I spent Saturday moving the twins back home from their esteemed university. Babies’ daddy had to, just had to travel out of town for business that day, so it fell to me to schlep up to said university and pack it up and tear it down, ala Jackson Browne (“The Load-Out”, circa 1977). The girls chose not to room together, mores the pity, and though they were in the same hole of a dorm, they were on different floors. Husband’s last words to me that morning were, “It won’t be that bad. The roommates have already moved out, and the girls told me they’ve thrown out a ton of stuff already.” I would soon discover that somebody had been lying. The liars (who shall remain nameless) later revealed to me that this was a lie told with love so that I might be spared the desolation of a depressing drive from Indy to West Lafayette. Bless their little hearts.
Needless to say, I was dreading the redding (‘redding=Pittsburghese).
Don’t get me wrong, I was excited that the twins would be home for the summer, but I was not looking forward to the understandably unpleasant task at hand. Regretfully, the twins did not inherit their parents’ genetic propensity for structure, order, or neatness. It seems as if hoarding–as in TLC and A&E reality show hoarding– might be in their future, minus the cats. The Old Man and I are neat freaks, plain and simple. The twins? Quite the opposite.
I arrive at the Purdue campus that afternoon and text Thing One to let her know that I’m within spitting distance. She tells me she’s at lunch, but her room is open so “Just go on in and get started.” Started? Started. As in, “Begin to eliminate all detritus and pack up all belongings.” Upon entering her dorm room, my fears (and the aforementioned lie) were confirmed. She hadn’t done a damn thing. Her room, even without her roommate and her load of crap, was a 19th century rookery. Any minute I expected to see Oliver Twist emerge from under the bed with a possum and a nest of mice. Remarking to daughter one later about her obvious lack of housekeeping prowess and her rather urgent need to acquire such skills before moving into her sorority house in the fall, she responded with, “We’ll have maids.”
Dear God. Let her marry a man with a trust fund.
So while I’m shoveling equal amounts of crap into garbage bags and clothes into duffel bags, Thing Two, sleepy-eyed and bed headed, shuffles into her sister’s room and says, “Wow. At least I don’t have as much stuff.” The best news I had heard so far, so it emboldened me somewhat. I left Thing One’s room and followed sister up one floor to her room. Unfortunately, her assessment on the crap-o-meter was quite distorted. The crap was just packed in more tightly.
When will I learn?
Well, as long as I was there, I decided to fill up the garbage bag I was still holding from the first room with the trash from room two. Once full and painfully knotted, I gave this bulging repository of crap to my daughter to take to the Dumpster, then proceeded to sort through clothes, shoes, clothes, books, clothes, pictures, clothes, notebooks, clothes, grooming products, clothes, makeup, and clothes. Daughter two was taking her time getting back from the Dumpster, but about 30 minutes later she arrived back in her room holding an open can of Pringles under one arm, texting someone who must have been involved with national security because what else could have been more important than helping me get that room cleared out?
At this point, I was thinking that it was going to take an act of Congress to empty both rooms, squeeze the girls’ insane amount of clothes and all their other stuff into the car, and render both rooms hygienically adjusted well enough to pass the eagle eyes and noses of each of the girls’ Resident Assistants. Daughter number one, with her glacier-like speed, was “sorting” clothes with one hand and texting with the other, daughter number two was texting with both hands and using the toes on her left foot to pick up panties and deposit them into a clothes basket. Meanwhile, I’m sweating so much I can taste it, and my shirt and shorts are sticking to me in places I can’t talk about. The dust and dirt involved in moving all of that stuff was killing my eyes, making me sneeze, and I was just in an altogether wretched state.
Alas, my little princesses looked as cool and beautiful as ever.
Finally, after daughter two and I successfully carried a broken futon out to the Dumpster (not ‘in’ the Dumpster, so we had to walk away rather quickly), pitched a microwave that probably should have been donated to the microbiology department, and relieved daughter one from the arduous task of using a dustpan to retrieve her ID from under the dresser, we were ready to shove the last of the mess into the Towne and Country and start home. And no one was leaving in a body bag. I call that a successful day.
On the way back to Indy, both girls told me how much they were looking forward to coming home to live in a clean house, take showers that were always hot, and allow me to take care of them. Ah, that kind of made the day’s experience all worth it, don’t you think? It’s now day three, and I think I only have about ten more loads of laundry to do, but it is nice to be five of us again.