… on drop offs (and drop outs) and pick ups

I’m not sure if that magnet, which sits above Gronk’s* gas tank filler upper door, is about Marshal Dillon Dingle, or about me.

I suppose it’s about him, literally (yep, he flunked his first time through), and me more figuratively –  but only because I never actually attended something called ‘obedience school’. Being a rather irreverent participator in life, however, it fits perfectly.

Which is probably why I am currently in the middle of the selling-closing-moving of either a house or myself, getting ready to host a wedding at the place I’m moving to, and launching a new blog site (No worries, all the stuff will be here, it’s just gonna be all spiffy…. er.  Spiffier.)

“Spiffier” was what I told the marketing team I wanted. It was all the direction I gave so … we’ll see.  Fine. Just kidding. It took all kinds of design stuff and technical stuff and word stuff and photo stuff and other stuff… so, of course, launching it – which seems to involve its own stuff – takes a bit of time and I was all TIME?! MY GAWD TIME IS WHAT I HAVE AN EXTRA LOT OF RIGHT NOW SO YES LET’S DO IT!

Because understanding and conforming to rules about the finite nature of time? That is something other people do.

I am, I remind you, an Obedience School Dropout.

Rules shmools.

So the other day, because I have so much of this non-finite time (called ‘infinite’ by some but not we OBDs), I chucked all my sorting/packing/shredding/burning (of highly sensitive classified information of course) and, in the early morning hours, walked downstairs with my trusty duffel bag and camera, tossed them into Gronk, and headed out.

To North Carolina.

Because Gabe had to get got, that’s why.

Yes, apparently, even when your child is of college age you still have drop off and pick up duty. Only now they get in the car with way more than a backpack smelling of the yogurted-up plastic spoon they forgot to toss at lunchtime.

So Gronk and I headed down, through New York City and over my dreaded nemesis, the George Washington Bridge (barely made it over alive… again), then chugged through New Jersey, into a very green Delaware and then Maryland and that dreaded Baltimore tunnel (Oh… tunnels that go under water… shudder) and suddenly there was Virginia and then, kapow!, North Carolina!

Twelve hours… thirteen hours… who was counting?! The next day would be all about packing Gronk up with oodles of college kid stuff, and then – very early the next morning – I would pick a tired Gabe up (he wanted to hang with friends that last night) and we would head right back.


And the sorting/packing/shredding/burning of highly sensitive classified information could begin again in earnest.

But then.

When I got to the campus, it was so clear that Gabe had made a second home for himself at this college. A place he loves.

He sent a text saying, “Well, are you ready to come see the mayhem that is the Smith dorm?”

And it was like I was jolted through a super fast tunnel into the here…

And now.

Which was really ‘then’, based on the fact that I’m typing it now so bear with me.

Here he was…

Ending his first year of college.


We walked into the dorm that looked and sounded and smelled like young men had lived there for the better part of a year and also not bathed regularly, or washed their bed sheets even once. Gabe brought me – in a manner oddly flecked with pride – by the laundry room. “It smells awful!” he exclaimed, “Just smell it!” (which I did not as I am a grown up and I already know not to smell gross things your son tells you to smell). Being the staging area for trash, bags were literally piled to the ceiling in places, and more was coming. He thought this was a riot. Shook his head as he laughed at the room, and the memories he was making right then and there.

He showed me his cooler, the one he and his friends took to Myrtle Beach for a weekend getaway. It was perfectly painted in brand colors, and certainly 100% in breach of numerous licensing laws. On the side? ‘fratagonia’.

Kid’s a felon.

On the top, someone had labeled it ‘Dingleberry’ – a moniker no one has ever thought of before in the history of anyone named ‘Dingle’.


We talked a little bit as we packed, and then he was off to dinner with the few friends who were staying another night.

And I drove away feeling awesome.

The past few weeks have been all about plans and what ifs, settling the unsettled, worrying about how everyone is feeling, and will feel – having some of us here who have moved once or twice ourselves, and others who have lived nearly their entire lives in this one home.

I’d fallen into the plan/check plan/change plan/augment parts of plan/deal with what doesn’t actually go according to plan…


All about what was to come…

Not about what actually is.

My kid – the 6’5 baby of the family – finished up his freshman year of college and he loved it. He found a place, and fellow humans that he is so psyched to be at and with. He’s working hard and making friends and having fun…

And growing up.

I’m so glad I found myself right back in my sweet spot, lapping up the present.

And it only took a dozen hours and seven states to get me there.

Piece o’ cake.

Push button to walk… in the wrong direction. Perhaps I ought to have checked out this school better…

Thanks for readin’.

As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment.

*Gronk is my truck, named after NFL player Rob Gronkowski – a big tough man who, it has been said, runs onto the field with such glee that you would think he just got a new pony (Gronk the truck and Gronk the man are both tough, and fun).