Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Impressions

I will refer back to this trip in future posts but let me get some firsts out of the way.
First Impression of:

The town: This place is a dump. Where the heck am I leaving my kid? Why did he want to come here? ** Apparently, we drove into town through the poorest parts of town and to boot our hotel had an ick factor to it also.
The college campus: WOW, this is nice. Big enough and yet cozy in that small town way. ** We walked the whole thing - it's doable yet spacious.
The people on campus: made me smile and feel this is the right place for him. ** As we walked around we 'bumped' into a tour and I eaves dropped a bit. The former student spoke so well and with such pride and highlighted aspects that I thought described my son to a T.
The Coaches: made me want to stay and play football. ** We met 3 and they were all super personable. One recognized 18 as we walked over the the check-in area, stopped us, introduced himself and welcomed us very warmly and chatted with 18 for a few minutes. The head coach sat us down in his office and despite having I am sure 60 gallion things to do this 1st day checking everyone in spent a good 15 minutes chatting with us. During that visit 18s position coach walked in and introduced himself, remembering that he had spoken to me on the phone. All very nice.
The students: This feels right. ** As we made the trek up to the 4th floor by stair (no elevator) in his temporary dorm you could hear boys yelling at each other and welcoming each other back. All very nice. Then you hear a few expletives as a couple of them exchange greetings and the ones that crossed us on the stairs yell back "Language! Language! Parents in the house! Moms in the house!" and he apologized to me for the strong language saying '...sometime we get carried away' and then I hear a yell from the floor ahead 'Sorry mom! Sorry parents!' For whatever reason, that touched me. It hit me the right way. They obviously are close to each other and yet know there's a line of respect that shouldn't be crossed. I liked that. It made me think of my sons and their friends.
The people in town: I could live here if it weren't so friggin' cold most of the year. ** Everywhere we went everyone was so nice and friendly. EVERYONE! EVERYWHERE!

In the end I could understand the attraction to the school, the people and the place. He seemed happy, I was happy. It was all good.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A fresh start

We changed hotels. It was a stealth operation. Yes, I lied and got out of the original reservations without paying for the extra night. Sorry, but it had to be done. Things are much better now. PLUS this Holiday Inn gives us a discount that equals the other hotel we were staying at. SO, same price better hotel!

We walked around campus today and saw some of the buildings, I took pictures and properly embarrassed my son. I made him stand by the Union College entrance sign for a picture - oh the horror!

We also got all of his dorm stuff AND we found out that we may get his dorm key for his permanent room and be able to move his stuff in before we leave. That would be awesome!
Still lots to do but it's all good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The longest day ever!

What were you doing at 4 this morning? I was rolling out of bed and into the shower to wash off the sleep and hit the road. And now I have just showered again to wash off the travel of driving in the dark to the airport, 3 hours on a plane after the ordeal of getting checked-in (don't talk to me about the whole bag situation), drag your bags and tired azz to the car rental and drive the wrong way for an hour to only turn around drive back to the airport and start over again the right way. I'm a little tired. But enough about the trip because talking about that will only irritate me.
I got excited when I saw the signs fro Schenectady. The route we took to the college itself isn't the nicest part of town and made quite an impression - I'm leaving my baby here?! Then we get to the college. WOW! It's so pretty. Everything so manicured, the neat old style buildings, the historic buildings. All we did was drive around a bit before we went to the hotel to stretch out and then we drove around an explored the area a bit. So many rolling hills, real hills not the central Florida ones I've written about before. We found downtown, we saw gorgeous churches, some of which I want to go in to see later, we drove around to some neighboring towns. This is really a nice place!
I have taken a handful of pictures. From the car I actually got the picture of the Welcome to New York sign, a couple of shots the mountains as we drove, and my first sighting of the Nott Memorial (I think that's what its called) at the center of the college.
We are ready for bed, watching the Olympics, chillin', looking forward to tomorrow. I want to walk around the campus and see what we see.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taking off!

