Dawn of Dormagedon

Necessity is the mother of invention.  And as the mother of a college freshman, I find it necessary to encourage the nice folks at Bed, Bath & Beyond to invent a screaming room for first time dorm shoppers. Churches have them, thus it’s perfectly reasonable for BB&B to offer a safe, non-judgmental space to screech the Lord’s name in vain – right between foam pillows and mattress covers works – maybe have a priest on retainer, you know, for the exorcism.

John, my eldest and first to leave the nest will be flying the coop in ten days and I find myself waffling between ugly sobs and jubilation. One minute I’m dragging him to family activities like we’re a tone-deaf version of the Osmonds touring the senior cruise circuit and the next minute I’m ticking off days until his departure like a sailor anticipating Shanghai shore leave.

Today’s linens expedition was supposed to be a bonding experience – and it was. I’m bonding with the Chardonnay as I type.

And so I said…

“What color comforter do you want?”

“Don’t care.”

“How about sheets?”

“Yeah.”dorm 15

“Ohhhhh Kaaaaay. What color sheets are your roommates getting? We should match.”

“Match? Who gives a shit – we’re guys.” Grabs nearest androgynous color. “These.”

dorm 9

 “OK, gray.” How is he mine? “What else do we need?”

“Football cleats.”

“For your room! You can’t sleep in football cleats; you’re not a cobbler’s elf.”


“Never mind; give me the list.” Snatches university suggested checklist. “Towels; two sets.”

dorm 13

“Do you want shower shoes?”

“WTF is a shower shoe?”

“Flip flops. You know, so you don’t get a fungus or something worse.”

“What’s worse than fungus?”

dorm 14

“What did you volunteer to bring for the joint bathroom?”

“Floor shit and the hangy thing.”

(Side note: I love my son to the moon and back. Great kid –  not a wordsmith.)

dorm 3

“What about accessories?”

“What the hells an accessory?”

“Posters, pictures, decorations.”

“I’ve got my black light and some car stuff; this is stupid.”

dorm 16

I wasn’t expecting a complication free excursion, but with each new aisle his mood dipped to a lower level of sullen. There was no joy, no budding excitement over the impeding move – only a forced smile washing over his face with each new question; I felt like a mother dove releasing her fledging chick over Dick Cheney’s place. And then, it hit me…

He’s scared.

We left, my credit card maxed and his spirits buoyed by the next-up-in-Debtville cleat shopping. And this, my friends, is where the ugly sobs broke.



“Thanks; for the stuff – and college and shit. Love you.”

“Love you, too, Johnny Bean.” Paused, debated, bit the bullet. “You know I was nervous going to college the first year. It’s perfectly OK – even for big football stars like you.”

“Nah, I’m good.”

“Well, I’m not, but I will be – just like you.”

dorm 17


10 comments on “Dawn of Dormagedon

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    I loved this! AudraMac on Twitter alerted me to this post because I had a similar experience shopping for dorm supplies for my son a few weeks ago. When I asked him if he wanted a shammy or throw pillow, he said, “I’d rather punch myself in the face.” Boys. So easy when it comes to decorating. 🙂

  2. Diane Noel says:

    Our youngest just moved to go to grad school….16 hrs away. Our shopping experience with him was oddly similar! We managed to buy boring olive curtains! Didn’t even match his comforter. Boys! Still in tears some days…but that’s ok. We raise them to fly away to find their life and adventures!

  3. It’s funny because it’s all true. I had a mild panic attack a week ago; I realized my oldest will be graduating and possibly leaving in three years. I know that seems like a long time, but I swear she was two yesterday. I’m not ready.
    In absence of a screaming room, would a salty snack and alcohol do? Good luck John and good luck Mom.

  4. Carolyn Mirek says:

    Hysterical and so true for boys.
    Opposite for girls!

  5. Jane Sadek says:

    I so loved this. I am finally coming out of the fog of homebuilding. This post reminded me why I have missed my blogging buddies.

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