Monday, August 13, 2012

Part I: The Kid Goes to College...

Balthazar, snoozing through several deadly thunderstorms.
...and I lose my mind...

About a week ago, I asked some friends what, apart from quarters for doing laundry and condoms, I should make sure Balthazar The Kid took with him when he moved up to college. They helpfully answered:
  • Lube! Bleach! Cookies!
  • a snuggie
  • bug spray and blankets!
  • a taser
  • mace
  • Flint, Steel, a Good Knife, pair of good boots, canteen and a water filter
  • pepper spray
  • Ramen
Of the above, I did procure cookies but figured he could pick up the other items later, if required. (They sell tasers at college bookstores, right?) (And no, I didn't buy him any condoms, as a quick rummage through his armoire's drawers revealed an already ample supply.) (::sighs::)

Last Thursday and Friday were spent picking up the items I did deem necessary (stuff for his dorm room, some clothes and shoes, refilling his asthma meds, etc.). Then Friday night, Balthy did about five loads of laundry and, with the help of my sister, Star (not her real name, obviously), and myself, folded and packed it all. The three of us got to bed around 2:30am.

Later that Saturday morning, we got all the stuff in my Dad's car and he drove us masterfully through two hours' worth of weather hell in upstate New York. The skies were heavy with dark clouds and it rained, often dangerously, a good part of the way to Balthy's new college and sporadically on the way back. At several points, the rain was so intense that we could barely see the faint glow of the red break lights of cars ahead. I have to say, I got pretty Catholic, praying fervently and begging the Virgin Mary, all the angels and saints, and all our loved ones who'd gone on before us to put some good words in with the Lord so He'd get us safely to our destination. And He did. (For which I thank you again, Most Holy of Dudes.)

Star and Balthy, figuring out where to get started with unpacking.
As I noted earlier, my sister, Star, joined us to lend a hand. She graduated from this very same college back in 1998 and, though I'm not positive, I think the fact that Balthy has an alum in his pocket maybe helped his application to this very prestigious art-school-type-place. He attended her graduation back in '98, just a few days shy of his third birthday. Now, his auntie beams with pride to see him follow in her Doc Martens clad footsteps.

The view from Balthy's dorm room.
Star and I helped Balthy unpack and settle in, quickly getting rid of excess bags (which made me crazy to see, floating about the place) and recyclables (which did the same to my Sis). We got to meet Balthy's new roomie, a seemingly nice young man (fingers crossed!), went through the various hoops of Student Accounts and I.D. picture-taking and whatnot, and got drenched in the continuing rain for our troubles. Oh, and we got to experience the cafeteria food, which was rather crap but all-you-can-eat-for-five-dollars (for family and friends; the newbies ate for "free"), so that was some small reward. Sorta.

"...let us say goodnight till it be morrow..."
Then it was time to mix metaphors and leave my no-longer-little birdling to fly under his own steam. (As it were.) I managed to snap a pic of us despite his bitching. FYI, he's not all gelled up, hair-wise, here; it was just so friggin' humid we all dripped with sweat. Which is less attractive than it sounds... sure to tune in tomorrow for Part II, in which, to quote Spandau Ballet, " cut a long story short, I [lose] my mind."


  1. Aww :) Good luck to him! Good luck to you, managing all that free time! ;)

    I remember when I got dropped off freshman year...oh, not so long ago. Just two years, actually. My mom: "Bye. Jk. Ok, bye for realz this time. No really, bye. BYE. Bye-bye. BYE CALL ME!"

  2. That's a great pic you snapped. I have one going off to Uni this year too, though she will continue to live at home. Better or worse? I dunno. Looks like your boy has a great support system, and a mom with a wicked sense of humour. How can he go wrong?

  3. Goodbyes are never easy, especially when they go along with huge life-changing events for kids that we used to change diapers for and wipe snot off their noses.

    I mean, how can they even be old enough for college!?! They were just staring kindergarten a few breaths ago, and besides -- we're still so darn young ourselves!

    Best of luck to both the Mom and the fruit of her loins -- now recently loosened on the world!

