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September 21, 2022

part 2: open-book bloodlines, pill courier, & EVERYTHING

(this is part 2, starting off with my response to Mini's tearful conversation - when she shared her feelings about being away at school)

Me:  It's going to take time. Don't worry about academics - you'll do great. You did NOT peak in high school. Anyone will be thrilled and lucky to have you as a friend. Ann sounds great


, have you told her how hard you're finding this? (YES). That's  good - better to get things off your chest. 

*Then Mini explained that she struggled to keep things bottled up, was sort of disgusted with herself for always spilling the beans and calling me crying. 

Me:  (eyes bugging out of my head) Well, um, that's because you're an open book JUST like me. It just means we're good at sharing (this is where you all mention in the comments that open book people are the best kind of people.) Hey, I'm going to see you Saturday. 

*****

6:45 pm:  While I was talking to Mini, Reg called. I'd texted him to say that I'd arrived.

Reg:  I'll be at the car in a minute.

Me:  I'm talking to Mini. Don't talk in the car, OK? *I didn't want her to shut down.

Reg:  OK. 

He hopped in, ate his dinner, and changed his clothes, all while I drove and chatted with Mini and tried not to become a puddle myself. I dropped him off at basketball and told him Dad might be back to get him at 9:30. 

I figured I could just drive all the way home (26 minutes on the expressway, because b-ball is my new Irish dancing) and keep talking to Mini. By the time I got home, maybe Curly would be ready to be picked up. 

*****

7:45 pm:   Mini said good-bye, she needed to go get some stuff done. I tried Ed again while I drove. No answer. I was worried. 

*****

Remember in Sound of Music when Maria is praying next to her bed and can't remember the one kid's name. "Oh, that's right, Curt. God bless Curt." 

Who am I missing? Oh, yeah Tank. He'd texted me something about fall break that was clear as mud. I called him. 

7:45 pm:  While chatting with Tank, I ran into the grocery store. I was driving to Notre Dame that Saturday morning and I needed  ingredients for my tailgate appetizers. I opened my wristlet, and the fact that I even know what a wristlet is surprises the heck out of me. You know me, I'm not fancy. Inside the wristlet was the little capsule with Reg's epilepsy pill in it. 

Me:  NO! *sobbing*

Tank:  What? What's wrong with you? 

Me:  I forgot to have Reg take his pill. Because I was talking to Mini. She was crying. And. Now. He's far away. At b-ball. If he has another seizure . . . 

Tank:  Geez, he'll be fine. He can take it later. *Tank doesn't get it.

Tank said good-bye to his mother, the basket case. I ran around the grocery store, wiping my tears, waiting for Curly to text me: 'come get me.'

Coach called. I told him about the pill. He offered to bring Reg the pill if I brought it to him at work (he works nearby). He'd have to leave work, write up his notes another time. I preferred he just finish what he was doing and not have to stay at work longer another time. 

8:00 pm:  Curly was ready to be picked up, I left my grocery cart at the service desk. "I'll be right back." When Curly hopped in the car, I explained my tears. "EVERYTHING." 

We returned to the store. She grabbed a few things, I get a few things. We unloaded the stuff at home, and I hauled butt back to Reg's practice. 

8:25 pm:  Ed finally called. Feeling better, not 100%. Told me he played in a b-ball game. I pointed out that this was a mistake, and he agreed. Realizing that he shouldn't have exerted himself. *He continued to feel sick for better part of a week.

I bought these on
Amazon. I think there
were 4 or 5 in the
package. Reg filled a
 few, and then left them on the
counter. Now he has them
stowed places.
 
I told him that he'll have to give me numbers of his friends, so that I have people to reach out to if he isn't responding again. 

8:45 pm:  Back at b-ball, I tried to get Reg's attention, so he would take his pill. Practice was a fast paced, full court drill, and there was no way he was going to come off of the court. *Parents are allowed to watch, so I didn't raise any eyebrows. I appeared to be observing vs frantic mother with a medication delivery. 

9:45 pm:  Practice ends after going 15 minutes longer than scheduled. Reg takes his pill in the car and I tell him that the little pill holders that I bought as backup options in case he forgets at home cannot sit on the kitchen counter. He needs to attach them to his golf bag, school bag, b-ball bag, etc. 

Not sure when I last had an evening when EVERYTHING felt SO urgent and stressful. 


September 19, 2022

part 1: when it rains, it pours: saying the wrong thing, small ninja sneak attacks, can we be friends with our kids?

My 2 high school kids started school
 9/6. Very late due to renovations.
This pic was taken before the first
 day of school when Curly came
along on our outing to the zoo. 

Tuesday September 6th started out in a positive, 'this is going to be a great day' kind of way. 

5:55 am:  I woke up well rested - not because someone incorrectly set his alarm. I fumbled around, hoping not to wake up Coach. I grabbed workout clothes from a clean laundry pile next to my bed. BLINDLY. Mini is not the only family member who doesn't always have her laundry put away. Once in the bathroom, I switched on the light. Low and behold - I'd magically chosen an outfit that I loved. It matched. 

6:45 am:  Coach told me that Ed had texted Coach at like 5:15 am to say, ARE YOU AWAKE? 

Nothing makes me smile more
than two buddies opting
 to hold hands at the zoo. See what
I'm doing here - showing photos of happy
 moments to offset the stress I'm writing about.
Huh?

Tuesdays are full days. 6 tots/baby in the morning, then 2 more arrive by bus at 11:00 from preschool. It's hectic till the beloved naptime. 

10: 30 am:  

Me to Ed:  (text) What's up?

Ed:  I'm sick.

Cold symptoms? Too much to drink? Stomach bug? 

Um . . . THE.OTHER.END. 

We now believe that he had E.coli. Or something. He'd cook fish. Perhaps the meat thermometer was bad. He was REALLY sick. He'd finally slept 5 hours after being up all night. 

4:20 pm:  I texted to see how he was doing. No response.  

*****

4:30 pm:  Reg texted, in freak-out mode. If he took the bus back to the high school after his golf team tournie he'd be VERY late for travel b-ball fall league practice. 

Me:  Do you want me to drive there, get you, then drive you to b-ball?  *opposite directions

Reg:  Yes, bring . . .  (list, including dinner & his epilepsy medication) 

I gathered his stuff. 

*****

5:30 pm:  Lad called me driving home from a job interview. He's 


been interviewing for a new job. That day he had a 2nd interview. It was a big deal. He had to come up with a presentation to share at the interview revolving around a case study they gave him in advance. He'd been researching his response all weekend. Well, Coach, Reg, Curly, and I were at a friends' lake house over Labor Day weekend. I'm pretty sure Lad wasn't doing much research while we were away. 

8 second lake house video. The lake had a pirate parade/water balloon fight. Our kids are on the boat on the left - decorated with pirate flags. We tried to keep a safe distance, observing. Maybe a white flag would've helped. The little buggers attacked us. Friendly fire? Watch the one balloon launched at us. It hit me in the right boob. OUCH! Coach called it a one in a million shot. Hey, now!

I digress. I kept looking at the clock, wondering how Lad's interview was going. 

Lad:  So, it went well, I think. Then they asked about my timeline and what else I was thinking about. I was honest and I said that 'B' company is my number 1. (this interview was not with 'B' company)

Me:  WHAT? WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT? *B would be a great job, but he was very early in the process and I feared that it was more of a reach job. Shit.