I haven't been blogging because it's been a little busy. As you know I have been packing, organizing life here for the child I am leaving behind and making sure everything is ready for him while we are gone. Of course, TS Fay had to try and cause some chaos and skewed 16s first days of school and so we haven't bought him the supplies he needs and that will butt right up with all of the other last minute things but WHATEVER!
Tomorrow is it. We are getting on the plane to take 18 to college! Whatever is not packed or hasn't been bought I have informed my family that he is not going to Timbuktu only upstate NY, it can be bought there.
I am looking forward to the trip. I hope that the campus is open enough for me to walk around and see things. His classes don't start until after Labor Day. The only people reporting now are athletes for their various workout camps.
18 has spent the past few days saying good bye to people. You would think that he is going off into the wild blue yonder never to be seen again! He's enjoying himself. It's all good. Don't know if I'll have time to write while I'm gone. We'll see.
I'm leaving on a jet plane.....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Apple picking

I have been thinking a lot lately about the parents of my moms best friend in life. Honestly, I only saw these people maybe a couple of dozen times in my life but they made an impact. Thinking now I am sad to say that most of these people have passed on (my mom, her BFF & BFF's dad not sure about the mom, I have spoken to BFFs kids in a while.)

Anyway, he was one of those full of life people. He had such a zest for life it was contagious. He shared his laugh, smiles and verve with everyone around him especially his wife. She shall we say doesn't have the same zest for life that he did. She's not a warm and fuzzy one she has some rougher edges but you appreciate her too. She tends to complain a bit more than he did and she always has those little barbs that she tosses out all the time about everything that make you think she's not happy. But deep down I think she is, it's just her way. So, they were an interesting couple to watch in action; always counterbalancing each other. Almost as if she just couldn't handle his overbubbliness and had to be stick in the muddish. Like they were made for each other because he made her get out and go and enjoy and maybe her being they way she is made him all the bubblier. Who knows.

They lived in Tampa and I grew up in N. VA. I remember one fall when they were driving through to PA and stopped at out house for a couple of nights. They were probably in their mid 50s. Our house had 2 beautiful apple trees (one green and one red) on the side. The lawn was covered with apples and leaves of every color. It was really picturesque. He wanted a picture of them and the apple trees. Most people would just stand there, maybe put their arm around each other smile, say cheese and snap- there's your picture. Not good enough. Pretend we're picking apples! He yells out. She simply explains there are no apples they can reach, they are all rotting on the ground besides everyone will know that we didn't really pick them. As if he didn't hear her, like a little kid he exclaimed, We can reach these! as he picked one off the ground, dusted it off on the back of his pant leg, turned it so the bruised part wasn't showing, held it up to the branch as if it were hanging. With her hand in one hand and holding the apple in to the branch he yelled at me Take it Now! with the biggest smile you can imagine. After I took the picture he told us he picked the red apple because it was her favorite type. She said something about that it was old and dying. I remember him leaning over and giving her a peck on the cheek saying it was crabby just like her but he loved them both and he actually took a bite out of the 'clean' side of the apple! I screamed in shock that it was rotting and gross. He showed it to me and said it was fine. Things may look old and crabby on the outside but inside they are sweet and fine. I was dumbfounded as I followed them laughing inside.

I think of that moment a lot. It taught me a lot. We have to make our own fun, our own moments in life. We have to take the time to see the good stuff inside. There's always something we can appreciate and crabby people can help us appreciate the sweetness of life even more because we need to help them see it. Plus, you never know the impact any little thing can have on a person. I mean look at what snapping that picture some 27 years ago did for me.
I wonder where that picture is? I need to call his grandkids and keep in touch with them. I hope everyone's alright.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Packing pains

You may be tired of reading about clothes and packing but you can't be as tired as I am actually dealing with the clothes and the packing. And so I continue to blog about it.

Based on the amount of clothes that 18 wants to take to college I was under the impression that he thinks he's moving into a mini-mansion with mega-closets. This lead us into a conversation which others may call an animated discussion including huffing, puffing, deep breathing, and eye rolling by both parties - yes I can act like I'm 18 too. He has always been very vain about what he wears and how he looks. For a while there he had more hair product that the other 3 people in the house combined until he found what works for him.

He finally enlightened me that he is fully aware that his dorm is going to be miniature in size and probably shared by 2 people. His plan is anything that doesn't fit in the closet or stacked on the "desk" or in the suitcase which he expects to fit under the bed will be neatly stacked on the floor around his bed. WELL! Lovely, as long as we have a plan!

I will let you know if any of this clothes comes back to Miami.

