When you think of a College weekend, you most likely get a vision of a campus and wild parties and maybe even the opportunity to hook up with someone exciting. Well I am long past that kind of College weekend.
When I go to visit my daughter at her College apartment, it is usually fun, but not wild.. THIS weekend however was a different kind of wild. When my daughter’s graduation came up, it was bound to be a weekend of ups and downs.
For starters, Google calculates the drive out to College as six hours and forty-five minutes, one way, with no stops. Who drives nearly seven hours without a stop for a snack and a pee? Not me.
Then there is the fact she has been in a three room apartment and accumulated a lot of possessions. When we first moved her in I spent around $2,000 on the entertainment center, microwave, cookware, and other minor household items. A second trip included the purchase of a kitchen table and chairs, and mattress, etc.
We spend way too much money to just dump it all. It was worth getting a U-haul and storing. A few problems with that. First, we have to pull off all that packing, lugging, and unloading over a three day weekend. Second, as mentioned this is a very long haul to add on top of all that work. Third, we also have to squeeze in graduation, and last dinners with College friends, and maybe a night of drinking. Too much to plan? maybe.
One last wrench in the works. Her mother, my ex, was going to be part of that. We are civil, but I cant be around her long. It starts out sweet, but in short order there will be a comment that makes me grit my teeth. It will take the form of a joke, said with a laugh. The laugh always comes with it.. and a smile.. but the words.. if the words were said with a straight face the only way you could interpret them is as a horribly rude insult. But because these things are delivered with a smile and a laugh, we shouldn’t take offense.. right?
I have a hard time explaining this, but Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter is a perfect analogy. She is sweet, and soft spoken and oh so terribly concerned and yet you instantly know that behind that sweet facade is a silent, horrible, steely, unrepentant and potentially vicious personality at work there. Yeah, I prefer nearly any other company.
All of the plethora of problems aside, I love a good challenge. I was sure I could make this work with some direction and patience. I should have planned on patience with no direction.
I brought a bunch of her friends, so I expected the packing and lugging to go fairly smooth going. Was I ever wrong. First, these are adults barely out of their teens. Second, they are nillas who don’t take well to my dictatorial way of doing things. Add her mother to the mix and you have an unhappy M in the making.
In my mind, I was going to just buy a bunch of uniform size boxes. We would keep the consumables in one group of boxes, and the long term storage in another. Each box would be grouped by room.. Bedroom storage, bath storage, kitchen storage, etc. Storage would go into the truck first. We would stack them maybe three across, three deep, three or four high. When we got to the house we could unload the consumables, then take the rest to storage. You know.. last out is first into the truck.
Yeah, well, no. First, her mother “saved money” by bringing second hand boxes of various sizes, then insisted on loading those boxes instead of the ones that could be laid into the truck in nice neat rows that stacked and tied down easily. Even after I ASKED to keep them in the new boxes, they came down in the odd boxes.
Teenagers stood around chatting while I, who am three times their age, walked up and down the three flights of stairs. After a few hours, by back, legs and knees were killing me. Yelling at a nilla just makes them glare at you, and yelling at kid is worse. So by mid-day, I just bit my lip and stayed with the truck, doing my best to cool my rising frustration.
The odd boxes were going to required lots of rope to keep it from shifting, since nothing stacked well. I sent her mother with a twenty to get two rolls of clothes line cord. She came back with fishing line and bungee cords. Two small bundles of cord in the bottom of the bag. Ah well. I took pleasure in doing some Uhaul bondage. A square knot here, a cinch there, a slip knot. Some days you have to make your fun.
As the apartment emptied, (and I stayed with the truck) her mother took to cleaning. That actually worked out pretty well. I stayed with the truck and played with rope and the jigsaw puzzele, while she did what she likes to do in the apartment.
When we got back, instead of unloading at home, I went straight to storage and began to unload the truck, breaking open the boxes, and then RE-box all the stuff into the boxes I bought, the way I asked for.. long term in some, consumables in others. By the time the truck was unloaded, we had about three quarters of it in a neat tight block of stored apartment stuff.. and about a quarter of it in boxes of consumable and clothes.. We ended up doing what I asked for when we off-loaded. It may not have happened to plan or efficiently, but at least it got done. It helped that her mother wasn’t counter-directing. Yeah.. counter-directing. If there is one thing I absolutely know, its that a project can not go smoothly with two bosses.
As I come away thinking about that weekend I am left with one unmistakable and firmly embedded impression. I MUCH prefer people that take direction well. I do NOT enjoy working with unmotivated teens, and I can’t stand working with people who don’t follow simple directions. Finally, I hate working with people like Dolores Umbridge. Sigh.. happy thoughts… and soft kisses from my slave. Life is good…
We all go through changes in life. Make those changes positive ones my friends. Carpe Diem!