Saturday, January 11, 2020

Haunted Mansion on the Hill & Turkey Vultures

I won't lie. The end of this past year was overshadowed by a little niggling thought that would sneak up to do a tap dance in my brain from time to time, stomping on neurons which translated to my chest which would then tighten just a bit. Since the Pratt Inc. kids have taken their education seriously and are in the wholesale pursuit of getting as many credits as possible while living at home, we were then left with an atypical start time for the oldest to go off to college. Normally you'd have a whole summer to ease into the situation. Not us. A little less than a month and some of it while the oldest was in finals.

Making things worse was that everyone agreed that off campus living was the only way to go. THE MAN and Lexi had been to New Paltz twice and had toured the campus living facilities twice. The first time was in a sideways rainstorm and the second a sunny day. Transferring in as a second semester sophomore, they threatened to make her live with the freshman to get that "full college experience" and live in a dorm. Oldest wasn't having none of that biz. Her theory was that she skipped her Senior Year of High School and didn't need an "experience" as she'd had plenty of those already. Plus, she was still turned off by the previous "smells like teen spirit" tour.

Lucky for us there is an antiquated web page that one might use to figure out who had rooms available to rent in the the Town of New Paltz. The listing itself was fairly easy to use, but usually left out useful details such as location, how much the rent was, or anything resembling a photo. A month or so ago I called/texted as many of these people as possible and set up four places to look at. As it's a nearly four hour drive, we had to leave super early and come home super late.

First place we toured was this one. Yes those are very large birds on the top of that roof. To be exact, they are turkey vultures. Yes, if you had a small dog you'd be worried. They do look sketchy. The "room" was upstairs and in fact was slightly larger than my bathroom & had those slanted ceilings.
We practically ran out of that house in terror. Most of the rest weren't much better. Thankfully we found the 100 year old plus haunted mansion on the hill that John owns.

John Johnson (yes his real name) is a developer, which is why his haunted mansion is in the middle of a construction site. So yes not optimal unless you like those kinds of things like I do. Regardless, the room itself was huge & has an attached bathroom. Lexi who in general has a phobia of tooth brushes touching was thrilled. It also was the kitchen back when the haunted mansion was a three family rental, so she has a kitchen sink and a ton of cabinets.

Armed with dimensions of the unfurnished room (honestly after tours of "furnished" rooms this was much preferable) we then went on a mission to acquire a bed, mattress, and lamps. I found a fold up computer desk that could hold up to 800 lbs and that the local tile & carpet place sold cheap remnants and had someone that could bind the corners. Aunties and Grandparents sent help in the way of care packages and checks so in fairly short order she had the makings of a sweet pad.

Keeping in mind that John has a no pet policy....there is a house cat. Tuxedo believes himself to be the ward of Church Street proper and in particular King of the House. Nothing really happens without his participation. He is more than willing to lick his butt on your bed so you feel like you aren't missing your own pets as one of the services he offers. The door of the room across the hall doesn't quite latch so at night the owner locks himself in so Tuxedo doesn't take advantage of this and head butt the door open in boredom. A cat pounce at o dark thirty in a haunted house isn't a pleasant idea.

It was a two day marathon session getting her moved in and registered for classes. Being that she was living in a haunted mansion on a hill in the middle of a construction site, everything had to be carried up the back windy servant staircase since the front steps of the house really go to nowhere. Every now and then I'd feel that same niggling thought that she'd be staying and we'd be going...

We ended up spending quite a lot of time on campus and also meeting most of her housemates. They are all guys except the girl who just keeps her stuff there and lives with the boyfriend. The kid across the hall is minoring in Astronomy and is super interested in Astroplanets. The kid who lives down the hall is working on getting accepted to grad school and graduated with a degree in Astronomy already. I can only imagine the discussions they will get into, if everyone is around long enough in between jobs and classes. When we video chatted with her last night she was eating a bowl of soup that one of the guys in the house made and she told us about all the groceries she bought. I personally was wondering how the heck she found someone to cook for her already and was impressed. All my housemates from college couldn't even boil water.

Today she's going to walk to class and figure out the best route. She has healy sneakers on order and THE MAN has already voiced his concerns. He's pretty sure she'll crash and burn but I think she'll figure it out. Not to mention Zappos free return policy. When we drove off, my little sad niggling fear was gone. Somewhere between trips up those stairs, meeting the house mates and a little kitty love, I was confident that she's got this. Our new normal is a video chat in the evening and texting to keep up with her adventures will help. I guess I don't have to say reach for the she'll already be studying them!