Then we had a 30 minutes discussion on how to pack the football cleats without "messing them up". Naturally, I hadn't realized that they were fragile because 1) they go on your feet 2) you play football with them and I hear that's a contact sport. They are going in the shoe part of the garment bag. He's taking 2 pairs. I had to put a pair IN the compartment to show him that they actually fit because apparently I have no clue how to handle cleats. Whatever! (best read with a rolling of the eyes)

Meanwhile recently 16 went to Cocoa Beach for a few days with some friends. He says that when they picked him up and he walked out with a backpack and a beach towel under his arm. They all asked him if that was ALL he was taking. Was he sure he had everything? He said yes and off they went. When they got to the hotel, they all compared what they took. He took the least amount of clothes. He did forget his running shoes to workout but he had others so he used those. The other boys questioned why he was bothering to put his clothes in the drawer. He told him because it's clean, as I wear it, I put it back in the bag and when we leave all my clothes should be back in the bag. They all did the same thing. He says that on Sunday when they were leaving, he only had one outfit that had not been worn which he took as an extra because you never know. They also teased him when they were talking about how they packed when he told them that his socks and underwear were in the pockets of each pair of shorts that he was going to wear to save space. That explains why he took a backpack and the others each had 2 bags and too much clothes.

So, at least one of them knows how to pack! I'll work on the other one. Gimme patience!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's multiplying!

There are piles of clothes all over my house. I insist that the clothes is multiplying overnight and creating it's own piles under our very noses.

There are the customary piles of laundry that needs to be washed and the one of the sofa that needs to be folded and put away and then there's the pile of socks on the coffee table from previous sofa piles that need to be matched and distributed. Add to that the pile of old school uniforms waiting for someone to tell me they need them so I can unload them. I'm giving them another week and they are disappearing if nobody wants them. And the pile of dress clothes that needs to go to the dry cleaners and return before 18 leaves so he can take it with him. And the piles of clothes that doesn't fit my boys that grows daily and it to be handed down to the nephews. And the piles of clothes that doesn't fit my boys that is to be donated. And the piles of clothes to be packed and the pile of suitcases. And the pile of clothes that needs mending - a button, a hem, a patch. I think the hangers miss the clothes that they used to hold in the closet because those are turning up all over the place too. I was collecting the trash last night and in the guest bathroom there was a hanger hanging on an extra roll of toilet paper that was on the towel rack! HUH? I didn't ask because I was a little but scared of the answer. I just put it all away.
Since I didn't have enough of a mess of clothes all over the place last night I brought down the big Rubbermaid containers with winter clothes in them that were in the top of the closet to pull out gloves and hats for 18. So the containers are out too because I couldn't get them back up by myself and everyone else was ahem, sleeping.
May your clothes be nicely and neatly contained in your drawers and closets. And if it is, come help me get mine under control will ya?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Packing for college. And so it begins...

As the two of you know, 18 will be off to college soon. We are leaving the 21st to be exact and so we have limited time to complete his winter wardrobe. To that end I suggested that he bring out the winter clothes, pile it on the coffee table so that we could review it while packing and make note of what if needed so that we may spend fun filled weekends running around Miami in the dead of summer scouring the stores for winter clothes on a budget.

Well , I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of clothes he brought out. I didn't realize we had bought that much and that he was SO ready to go. I great calm and sense of relief came over me. As he brought things out, I was taking them off the hangers and folding them in piles. Then I start realizing some of this stuff is old. I don't mean hand me down old, I don't mean out of style old. I mean I bought this for our 2 days of cold in Miami, I don't even remember when. When he plopped himself back on the sofa, I asked "Does this fit?" "Ahhh, no." he answers nonchalantly. "And this?" "nope", "What about this?" "Nah". Do you see a pattern here? A good third of all that clothes he brought out to pack was too small on him! Now, I realize everyone has their own packing style but I presume we all pack clothes that you know - FITS!.

