Friday, 26 April 2013

Minivan Madness - Moving Home again with "Stuff".

Do you ever have a few days when you just cannot for the life of you, say anything interesting.  Truly, I am having a week like this.  Now it is not that I have done nothing this week, or talked to anyone this week.  I have had a "normal" week with not too much on the go, but not so little that I should have nothing to say.  However, even when I have nothing to say, I always have things to write.

Part of the my quiet this week comes from solitude. Derek is away again and Bridget is yet to move home.

When we had a home full of sticky goo, I longed for a few minutes of peace.  I loved the wee ones, but there
was always someone laughing and always someone crying.  It was never quiet.  We rushed around doing all the standard young family activities; swimming lessons, sleep overs  and Santa visits, Birthday parties, Beavers and Blanket forts. When Baby Bridget arrived we were full steam ahead. She spent the first 6 months in her car seat being carted around.  Any moment I had to myself was magical. A nap was the most coveted thing.  I was tired for about 20 years. I cherished my alone time, whenever I could find it.

When the kids were really little and in booster seats and car seats and bucket car seats (I am aging myself here) we could actually fit all 3 kids in their various types of seats, wedged across the back of our sporty, 4 door Grand Am.
 We resisted the minivan as long as we could.  Then we dived right in.  I mean who doesn't want a vehicle that someone can pee from without even getting out of the car.  We had 3 vans over the course of 3 kids. The first had a "driver side air bay", so we made the kids drive.  There was  a sliding door on only one side!!  The seats came out, but only a weight lifter could carry them.  We had cup holders, but they were not designed for juice boxes and were pretty much filled up with sticky crayons.  There was a tape deck for entertainment.  When we progressed to dual sliding doors, we were thrilled as now we could pee  from either side.  No line-ups.

  Men in minivans lose a piece of their manhood.  It really doesn't matter how many sheets of drywall you carry.  It doesn't matter that it has roof racks or a trailer hitch.  There is just nothing masculine about a minivan. No one, no matter how popular they were in high school, ever looks appealing driving a minivan.  It  is just not happening.  I think the minivan is a form of birth control.  "OK, I think our family is big enough now".

We tried to reestablish our sense of self with our last van, which was black and called "The Thunder".  However, it didn't help.  When our kids got old enough to drive, they were mortified to be driving a minivan, no matter what kind of  hot shot name it had.  Such are kids.  We got a van because we had the little buggers and then they are embarrassed by our  lack of cool.  However, when it came to moving stuff there was nothing better.  Kate realized this when we moved her to university at Western.  She got her stuff and then pretended not to know us.  No matter what the kids think was our motivation with the whole minivan stage, it was certainly not our intent to be regarded as bad ass.  It was when the last minivan drove away that I regained my dignity and Derek rediscovered his testicles.

Today we are giving up our empty nest.  Bridget is coming home for the summer after her first year at Ryerson, in Radio and Television Arts.  I was so excited about my trip to Toronto to pick her up.  I missed the traffic, as it was snowing when I was leaving. Of course it was snowing, it's April, c'mon, really??

Bridget was all packed and had assured me that since we had already made 2 trips previously, all that was left would easily fit in our car Latifa.  She is a Ford Focus.  Black of course because I regained my cool.  I saw a picture on Bridget's Facebook page last night of all the  remaining 'stuff" there was.
Note the Spiderman Umbrella

I was concerned, particularly as Derek is away.  Derek is spatially-gifted.  I am not sure whether it is a guy thing.  He can pack anything, big or small, into anything as long as he has bungie cords.  God that man loves his bungie cords. He even bungied the kids in the back of the Grand Am. Finding a spot for everything is truly a skill and short of changing a tire, there is really not too much sexier than Derek packing a car.  Derek packing a minivan just doesn't do it for me.  Where is the challenge there?

Unfortunately for all concerned, this trip was on me.  I am spatially-challenged.  I have trouble bringing home groceries in 1 trip.  I can't do puzzles to save my life and I hopeless at organizing a cupboard.  It is just not what I do.  I also maintain that after I did my part giving life to these sticky kids, all heavy lifting would be done by someone else.  I tried to tell Bridget, "I drive.  I do not pack.  I do not carry.  I do not unpack.  I am the Mom."  So today Bridget missed her Dad.  We both agreed as we drove home that it would have been so nice to have him along for this trip.  She missed him.  She missed that he would have unloaded the car for her.

Today, I reminisce about the minivan madness as truthfully, I have never missed the bloody things more. Everyone seemed to have extended cargo vans, hummers, Winnebagos and U-Hauls.  No one there had a super cool black Ford Focus.

Big Ticket Items in Little Black Car
Bridget and I made trip after trip up and down the elevator and then packing in the rain. Every time she came down, I just shook my head.  There were just so many things that I don't think she used.  I don't mean clothes (but yes there were so so many).  I don't mean shoes,  but again, so so many.  What I mean is 2 lacrosse sticks, a snowboard and boots, helmet and goggles as well as a guitar, tuner and stand. Thank God it was a long winter or I imagine my golf clubs would have been there.  All this stuff begs the question, Why?  If I recall correctly, I think they were all attempts to strike up casual, friendly "wow what a coincidence..." conversations with a boy at her residence.  I don't know if it worked, but I am sure it was fun trying. I applaud her scheming.  "So this weekend, after my lacrosse tournament, I thought I might head up to Blue Mt and do the half-pipes.  I will bring my guitar for the apres ski..It is tuned and ready to go".

So everything  finally fit in a very amateur, disorganized packing job.  Clothes were squished.  Make up bags thrown around.  Large ticket items stowed between the seats.  Dishes were broken.  Food was left behind. Trunk was shut. Doors were slammed tight and I could even see out the back window.  I fear though that there is nothing very feminine or attractive about being able to pack a Ford Focus, but we did it and without 1 single bungie cord.   Kudos to Bridget and me.  Welcome home little one.

Sad Little Student

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