2007.04.04 Choosing a college is easy when your mother's a goon

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I didn’t intend to travel anywhere for spring break this year. A combination of guilt and fickle finances convinced me that if anybody was going anywhere it should be David. In past years, he hasn’t always joined me and the kids on spring break excursions due to the demands of putting out a paper every week. So, I nobly suggested that he accompany Maddie to Miami to visit Ben and attend a University of Miami campus event for accepted students and their parents, while I stayed home and worked at the office.

Then Maddie was invited by the other of her prospective Florida colleges to a scholarship competition. It was a hefty scholarship opportunity, one we thought she shouldn’t pass up—even though we think she will probably end up selecting the University of Michigan as her college of choice. But David didn’t like her plan to travel by Greyhound alone from downtown Orlando to downtown Miami. So, enter me, personal parental escort to the indecisive future college student.

Now that I’ve returned from what became a glorious 10-day trip to Florida, I’ve gotten over the guilt of going from no vacation to a vacation twice as long as David’s Wednesday-to-early-Monday-morning journey. David had eased the guilt somewhat by suggesting I consider the trip a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. I guess it was fitting that he was only there half the time since the other half I was mentally checked out anyway.

Maybe it was the stress of driving a rental car, trying not to get in a crash and wondering if I made the right decision of opting to return the car with a full tank of gas instead of paying for a full tank in advance and returning the car on an empty tank. Maybe it was the burden of ignoring the twinge of fear that lingers in the background when mother and daughter travel alone, feeling like an easy mark. Maybe it was just the continuing saga of me being me. Whatever it was, it sure was persistent.

It started when I tried to drive the rental car wearing my clunky and quite ugly sage and brown Birkenstock sandals. My foot kept slipping on the gas pedal so I switched the Birk with the right foot of my hot pink Crocs, also quite ugly, but extremely comfortable. That footgear worked well on our first evening driving around the Orlando area. When we returned to a mall the second night, we entered through the Barnes and Noble bookstore. I sauntered in while Maddie rushed through, headed for clothing stores inside the mall. We planned to meet later in the bookstore. I was approaching the bathroom when I looked down and discovered I was wearing an ugly Birkenstock on one foot and a hot pink Croc on the other. Glad that Maddie wasn’t there to witness the doddering acts of her mother, I walked all the way through the store, trying not to laugh out loud, back to the car to make the switch to two ugly Birkenstocks.

Two days later, I did the same thing. We walked into a restaurant on Park Avenue in the very swanky Winter Park neighborhood. We ordered and ate our food, then walked into a store to browse when I happened to look down and see the Birkenstock on the left foot and hot pink Croc on the right. Maddie ushered me out of the store, whereupon I proceeded to try to unlock another white car that was not ours, all the while laughing out loud at my folly. Maddie had returned to the store by this time, unamused by my antics and incredulous that I can’t tell the difference between a Dodge Charger and a Lexus LS.

Later in the week, we were walking around Coconut Grove after dinner and Ben’s girlfriend Sarah had to go to the bathroom.

“Let's go in this hotel,” Maddie suggested.

So, we walk into the lobby of a swanky hotel pretending we belong, go to the bathroom, sample their fancy hand cream and then stroll through the lobby as if we're hotel guests. We were two blocks away before I realized my belt was hanging down unbuckled.

You probably don’t need to hear the story of the earplug in the toilet, or my escapades on the exercise course at a park near Ben’s house, but if Maddie chooses to go to school in Florida—far away from me—I’m guessing you won’t be surprised.

    – April 4, 2007 
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017