College Check-In

Carter could hardly wait to get back to Boston. Since last semester she was only here during times of terrible snow and cold she was completely shocked by the beautiful trees and flowers. People sailing on the Charles brought a giddy sound of glee.

Our flight got in around 1:30. With great difficulty we dragged three coffin sized suit cases, two carry on roll-a-boards, one back pack and one tote bag on the bus to the car rental building. We were not alone as other Northeastern kids were doing the same thing as us. Sitting across from us was a freshman who was moving into the dorm Carter lived in last year. We told her she would have good storage and that made her smile.

Carter was skeptical about the car I rented until she saw the suv that easily held all our bags. We made a beeline to her on-campus apartment. I found a parking place on the street which Carter thought surely meant I was going to be towed away. Since it is still Freshman move in time the streets are packed with families who looked like deer in the headlights trying to find their way around.

The plan was for Carter to go check-in and then we would look at her room. Since we had to walk by her building Carter thought we might just go in and look at the hallway. When she used her ID card and room code she was able to open her apartment door. Her building is an old apartment building and we were unsure of the size of her room that she will share with her sweet roommate Olivia. We opened the door into their foyer and were happily surprised with it. She has one closet in the hallway. A bathroom with a claw foot tub. A kitchen with a fairly new refrigerator. A bedroom which is bigger than her room last year. The lighting is poor, but overall it was fairly clean and certainly workable. The closet space is the only drawback, but we are going to buy an additional clothing rack.

The door to the bedroom was not attached at the top hinge, but it is an easy fix. We made a list of things that would make it more homey, then explored the rest of the building. It has a nice laundry room and really nice common room with study rooms. Overall I think it is a hit.

We walked around the corner to check in. It was now after four and since we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast we went to have lunch at Eataly at the Prudential center. I told Carter that she certainly goes to college in a much nicer area than I did, but that she can’t afford to shop there regularly.

Carter was so happy to be back in Boston. We did a tiny bit of shopping for beauty products then came to check-in at our groovy hotel. Carter promptly took a nap. Tonight we are going shopping at Target for cleaning equipment then are going to go back to her apartment to start dropping stuff off. Oh, the fun we are having!

West Wing Binge

For the last two weeks I have been binge watching the West Wing. I have stopped watching all things Washington on the real news in favor of watching a fictional White House. The West Wing story lines seem so much more real to me than the tweets of the current office holder. There are some themes that have not changed. One is the issue of white supremacy, another is gun control. Even though West Wing originally aired starting 19 years ago it so sad to see we have practically moved backwards on these issues.

My favorite part of the show is the playfulness that C.J. Craig, Whitehouse Press secretary, has with the press. She is able to joke with them and they have good back and forth conversations. It makes the current press secretary, SHS look like a kindergartener playing at her job. Perhaps the current White House could hire Aaron Sorkin to write their scripts.

In the West Wing there is no Fox News. The government did not love the press, but they we treated respectfully. The whole campaign about fake news is just a 45 smoke screen.

I occurred to me that 45 might have come up with it because he watches so much Fox. The word Fox sounds a lot like the French word Faux, which means false, or fake. Perhaps Fox News actually means fake news in French.

I digress. If you want to live in the illusion that America is being run competently, just watch West Wing. It has helped me sleep better at night. I know I am just tricking my brain, but frankly having a brain is exhausting in this administration where it appears no one does.

If this made you mad, I don’t care. I am living in the Bartlett administration, if just as a break from reality.

Original E-Mail Address

From time to time I get an e-mail message from a friend asking me to delete their old e-mail address because they are changing their address. Usually the reason is something like, “I get too much spam,” but secretly I am hoping that it is something more salacious than that. Perhaps an old flame has found them and is sending tawdry messages. No one ever admits to that, especially in a big group message.