This is when it's nice to be Coach. I screw things up. Say the wrong thing. More or less, step in it. Then Coach has the time and space to gather himself and his thoughts and approach our offspring poised and calm, ready to clean up my verbal diarrhea. 

After he hung up with me, Lad called the headhunter who had lined up the interview. The head hunter blasted him. Later I told Lad, THINK OF IT LIKE A DATE, YOU DON'T SAY TO A GIRL. I LIKE YOU, BUT THAT GIRL OVER THERE - SHE'S THE ONE I'M CRAZY ABOUT.

Lad was ticked at me, or the situation, or his blunder.  *sigh*

6:00 pm:  Me:  I'm driving to get Reg, would you pick up Curly from her volleyball game when the bus gets back? 

He was not enthusiastic. Then Curly shared that the varsity game hadn't started. I thought only freshmen were playing, so this was gonna take awhile. I told Lad not to worry. I'd get her after I dropped off Reg - even though I usually stay in my car at b-ball because it's a hike. Lad didn't seem to be in the right frame of my mind for favors. 

Under water polar bear
viewing. Super cool

*****

6:40 pm:  I decided to call Mini. 

Mini: (text) Call you in a minute.

*****

Lad called hollering about wasting his whole day and not wanting to pick up Curly. 

Me:  I told you - not to worry about it. *Goodness* 

*****

Mini called, crying -but pretended she wasn't. Up until now, she'd mostly spoken to us in short, abrupt bursts that left us to believe she was mad at us, or in a hurry. 

Mini:  (A few excerpts): I'M MISERABLE. I HATE IT HERE. I JUST WANNA COME HOME. WHAT IF I PEAKED IN HIGH SCHOOL. EVERYONE LIKES COLLEGE, WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? I'M SO ANXOUS. I'M WORRIED ABOUT ACADEMICS. I LIKE H AND M, BUT  I'M PUTTING IN ALL OF THE EFFORT. I REALLY LIKE ANN. SHE'S SUPER NICE AND SHE'S ONE OF 6 KIDS, TOO. WE BOTH MISS OUR FAMILIES. I DON'T LIKE BEING ALONE. AT HOME, I COULD ALWAYS JUST WALK INTO THE KITCHEN AND FIND SOMEONE. 

We'd had a few teary phone calls before, but this one felt different. More involved. As I listened, I was pretty sure a small ninja had slipped into the car and hit me directly in my throat with a sucker punch.

*****

I hope you'll tune in on Wednesday to learn what happened next in this saga of 'the night my offspring had everything going on'. In the meantime, I read this article in the Chicago Tribune about whether or not parents can be friends with their kids. It resonated with me. Where do you stand? Were you friends with your parents growing up? Feel free to take a stab at what else went wrong this particular night. 


September 14, 2022

"GIVE ME THAT PHONE" and other college drop off details

The living situation:  While most colleges with an Evans Scholarship program have houses where the students live, Notre Dame doesn't. Instead the female scholars live in a dorm with other women, and the male scholars live in the dorm next door. There are only 5 female freshman Evans recipients at ND. 

At ND students must live on campus for 3 years, while Evans kids - all 4 years. Remember, ND doesn't take requests. 

Another fun fact, Notre Dame doesn't have Greek life. Think Hogwarts in Harry Potter. Students are allegiant to their assigned dorm. If someone badmouths a student's dorm, they better be ready for a fight. 

Students who make great friends from another dorm, can apply to switch to a friend's dorm the following school year. It happens, but rarely. 

Dorm and roommate assignments were delivered back on July 1.Mini was assigned a quad. Two rooms with two girls and a common room in between. She'd been stalking checking out the other Evans students on Instagram. She hoped to be paired with 'M'. The Evans kids all have at least one Evans roommate. Mini was bummed. She wasn't paired with 'M'. 

Mini suspected that her (non-Evans) roommate, Ellen, was odd. The  Evans girl in her quad is super quiet. the 4th girl is very nice, but doesn't seem real, she always presents with a smiley face. 

Before we'd even driven home from ND, Mini shared that Ellen was annoying and clingy. Mini was in the dining hall, happy to have met a new girl to eat with. Ellen came up and tapped her on the shoulder, "We're sitting over there, come sit with us." Mini was irritated. 

I told her not to worry - once classes started there'd be a natural divide. Three weeks in, Mini doesn't hang out with her roomies. She does her own thing and they do theirs. Peaceful, just separate. 

Good-bye:  After the closing mass, we walked back to Mini's dorm and said good-bye. She sobbed. My confident, easy-going, hilarious, messy-bun-wearing, don't-care-what-anyone-thinks daughter was a puddle. Oh, my heart. I cried right along with her. I told her it would all be fine, that we would talk and she would find her people, etc. She kept nodding, but the tears kept coming. 

We had eaten a late lunch. When we got to the car, I panicked:  WHAT IF SHE HAS NO ONE TO EAT DINNER WITH? SHOULD WE STAY FOR DINNER? 

I texted her and asked her if she was OK. I told her we'd come and eat with her, if that was her preference. At 2:00 I'd stuffed myself. It was so pricey to eat in the dining hall - I wanted my money's worth. Sometimes being on a budget is a pain. I was willing to take one for the team and cram more food in my pie hole. 

She found people to eat with and said she'd be OK. I cried on and off all the way home. 

More tears:  Mini sounded funny the first few phone calls. We thought we were annoying her. *I now know she was holding in her emotions.* 

I chatted briefly with her one morning a few days after we'd dropped her off. Coach was annoyed that I'd gotten to talk to her and he hadn't. I was saying good-bye to the babies at the garage door. He was on the front porch, his phone to his ear.  

Do I hear someone crying? 

Coach:  HEY MINI, MOMMY'S RIGHT HERE. DO YOU MIND IF I PUT YOU ON SPEAKER PHONE?

Does she MIND? I'm her MOTHER. 

If you're picturing this playing out like a scene in a movie where the mother's eyes bug out of her head and she boxes her husband out while wrestling him for the phone all while hollering into the phone IT'S OK- I'M RIGHT HERE. WHAT'S GOING ON? -Then, it's as if you were a visitor in my front hall.   

Why is she crying? How much of this conversation have I missed? 

She'd been hanging out with the 2 Evans girls:  M who she'd hoped to room with and M's roommate H, who Mini really liked. 

Mini texted them:  When do you want to walk over to the scholars' ice cream social?

They'd already left the dorm and hadn't thought to wait for her. I was sure it was an oversight. Mini felt hurt.

Early on Mini worried that she was 'wasting' her time. While she was getting to know M and H, other friendships were being made - was it a mistake to spend time with M and H? 

Weeks have passed. H started dating a boy on day 4 and has no time for friends. Mini feels like these two girls, who she does enjoy, tend to only do things together. She is focusing on building other friendships.

Stress:  Mini admits that her expectations were too high. She wanted to make her friends before classes started, so that task was handled. Oh, goodness. 

I told her - she will most likely make friends in her classes, too. She is desperate to find her 'group.' She's told me many times how much she misses her close-knit group of friends from home. In high school she could hang out with most groups. She was well known and well liked. 

Taking things to a new level:  I now grade my
cookies when I bag and freeze
 them. The A+ ready to go to my
tailgate are in the Gladware bin,
 the bag of A- is my backup supply. 
Mini:  What if I don't find a person to room with in my dorm next year - a dorm that she has to live in. 

I say it'll be fine. Not to mention, if she meets a wonderful girl outside of her dorm - she can request to have that girl come and move into her dorm. 

