We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies save for the rocking chair tied to the top of the car. A little Pontiac Sunfire filled with Daughter driver and Mom passenger, the back seat and trunk swelled with belongings. Dad following in his truck, the cab filled with the remainder. The very useful truck bed held only some plastic storage boxes filled with things that (a) would not be harmed by rain and (b) would be uninteresting to would-be-thieves and if not, easily replaced.
The trip was uneventful; the convoy joined in communication by two-way radios. Mom and Daughter tried very hard to talk of everything but the soon-to-be parting of ways.
We mused on the likelihood of hundreds of girls moving in at one time all packed in the few parking spaces near the dorm. Visions of scurrying worker ants came to mind, all laden with all manner of things necessary for the survival of the college student. I welcomed the opportunity not afforded to me on prior visits to the campus to blend in, rather than stand out as a parent. After all I'd be but one of hundreds of mothers playing Martha Stewart in the cubicle that would be home for our precious babes till spring.
And there it was. The dorm. The scant parking place by the front full, the attendant directing us to the back lot. It was quickly discovered that from the front entrance you had one less flight of stairs to scale than from the back. If we had not noticed the mathematical conclusion, our calves would have quickly informed us. Many parents that day discovered just how out of shape they were.
There was a certain 'order' to the process. In her dorm alone there were 300 new freshmen residents. Excuse me, we are told it is not a 'dorm' but rather a 'residence hall' for it is so much 'more'... The 'order' consisted of the fact that we must all stand in a rather long and unbearably hot line to wait for dorm...er...residence hall keys, to wait for ID's, to wait for mailbox keys, to wait until the prescribed time of 11 AM when entrance was allowed. Did I mention it was hot?
There were cinder blocks for sale to raise the bed to allow for storage underneath. Of course, four please. The trip from the parking lot to the residence hall entrance was downhill. Handcarts of cinderblocks illustrated the law of gravity in many ways that day. "Look out below" became the mantra. What exactly dented the truck door we'll never know, but considering the multitude of moved material we feel fortunate to have escaped with no more.
The one elevator was stressed to the maximum, as hot and sweaty Dads stood in line with things too heavy or large to maneuver around the crowded stairwells. Mom and Daughter, and mostly Mom made trip after trip to the car for bags and boxes and tubs and suitcases. Did I mention she was on the third floor? And that it was hot?
Mom had a plan, being the anally retentive obsessively compulsive freakoid planner that she is. Take the clothing in first and put it away. Then arrange the room, make the bed and decorate. A good plan, a solid plan, a worthy plan, and an ignored plan.
The roommate arrived at the same time. With Father and Mother and Brother. Suddenly the room was filled with seven people and the entire worldly possessions of two teenage girls. Law and order went out the window, as almost did the fan when we opened it.
The two girls did their quick hellos and set to task with ideas of how to do what. The two Moms set to task with what they do best...telling their daughters how to do what. The two Dads and the Brother were told by all four women how to do what.
About an hour into the meat of the decorating plan it was discovered that although the two desks were on opposite walls, the phone, television and internet network outlets were only on one. The entire contingent of the two families then traipsed down the hall to see what was being done in other rooms. Plan in mind we returned. And promptly forgot. Back to the other room again. Thankfully the occupants were happy and proud to share their accomplishment.
Beds were dismantled and flipped, raised and sheeted and fluffed with pillows. Desks were drug and inch this way and an inch that. Dressers were shoved and pulled and filled. Closets of a magnitude that negated the need for the thirty magic hangers were organized and filled. Tacky stuff was applied to posters and calendars and dry erase boards.
Extension cords and phone cords and television cables were enhanced with all manner of extenders, connectors and splitters until the room resembled an Apollo Spacecraft. Power was brought to lights and hair dryers and curling irons to the max of fire safety and beyond. (It should be noted here that the dorm lost power from Friday to Sunday night and that it began with Daughter's hair dryer blowing the circuit in the bathroom) Mom attacked the computer, running wires and cables in the most efficient manner. The system was booted up, the network tested; email setup and Mom grew jealous of the speed and ease of the university's Internet access.
Seven sweaty bodies then stepped back to survey their masterpiece, five of them knowing their visits hence would not be as welcomed or needed.
A hasty shopping list was made of things that would bring even more satisfaction to the inhabitants and peace of mind to the parents. Garbage was taken out and added to the mountain behind the dorm where discarded boxes illustrated that Gateway® was obviously the brand of choice for computers and that microwave popcorn aromas would soon fill the hallways. The daughters scurried to the bookstore, to their first meetings, into their new life. The intensity and chaos amidst the peace of the beautiful campus overwhelmed both students and family. We suddenly wanted to retreat into the cool quiet of the room where we had just spent so many hours.
Retreat came the following day, where both sets of parents, and of course one brother, came laden with purchases of the ever-necessary snack food and other amenities. As we unpacked the goodies Mon had to laugh when Daughter told her she was messing up the room, grabbing up grocery bags and shoving them in the trash can.
As if Mom hadn't just spent 18 years, six months, and 12 days telling Daughter the same thing.
But there it was, her home, her domain, hers to do in and with as she saw fit.
The two girls are as suited as if they were of the same womb. If Mom had any hopes at all that Daughter would acquire from her newfound friend good habits of punctuality, early rising, and a life devoid of procrastination, they were quickly dispatched. Mom wondered who would be the first to sleep through class. Mom hugged Daughter goodbye, leaving two girls standing there who had yet in this life to launder their own clothing.
And walked away on legs sporting aching calf muscles with only one thought in mind.
Who do you have to know to get a room on the first floor?