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College Living- I’d Forgotten…

I am in Rochester this week with my daughter as she begins her transition from campus living to off campus living.  She and her four roommates have been living in a beautiful three level townhouse, fully furnished and with a washer & dryer.   They do not know the schlep of going to a laundromat and fighting for a dryer nor do they have to break into the apartment across the hall to steal a roll of toilet paper. (Remember that Di?)  Amelia is here for the summer working and along with her roommates will soon begin the move to the new house.

The new house is more in line with true student housing.  It is an older, single family home in the ‘student ghetto’ of Rochester.  It has old world charm and hardwood floors, stained glass windows and they are going to love it!  It will reflect their individual personalities and the group overall.

So, this afternoon, Amelia has gone to work and I am sitting here alone. I am bunking it on the sofa and I am prepared with a sleeping bag and pillow. I look around and begin to strategize on how to tackle cleaning this living space and I decide to start with Amelia’s bathroom.

How in God’s name do two people allow toothpaste to build up to the point where the finish on the faucet is somewhat unrecognizable? I think I covered my nose with my shirt and quite possibly choked down today’s lunch at least twice. Dear God, I am afraid to open the shower door right now and see the terror that awaits me.

The kitchen is daunting.  I have vacuumed the floor and straightened up a bit.  Upon closer look, I realize that the bottom of my bare feet reflects a not so hygienic floor.  I rummage around in the ‘cleaning closet’ and I smell beer. Beer like old beer smell after a party.  I ignore my next thought and grab the Swiffer wet mop and a knife.  Yes, a knife, to scrape the floor as I wash it. I step back and look at my work, excellent.

I return to the bathroom, now that my mom vision is clearer and realize there is no way in hell I am stepping in that shower and or on the bath mat. Into the laundry they go.

Let’s just review some highlights:

  • There is a death odor coming from the disposal. I fear turning it on.
  • Nine months of cooking build up existed on the back splash of the stove. I think I may have dislocated my elbow scrubbing this.
  • I refuse to open the microwave or the oven.
  • How can a 120-pound girl shed that much hair in the bathroom?
  • I threw away the Tupperware in the paper bag on the counter because that color of mold does not exist on the color spectrum scale.
  • Oreo cookies DO have a shelf life.
  • Although pancake mix is the same color as the counter, when it hardens you can both see it and feel it more clearly. Clean it.
  • I hope I do not blow a fuse. I have the washer, the dishwasher and the self-cleaning oven all running right now.
  • Good girl, the Girl Scout Thin Mints are in the freezer.

I began this blog post in between catching my breath and swilling some water. (Bottled water, not from a glass. I’m not crazy!) And now I end this post, tired, broken nails, chipped nail polish yet a seriously deep smile remembering my own college apartment.  The time I had was valuable and was not spent (deep) cleaning.  The drinking age was 18 then and when faced with the decision of cleaning or going to Muddy’s for a beer…. the decision was simple.

Maybe we all think this as parents but I’m pretty sure we were poorer then, our cars much older and unstable and perhaps life was a bit simpler?  I guess it’s ok they don’t clean all that great.  These young adults are smart, strong, focused and fiercely protective of their relationships and their shared space.  I respect that and my apologies if I over-cleaned my boundaries.

As I sit here, the urge to snoop is great but I would never.  Frankly I never have snooped in their rooms; I never felt the need to do it.

Amelia Rose- I love you. Now look closely at my Italian mother handiwork and know that you too will someday be a mom, sitting in your child’s apartment. When you are, breathe deeply, think for a sec before you speak/yell and just remember this day.

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