Her math teacher, 'Teach', whose twins I babysit, is zooming with her tonight to help her review for math. 

I told 'Teach': I wonder if Mini is struggling because she's a funny kid and she hasn't yet shown that side. Maybe if she shares the grad photo story when the photographer dragged her across the room by her feet, people who gravitate towards humor will be like:

YOU, TALL GIRL WITH THE MESSY BUN, YOU'RE MY PEOPLE. 

*********

Can you figure out what is going on
 in this photo? It's so weird,
it's almost artistic. 

I saw Mini Saturday while tailgating at Notre Dame. So fun. Our presence on campus during the first home game stressed her out. I urged her to just do her thing - see us when it worked. Another tearful good-bye. Not gonna lie, I'm having a hard time focusing on anything. Thanks for putting up with this long saga. I'm hoping she relaxes soon, so I can also relax.  

*******

Are you a fan or Greek life? That wasn't offered at my college. Anyone homesick when they went to college, camp, or anywhere? Have you wrestled a phone from someone when you heard tears, knowing the person NEEDED you? Do you freeze cookies or something else? With a grading system? 



September 12, 2022

"They do it right" ~ oh please & FB introductions

I rarely post on FB, but after I dropped Tank off I posted a photo of Tank in his room with a caption: 1 DOWN, 2 TO GO. Then a note on our next drop offs.

A woman commented: OH, ENJOY NOTRE DAME'S WELCOME WEEK. THEY DO IT RIGHT. (she's an ND mom)

This reminds me of how Mary Ann gave Mini a card earlier in the summer congratulating her on ND. Mary Ann's daughter's a junior there. Um, no - WE WON'T BE CARPOOLING. 

Don't get me wrong, the card was nice. Guessing Mary Ann is like my family of origin, recognizing Notre Dame as The One. The Only. 

Puke.

Mini:  (after getting the card) THAT WAS NICE. GUESSING SHE DIDN'T CONGRATULATE TANK ON CREIGHTON LAST YEAR THOUGH. *eyeroll*

Over the summer, Mini caddied for men who hate Notre Dame. I keep telling her that so long as she sees things clearly, she won't become a person who embraces the 'This is The One. The Only' mindset. 

This is only a few of them.
 There are more
.
When she was packing, Mini piled up her 15 hoodies, most of which were Notre Dame (many 2nd hand from her friends after she was accepted). I was like THAT'S A LOT. THEY ALMOST ALL SAY ND. 

Mini:  I KNOW. I LOVE IT. 

Me:  UH-OH. IT'S HAPPENING. YOU'RE TURNING INTO ONE OF THEM. (giggling)

The "ND does welcome weekend right" FB comment reminded me of those bumper stickers:  honor roll student at (insert school) on board. I really wanted to reply on FB with something like MY CREIGHTON STUDENT CAN BEAT UP YOUR NOTRE DAME STUDENT.

I refrained.

I told Coach and Mini about how that FB comment ruffled my feathers, and we all chuckled. I thought Creighton's welcome was amazing. While ND's was a wonderful weekend, a few things could have been improved: 

Sometimes the schedule changed or was wrong. Or a time was listed incorrectly. Oops. 

ND (quoting Ally Bean) "charges a king's ransom" to attend, so could they offer parents complimentary dining hall passes for these two days?  Limit the menu options, if that cuts cost - but come on now. 

There WAS a free hot dog lunch on Friday. They ran out of drinks early on though and they didn't replenish. When they said hot dog lunch, they weren't kidding. The hot dogs were already in buns. Only the bag of chips was GF. I pack my own food  just in case, so I was fine. 

I bet the birds were excited for my bread crumbs. 
I don't think this photo even
 does the bread disaster justice.
After the nice welcome lecture in the sports arena Friday evening, we walked next door to the football stadium. They handed out boxed dinners. GF meals available. Hooray. Good thing we were in a stadium, because I made a mess. My chicken sandwich was on a crumbly GF bun - understatement. We were laughing that people surrounding us were probably wondering what my issue was. Get out much? 

I wish they'd given Mini an accurate room size when she asked. The rug we bought for the common room of her quad is very small in relation to the room. 

There's an ND Facebook page for parents of freshmen. Dang. I discovered it AFTER welcome weekend. It would've been nice to to have tips, advice, and info in advance. My guess:  the University isn't affiliated with this page, so it wouldn't be their responsibility to share the link. But, I repeat DANG. 

This was a fun dinner idea. One of Mini's
 roomies texted asking if they wanted
 to sit together. Mini didn't see the text
 until later. It didn't matter because
 one of the other girls in the quad had
 responded that they were
 going to eat somewhere
else. Apparently not everyone appreciates
 a free meal like the Shenanigans do.

**********

BTW - I joined the FB page. I can scroll to early posts. Not sure a bigger time suck exists. Parents on this page posted about their kids' acceptances since late December. 

Some are standard:  SUZIE Q IS EXCITED TO ATTEND NOTRE DAME IN THE FALL. WE LIVE IN CALIFORNIA. LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING ALL OF YOU.

Then there are others:  WHILE JOHNNY  HAS BEEN ACCEPTED TO MANY FINE INSTITUTIONS, HE'S CHOSEN ND. HIS OLDER BROTHER AND SISTER BOTH GO TO ND. SO DID HIS DAD AND I. JOHNNY WAS VOTED BY HIS PEERS TO SPEAK DURING COMENCEMENT AT HIS VERY PRESTIGIOUS HIGH SCHOOL. HE'S ALSO THE BEST AT EVERY SPORT YOU'VE EVER HEARD OF. HE PLANS TO BE A DOCTOR AND A CHEMICAL ENGINEER BUT WILL FIRST SOLVE WORLD HUNGER. (sort of embellished, but you get the idea).

If I'd known about the page and I was going to introduce Mini on it back when she was accepted, maybe I'd write: 

OUR DAUGHTER, MINI, HAS BEEN ACCEPTED TO ND. WE'RE PROUD OF HER FOR . . .  

*  NOT KNOWING THAT ND ACCEPTANCES HAD BEEN DELIVERED IN EMAIL FOR 36 HOURS,

* ALWAYS ROCKING A MESSY BUN, 

*  BEING LATE ALMOST DAILY TO HIGH SCHOOL BUT KNOWING HOW TO WIGGLE OUT OF IT AND THEREFORE NEVER SERVING DETENTION, 

*  GETTING EXCELLENT GRADES DESPITE SKIPPING SCHOOL REGULARLY TO HELP ME WITH MY DAYCARE, 

*  LOSING HER PHONE REPEATEDLY BUT BEING RESOURCEFUL ENOUGH TO FIND IT - OFTEN IN THE POCKET OF HER HOODIE, 

Mini at the beautiful grotto at
Notre Dame. Go get um, kid.
You are one of a kind. 
 
*  MANAGING NOT TO BREAK HER NECK IN HER BEDROOM DESPITE THE MOUNDS OF CLOTHES THAT COVERED THE FLOOR, 

*  PROVIDING PEERS WITH SIDE SPLITTING ENTERTAINMENT CONSISTENTLY, 

*  SOCIALLY CONNECTING WITH VARIOUS GROUPS AT HIGH SCHOOL BECAUSE OF HER FRIENDLY AND GENUINE PERSONALITY, 

*  CHOOSING NOT TO CARE WHAT ANYONE THINKS OF HER,

*  NEVER PRETENDING TO BE ANYTHING BUT WHO SHE IS.

