One Down

“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.” ~Edward Hopper

Let me try to paint you a picture with my words. Life is rarely normal for me, or is it this way for everyone? I’d like just one hallmark moment in my lifetime, for something to happen the way I imagine…

I take my first child to her dorm/apartment on college move in day and meet the parents of all four of her roommates. We laugh about how emotional we are while our children are excited and happy. I hug my child. Kiss, kiss, hug, hug. I bravely say “I love you”, and as soon as I’m out of her sight my tears flow. That is what I imagined, but that’s not how it goes. 

At home I help her cram all the things she has ever owned into a normal size rollerboard suitcase, a back pack, and four giant body bags that weigh exactly 50 lbs each. Actually we find out one of the bags weighs in at 54 lbs, that’s bad. My child blames me for tossing a bottle of ibuprofen in at the last minute. The bottle didn’t feel that heavy to me, but I accept full responsibility. 

Everything she brought she “NEEDS”: three hundred hoodies five hundred t-shirts with five hundred corresponding jog bras and yoga pants, she NEEDS all those bottles of lotion—and I don’t think they sell art supplies in California, so by all means pack 1000 colored sharpies, paints, pencils, pastels, and so on. We lug all that and more from the house to my car to the shuttle bus which takes us to the airport where we check, and later claim them, then knock a sliding glass door off its rail with our wide load as we head toward our rental car. 

The rental car is sub par as I expected it to be with what I was willing to pay, and the hotel is a huge disappointment considering the crazy amount I was forced to pay for it on this busy weekend. Can you say gouge parents who are already hemorrhaging money? We haul all six of our bags up to the hotel room, because we need space in the rental car to shop for: pillows, a laundry basket, shampoo… and to be honest, I don’t even know what we purchased on this shopping trip, but we draw the attention of the store manager. This is a two overflowing shopping cart blur, and I can tell you my credit card is smoking. 

After returning to the hotel and dropping off our booty, we walk along the beach and happen upon a beautiful touristy area on a dock. It is resplendent with restaurants, souvenir, coffee and candy shops, etc, and lit up with strings of sparkling white lights. We find a place to sit where we have an alfresco dinner of Swedish fish and Pellegrino, because that’s how I parent, and that concludes day one.

On day two we arrive at the dorm/apartment where we meet one roommate, her mom, and her sister. They are all very nice, however this is when we find out that my daughter’s four roommates were as organized as I’d hoped they’d be. They had emailed out a spread sheet listing necessities for their dwelling, and they all signed up to provide different items so they wouldn’t end up with five coffee makers and no toaster. Big bummer that my daughter never got that email…

Oh, this roommate also informs us that she and her family are going out to dinner, and then she’ll be back in two weeks…YES, TWO WEEKS—and btw (by the way), she also informs us that two of the other roommates will be arriving in two weeks as well. Both are returning students, and as such have already moved in. The last roommate is on vacation out of the country with her family, and without phone service.”No one knows when she’ll be back.” She is also a returning student. This means my daughter will be alone in this dorm/apartment for two weeks…kind of a drag.

We measure and look around to get an idea of color schemes, and then go back to Hell Mart to trade in the coffee maker for a toaster, and return the dishes, etc that we had purchased the day before. We also shop at Costco, Marshals, and happen upon an open air Indian goods store where they have tapestries displayed. Like a lap top computer, a tapestry is a must have item for all college students. They look like giant sheets to me, but they’re used to decorate walls. I hurt my credit card again, which is making me very anxious. We forgot stamps and a few other items. 

During a lunch consisting of real food, we discussed the fact that she’ll be alone for the next two weeks. With placement tests on Monday, more classes to register for, a job to find, and new towels to wash, she should be busy, and she should try to meet other students in the complex. I feel bad for her, so I volunteer to extend my stay one day and she jumps on it. That of course will mean one more trip to Hell Mart where the manager has become our friend. 

I call the rental car company- no problem extending the rental, but they have to charge me double. The flight is not a problem to change. Extending a day is so easy there must be a catch. We clean, make her bed, organize. This part of the trip kind of seems like my imaginary day. I return to my hotel for a second night, and my spawn spends her first night in her new home— alone. I ask the hotel about extending my stay and am denied— NO VACANCIES tomorrow. Well I hate this hotel anyway. Half way through the night I dream a buzzing by my ear, then abruptly wake up to find a giant bug next to me on my pillow. Now I can not sleep, because I will not lay down on that bed again. I check out of the hotel at the crack of dawn and drive toward my daughters place…her bedroom we find out, is a dead zone for our phone carrier, so I am homeless for three hours until she wakes up and goes into her kitchen where my texts are finally delivered. 

My daughter invites me to “crash” with her since my hotel is full, and none of her roommates will be here.” Rad plan. We stop at Hell Mart to see our new friend and buy a few more storage bins, then we find a street fair and have a nice lunch. We burn off the calories from lunch when we walk for two and a half hours trying to find our rental car, because we can not remember where we parked, and we disagree on what the car looks like.

Back at the dorm/apartment, I take a shower, remove my face, put on some sweats, and I am feeling odd about the idea of staying here for the night. It’s not really allowed, after all.  As I am having these thoughts, my daughter gets a text message from the roommate who had been vacationing out of the country. She just landed at the airport, and will be arriving in an hour. Double crap. I get dressed, put on my makeup, and pack my bag up. This is when I give my daughter the big goodbye hugs, kiss, kiss, and say I am going to find a hotel. Since my flight leaves early I won’t see her again before I leave.

When you get to be my age, there isn’t much in life that you haven’t seen or done. After calling every hotel within forty miles and searching every online site known to man, I find there were no vacancies anywhere except for a hotel 45 minutes away, and they are asking $550 for the night. I already filled the gas tank on my rental car, so I drive to the beach, park, and decide to sleep in my car. I never thought I’d say those words. 

How do people live out of their cars? I am cold and  I have to pee. I am miserable, and I’m starting to ache everywhere. 

As I sit, exhausted on my flight home, I consider my last three days. I can only hope when I take my other daughter to school in New York next week, I will have a hallmark moment… because I should have one normal experience, shouldn’t I? 


August 7, 2016, One Word Prompt: Paint~ <a href=””>Paint</a&gt;

14 thoughts on “One Down

  1. But what a fabulous tale you have woven from the experience. No matter how badly things go lately, I am always thinking “blog!” in the back of my mind. Where in CA were you? Hope you let us in on how her roommates work out. Now I’m hooked on her story as I’ve been on yours all along.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having only every experienced moving into a dorm from the student side, I very much enjoyed reading your description. It makes me wonder what hell my parents were going through to which I remained completely oblivious. I should probably call them and thank them again. Hope you and your daughters have a wonderful year.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.