Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Prairie Packing: The College Edition

Clothes. Lots of clothes.
I took my daughter, Jo, to college yesterday--freshman year.  I will save the mommy angst and tears for another post, but I will share the packing.  This has been a process that has stretched over one long month--all of August. Actually it started even a month earlier when the sheets and towels I had ordered arrived in early July and were then deposited in a corner of the family room.  "There's no room in our bedroom, Mom," and youngest daughter, Maia, agreed.

That small but unwieldy initial pile started to grow like mold on an overripe peach...spreading, spreading, spreading until tables, chairs, and most of the floor were covered.  This is the room where the family TV resides, and soon we found ourselves sitting closer and closer together on the sofa as the room filled.  In order to reach the laundry room, I had to navigate piles of underwear, a large area rug, a tower of textbooks, stacks of jeans and t shirts, and laundry baskets filled with shoes and school supplies.  I found one of our dogs staring longingly at an ever-growing pile of energy bars, packs of gum, fruit chews, and veggie chips that was threatening to topple off the top of a shelf.  I found another trapped behind a pile of floor cushions growling at a box fan.

Then the garage began to fill--a refrigerator and toaster, boxes for packing, a lamp, a chair.  One of the two cars found itself at the curb for the duration of August.  The lawnmower was left outside.  I sucked in my breath so I could squeeze into my car.

This past Sunday was suppose to be packing day, but said daughter came up with a long list of additional items that needed to be purchased.  You would think that she was going to the University of Antarctica.  I am guessing that Appleton, Wisconsin, population 73,016 (oops, make that 73,017 now that Jo is there) probably has some sort of commercial venture that sells things like paper for a printer, laundry soap, and six packs of Hansen's Natural Soda, but Jo felt she needed to make those purchases in Madison so that we could cram those into the car as well.

After a long day of work on Monday, we began loading things into the car.  We found that you can get a dorm refrigerator into the back seat of a Toyota Corolla.  We were going to pack clothes in boxes, but soon began filling garbage bags just so that we could get more into the trunk.  Fortunately Jo isn't terribly tall, so we were able to pack one garbage bag right by her feet in the front passenger seat.  It was like an additional air bag, providing her just a bit more safety for the two-hour trip.  Both of us had to lean our weight onto the trunk lid to get it to close.  I prayed that the whole vehicle wouldn't explode in the night due to the extreme pressure.

The tree.
Ninety-seven percent made it in.  I convinced her that the winter coat, boots, and mini Christmas tree could wait until October 5th when I arrive for Family Week-End.  The car seemed to ride a bit low to the ground, but I am sure that was just my imagination that I could hear the undercarriage scrape on the pavement.
Jo's is settling in for her first year at Lawrence University, and while it seems terribly quiet around here with just her younger sister and me, we will survive.  In just nine months, we can haul that load right back again and use the family room for summer storage.  I am looking forward to that. There is a certain family closeness that develops when you watch TV sitting on each other's lap.
The trunk.

The daughter.

Prairie Sherry

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