LOOKING FORWARD TO MEETING ALL OF YOU SOON. 

*************

 In the comments, please add  suggestions for a crafty Mini FB intro that I may've glossed over, or if you've attended a welcome by a college - how did it go? Do you know people who have tunnel vision when it comes to their fav college? Or do you know people who brag about their kids? Ever eat a messy meal and wish you were in a stadium? 




September 7, 2022

strategic errors and a near miss for the books

The holiday, which was indeed Labor Day (I referred to it as Memorial Day in yesterday's post), has thrown off my typical Mon/Wed post days. Not even sure what I normally do after a Monday holiday, but here we are with posts back to back. 

"THIS IS A WELL PACKED CAR:"

Upperclassmen in dorm-specific, color coded t-shirts held signs and cheered as cars drove up. As soon as we alerted the color-coded folks which dorm we were heading to, the girls in the lilac shirts chased our car, screamed, cheered, waved flags, and behaved in a very excited fashion. It was touching and very fun. The girls were super welcoming, but the welcome-wagon guys from the male dorms were positively entertaining. One dorm posted this sign out in front of their dorm: 

Duncan is a name of one of the
 male dorms. This
made us chuckle. 

Mini went inside to check-in and get her room key. Coach and I prepared to help the helper girls put Mini's things in huge laundry carts. 

Girl in lilac shirt:  (upon opening the trunk) OH, THIS IS A WELL PACKED CAR. 

I took a small bow, and thanked her for the compliment. She was not wrong. 

ROOMMATE INFO:  

Notre Dame doesn't allow kids to shop on social media, or anywhere, for roommates as freshmen. No requests. In my book, that's fine, but they also make no attempt to pair kids with similar interests or messy/neat, early bird/night owl factory settings, which in these days of algorithms-rule-the-world seems a bit nonsensical to me. 

In other words, yes - I fear that Mini's roommate will struggle with Mini's mess making issues. At the risk of getting ahead of myself, Mini and her roommate are not likely to be friends. I think meeting someone new is a great concept, but could we try to find a common thread here? Spoiler alert:  having an annoying roommate made the transition to college hard for Mini. 

STRATEGIC ERROR #1 (not counting the alarm mishap, which really - WAS a big error, right?): 

I intended to jog up to the room with Mini. Be there when she met her roomie. Start helping her get unpacked. The car needed to be moved to a lot and Coach wanted me to go with him. He didn't know his way around, but in hindsight - ASK SOMEONE, google-maps, etc. Instead, I told Mini I'd go with Coach and we'd be right back.

STRATEGIC ERROR #2:  

We parked, and then I started walking. I stopped, noticing Coach was not walking. I waited for a few minutes. I walked back towards the car. I stood there. I walked to his side of the car. I saw him digging in his bags. He moved to the trunk. More digging. He went back to the front seat. 

Me:  What are you looking for?

Coach:  I can't find my wallet.

I asked a few questions to see if that might help us pinpoint its location. He mentioned that he almost forgot it at home and grabbed it at the last minute. Why then would it be in his overnight bag? I climbed in the front seat. Reached between the seats in the space allocated for cups, purses, and 'stuff' -  and pulled out his wallet. 

Mini texted me:  WHERE ARE YOU? 

Me:   Sorry, we're coming. Dad couldn't find his wallet. Walking back now. 

TO LOFT OR NOT TO LOFT, THAT IS NO LONGER A QUESTION:  

By the time we got to her room, Mini looked a little frazzled. She'd hoped to mid-loft her bed. That wasn't an option given the furniture that they had. The beds were lofted. She had a wardrobe under her bed to one side and a desk to the other side. There was very little wiggle room and most importantly NO CLOSET AND NO DRESSER. Her wardrobe had 2.5 drawers at the bottom and space to hang things. Oh, dear.

Remember how I forbid her from purchasing additional drawers? Oops. 

I whispered to her:  What's up? 

Mini:  I'm too tall to fit under my bed, but Ellen wants to leave them lofted. She told me: "I like my cave." 

Ellen is short, and apparently a fan of dark, cramped spaces. The only other option was to bunk the beds and Mini wasn't a huge fan of sleeping in such close proximity anyway. She was mostly bummed that the beds could not be mid-lofted.  

The other two roommates disassembled the loft. They bunked their beds, but then couldn't fit all of the furniture in their room. They decided to park one of their desks in the common room shared by all 4. I suggested to Mini that she put part of her furniture out there too in order to make their room work. Only fair, right? She wouldn't dare.

Before we left, she'd b0pped her head countless times on the bottom of the bed. Tank's college is big on slicing open pool noodles and sticking them to the bottom of a lofted bed to avoid concussions. When we got home, I sent a pool noodle with Tank's friend who goes to Notre Dame. He was leaving the next morning.  

STRATEGIC ERROR #3:

I wore a pair of sandals that I love. Naot, I think. I've had them forever. Maybe too long - I wonder if they are too lose fitting now as the straps have stretched out. They're very comfortable, but they failed me. Big time. We walked around campus so much that I ended up with a blister on the ball of my foot. Thankfully, I packed a different pair of sandals for the next day and they have a high arch support that immediately took the pressure off my poor blister. I survived.

OUR ALMOST-ERROR:  

I have more to report on the drop off, but let me just jump ahead to this very close call that would've been a big road bump. 

Coach and I walked out of the hotel with all of our stuff Saturday morning. We were heading home Saturday night. The schedule given to us by the university noted that Sat. night it was time to say good-bye. Yikes. So soon?

Don't try this at home. Or in a hotel
 parking lot while out of town.
(dabs brow of sweat just looking
 at the photo evidence)
As we approached the car in the parking lot, Coach fumbled the car fab, dropped it, and watched as it BOUNCED.OFF.THE.GRATE.ON.A.SEWER. that he happened to be standing on. It cleared the grate and landed a few inches away. 

We stood there for a full minute. Staring at the key fab. At each other. Back at the ground. Imagine that text from Mini, if she thought the misplaced wallet made for a lengthy delay. With our eyes bugging out of our heads, we exchanged feelings of gratitude, loaded the car, and headed over to see our frazzled freshman. 

More on the frazzled bit soon.  

Even lost a key fab? Did your college kid like his/her roommate? Gotten a blister at an inopportune time? From shoes that you formerly swore by? Know anyone concussed by his/her lofted bed? 

September 6, 2022

4:56 am, Do like Elsa, not your mother's college move in, & a funny video clip

Yesterday was Memorial Day, so I'm posting on a the unofficial Monday of this week.

Thank you for the many wonderful and flattering comments on my 1,000th post. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm tempted to celebrate this, my 1,001st post, in hopes of seeing another uptick in comments. In other words, don't be shy. Seriously, I so appreciate that you all visit and are interested in the world of the Shenanigans. 

*I forgot to mention that when Mini squirted her opponent in that video clip, the opponent calmly stated:  YOU EARNED THAT. 

Great quote. I died. 

****************

DO LIKE ELSA:  

When I went to bed the night before we were driving Mini to Notre Dame I set my alarm for 7:20ish. I'd stayed up later than I wanted and while I'm almost always up right at 6:00 am, I hoped to sleep a little longer. We planned to leave at 8 am. 

At 4:56 am, a time that my brain believes is THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, an alarm went off. Coach crawled over me, or jumped up, or behaved in some way to make we feel like he was shaking me awake. Granted, I was in a deep, DEEP sleep - as I should've been. So, I was confused. 