I should not doubt the spam excuse since I get over 350 junk emails a day. I agree they can be annoying and every once in a while I go on a big “unsubscribe” binge. But I have never gone so far as to even consider giving up my 25 year old email mail address. Granted I have more than one e-mail address, but my original one is the most important to me.

It is not for sentimental reason, but just for memory. See, every account I have ever opened is tied to that e-mail. If I signed up for a loyalty program, that is the e-mail I used, if I opened a sign up genius account, it is with that e-mail, if I opened a stock trading account, that is the e-mail.

My fear is that when I lose my account numbers, user names, or passwords I still know the email attached to the account. See, I often forget I have even signed up for an account and only find out I did when I try and create a new one using my tired and tested old email account. It is amazing how much stuff a person signs up for in a lifetime. It is also easy to forget about it.

Tonight I was trying to make a reservation at a hotel chain I have not stayed at in years. While on their website I discover that if you are a member of their loyalty program and make your reservation through their system you save $15 on WiFi. Of course I did not know my account number or password, but I did know and still have my e-mail address, so a new password could be sent to it.

I am trying to be better about keeping track of all my stuff, but lord it is hard. I miss the days when I only had a library card and ATM card to keep track of. For now I am counting on only needing my original email address for the rest of my life. It may be full of junk, but every once in while it really saves me. If I started using a different email I would have to remember my old and new one. If I could do that I could just remember my account numbers and passwords.

Anticipating College Move-In

I have loved having Carter home these last few weeks and now I am going to have to readjust to her being gone again. This time last year we were preparing her to go off to Germany for her first semester. I didn’t get the normal college drop off experience. It was just a quick wave goodbye as she went through security at RDU. It was fast and clean, and maybe easier, but then she was so far away.

This week she and I are flying up to Boston to move her in to her on campus apartment. Not only do I get the full move-in experience, but I have to outfit her kitchen with her. Not to have to be on the meal plan is a huge bonus for her, but she is used to cooking with my equipment and I am not leaning toward spending that for college cookware.

The one thing I am not prepared for is Boston moving day on September first when apparently 60,000 students move from one apartment to another in a 24 hour period. The flaw in the system is they have to be out of one apartment by noon on August 31 and can not get in the new one until noon, September 1. I have read that there are college students sleeping on the street with all their belongings. Thankfully this is not our situation, this year, but we are going to be trying to move in right in the middle of all this.

In the spring Carter did a great job of moving herself out of her dorm without me, so I am anticipating this might be my last move in. My parents never came to college for move in or out after my initial drop off Freshman year. That was also the quickest move-in in history because it was just my father with me and he had to drive to Dulles to catch a flight back to London. I remember walking around campus alone while everyone else still had their parents. I was wondering what their parents were still doing there.

Thankfully some things are better about moving Carter in than I ever had. She does not have a stereo system, with turn table, receiver, tape deck and two wood case speakers the size of large end tables. There are no milk crates full of record albums. She does not have a Refrigerator, since one is provided in her kitchen. No television, since she watches everything on her computer. No reference books like dictionaries, both English and one for your foreign language as well as thesaurus and Little Brown style guide. As far as I am concerned, College move-in has got to be a breeze compared to mine, except for that Boston thing.

Proof He’s Petty

This morning my friend Suzanne’s sister posted the White House phone number on Facebook, asking people to call about the flag not being at half mast over the White House to honor John McCain. I have not agreed with everything that McCain did in all his 60 years of selfless service to the country, mostly in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, but I do think he deserved more than 36 hours of a flag at half mast. The norm is for the flag to only be raised after the internment of the body.

I feel like 45 was just being petty to rise it all the way up when every other flag in DC and probably the country were at half mast. So I called the White House. I had to dial 11 times before I got anything other than a busy signal. When the phone did pick up I got a recording and I waited 7 minutes for a live volunteer to answer my call. I politely said, “I am concerned about the flag over the White House not being at half mast.” A very nice women said, “I will let the president know of your concern.” I then asked if she was extra busy today, and she said, yes. It was a cordial and short call, but I felt better registering my concern.

