After I flunked out of Emerson (At the height of the Vietnam War. What was I thinking?), I took a job at a radio station in Palm Beach, FL. I packed everything I owned into my VW Beetle. I still had room to pick up a hitchhiker on the way (who let me sleep on a couch at a dorm at Georgetown).
Again, everything I owned in a Volkswagen. Everything! But I digress.
Stef returned to campus today. She’s helping the underclassmen move in, so she got her room in the dorm a few days early. We set out at 2:00 PM, knowing we’d have time to get lunch before the dorm officially began accepting residents at 6:00 PM.
The packing had been going on for days at home. At times I made the fatherly mistake of questioning what was being assembled.
“You’re taking two dozen pairs of jeans,” I whined in the general direction of my non-sympathetic daughter. How could anyone “need” more than twenty pairs of jeans?
Steffie does! She says she does. Perception is reality here.
In a perfect world, Stef would go through life like Cher at a concert, changing outifts to something new and fabulous every few minutes. She’s probably reading this now and thinking how good an idea that is.
Last night my little car slept outside while Stef’s was parked alongside Helaine’s in the garage. She had backed in; the car’s hatch facing the door to the mud room. Let the packing begin.
I probably shouldn’t say this, but when it was all over, there was room for more… though not much. Stef and Helaine managed to stuff both a full size and compact SUV! There was room for me to ride as a passenger, but only barely.
I was riding shotgun as Stef left, around 2:00 PM. We saw Helaine leave the driveway and then she was gone. We took the turnpike. Helaine went on the parkway.
Actually, Stef and Helaine have very different driving patterns. Helaine is cautious and moves at a moderate speed, staying with the prevailing traffic.
Steffie drives faster – too fast really, but that’s out of my hands at this point. She’s is very cautious, constantly checking those around her in her mirrors. Thankfully, she avoids the speeder’s trap of weaving in and out of lanes.
As we crossed the Throgs Neck Bridge, Stef told me how she likes taking thte bridge so she can catch a glimpse of the New York skyline. I was pleased to hear that, because I feel exactly the same way.
She said she knew there were lots of people who wait their whole life to go to New York and that she was lucky to have it at her feet. Again, I totally understand.
We made it to the campus a full half hour ahead of Helaine. She doesn’t drive that fast. The turnpike is just a faster way, even though Google says it’s only three miles shorter.
After lunch we headed to the dorm. As is always the case, we headed inside to get a giant, wheeled, rubber cart… but there were none! We’d have to carry everything by hand.
Moving a child into a dorm isn’t like moving in a moving van. Clothes, though on hangers, are loose. Lots of bulky items, like the TV, are brought ‘as is,’ not in a box. We had more bulk than we had weight, and we had plenty of weight.
This year Stef’s in a single. It’s a small room about the size of a walk-in closet. It’s got a bed, dresser, wardrobe cabinet and desk. It’s high up, on the 14th floor of what looks like a poured concrete building.
She has an amazingly unobstructed view of the Manhattan Skyline, nearly twenty miles away. When I asked her to look, she was blown away. It’s breathtaking, even at that distance.
Stef sees more than the city. She can watch planes landing at LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports and most of Nassau County, Queens and Brooklyn. With binoculars, I suspect she’d see the Statue of Liberty.
As nice as the room is, there is one downside. It is on the 14th , but the elevator only goes to 13.
With each load we’d leave the elevator, walk a short corridor then open a fire weight metal door and climb a flight of stairs where another fire weight metal door was waiting.
Steffie’s next door neighbor and friend, Kim, was also moving in . Between Kim and (mostly) Stef, the hallway was soon a staging area for the final critical elements of the moving process.
After a while it was time for me to put on my pocket protector and become tech support. I set up the TV and DVD (please – no comments showing your age by grousing about Steffie having a TV and DVD in her dorm room).
Somewhere along the line she had lost the long cable necessary to circle the room to the outlet. She’s on her own for that one.
I untangled the rats nest of cables for her speakers and put them on a shelf above her printer. I hooked up a wired network connection only to find she had an excellent wireless signal. That’s new this year. For versatility, I hooked her up to the 802.11g signal.
A little after 8:00 PM, with much of the room still to be unpacked, we said goodnight and headed north.
We will miss Steffie a lot. This was a great summer for all of us. We enjoyed each other’s company and spent a lot of time together.
I’ll especially miss stopping by her room when I come home. We had some great conversations and I suspect I learned a lot about Stef this summer. She has changed with the college experience.
We’ll see her again in a few weeks when we all head down to Florida for my mom’s birthday. As much as we took today, I’m sure we’ll be bringing her something she forgot.