I stumbled into the bathroom, which is where Coach and I both plug our phones in.  Coach was ahead of me. I entered the bathroom and he turned around (after turning off his phone alarm) to leave the bathroom and we bumped into each other. 

Me:  WHAT?

Coach:  HUH? 

Me:  WHY DID YOU WAKE ME UP? I HAVE MY ALARM SET ALREADY. WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Coach:  I DIDN'T WAKE YOU UP. 

Oh, I beg to differ. Turns out he forgot that since he wasn't going to work he didn't need to have a back up alarm set (he wakes up to the alarm clock on the nightstand, but he tends to wake up before it goes off. He keeps an alarm on his phone as a backup - in case of a power outage, etc.)

Coach went back to bed. I went to the bathroom, then tried to go back to sleep . . . with NO SUCCESS. My mind was, in a word, busy. 

Tired, fuzzy-head mode was NOT how I anticipated driving Mini to school. I tried to slip back into sleep mode after being jolted awake for almost an hour (it still seemed to me like he'd grabbed me and shaken me awake, as in THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE, making it hard to recover from). Finally, I hopped up and went for my run. I'd been willing to skip my run, but now I thought "if I don't run I will feel miserable at having been awake and not worked out." 

I was looking for a photo for this post. Here's
a picture of the girls in the kitchen. Mini's shirt: 
 ND, class of '26.This was in July, so before move
 in, but that shirt leapt out at me.
 
I told myself to move on. Do like Elsa and let it go. I hoped that after an exhausting run, I'd be able to nap in the car for a few minutes. Alas, I did not nap in the car. And try as I might, I still felt grouchy. I barked at Coach a little before we left the house. I felt bad, because I know he didn't mean to wake me up. He knows me after all, and he knows HOW MUCH I value my precious sleep. He did apologize eventually. I (mostly) put it behind me. 

Preferring to be the first person to arrive in the room, Mini was bummed that her randomly-assigned-roommate was arriving before us. We'd signed up for a move in time slot in advance:  11 am, because South Bend is weirdly an hour ahead of Chicago and I figured we could leave at 8 am and not be overly tired. If only. 

NOT YOUR MOTHER'S COLLEGE MOVE IN PROCEEDURES:  

We arrived at the parking lot 'staging area' and waited in a line of cars. We were 15 minutes early. The parking lot workers used walkies to communicate with each dorm and then waved us through when we had permission to proceed. 

This is a new and improved approach to college move-in days of yore. My other kids' colleges did something similar, so I wasn't surprised. Thank you 21st century for assigned move in time slots and organization. 

I told Mini that my father was insufferable on my move in day. 

Mini:  What? Why?

Me:  Well, you've met him. My father is not a patient man. In the time of the stone age, they didn't assign upperclassmen the chore  of assisting new freshmen with moving in. Waiting for a free elevator alone almost did him in. 

Mini:  Oh, gosh. 

The heat, the lack of dollies, the unavailable parking spots in front of the dorm, the perky other parents, the amount that I brought (which really was NOTHING), and because it was a source of real drama, I'll again reference the waiting for an elevator.

There was much grumbling under his breath and head shaking. I noted with envy other parents and their friendly demeanors and helpful attitudes. My parents got me settled in my room. I believe they left about two hours after dropping me off for a reason that I cannot recall. I think my dad and I attended an informational meeting about studying in Ireland. They skipped the picnic dinner, the welcome mass the next morning, and any other activities. 

I remember standing on the steps of the dorm. My parents said good-bye. No tears were shed, but maybe Mom sniffled a bit. Then they hopped in our '76 red Chevy Impala station wagon and drove down the picturesque tree-lined street. Dad rolled his window down, blared the horn, and hollered:  three down, two to go!

I lowered my hand mid-wave and hurried up the steps of the dorm, hoping no one would connect me with the car. This was my dad's version of a dad joke. He thought he was very clever. That was one way to avoid tears, but I wasn't going to cry anyway. 

**********


This is a video clip Reg shared with me. I'd forgotten about it. It was July 1. A month before Reg's seizure. It's only relevance is that it is a sweet summer memory of my goofy kids. Tank driving. Mini badgering him in the front seat. Reg the camera man. On the way home from caddying. 

**********

Coming soon:  roommate situation, move-in errors made, how Mini is faring, Jenny in WV's prize, and expensive medical bills. Any guesses on whether or not we pulled away honking and hollering after dropping Mini? Have you been awakened by a run-amuck alarm? 

August 31, 2022

My 1,000 post: What my people are saying (WMPAS)

I have been taking notes mentally, which let's face it means I need to hurry and record my thoughts or I'll forget. These are things the kids and Coach have been saying lately. I don't think any of it will surprise you, but I think it'll give you a chuckle. 

I feel like this might make a fun new 'what my people are saying' segment to my blog, and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate my 1,000 post.

*******

Mini asked Coach a few nights before we left for Budapest what kind of dog he would like, since he basically doesn't like dogs, or pets of any kind. 

Coach:  UM, THE KIND THAT STAYS NEAR ME, LIKE LAYS AT MY FEET, BUT DOESN'T BOTHER ME. AFFECTIONATE BUT LETS ME PET IT AND THEN JUST LAYS THERE AND LEAVES ME ALONE. ACTS LIKE THEY ARE INTERESTED IN MY DAY AND THAT THEY MISSED ME. PLEASANT. NOT YAPPY.

Mini:  OH, SO BASICALLY CURLY IN DOG FORM, BUT A CURLY VERSION THAT DOESN'T TALK. 

*******

In early spring, Mini joined senior assassin. Seniors pay a small fee and then participate in a squirt gun competition. The last team standing wins free tickets to prom. 

Mini and her partner were randomly assigned to knock off another twosome, one of which was her co-president to the Global Humanitarian Club. Mini convinced him that a local newspaper was going to write a small article about the club. She asked him to meet her at the library where the paper was going to take their photo. 

If the seniors wore a cape or a cowboy hat, they were off-limits. This video shows Mini saying, "We should take off our hats for the photo." Her assassin partner's mom, who this kid didn't know, agreed to pose as the photographer. The mom ended up filming the assassination. Watch as Mini pretends to pull club flyers out of her bag to show the fake newspaper lady, but instead whips out her squirt gun. 

*The video shared with me was sideways, so I had to play in back on my desktop and then record it on my video camera in order to use it. I put this clip in the grad video I made for her, of course. 

I told her there was no way this was going to work, to not get her hopes up. Thirty minutes later, she came home and stood in my kitchen laughing uncontrollably. 

Mini:  I NEED AN EGO CHECK OR SOMETHING. I'M FEELING LIKE 007 OVER HERE. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS WORKED. 

*******

While in Budapest, Ed described the gym where he works out. A HUGE guy acts as a trainer for people. Ed says he looks JUST LIKE the guy Ivan something or other in Rocky II, maybe. Anyway, Ed got to a leg-press piece of equipment. Ivan lookalike walked over with his client and asked Ed how much longer he had on the leg-press. 

Ed:  OH, I JUST GOT ON THIS MACHINE. I HAVEN'T STARTED.

Ed said there were a bunch of open leg-presses thingies. He personally didn't really care which one he used, but he could tell Ivan wanted this particular machine. 

Ed:  OH, I CAN JUST USE ANOTHER MACHINE. IT'S FINE. NO BIG DEAL.

