I thought I would share a funny story that happened recently because many of you have children heading to college. Life lessons come in many forms and in many ways and learning how to react when things don’t go right is important. Read and laugh.
LIFE LESSON #1 ASK QUESTIONS
Our daughter spent the last 4 months in a study abroad program in Australia so her new roommate was in charge of finding them a place to live. The place was found, and both were happy. Our daughter had not signed a lease or put down money of any kind. As questioning parents, we asked our daughter, “Are you sure you have an apartment?” She answered, “yes, we pay when we get there.” (hmmm, ok?)
LIFE LESSON #2 PLAN AHEAD
The moving day arrived and we left town with our daughter’s car and another car pulling a trailer. In one car was our daughter, her cat (that has never been out of the house) and me. Hauling the trailer is my husband, in a car by himself. I have packed food, paper goods, and even cat litter. We are prepared. Ten and a half hours later we roll into her brand new apartment complex. It is about 5 pm. There is nowhere to park because the apartment complex has just been completed, but the guest lot is filled with dirt and the 5 guest spaces are full. Finally, we pull to the side of the road and park. At this point, we didn’t care if we blocked the road. I got cat duty so I stayed in the car as our daughter and my husband made sure she actually had an apartment to move in to. Good news, she did have a place. I learned that you actually CAN get an apartment without paying or signing anything!
LIFE LESSON #3 BE PREPARED FOR THE UNEXPECTED
After a long while, we found out that her place is not ready to move in to because the apartment is not cleaned. Really, it seemed the entire complex was not ready for occupants. The hallways were not cleaned and work was still going on. The leasing agent gave us a food voucher and told us it will take 2 hours to clean the apartment. “Just go get a glass of wine and some food and come back in a few hours,” she said. “Uh…. We have a cat,” I said. (And frankly, I’m going to need more than one glass of wine, I thought.) The leasing agent offered us a model unit to hang out in while the new apartment was being cleaned. It sounded like a great idea. We moved just the basics into the model and all the cat paraphenelia. Again, I hang with the cat as daughter and dad inquire about other available apartments. Meanwhile, the leasing agents (3 of them), can’t find the cleaning lady so they began cleaning our daughter’s apartment themselves. It is Friday night at 6:30pm. As I am waiting in the model, I decided to do some yoga. I’m in down dog as the door opened and a guy walked in. I sprang upright and shared a look of confusion. After a little introduction, (his name was Matt, by the way) it is determined that he was told that he could stay in that model too. Really??!!! So, I suggested to Matt that he go and talk to the leasing agent. (I know where they are.) A short time later, a leasing agent came to the model and apologized and told us she put us in the wrong one. DUH! We are actually 2 doors down. AND, our daughter’s apartment floors need to be stripped and re-waxed because there is too much paint on the floors. She offers us the new model to stay in till Monday, when the floors will be done.
LIFE LESSON #4 IF YOU DON’T LAUGH, YOU’LL CRY
It was about 7 pm and we moved our stuff, and the cat, who is freaked out, into the second model. This was the second time I moved a large cat litter box. I was not happy. This model was larger and professionally decorated. It looked amazing. The kitchen island was set with placemats and dishes, wine and wine glasses and fresh flowers. The living room has a large screen tv and the refrigerator had a bunch of snacks and drinks, including ice cream in the freezer. Things were looking up. We went to dinner using the voucher and came back around 8:30pm. As we began to get comfortable in our new temporary digs, we quickly realized that there was no trash can, dish soap, dish towels, utensils, paper towels, etc. There WAS wine, used as a decoration, but we didn’t care. My husband, aka MacGyver, opened the wine with tools from his tool box. I know, Amazing!! We find dish soap in our daughter’s things and wash the 2 wine glasses that they have. The third wine glass was a large yeti. I bet you can’t guess who had that one.
The cat was happy now, and we sat on the sofa to relax and watch tv. Well, the tv was not hooked up! Of course, it wasn’t! This place is not for REAL people. More joy to come… no internet either.
Now my husband went to check out the bed situation and it was not real either. Well, the bed was real, but it had only a fitted sheet covered in dust and a comforter. There were also 9 decorative pillows but not ONE real one. “I can’t sleep on that dusty bed,” said my husband, who has allergies. I strip the bed and throw the stuff in the laundry with detergent. After a minute or two, I want to punch that leasing agent in the face. The washer and dryer are not hooked up! Exhausted, I take the stuff out of the washer and use our daughter’s queen sheets on the king bed. Do they fit you might wonder? No, but we didn’t care at this point. We crawled into bed getting comfy with our velvet buttoned decorative pillows for our head and went to sleep. You might guess that we didn’t sleep well that night, but it wasn’t the sheet situation or the pillow situation. It was the blaring music outside our window, that faced the pool. The party playlist featuring rap music blared all night (until 4am) because someone from the apartment complex forgot to turn it off. (No lie. Confirmed the next day.)
LIFE LESSON #5 THINGS ALWAYS LOOK BRIGHTER IN THE MORNING
We woke up the next morning and just shook our heads at the previous day’s adventures and looked forward to a better day. I hopped in the shower and as the water hit the cotton shower curtain (without a liner) the black dye ran into the tub and also onto the floor. At this point, I have adopted the “I don’t care” attitude. I grabbed the nicely folded decorative towel (you know the ones you are not supposed to use) hanging on the towel bar, and dried off as I gaze at the black dye pool formed near the tub. Oh well, I’ll put that in the “Not My Problem File.” Did I mention, no toilet paper either?
We managed to all shower and meet in the kitchen as the cat seemed to adjust. She found a decorative cactus that she liked very much and started chewing on it. Excellent! That too, is in the “Not My Problem File.”
LIFE LESSON #6 NOT REACTING SPEAKS VOLUMES
The rest of our stay was a bunch of laughs as we tried to navigate living in a model that isn’t meant to be lived in and an apartment that is not quite ready for occupants. We finally moved our daughter’s stuff into the carpeted areas of the two bedroom apartment, so when her floors were finished, her furniture could be moved into place easily. (Her roommate was not moving in for a few weeks, so we had her space too.) Eventually, our daughter signed a lease, still with no payment. They did not accept checks and wanted the payment to be made through a portal system. (Before we left home, I reminded my daughter to bring a check for her first rent payment but she said no one uses checks anymore! After a little argument, she brought ONE and then asked for a little tutorial on how to fill out the check. This is the truth.) After logging in multiple times to the portal and after several calls to the leasing agent, it was determined that the portal was not working. Eventually, the leasing agent took a check!
Before you could blink, it was time to go. We rolled out early on a Monday morning without our daughter and cat. She was settled in the model for now and would soon be in her new place. The entire move-in process was not what my husband or I expected, but for our daughter, it was all she knew. She did not know how it was supposed to go, therefore we just went with the flow, and tried to make it seem like THIS is how it usually goes. We handled each issue with laughter and resourcefulness and got through it together.
And speaking of life lessons, she may have even picked up a skill of how to open a wine bottle with a screw and screwdriver and pliers!
(Above is a picture of the model we stayed in.)
(The hallway where the leasing agents have put blue tape on all the paint spots.)