And today, my friends, my countdown expired.
Today was the day that Trigger and Ponzi both flew off to school, leaving Drip Dry and me (semi) empty nesters.
And if I told you what the week leading up to today had been like, you would . . .
I had been fighting back tears for two days now. . .Grew a stress-induced cold sore resembling the chain of Aleutian Islands from the corner of my mouth. . . Spent a guestimated $2,000 in clothing, haircuts, dorm room wares, toiletries, mani-pedis, and school supplies. . . sucked down the contents of a full bottle of wine and cried myself to sleep last night. . . and transferred another $1,000 to fund their Flex accounts so they could purchase books.
And so this morning, at about 10:30, the dog, Trigger, and I waved goodbye as Veggie and Drip Dry left to settle Ponzi into her first year of college.
And by about 10:45, I had the sheets off of her bed (would have been in the washer too, had Trigger's entire wardrobe not still been in there) and had armed myself with a big black garbage bag to scoop up all of the errant tags, bags, tissues and sticky boobs that had been left behind in her packing frenzy.
And then, with her room neat and tidy, I started to feel a sensation that I hadn't felt in quite a while. . . warm and fuzzy like. . .
It was a sense of orderliness and I liked it.
And, like a relapsed junkie, I quickly tried to get another fix.
But Trigger was still enveloped in her packing phase and you can't rush greatness.
And so I waited.
And somewhere around 2:00 p.m., the dog and I stood on the front porch and had a mother/daughter moment as we watched Trigger's boyfriend drive her away too.
And at precisely 2:01, I discovered that she had forgotten to take her pillows with her but waited until she was safely in a neighboring state to tell her, 'cause God knows I didn't want her coming back to get them.
And then I donned my HazMat suit and proceeded to disinfect her room.
And that poor clothes washer which had been working overtime for the last two days was put to work once more washing sheets, mattress pads, stray thongs, and the mountain of dirty bath towels I found tucked away in her closet.
And then I cleaned their bathroom.
And then I brushed the dog.
And then I realized that I could purge the refrigerator.
And scrub it.
And then I took out the garbage, straightened the book shelves, febreezed the cat, vacuumed the rug, emptied the dishwasher, fluffed the pillows, tried to vacuum the dog but she would have no part of it, and took a shower myself.
And then my mother called to see how I was doing all alone in my empty nest and she asked me, Did you spend all day cleaning their rooms? That's always what I used to do. It made me feel better somehow. . .
I supposed that you could say,
that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree,
before she rushes to sweep it up. . .