The only sensation stranger than watching your children move away from home
is watching them move your belongings with them.
The first time we visited our son's place I said, "Hey, I used to have
kitchen towels like that. We must have the same taste in kitchen towels."
He just smiled.
"I used to have a bowl like that one, too," I said. "And measuring cups
like yours. And hot pads."
He said he had to walk the dog.
Now the next one in line is moving out and starting life on her own.
That's life on her own with our little television with the built in VCR
(we're so hip), pots and pans from the kitchen, and assorted sheets and
towels from the linen closet.
A mountain of things looms in the garage and stacks of boxes tower in the
front room. She looks good to go, but the husband's inner Boy Scout, which
intermittently yells "Be prepared!" insists on going over a check list of
"Flashlight?" he asks her.
"Yes, I have one in my purse," she says.
"No, not some dinky Barbie flashlight. Something like the Q-Beam
Maximillion, 1 million candlepower with pistol grip and trigger switch."
"I thought those were for when you are out in the wilderness, you know,
around dangerous wildlife. I'm moving to an apartment complex full of young
"My point exactly," the husband says. "Now how about pepper spray?"
"Right here "
"Duck!" I yell.
"I wasn't going to use it. I'm just showing you that I have it," she says.
The husband continues. "OK, good. Now, when will you be getting your
The husband's inner Boy Scout has never been what you'd call ahead of the
"Young people don't use land line phones," she says.
"I'm just saying think about it, all right?"
He continues:"Weather-alert radio?"
She looks to me for help. "I'm not even here," I say. "I just look like I'm
"Why do I need a weather-alert radio?" she asks.
"To tell you when bad weather is coming."
"But I'm on the third floor, with a view. I can see bad weather coming."
"Not if it's dark; the weather-alert radio could warn you," he says.
"And then I should do what? Run downstairs with my Q beam searchlight,
looking for wildlife?"
"Fine, forget the weather alert," he says.
It's tool time.
"Now here is a tool kit I packed for you: hammer, screwdrivers, pliers,
socket wrenches, duct tape, electrical tape. I also have a fire
extinguisher, step ladder and assorted batteries."
"Do you think we forgot anything?" he asks me.
"Just iron bars for the doors and windows. But we can order those
We help move all the stuff and schlep it up three flights of stairs.
(We have yet to have a kid rent an apartment on the first floor. Third,
fourth, fifth and fifteenth, but never the first.)
"When do you think she'll be back?" the husband asks on the drive
"Sooner than she thinks," I say. "I pulled aside a box full of
shoes and put them back in her closet."