Sunday, August 30, 2009

The empty nest

Youngest son, Ed, has been successfully installed at George Mason University, in Fairfax, VA. I got back yesterday evening (only to be greeted by a work emergency at midnight).

We flew down Wednesday, arriving in the afternoon.

We managed to get everything in a large duffel bag and Ed's backpack (with a few things in my small suitcase. Travel hint: put clothing in freezer bags and squeeze the air out before packing.

The decision to fly rather than drive meant getting quite a bit of stuff locally.

Rather subjecting the high-priced Taylor guitar to the dangers of air travel and dorm life, I offered to get a dorm-worthy guitar in Fairfax. So first stop (after an early dinner at our favorite Indian Buffet) was the Guitar Center.

After much debate, negotiation and testing, a suitable candidate - an Epiphone AJ200SR six string - was bought and paid for, along with a gig bag for it to live in. Next we hit Target and stocked up on bedding and toiletries.

During all this driving, my new iPhone's GPS capabilities turned out to be a real life-saver (more on this in a separate post).

We were in the first wave of move-ins, which started at 8:30 Thursday morning. I continue to be extremely impressed with how well George Mason has it's act together. Parking was convenient and well-organized. After the housing department's processing, we headed to the dorm and unloaded our stuff.

One advantage to traveling from afar: we avoided the tendency to bring everything plus the kitchen sink. There were quite a few families who had not successfully traversed this issue. I wonder how they got everything into those modestly sized dorm rooms.

I'm an occasional believer in signs and omens, so I took the fact that he was in Roosevelt Hall as a sign I shouldn't worry the GMU Libertarian community will brainwash him. Franklin or Teddy -- either is okay with me.

After unloading, we grabbed lunch at 5 Guys, a burger joint. then did more shopping for storage containers and laundry baskets (it's hard to think of all of this stuff at once).

Back on campus, we ran errands, chasing down information, then bought books to the tune of $540. Again, GMU made finding the required textbooks dead easy by linking this information to students' computerized class schedules.

A 5:00 mandatory dorm meeting gave us the excuse to go our separate ways and him the opportunity to start meeting people. I touched base with him that evening via text messaging: he'd met some folks at some of the university sponsored events, hung with them, played Ultimate Frisbee, then did a little on-line gaming with some of his old high school buds.

My flight home was Friday afternoon. That morning I wandered around old town Fairfax, We got together for a final lunch at Chipotle then swung back to campus where I walked with him to find where his classes met (he GPS bookmarked them in his iPhone).

And then it was time for me to take off.

It was an odd feeling, leaving him behind.

But everything tells me he's ready.

1 comment:

Dan Brekke said...

We had a moment up in Eugene, when we had gotten Thom set up in his tiny dorm room (tiny!) and were getting ready to leave, when I was filled with the realization of how much we were going to miss him and was thinking how hard it was for him to be so far from home, that I *actually said*: "Hey, you can come home with us if you want." He didn't miss a beat. Just said, "Nah, dad. I've got to do this one."

I was glad Kate and I were together for the trip home. (And, yes, he did great up there all on his lonesome.)