Ivan then looked at him straight faced as Ed got up and moved to another machine. He nodded at Ed, then he said to Ed:  YOU- THE KING OF THE JUNGLE. (not sure how great this quote is without the all-important Hungarian accent which Ed does an excellent imitation of). We were dying. 

********

BREAKFAST OUT BEFORE MINI LEFT FOR COLLEGE: 

Coach and I took Mini to breakfast in the hiccup of time after he and I drove Ed and Tank respectively, and before we drove her. We gave her a little speech about being careful. It feels different to send a girl to college. At least it feels different to me. 

Me:  Don't drink a drink after you've set it down. Don't drink a drink unless you remove the cap yourself. You have to be careful.

Mini:  Well, I think I have tall girl privilege. 

Coach:  Wait what's that?

Mini:  Well, I'm 6 feet tall. So, I think if anyone is going to target someone, then they will target someone, ya know, smaller than me. 

Coach:  (forehead wrinkled) Wait, what? Have there been studies on this?

Me: (looking at his face, aware that he is thinking this is a real thing) Oh my goodness, she is not referring to some actual thing here. She's THINKING that she should be fine because she is tall. Nothing scientific about it. (turning to my tall daughter) So . . . a guy who is drunk or stupid enough to take advantage of a girl is not necessarily going to be focused enough on her height, so please be careful and keep your wits about you. 

Coach:  Gosh, I thought that was the name of something. 

Mini:  (shrugging) Well, I am 6 feet tall. 

**********

Whether you're fairly new here or you've been around for awhile, I appreciate connecting with you. Quite possibly more than you know. 

I would SO welcome your comments on, well, I don't know . . . anything. Maybe tell me how you ended up reading my blog? Is there a particular post that has made you laugh/cringe/cry? Is there something that would make my blog better? Any guesses on what Lad was looking for on the roof in this photo, while Coach held the ladder, and Finn, Lad's loyal buddy looked? 

Well, now we have plenty to talk about. In case you are unaware, it is customary for every reader visiting a 1,000th post celebration to leave a comment. Brief is fine. Introduce yourself. I'm waiting. 

August 29, 2022

Mini's packing process: last hurrahs, not enough neutrals, & emotions

MISSED APPOINTMENT:  

The day after Mini's Target debacle I got a message from the dermatologist. We'd missed an appointment. I guess Mini isn't the only blond in the family. I was so bummed. 

It was Curly's appointment. I planned to take Mini instead - ask for suggestions for the scar on her leg delivered by the air bag in her car accident. It looks like someone smeared mud in a line down her leg. She's going to do a zoom appointment from her dorm room in a few weeks. 

I could NOT believe I'd forgotten. I was doing nothing important, unless you count talking a hysterical 18 year old through a wallet crisis at Target as important. 

LAST HURRAHS AND STALLED PACKING: 

Mini's packing was NOT going well. I noticed that she was excellent at stacking things in piles, but she wasn't great at moving past that to the next phase:  PUTTING THINGS IN BAGS OR BOXES. 

A few times in that last week, she would say:  MEETING THE BASKETBALL FRIENDS FOR DINNER. OUR LAST HURRAH. Or, GOING TO BREAKFAST WITH MY BESTIES. OUR LAST HURRAH.

I was confused. Hadn't she already had a last hurrah sleep over with the besties? 

Well, yes she had. But now one of them was REALLY about to leave. *eyeroll* 

Disarray is how she rolls. 
There were things that needed to be done. The bedroom could not be left in disarray, right? Does she even know what a room without disarray looks like? 

I put my foot down. We were leaving on Friday. I made her caddy on Tuesday and Wednesday. She could take Thursday off. She didn't like my plan, but I couldn't watch her sit and move her piles from the dining room floor to the living room couch or other parallel moves any longer. This was not progress, it was simply pile-reconfiguration. I figured if she caddied, she'd have less time and with less time, she was going to have to buckle down and actually complete the packing task.

I KNOW, LET'S GO SHOPPING:  

Tuesday evening, I told Mini that I'd join her in her room to help her pack. A moment after I entered her room, I ordered her to move the piles of clothes to my room. *More reconfiguration* I couldn't work in 'that space.' The light wasn't working. It was dark and cluttered, understatement. 

I stared in disbelief at the size of the piles of clothes that she planned to bring. EXPLAIN YOURSELF. There was a shirt in the pile that had been tossed out by her older brothers. If a male in our home recognizes that a shirt is no longer worth keeping , then by JOVE - it's TRASH. 

Mini:  But, it's really soft. 

Me:  It's not as if you're forced to wear a hair shirt or itchy wool. Your clothes are not scratchy and you don't have sensory issues. 

Then, in the ELEVENTH HOUR, she pointed out a hole in her wardrobe: NOT ENOUGH NEUTRALS. 

Just before we moved packing headquarters to my room, I overheard her summon Curly. She was trading Curly a pair of her running shorts for a pair of Curly's black shorts. 

Huh? I pointed out that the black shorts were Curly's size and didn't fit Mini great. Mini took offense to this, but the girls are 3.5 years apart in age and Curly is a smaller size. Tensions were high. 

So Mini owns tons of shorts and tons of shirts, but very few of them are neutrals. The rags match better with her mint, burgundy, and coral shorts. She didn't have enough black or white tops. 

A fraction of it.

I was blown away, but the evidence was right there on my bedroom floor. I like to shop. That's no secret. I had no idea that her wardrobe was lacking. It seemed she needed a few more things to make it unnecessary to dress in an older brother's garbage t-shirt. 

What does a mother do when she doesn't want to face the inevitable and she has guilt about not buying more neutrals (clearly neutrals weren't on sale as frequently)? She orders stuff from Amazon and store pick up items from Von Maur. I found the black shorts of Curly's in Mini's size at Old Navy and shipped those to her dorm. 

*It begs the question:  Did I have a horrible wardrobe growing up because free shipping wasn't a thing? Or was it simply that my mom was on a budget and she insisted I wear my older, shorter sisters' clothes? 

Wednesday evening, 36 hours from drop off, we headed to Von Maur because we had to pick up my order. How's that for handy? It was crunch time. We dragged a pouty Curly along. 

Little Ms. High School Freshman has become fixated on friend time and caddying was getting in the way. Not all freshman work, but ours has to. She doesn't caddy daily and she misses lots of caddy opportunities for sports, but if caddying interferes with stuff her friends have scheduled- watch out. 

*ASIDE:  the next day, Curly caddied early. I raced to pick her up and get her to the pool party that she feared she'd miss. She was barely even late. All was right in the world again.  

I made a cool whip and cream cheese
 pie for Mini's last night. All Curly had
 to do was create an ND
 out of fruit. I think it's an abstract creation,
 but it was tasty apparently. Not a GF crust.
I left the girls to try some things on while I ran to customer service to grab our order. When I came back, I could hear the girls laughing in their dressing room. It was like music to my ears. I just wanted to stand there and freeze time. 

Mini opted to keep a few of the Amazon things. Packing wasn't compete Thursday evening, but I asked her to come with me to return the Amazon rejects to Kohls and to go to Costco. I bought my folks a rotisserie chicken. Mini and I ran it over to them and she said good-bye.

IT STARTED IN THE CAR:  

I'm not sure who started. Maybe Mini said, I CAN'T BELEIVE I'M NOT GOING TO BE AT HOME. 

