Guest Columnist

  As I sat at graduation and watched all the mixed emotions of the faces marching to "Pomp and Circumstance," I couldn't help but wonder how well the young kids were prepared for the next leg of their journey. If they are like I was at 17, they probably think they know pretty much everything.  They don't. There are some things you just have to learn the hard way.

For instance:  As you enter a public restroom, always check the stall for toilet paper before using.

  In the event any of you use checks...just because you have check blanks left doesn't mean you have money in the bank to cover them.

  Dish soap is NOT dishwasher soap!

  Raising the temperature while cooking food does not necessarily make it cook faster, unless you like charred on the outside and raw on the inside.

  Things that say "NOT dishwasher safe" are better off not put in the dishwasher.

  Clothes that say "DRY CLEAN ONLY"  should be dry cleaned only (or never purchased in the first place).

  Putting a can of soda in the freezer may sound like a good idea.  It isn't.

  Downy is not a laundry detergent. Tide Pods are not meant for human consumption.

  Laundry is not sorted by the type of item...to clarify, do not sort into loads of tee shirts, pants, shorts, etc.  It is better sorted by colors.

  You cannot just throw bills away that come in the mail.

  Even if it is the only side showing, don't hang all of your Christmas ornaments on one side of the tree.  They weigh more than you think.

  Don't put the bread wrapper too close to the toaster.

  Don't store anything plastic in your oven, even if you think you will remember to check  before preheating it.  You won't.

  You will learn that toilets are not self-cleaning and maybe someday how to change the roll of toilet paper.  And although it should be the cleanest place in the house because of all the soap, shampoo and water used, occasionally you need to clean your shower or it will turn green.

   Insurance cards are not interchangable. You can not use your car insurance card at the pharmacy.  

    Learn to triage. Do not call an ambulance to take you to the ER for a sinus infection.

  Don't just ignore the "check engine light" on the car.  It usually means you should check the engine.

  Even though the envelope says you did, you did not win "The Publishers Clearing House" sweepstakes.

  If you have bought potatoes and placed them in your trunk, always check to make sure that one of them didn't roll into the wheel well.  You will be happy you did.

  Likewise, if a small child has entered your car with a sippy cup full of milk, make sure he leaves with one.  You will be really glad you did.

  Make sure if you have a passenger in your backseat with a doggy bag of meat, she leaves with said bag.  Both of you will be glad you did.

  And finally, although the list could go on and on, a piece of advice you probably won't hear from anyone else:  If you are ever in the situation of bathing and  coating a baby with lotion after you have handled hot peppers, make sure to wash your hands really well.  I mean REALLY WELL.