So, I take a deep breath or 32 and calmly ask him to go through the clothes so we can figure out what we still need to buy. "Now?", he asks incredulously. "Yes, right now." "But why now? I'm not leaving yet." I take another deep breath. "Because there aren't enough last minutes to get everything done at the last minute. So you choose. If you want me to be a part of the clothes buying and packing then now. If you want me out of the process, then whenever." At his point it would be beneficial for you to know that I haven't packed for either of my children since they were old enough to drag a rolling bag, which is quite young. I would tell them what they needed (3 underwear & socks, 3 shorts & t-shirts, pajamas, bathing suit etc), they would pull it out, pack it in their own bags that they were responsible for during the trip. Children can do this from very young if you are not particular about the matching aspects of their ensembles; which I wasn't. So, 18 bolted to an upright position and declared "You're going to pack for me?" "If you want me to and you go through the clothes now, I will." "Hell yeah!" he cheered as he popped off the sofa and sorted the clothes. 16 and hubby laughed and he says "After all these years of telling them to do it, now you are going to pack for him?"
I matter-of-factly explain, I was teaching them to think, to plan, to organize and to be responsible. He already knows how to do that, now I can do it for him. They all laughed but 18 sorted the clothes and has one bag packed and ready to go by his mama.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Only Fun

It's Monday again and since I didn't win the lotto over the weekend I had to drag my butt out of bed and go to work which totally interrupts the flow of fun I had all weekend. That list of things to do I posted is pretty much still intact. I only did the social/fun stuff.

I went to game night and we played Cranium. It was fun. I had a great time and saw some girlfriends that I swear I don't think I had seen in a year. My dad came over and taught us how to make a traditional Cuban picadillo. It was much better than mine. I don't like mine at all. I am going to try to duplicate this on Wednesday for dinner. The recipe should by up soon on the Cuban Food blog. So, check it out when you can. Then we went to my in-laws house for dinner and to look at vacation photos. My FIL took 1600 photos! That is not a typo. They had a great trip to I don't even remember how many parks and canyons and mountain ridges and ranges. It was his favorite vacation ever. 1600 to prove it. News flash: our grass is as green as it is over there. It was nice to see him so enthusiastic about something. Truly. Then the weekend came to a lazy close with me sewing ALL day. I made a poncho out of this great pink flowers fleece for my niece. It's got a hood and fringe. It came out super cute. I did make a couple of mistakes which I now understand but I think a 5 year old can totally wear it. A girlfriend came over and we made a pillow with tassel in each corner. That came out great too even though one tassel isn't in the corner. It gives the pillow character! She's had this material in her closet for 2 years and found it cleaning things out and voila we made a decorative pillow. I also mended a blouse and a pair of pants. After dinner we all watched the movie 23. It was weird but good.
A terrific weekend that could only have been topped had I actually won the lotto and been able to continue the fun and not have to interrupt it with you know, work.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Getting my ducks in a row

So, let's see here. How much progress, if any, have we made on things? and what's the plan of attack for the weekend?

Things collegiate:
* Well , the loan was approved. We have nothing else to do on that front. The bank and the school coordinate amongst themselves to confirm payment etc. So, Check.
* With the help of a friend, found a clinic through Walgreens that will give 18 the immunizations he needs and (more importantly) takes our insurance. He WILL do that this weekend. So, half-check.
* Still need a backpack.
* Want hubby to pull out suitcases this weekend so, we can start packing and see what we are still missing.
* Still waiting for the housing details and can't get the dorm stuff until we have that.

High School:
* 16 needs his uniform shoes.
* Also needs practice for driving test which is next Friday. OMG!
* Check for PE uniforms

* Thanks to 18 the pool may actually be usable this weekend. Nice. So, Check.
* We bought a piece of weather stripping for the front door and just need to install it. So, half-check.
* I need to get new storage containers. I threw a bunch of mine out because they were old and nasty!
*Need to finish posting things for sale on Ebay & So, half-check.

* Friday- Game night at a girlfriend's and I don't know what I'm taking yet.
* Cuban Cooking class at my house Saturday! Picadillo time.
* Another girlfriend coming over to sew; she's making a pillow; I want to cut out and maybe if there's time make a Poncho for my niece.
* Scrap and make cards.

Responsible Adult stuff:
* Need to update online bill payments.
* Need to bathe the dog.
* Put together the clothes that the boys have outgrown and take it for donation.
* Need to order a new charger for 16s computer because his died and the boys are sharing and ya know one of them is leaving soon.
* Laundry
* Groceries
* I have to get blood work done this weekend

GREAT! Not too many checks on that list! Lots to do and I'm sure I left stuff off. Whatever. Taking a deep we go! Oh, yeah, I forgot. I'm still at work. A couple more hours to go. Oh, well. Here's hopin' half of this gets done. Gimme patience.