Then I chimed in with:  IT'S JUST NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME AGAIN. (I choked up here, obviously) YOU'LL ONLY BE HOME WHILE YOU'RE IN BETWEEN THINGS. LIKE, WAITING FOR THE NEXT YEAR AT COLLEGE. OR WHILE YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A JOB. I'M GOING TO MISS YOU SO MUCH. 

Mini whispered:  I'LL CALL MORE THAN THE BOYS DO. 

Not sure you can tell, but this is a HUGE
duffel bag from Lad's football days. I
 tossed this puppy in the car like a boss.
We both sobbed. Then I said, WELL IT'S BEEN A GOOD RUN. YOU'RE GOING TO DO AMAZING, I'M SO PROUD OF YOU AND YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE, YOUR KINDNESS, AND YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR. YOU'RE GOING TO DO GREAT THINGS. 

Then we went inside and got down to business loading her incredibly over-the-top wardrobe, now with neutrals, into huge duffel bags. I decided that I didn't want to wait till morning to load the car. I wanted to have a nice relaxing sleep before the big day. *foreshadowing* Lad and Coach figured out how to lower the seats and then went to bed. I loaded the car. 

*********

Well, my friends, she's been gone a week and I just sobbed all over again as I wrote this. Wednesday is my 1,000th post. I have something special planned, so a short break from Mini's college drop off  - but my next post is chock full of Mini-isms. Get ready to leave a comment in celebration. While you're at it - go ahead and comment today to get warmed up. This teary mom could use a comment, or 30. Do you only buy neutrals? Did you become emotional dropping kids at college? Do you have a disarray-loving family member? Do you have experience with a scar from an air bag? 


August 24, 2022

Mini: a Target adventure for the books

BUYING STUFF IN THE 11TH HOUR-  the TARGET DRAMA (needing to be specific here, because believe it or not, there are additional BUYING STUFF IN THE 11TH HOUR categories): 

Since the golf course is closed, Mini had Monday off that last week. I arrived home from driving Tank on Sunday evening. She laid out her Monday plan: Target. 

She'd asked me to go to Target the week prior.

Me:  Thanks, I'll take a pass. 

She was taken aback. I urged her to go with Tank before he left, combine forces. I'd already accompanied her to Bed, Bath & Beyond. I'd also done Kohls with her. I'd also sat at the computer and ordered stuff. I'd pivoted when the sheets that arrived weren't the right navy for her taste. Returned them to Amazon and ordered others. A line needed to be drawn. 

I'm not a monster. I gave her my credit card to go to Target. 

Besides I was going to start babysitting on Tuesday and I had my own things to focus on. I'd just driven 6.5 hours to Omaha with Tank and another 6.5 hours home, solo. 

*There are a few driving stories from both Georgia and Omaha that I must share at some point. Who will remind me? 

Needless to say, that day after my long distance drivers I had no interest in driving anywhere 'extra.' 

Mini went off to Target. She'd informed me that her friends were bringing SO MUCH MORE to college than she was. This was confirmed during her many 'last hurrah' encounters with friends. She rattled off things they were bringing to college - things that, I quickly pointed out, she doesn't use, like vitamins or hair products or body pillows. She was upset with me that I wouldn't allow her to buy a set of drawers for her dorm room. "Everyone brings extra drawers." I begged to differ. The dorm would have a closet, a dresser, and/ or a wardrobe. 

Chill out, no drawers were necessary. These were words I spoke BEFORE I saw what she planned to pack. A wardrobe fit for her and 11 of her closest friends. I'm getting ahead of myself. 

It's great that pictures speak a thousand
words, because I'm speechless on this one. 

An hour after Mini left for Target, she called me. I was relaxing on the deck. I'd decided to enjoy a bit of me-time on this, my last day off before babysitting. 

Mini was sobbing. 

I sat straight up on my lounger, assuming she'd been in another car accident. 

Mini:  (in a breathless whisper) I lost my wallet. (more wailing and explaining)

Me:  OK, have you looked through the cart? Did you retrace your steps? (yes to both) OK, go to customer service and see if someone turned it in.

Mini:  Where is customer service?

Me:  (thinking to myself:  did I raise you in a cage in the basement - how do you not know how to find customer service in a Target?) It's at the front of the store, ya know - where you pick up orders or return stuff. I'm going to get ready to go pick up Curly (that was part of the plan, she was going to leave Target and pick up Curly from her workout at LA Fitness and drop her at the high school for volleyball practice). 

Mini:  (still whimpering) OK, I'm really sorry. (sob, sob) What am I going to do? I had everything in there.

Me:  GO TO CUSTOMER SERVICE.

I hung up and ran to change out of my bathing suit. While I was upstairs my phone rang. I ran back downstairs, just missing a call from Mini. I called her back.

Mini:  (insert calm voice) I got it. They had it at customer service. It's fine. I can get Curly. Tell her I might be a few minutes late. I'm in the checkout now. 

This is a tiny 7 second clip of the girls doing some sort of impromptu dance routine the night before we left to drop Mini at school. 

Later I told Mini how lucky she was. 

Mini:  Well, we live in a nice area. 

Me:  (STARING AT HER WIDE EYED) Still, anyone could have just taken your money. My credit card. Your 2 gift cards. You are LUCKY.

A bit later, Mini shared with me that she saw just about everyone that she knew at Target . . . and they were all shopping with their moms. 

No guilt here. I'd already told her that anything she needed at Target could be ordered on Amazon and arrive the next day. 

Then Mini shared with me that her bestie pulled into the parking lot right next to her car as she was leaving. *A week later, I asked her if Bestie's mom was with Bestie. She was NOT. I rest my case. Mini tried to argue that Bestie buys new clothes daily and is the most independent person that she knows, so not a fair comp. 

Mini:  Bestie double over laughing (in the Target parking lot) when I told her I cried twice in the store. Once when I lost my wallet (which by the way, had the keys to the car attached because it's a lanyard) and once when I lost my phone. Did I tell you that? Before I lost my wallet, I set my phone down on a shelf and realized later that I didn't have it. I went back and found it. (here she mentions the various people that we know who she passed along the way while she was crying).

Me:  OK, Notre Dame. (I've become accustomed to calling Mini 'Notre Dame' when she behaves in a slightly flighty way. It has gotten used more than I care to admit).

Can you believe that Mini told me, while smiling and sort of nudging me, that had I been with her, she wouldn't have lost her wallet? This entire adventure clearly needed to be experienced as one of her time-to-go-to-college growing pains. 

They handed her an actual key for her dorm room when we brought her. I think she was hoping for a keycard like you get in a hotel. Anyone want to guess what she loses first:  her key, her school ID, her phone, or her entire backpack? Dear God, I do hope that she has gotten that out of her system. 

August 22, 2022

it's a dog eat box world, college drop offs: the sons addition, Hallmark card suggestion, or not

Where to begin? For the last few weeks, our home has felt like and looked like a college gear fulfillment center. Boxes strewn across the floor. Bins resurfacing from various spaces in the basement. Bed Bath and Beyond coupons spread all over the island. People hollering things like:  

WHO'S BIN IS THIS?

DID SOMEONE SEE A PACKAGE THAT ARRIVED YESTERDAY?

DID THE DOG EAT THIS DELIVERY BOX OR WAS THIS SOMETHING WE ALREADY OWNED? *

*so this did NOT feel related to a college packing place. It felt like a different kind of nightmare. We feared that Mary Ann ordered doggie poop collection bags.

