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while his guitar gently screeches

So, about that $400 check I got from the nice government people, which I was first going to use for back to school shopping and then I was going to spend the whole thing at Best Buy....I decided to give each kid $200 instead. There are things each of them had been saving for and I figured I would reward them for their good saving habits by adding to their bankroll.

I am most likely insane for doing that because the thing DJ was saving for is an electric guitar. And now he owns one.

He spent two days doing research online, talking to his guitar playing buddies and debating exactly what he wanted. He finally picked out everything, from the guitar to picks to the strap and amp, wrote it all down and came up with the exact cost. I gave his father the money and he took him yesterday to make his purchase.

So now, my son has his guitar. And I may never have peace again. Keep in mind that Natalie plays the drums.

DJ is pretty adept at playing by ear, basically hearing something and being able to recreate it on whatever instrument he picks up (before the guitar, he used his Casio keyboard). He also reads music (yes, they still teach music theory in elementary school). I think I'll still hook him up with some lesson, though.

So, I called his father's house this morning and spoke to my ex-mother-in-law (whom I still adore). She said that DJ has spent the morning perfecting his punk rock look and manner, snarling and jumping around and playing along to his Sum 41 and AFI CDs. Great, I'm sure my neighbors are going to just love this.

I wonder when he's going to ask for his first tattoo.

Hey, Dr. Frank, if you ever need a new guitar player, I'll ship DJ over there for free! Overnight delivery!


WTG DJ! And what did your other child purchase or is saving for?

Oh, she's saving for a car. She's 13. She's figured out just how much she will need to save in between now and the time she is 18.

Oh my god, Michele! Way to go for your kids! Hey, who knows, maybe you can manage his band when you have time off court?

Need an amp?

They work like a charm, btw; I've had one for twenty years.

My brother has several electric and acoustic guitars. He started young. He tells me that most amps now come with a headphone plug. Buy him some headphones and he can plug in, rock on, and not disturb anyone.

One Christmas, when I was about 7, my two brothers and I received from a friend of the family:

A trumpet
A drum set
A xylophone

Oddly enough, this friend of the family was not killed by my mother, and lived for several years after this incident.

I see a purchase of studio recording software, a SoundBlaster Audigy and MIDI equipment. Before you know it your son will be cutting demos in his bedroom and having CD release parties in your living room. :)

i no longer have a garage in which to park my car. i have a band room full of drums and amps, basses and guitars, a zillion cords... luckily i am one of those people who are oblivious to loud noises, unless i have a migraine. too bad for the neighbors :)

You simply must post pictures of the punkified DJ (shut up, it is too a word)

Of course, he has to get the look right. After he figures out the three chords, it's all attitude anyway. ;-)

My dad took me to get my first electric guitar, which cost all the money I had-- $300. The Guitar Center guy worked out a special deal with his manager! And they ate the tax! (I had destroyed his Spanish guitar by continually hitting it too hard, which, amazingly, he never held against me, though he was a dedicated folkie and he'd had the guitar his whole life.) I'm sure my parents regretted it afterwards, but I never stopped appreciating it.

Well done. Good luck to the rockin' moppet and happy birthday to you.

Total empathy here: in my house, it's my father who plays bass and my mother who plays drums. I grew up in a tiny rowhouse, and when they were jamming in the living room, there was nowhere to read without being vibrated off the furniture. Mercifully, they usually did their church band practice at a friend's place out in the sticks. But the headphone idea sounds like a good one.

What kind of guitar? Spill, please. :^)