Sunday, August 2, 2009

Days That Make You Wonder...

Yesterday at 4 a.m. I (accidentally) rose to prepare for what proved to be one of the longest days of my life. It wasn't supposed to be. In my limited but ever hopeful was to be a graduation of sorts for my daughter...her first apartment (even if it is a house). For those of you who lose track of time like I tend to do with the ages of other peoples' children...Jill is a sophomore this year at The University of Alabama.

The task seemed simple a loaded Ryder truck full of the possessions of Jill's and one of her roommates to Tuscaloosa, unpack, get her ready to go, smile through misty eyes and leave. Yeah...if only.

The 4 a.m. wake up time should have been my first clue.

My clock was set to 5:30 a.m. - enough time to be presentable, but enough time to actually have what would normally be considered a good night's sleep. So, instead of my clock going off...David's did. He couldn't hear it over his snoring. By the time I got him awake enough to hit snooze...only to go off eight minutes later...twice...I finally just decided that it was time for me to get away from Buzz Chainsaw (aka Big Dave) and attempt to make coffee.

I am SO not a morning person. At all.

I'll fast forward ahead to departure time...Big Dave and Brian in the big truck, with us (Jill and yours truly) to follow. We were headed out the door...and realized that Rebel was missing.

Rebel is our shih tzu/yorkie mix. He is a wonderful little dog except if he were human, he would likely be institutionalized. He has a serious issue with people in his yard, and he is well known to the local delivery people. If he didn't act like such a timid, frightened little thing, you might suspect that he is a bully by his description. But no...he's just psycho. And we love him anyway (but we do put him away when we have company...we're not that stupid.)

After chasing him for fifteen minutes over a total of five yards (we live on 5 acre lots out here, so it wasn't just a block or anything), Jill finally subdued him and put him in the house. Apparently he had figured out that we swapped his pet protection fence collar (as he rarely tries to leave the yard) with Dixie's (who sits in the foyer and runs hers down on purpose and will leave the yard). I didn't care if I had to clean up Mount Dogpoo when I got back, because Jill was already whining about being late and about her wet shoes.

After a brief stop for food, we took off to Tuscaloosa. The ride was fairly uneventful except that every attempt to make conversation was met with a short answer. When I'd get quiet...I'd be asked..."what's wrong?" So, we rode up there verbally jabbing each other...which is not a good foundation on which to build a day of togetherness.

We couldn't wait to get to the Taj Mahal of college living to you. I just call it the Taj. It has another name...but whatever. The Taj is a brand new concept in college living for Tuscaloosa (although it has been done in other places already). There are individual houses that have between two and six occupants. Some are divided (2 or 3 bedrooms on each side with common areas)...others are not. Jill's house has four girls that share the whole house. Each occupant has his/her own bedroom and bathroom. There is a common living area, kitchen, front porch, and a back deck. The facility has a large clubhouse with tanning beds, golf simulation game,and massive theater room. There are putting greens. Adequate parking. The pool has one of those walk into the water features, and it is the size of one you would see at a huge apartment complex or a condominium at the beach. There are security gates, security systems, free internet and cable, common areas, and can have pets (for a nominal fee). Frankly, Big Dave and I would like to live there (if it weren't for all of those pesky college students...)

It is also surprisingly quiet. The girls live near the pool, and when you opened the door, you could hear the keg party going on at the pool. With the door shut...not at all. The athletes moved in two days I'm assuming that these were the ones having the party as yesterday was the first move-in day.

Because this is the first year, the price is right. So, last November when the girls asked...we said yes. Now, back to the story...

The walk-through went fine, and we started unloading. This really was not a big problem except that we had to be at or near 100% humidity, it was hot, and I was wearing all black. As I kept moving in and out to the truck, I started sweating (sorry...this was BEYOND glistening) profusely. The air conditioner was not set at the level that I keep it at home (arctic), so I never dried out all day. I looked like any random rock star playing at any sold out outside venue in any given summer month. At one point, I entertained just ceasing all movement so as not to expend any energy, but this did not ever actually occur. I believe that I lost something like 15 pounds.

As we unpacked, the other rooms began to come together. The furniture (brand new), art (seriously), decorative items (coordinating), and housewares (also brand new) were put into place. We unpacked her clothes, and we maturely resisted the urge to choke her when she kept getting annoyed at every single solitary move we made.

