who's in trouble. Your son wasn't cheating. But where there's a cell phone, there's a way, which is why schools are cracking down on them. Did you know that, Mom?

The answer is "no." I didn't.

Which brings me to the "teenagers and surprises" part. I've been living with them for years now. You'd THINK I'd have everything all figured out.

But no. I don't.

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