I was happy to see that late this afternoon the White House lowered the flag. The office of the President is more than the man who sits behind the desk. It is small minded of him to use something like the flag to register his dislike of someone who deserves to be honored. The only thing the flag did was make the president look childish.

I took some heat from someone who is a supporter of 45 about my calling out people who I feel have lowered themselves to stick by someone who acts this way. She says that people voted for him because they are fed up. I understand the idea of not liking politicians and wishing things could change. What I don’t understand is sticking by someone who acts this way. There is something about not wanting to admit you might have voted for the wrong person. I voted for Bush the younger, but when he went south, I had no trouble saying I no longer felt like he was the right guy for the job.

45 not honoring a great republican is something I just don’t get. I am not sure how people in the party can jive with this.

When Friends Know You

In the last couple of days I have come home to surprise gifts from friends. One was from my friend Kelly. Her son Adam left his car and his college stuff at our house and when he came to pick it up before move in he left me this bag from Kelly. I didn’t notice it at first, but when Kelly asked me about it I searched around and found the perfect gift, a bag of “45” dog toys and paraphernalia. My favorite is the poop bag dispenser with bags.

Nothing makes me happier about scooping than if I can do it with someone’s face on the bag I feel poopie about. So thanks to Kelly for the very thoughtful gift. Although it is unnecessary since we are happy to help Adam out any time he needs it.

A much less controversial gift, but just as thoughtful, was the card game Christy left in my mail box. Christy knows me as the game master and apparently this was a game she and her family liked, so she knew I would too.

My response to a gift of a game is, “Will you play it with me?” That is a true grift to me. Of course Christy said, “Yes.” I can hardly wait to try this game out.

Usually I have to import game players since my immediate family is not hot on games. That was until yesterday when I knew Carter had to be totally bored. She challenged me to Monopoly. Praise be, you know I dropped everything else I was doing to play a game with her. We probably should have picked a shorter game because after all the properties were bought up and the houses were going up fast, Carter got bored and the game ended.

Now if anyone wants to give me a gift, and I am not suggesting anyone ever get me ANYTHING, but if you are looking to do something nice for me come play a game with me. You don’t have to buy me a game, or bring a game, I’ve got plenty. Just come and sit at the table and play. After we play, we can walk Shay and use the appropriate poop bags. That makes for the perfect day.

Sally Came to Town

I love college move in time of year. With so many good schools around here I am sure to have a friend of two come to visit when they drop their kid off. Today was an extra special visit from my great Ethel Walker’s friend Sally Peck. Sally’s youngest son is a sophomore at Elon so for the last two Augusts I have had a chance to catch up with her.

Since Sally lives in Silicon Valley I had not seen her for years, but thanks to the draw of a nice North Carolina school I am blessed with a visit. Today I invited Sally to meet me half way between Elon and my house since she came all the way here last year. We were meeting for breakfast so I could think of no better place that the best gas station restaurant in North Carolina, the Saxapawhaw General Store.

Thank goodness Sally is so down to earth that she did not mind meeting me at a gas station. We had a wonderful visit and a yummy breakfast. I got to hear about her wedding in March to Herb and their five grown children now blended into a new family.

The big thing we talked about is our 40th high school reunion next May. So, calling all Walker’s girls from ‘79. Sally and I talked about getting a big Air bnb so we can all be together. Frankly, one lunch back at EWS is enough, but a good night of friends together is really what we want.

So spread the word. I am going to start looking for a place to stay. Suggestions are welcome from anyone in or around Simsbury. It is not exactly the vacation capital so we hope we can find something big enough.

The nice thing about our 40th is no one cares what you look like, who you are married to or not, how successful you are or anything else that people use to measure themselves against. We just want to have a chance to laugh and tell stories and maybe laugh and eat, and laugh. Just like we did when we were at Walkers.

It was great to see Sally and I am happy that I know I will have a couple more years of visits.