(I don't know the actual name because 1. I don't have a dog, and 2. the dog ate the box containing the rolls of poop collection bags before I could see a product name). 
Note one roll, on the far
 right - slightly chewed.

What if Mary Ann ordered them and they were mistakenly delivered on our front porch and then one of us tossed said package inside the door, as we tend to do, and Finn ate the box with the label? What then? 

Well, to our relief, Lad realized that the box had been stored in his locker in the mudroom, and Finn grabbed it from there. Bullet-from-ridiculous-neighbor dodged. We breathed a collective sigh. I admit it was hard not to chuckle when Lad scolded Finn by holding out the bits of package and Finn nuzzled his face into my leg like a naughty toddler looking for an ally.  

                                                                    ***********

This actual package chewing thing happened once before, but fortunately it was something we had ordered, so unrelated to Mary Ann. There was a tampon shortage, of all things, earlier in the summer. Did you know this? We were about to go to Wisconsin with my family and the girls wondered if they might need these items. Store shelves were empty and I ordered various items on line. I ordered a lifetime supply unsure of what would actually arrive. Um, they all arrived. 

"Did I do that?" - spoken in that
annoying tone like Steve Urkel.
Who is enjoying MY recliner chair?

Admittedly, neither of the girls are full fledged, card carrying members of the tampon usage club, but always good to have options. 

If you're wondering, Curly has not recovered from the 'incident' in KC, which still serves as the single funniest event I've ever witnessed

If you are further wondering, the tampon boxes were shredded, but the products survived, so no money lost. 

***********

TANK'S STORY: this will probably not surprise you

When I moved Tank into his dorm at Creighton, we shared a giggle about the move in his freshman year. He carried up a bin that had a bunch of clothes in it. Someone in the elevator pointed to the index card taped to the side of the bin:  MATERNITY CLOTHES. Oops. 

Fact:  we're good at reusing bins here, but apparently not great at discarding old labels. 

Not sure that I ever shared Tank's oops when I picked him up from school in May. He wasn't packed. Believe it or not, that is NOT the oops. I anticipated this and brought many empty laundry baskets and boxes. We scooped up his stuff up and chucked it into the back of the car and drove off. 

While we were scooping his stuff up, he proudly handed me a sheet of paper. "This is my award from my fraternity. They did a thing at the end of the year and they gave this to me," he chuckled. 

The paper said MIX IN A WATER. 

Me:  I DON'T GET IT.

Tank:  YOU KNOW, MIX IN A WATER.

Me:  NO, I CAN READ - I'M JUST SAYING I DON'T GET THE MEANING.

Tank:  WELL, THEY SAY THAT TO SOMEONE IF THEY'VE HAD TOO MUCH TO DRINK. LIKE SWITCH TO WATER FOR A BIT. GET IT? 

Me:  (staring at him, head tilted to one side) OH, YEAH. I SEE. I GET IT PERFECTLY NOW. YOU SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN THOUGH. I'M YOUR MOTHER. GOOD GRIEF, TANK. THAT'S NOT FUNNY TO ME. 

This moment when he mistook me for a buddy lead to Coach and I talking to him quite regularly over the summer about the importance of NOT overdoing it. 

*************

ED'S STORY:  this may or may not surprise you

The Great White comes
 in handy, yet again.
 This is the side entrance. Packed
 to the gills for Ed's departure.

Ed needed a mattress because he is going to be living in a house. I will say only that one night he happened to be with me driving to Costco and someone had thrown a full size mattress and box spring out at the curb. 

I will not say anymore except that we may or may not have decided upon inspection that said mattress was in good enough condition to be repurposed for a college house. There are, after all, cleaning products and we have strong sniffers and it may have passed inspection. I may or may not have been sworn to secrecy about whether or not we pondered this, because this kid is easily grossed out and is not interested in potentially being embarrassed. 

Mini overheard a reference to this 'situation' and stared in disbelief. Ed looked at her and simply reminded her to thank her lucky stars that she was awarded a hefty scholarship. 

Moving on, we ordered full size sheets for him and a new comforter. He made lists and gathered his things. He reported one bin missing in action and it caused him a great deal of stress. He'd stored his things in various corners of the house prior to departing for Budapest in Jan '22. I discovered his throw pillows and a duffel bag full of coat hangars in my walk in closet, but this one box alluded us. 

The back view. 

Finally, at long last, I ventured into the storage room in the basement. This may come as a shock to you, but if I do not oversee the movement of items in and out of the storage room the result is complete disarray. Therefore, I avoid the storage room at all cost. Otherwise, I'm reminded of how I need to get down there and organize it (AGAIN).

There were three bins stacked up right inside the door. I inspected each of them. Behind these three bins, was yet another stack of three bins. I couldn't walk over there easily, but I could sort of slide between the rows of bins. The top bin -as in the bin that I could clearly see, since I wasn't blindfolded and the light in the room functions, had a post it note INSIDE the bin. Someone, an organized soul even, placed this post it note in the underside of the lid so that it could be visible to, oh I don't know, TO ANYONE THAT IS NOT BLIND OR OTHERWISE IMPARIED. 

If I know any of you and your ability to figure out uncomplicated riddles, then you've guessed correctly . . . this was Ed's missing bin. In plain sight. With a label in Ed's own hand. 

I guess you never really know someone until they've shown you that they may be organized, but bad at opening their eyes . . . or perhaps this same kid might surprise you and reveal that while he is a germaphobe, the price of a new mattress MIGHT cause him to possibly overcome germaphobe tendencies. 

Oh, here's another nugget - while driving Tank to school, he asked me if I thought Mini might get homesick. I said I don't think so, but I do think she'll miss us a little. 

Then he shared a bit of a conversation between he and Ed. 

Tank:  SO, YEAH. I WAS TALKING TO ED. HE AND I AGREE. WE'RE SO RELIEVED THAT AT LEAST MINI IS NOT A SKANK, OR A SLUT, OR ANYTHING. YOU KNOW.

Me:  (trying not to tear up at this touching sentiment) WELL, I MEAN - I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE REFERRING TO AND I'M NOT AT ALL SURPRISED THAT MINI DOESN'T HAVE ANY OF THOSE QUALITIES, BECAUSE WE RAISED HER, YOU KNOW, NOT TO BE ANY OF THOSE THINGS. GOOD THAT YOU, HER BROTHERS, NOTICED. UM, DID YOU THINK TO THANK MINI FOR MAINTAINING GOOD VALUES AND SUCH?

Tank laughed. He and Ed can give Mini 'the business' about being messy and not exactly being on the ball, and being horrible in the kitchen, so it might've been touching if her brothers had let her know that they appreciate her in this, um, way. Unfortunately, I don't think they have a Hallmark card specifically stating:  THANK FOR NOT BEING A SKANK.

And then there were three . . . plus Coach.
Playing volleyball last night.

The week in review:  I drove Tank to Omaha 8/13th. Coach drove Ed 8/15th. Coach and I drove Mini to ND 8/19th. It was quite a week. As is often the case, there is more to tell. The daughter addition is up next. Any guesses on whether or not Mini was emotional, I was emotional, we were both emotional, or only Coach was emotional? Are you surprised by Tank or Ed's prep to leave? Do you draw the line on used items? 

* Message to Nicole - I cannot leave a comment on your blog at the moment. Getting a weird error message:  PLEASE COMPLETE ALL OF THE FIELDS. Ugh. What fields?