  4. @Laura W. - Thanks! And LOL about your mom. Yeah, it's hard being a mom during times like these. I think my parting words to Balthazar may have run along the lines of, "Peace out, Kid." Or at least, I like to imagine I'm that cool. :-)

    @Laurita - thank you! It's so weird; a great part of me was more than ready to see him go, but the part that remembers him as a baby and small child aches at his absence. Good luck to your daughter at Uni!

    @Chris - Merci, monsieur. From what the World keeps telling me, the fruit of my loins is a pretty awesome kid - seems he only lets out all the crap at home with me (where it's relatively safe for him to do so). :-)

  5. Awwwww, that mom and son photo is so very sweet! Hey, I've been through this myself with my two awesome sons. It's a precious moment, and it keeps getting better and better. Art school, huh? A boy after my own interests. I attended art school before staking out my authorial territory.

    Catherine Stine’s Idea City

  6. Judging from that list things sure have changed since I went to college, but I guess seeing how it was about 40 years ago when I went to college there would be a lot of big changes. And besides when I was in college it was close to home and I stayed with my parents. I think my father wished I had gone away to school. Hope your son has a great year.

    Wrote By Rote

  7. @Catherine - thank you! Well, it's an artsy-type school - big on liberal arts but also performing, visual, and written art.

    @Arlee - You can pretty much ignore that list, as it was mostly my wise-guy friends pulling my maternal leg and trying to get a rise out of me. (I think.) Thanks for your good wishes, and for stopping by (and maybe stop by tomorrow, as part two features a bizarre dream and I'd enjoy learning your interpretation of it). :-)

  8. Ah going off to college. I remember it well. My parents were like "Can we go now? The traffic on the Drive sucks." I only went to the North Side, not so very far away. LOL And I think they were glad to free up some bedroom space. I still had four sibs at home.

    Good luck to your son as navigates his way through freshman year.

  9. Good luck to you and your son too. Do you have any other kids at home? He's going to have a blast. I remember my freshman year and it was so exciting. :)

  10. Good luck to your son, and hopefully you have enough sanity to write! Well, do we need to be sane to write?!

  11. @Melissa - thanks, Lady!

    @JoJo - Lord, no! One kid has been MORE than enough for me! :-)

    @Christine - I find insanity serves my writing best (which is just as well, as that's what I am - wail till ya see tomorrow's post!). :-)

  12. We just went over all the stuff that Bonus Brother needs for his college excursion. It seems that his mother has done it all, but history says it's unlikely. Oddly enough, condoms were not on the list. I think his mother may have died of a heat attack if it had been. :)

    Maybe this evil step mother of his will surprise him with an ample supply. :)

    (And honey, relax... the fact that he has the condoms is a REALLY good thing. Provided of course he is using them....)

  13. Oh, my! You have such a way with words - I cracked up at your list (and the condoms in the drawer - good for you for being able to handle it!) and got all sad and semi-choked up by the end.

    Can't wait until next time to read the rest of the story.

  14. @Juli - Yes, Doc Mom knows it's a really good thing, and it shows me that he's been paying attention to our birds, bees, and sexually transmitted disease talks. The Other Mom in me, who remembers reading him Goodnight Moon and watching Hey Arnold and Arthur with him cringes. You know how it is. :-)

    @Daisy - The second part is pretty depressing (I warn you 'cause I like you). Maybe re-read Part I if you need something to lighten your mood after reading Part II. :-D

  15. LOL..this was a great post, though a bit sad that Balthy is 'flying under his own steam' My son had like 4 more years before he goes to college. That list is quite scary and uncomfortable to think about in so many levels. Aw..great photos.

    1. My friends were (mostly) being goofy. (Mostly.) :-) And thanks!

  16. Damn. This is beautiful and a hellava list too. :)

    1. I know, right? Who's gonna bring Ramen to college??? ;-)

  17. Funnily enough, my siblings and I went in together to get a tazer for my sister when she went away to college. No condoms, though.

  18. Great story. My daughter's on her way in two years...and I believe she might be counting down the days.

  19. @Shannon - LOL! I hope she never had reason to use it!

    @Tonja - Does she have a particular place in mind?

  20. My heart ached for you as I read this.
    *sigh* I've been putting off posting about my kiddos going back to school. Hopefully, I will post it by tomorrow. :/
    But college??? Holy cow!

  21. @Jackie - Holy cow is right! :-) And thank you. <3


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