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Archive for July, 2013

The other day a brochure arrived  from Bed, Bath & Beyond advertising lots of items for the college dorm room.  It made me think of that whole process — going away to school.

In 1964 when I went away to school, from Omaha to Lincoln, a whole 60 miles away, I needed linens and towels. of course.  Mom told me to go to the linen closet and take what I needed. I also grabbed a quilt and pillow off my bed.  Then I packed a foot locker, one left over from Dad’s time in the Army in Korea, with all the things I needed to live away from home.  Dad loaded it into the car and Mom drove me to college.  When we got there, Mom and I quickly realized we could’t carry it up three flights of stairs.  We finally smiled at and begged two strong young men to carry it for us.  They kindly helped out.  After meeting my new roommate, Jane, Mom drove us downtown to Brandeis Department store to buy matching twin size bedspreads, with a matching rug to place between our beds.  We thought we had a very fashionable room.

Today the choices available for decorating a dorm room are vast.  They sell all kinds of matching and coordinating items designed for college comfort.    I was amazed.

Years later, during the 1990s, as a mature adult, I spent four summers in dorm rooms –two in Hays, Kansas studying for my MA degree and two in Hattiesburg, Mississippi working on my specialist degree.  I lived alone, of course.  No way could I have shared a tiny room with another adult; I was too old to think that was fun.  I remember treating myself to a new twin comforter each time.  I even bought a small coffee pot.  The rest of the things I needed, I simply brought from home — again, I went to the “closet”, so to speak.  I learned to find things that were dual purpose.  Plastic crates that packed stuff to bring could be turned on their side and stacked up like shelves to hold books and hygiene items.  A tray on top made them like a counter-top.  A TV tray held my laptop computer.  Another one was my bedside table.  Thankfully, by then, dorm rooms automatically came with micro-fridges, a marvelous invention.  I didn’t have to  warm donuts wrapped in foil on the radiator or set cokes on the window ledge to chill them like in 1964.  In Hays I brought tapes from home — hours and hours worth — so I didn’t have to listen to country music on the radio.  In Mississippi I even bought a floor fan to supplement the AC and add white noise.  I was an old hand at dorm living by the time I finished my second postgraduate degree.

As I pondered the goodies in the brochure, I realized that I, in my own way, wanted to be just as comfortable back then as do today’s students.  It just costs more now. A lot more.

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Like most of the Southeast US we have been stuck in a rainy weather pattern for several weeks. We haven’t had rain every single day, but almost.   I hate to  complain because the alternative is drought and, heaven only knows, we’ve had plenty of that in the last few years.

Ginger, our ten-year old Beagle/Bassett mix, pants and pants during thunderstorms.  She hides under the desk or behind a chair — anywhere that she can find.  Annie, the young Terrier/Chow/Lab mix, will bark at each and every clap of thunder.  She chased the lightning flashes and barks at the thunder.  What pandemonium!  Bruce and I were exhausted dealing with the dogs on an almost daily basis.

I had seen the late night TV ads for the ThunderShirt, which claims to calm dogs from all that anxiety.  So I googled it.  Forty dollars??  Really?  For a dog shirt?  Come on. . . .

However, after weeks of storms, and all the drama, we got to the point where we’d probably pay more than that for some peace and quiet.  I ordered one.  We put it on Annie since she was the loud one.  It worked.  She was so relaxed she almost fell asleep wearing it!  We were amazed.  The only thing is to get it on her quickly as she hates to be “messed” with.  (Hence the muzzle at the vet’s office.)  But with two people and a handful of dog treats, we managed.  I don’t think she likes the ripping, tearing sound of the velcro if it has to be readjusted.

Old Ginger, on the other hand, now just rolls along.  She lets us put it on her since she is limp from nerves anyway.  So all is now well.  She is calm and Annie is silent.

Peace and quiet for us?  Priceless.

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