We hung up clothes? NO! These hangers.
We moved boxes out? NO! I need this put away first.
We started on another box? NO! You keep taking stuff out! Stop!

Yes. Surely there is a circle of hell that this corresponds to...I'll check.

But as we are doing this...what is one of the roommates doing? Well, she and her mother are painting her room. Yes, I did say that this was a new complex, and yes, I did say that they were PAINTING HER ROOM. Apricot. There are no words to describe this (because we only had one had Jill asked for this and that would have been...NO.) So, we have all of the new house smell coupled with new stuff smell with the added bonus of new paint smell. Great.

After a lunch run and a three hour horrific road trip in search of bookshelves, a desk, and a dust ruffle that ended with gnashing of teeth and a near mutiny, we found most of the items along with an overpriced desk at Target, bought them, and came back. As we were trying to finish putting away the final purchases away and the desk together when the monsoon came.

Just as two of the families were preparing to started raining buckets. And - of course - the lights went out. Perfect.

A few minutes later, power was restored, and an hour later, everything was finished. No fewer than fifteen times had Jill uttered something to the effect of..."I'll be glad when you all leave" while also going "I need help getting this finished." I began to think she was as crazy as Rebel is.

Before leaving, we took a tour of the other girls' rooms. Rooms that could seriously be photographed for Southern Living's college section (if they had one). One girl has a beach look complete with headboard made out of an old set of shutters, matching bedding, chair, and bath accessories, and her name in letters that also are that same pretty beachy light green-blue color. The second one has a tan, black and white bedroom with big black and white prints on the wall. The air of sophistication is such that she could use this same bedroom until she is 30. The third (the one who was painting) has a multicolored fun theme with the same desk and floor lamp my daughter has. Her bedding was from somewhere expensive because her mother was none too happy about paying what she did. And then Jill's room was pink and white with a white iron bed and white furniture. So Phi Mu. So Jill.

I think back to my room in college...and the difference is laughable. So was the moving experience as a whole.

So, as we rode home in the driving rain on a two lane road in a Ryder truck for three hours, I began to reflect on the immense conflicting emotions that were going on in my head.

While I have no range whatsoever as a singer, I do have quite a range in the emotional realm. So, I'm limiting what I was thinking to only a few for public disclosure. I also need to thank my friend, Carrie, for keeping me sane by text messaging me about it because I could no longer talk to anyone. David was white knuckled at the wheel, Brian was asleep leaning on my shoulder, and I didn't exactly want to talk to all.

I suppose that I was sad...because I know that Jill will no longer live at my home for an extended period again. Due to annual leases...she will be a full time resident of Tuscaloosa, AL (hopefully she will graduate from UA) through graduation. I was also sad that my girl who has been such a blessing for the past three years was anything but that yesterday.

I was also proud...because I love her roommates, and believe that she has the best possible place to live that we can afford. I also believe that she is meant to be at UA for whatever reason. Plus, even if I can't decorate...her roommates' mothers her place is TOO cute.

I was angry...because I felt that I had sacrificed a lot of time, energy and money to do what we could do for her. I also felt that it wasn't enough. We forgot to get the DVD player, and there was a need for a bookcase in the living room. I did not feel that the sacrifice (that will be ongoing for the coming year as well) was appreciated at the level it should have been.

I was frustrated...because being overweight and hot is the worst combination on earth. The other mothers were not as hot and bothered as I was...and that bothered me a lot. Not that they weren't...I wouldn't wish that on anybody...I just hated that I couldn't cool down.

I was exhausted...I had awakened too early...and had put in a lot of time trying to make things nice. It is also exhausting putting up with someone being rude to you all day long and holding it in. Even if you know that she was anxious, hates change, wanted to fit in, and just was ready to move on with her life in her new place.

So, all in all...moving day is now history...and I will start today rearranging my house back to what it was prior to Jill's rearrival last May. I do not look forward to this at all. I also know that this weekend, I will have to say goodbye to my sweet sister, niece and nephew...again...and I hope that I am up to it. I've never been very good with goodbyes...and so I have disengaged with people from time to time so that I could cope a little easier. I won't miss this...but I don't look forward to that drive home, either.

I suppose that in life there are things that don't work out the way that you want them to...but you move through those and look for the happier times that you hope are to come. That's what's sustaining me today. That and a planned nap. Later!

P.S. Rebel and Dixie did not leave me any "gifts" and did not turn over a trashcan or anything although they were confined to the house for 13 hours. Such good dogs! :)