Saturday, August 28, 2010

College Move in Day - Stooges' Style

Well, I survived Katie's move to college. And I even did it dry-eyed! Can I have a Woot Woot?

It all went fairly smoothly, though in typical Grove fashion we couldn't have gotten through this big event without some blunders. It all started with loading up the car. We assumed we would be able to fit the entire inventory of Bed, Bath and Beyond's college dorm stock all of Katie's dorm essentials into her mid-sized SUV. And if not, we had our ace in the hole - a roof top carrier to hold the overflow.

We quickly filled up the back of the SUV and pulled out the trusty carrier. Geoff worked up quite a sweat getting the carrier on the roof and loaded up with back-breakingly heavy suitcases and bags of fluffy bedding. And then we realized that the "rain gutters" on the inside of the doors are not designed in such a way as to secure the carrier's clips. Of course not! (Blunder #1!)

So we emptied and removed the carrier and placed the groaning suitcases into my car. Yup! It took two cars to move one daughter to college. Of course it did!

Geoff and I drove my car and Katie and Madeleine followed behind. This configuration was, without a doubt, the best choice for Katie. Much less stressful to ride with her sister as opposed to one of her parents who would no doubt ask lots of stupid questions about her feelings about moving away from home. I was smart enough to know that. However, this might not have been the best choice for me. Geoff and I started out the ride talking about our disbelief that we were driving our daughter to college. And then I started thinking about driving her home from the hospital, her first day of kindergarten, the time she painted her body with blue fingerpaint.... and then I felt myself getting all emotional. So, Geoff and I decided to talk about what we normally talk about on car rides. His annoying choice of music, the fact that he didn't take the route that MapQuest suggested, how much I hate car rides.... You get the picture. (Blunder #2.)

The rest of Thursday was fairly uneventful. We arrived just before dinner, checked into our hotel and drove into the next town to do a little exploring of the area and eat. Not a blunder in sight!

Back at the hotel the plan was to take care of setting Katie up with online banking and opening the college sponsored debit account that she has to have for laundry and can use for pretty much anything else she will need around campus and in the town. (College today is basically a cashless endeavor. All the better to get you to spend more. It's all so abstract. Kind of like play money or gambling chips.) You may be wondering why we waited until the last possible minute to do this. Good question. I tried to sit Katie down a number times this summer to do these tasks. To no avail. I finally realized that she would be a captive audience Thursday night in the hotel and I would just quit stressing about this and do it then. What I didn't take into account is that the hotel would have an unsecured WiFi network which is probably not the best time to access your bank account and type in your password and identifying information. So much for eliminating stress. Katie was pretty stressed, but I assured her we would get it all done the next day on a secure network at the college. (Blunder #3.)

After everyone, except Katie (go figure!), spent a sleepless night, we got up super early so that we could be the first of Katie's roommates to arrive at the college. As you may know, Katie was assigned to a "built-up triple", which is basically a room designed for two in which they squeeze three. Three girls, two closets. You do the math. Also, the room would be equipped with a bunk bed and a loftable bed. Katie was determined to secure the loft bed. Even after I talked to her numerous times about the fact that she has never been on the top bunk of any bed, she is afraid of heights, has the upper body strength of a kitten (to quote Eva Longoria's character in Desperate Housewives), and it would not be convenient to just sit and hang out on her bed with her iPod or laptop - something she does constantly at home. No matter. She was convinced that she simply must have the loftable bed and we had to arrive at the college a minimum of 1 hour before the dorms opened at 9:00 am to secure her spot in line.

We arrive at the college at 7:30 am and approach our designated unloading area. Cops and college student helpers are everywhere. We are too early to park in the lot (really? what a surprise), so we were directed to line up behind a row of about 8 other cars (glad to know we are not the only other Type A families here). Since we are an hour and half early, I suggest to Katie that she and I go up to her dorm and see if we can find the exact location for Check in. You know, to insure that in the off chance one of her roommates is in one the 7 cars in front of us, that we will have the advantage of knowing exactly where to go. Because, we simply must get that loftable bed. Type A, who me? (Blunder #4.)

After our reconnaissance of the dorm perimeter stroll around the dorm, we head back to the line of cars. What the heck? Is that Geoff driving my car down the street? What!? Is that Madeleine following him in Katie's car?! What the F***!!! Madeleine is only 15 years old and does not even have a learner's permit, let alone a driver's license. OMG! She is driving past a line of cops! Holy sh**! I run up to the car and scream like a possessed woman calmly tell her to scoot over so that I can drive. She does, but forgets to put the car in park and the car slowly rolls forward right in front of the line of cops! Heaven help me. After frantically wresting control of the car away from Madeleine calmly parking in a new line of cars (now we are number 3! what are the odds that one of the other two cars holds her roommate? The car right of front us does have MA plates, though. Could it be Kerry from Needham?), I ask Madeleine what the hell was going on. Apparently, the cops told Geoff to move to a different area designated specifically for Katie's dorm. Since Katie and I (the only other legal drivers) were on our recon mission, he simply told Madeleine to move the car. Why not, right? He's let her drive our car around the block a time or two. By now I'm about to have a coronary, so I decide to do some deep breathing while Madeleine tries to convince me, in Rain Man-like fashion, that she is an excellent driver. Oh for Pete's sake, did anyone pack any Valium in one of these overstuffed cars? It's impossible to be sad, when you're one of the Three Stooges!

Figuring that we will be sitting in the car for at least another hour I turn the car off. Makes perfect sense right? Wrong! (Blunder #5.) I don't drive Katie's car very often, but I am aware that the ignition key can be a little touchy. Sometimes you have to wiggle it just right in order to turn it - which is necessary to turn the car on! Minor detail. Geoff had been struggling with it a little bit on this trip. Katie told him all the tricks - take the key out and turn it around, wiggle the gear shift, put your foot on the brake, wiggle the steering wheel. One of these tricks always worked - for Katie and Geoff. You see where this is going, right? At 10 minutes to 8, the cops wave us on. Geoff is in front of me, in my car. He moves right along. And guess who can't get the car started? At all. Ever. The cop comes over and I tell him, in the midst of my panic attack, what's happening and he lets the cars behind me go ahead of me. Nooooo!!!! We need to get the loftable bed!!!! WAIT!!! I send Madeleine after Geoff and tell her to get him to come back - after Katie gets in line to check in. Eventually, Geoff comes and rescues me and we move into the room - and Katie is the first (and only one) there and she gets the loftable bed! (Blunder #6.)

Why is getting the loftable bed a Blunder? About an hour after the first of Katie's roommates arrives and chooses the lower bunk, Katie decides that she doesn't, in fact, think having the loftable bed is a good idea. Really? No kidding? Where the h*ll is that Valium? Do they sell alcohol in the Dining Hall? Probably not. No problem. Just hit me over the head with that hammer that we packed.

In all seriousness, Katie was in good spirits when we left her. No one cried. The one roommate that we had an opportunity to spend some time with, Lindsay, is very nice and easy to talk to and seemed very comfortable to be there (she only lives 20 minutes away and that probably helps). We left the two of them in the room chatting it up and getting ready for their first hall meeting.

Two text messages one extremely brief phone call and a few Facebook statuses later, all seems to be going quite well. Though, I'm still waiting to hear if Katie slept on the floor last night!


Carol Shedd said...

Pam, this is wonderful! I feel like I went on the trip with you guys. What a wonderful family you all are and lucky to have each other. You did it! (and the loft bunk might just be fun, I had a loft style in college and I loved it - although what I remember about it most was the curtains my mother made so I could make it private) It all comes back to moms!

LindyLouMac said...

Absolutely brilliantly described, the memories from 1998 came flooding back from when our eldest went off to Uni in Scotland. Ha ha you think she has a lot of stuff now, you wait till she finishes!!

Sandy said...

Even though I heard all this in person last night, it was hysterical to read it here. I feel like I was there with you (and boy do I wish I had been).

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Congrats on getting Katie off to college blunders and all! Good for you, no tears. We took Cooper back to LMU for his Sophomore year yesterday and although he's my 3rd in college and it's his second year, I cried like a baby. P.S. I believe they do sell alcohol in the cafeteria if college students' FB pages are any indication. Good luck to Katie in college, and to you too. Blessings

Gail said...

I love the story! Brings back many memories of our first night together...I hope she had a good night and a good day.

Star Forbis said...

Sounds like a fun move in! And one you will all remember. And here is your Woot Woot for not crying! :)

Anita said...

Oh Pam, I love this post. I can just see me making a similar trek next August, though I've already warned I will cry.
Most days like this are a series of mishaps to some degree, or least in my experience.
The loft bed......ha ha ha, maybe she can convince someone to trade mid year....LOL!

Katherine said...

I haven't yet sent my child off to college (although at the rate they are growing, it feels like we'll be doing that next week.) But I do remember going off to college myself.

It seems like, despite all the blunders, it went as smoothly as possible.


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