Ahh, COVID. I guess life goes on, or we try to do so, anyway. Ethan, after spending the last 5+ months at home (bonus Ethan time for us!) has now completed his transfer to Colorado State University and we have moved him into his dwelling for the upcoming school year! Even though this is Ethan’s second year of school, this year seemed almost worse in some ways than moving him in last year. Last year he was going to Regis, which on a good traffic day was only about a 30 minute drive from home. He had access to the city bus and train system to get him home whenever he liked, and we were pretty “comfortable” with the school. Not to mention, after last summer, we were kind of ready for him to leave (sorry Ethan)! This year he will be attending a big state school which we haven’t had an opportunity to really visit or connect with it at all due to the pandemic. Also, it’s a bit further away, 90 minutes in good traffic. Given all that, it just felt different. Quinton seemed to actually care and notice that it was happening this time around. At one point he asked Jenny and I in an accusatory way why we weren’t more upset about Ethan leaving! It was kind of nice having him around for the last 5-6 months…
But, growing up happens. We moved him on August 21, his grandparents 49th wedding anniversary, to The Cottages of Fort Collins. The Cottages is a largish apartment complex about 2 miles from the CSU campus in Fort Collins. The layout is pretty intriguing and very geared at college students. Each unit has 4-5 bedrooms, each with their own bathroom, with a shared kitchen, living room, and appliances (laundry). It’s sort of entry-level adulthood, or as I like to call it, Dorm 2.0.
With 4 separate bedrooms, there are all sorts of configurations of roommates. Ethan’s primary roommate is Rachel, his girlfriend of several years now. One of the other two bedrooms was filled by the complex based on their profiles they filled out. Michelle, their roommate, is a 30 year old master’s student who is studying music therapy! At the time of writing, there was no fourth roommate.
To accommodate all of the dressers, beds, desks, mattresses, clothes, and electronics, I decided to rent a U-Haul for the day and tow it behind the Flex. It turned out to be a good decision as we packed that thing to the gills with the various items. Rachel supplied a couch and chair from a friend of hers, while both of them had beds and mattresses (I’m sure they’ll both get used) that thankfully were in boxes and packed very nicely.
The trip up was uneventful. I drove solo in the Flex (there wasn’t room for any passengers) and Ethan drove in the Pontiac Vibe we just purchased the week prior. It was pretty hot in the upper 90s with some smoke evident from the various wildfires burning throughout the state, but all in all it wasn’t too bad. Ethan’s designated check-in time was between 3:00 and 4:00, so we arrived at 2:55 in typical Grady fashion. To reinforce the college theme and atmosphere, they had volunteers driving around the complex helping people get checked in and answering questions, sort of like in the dorms! Between Ethan and I, we spent the next 2 hours hauling “stuff” into the three story townhouse. Thankfully their rooms were on the 2nd floor and not the 3rd, and most of the heaviest items stayed on the first floor!
After a few hours of unpacking, we took a short break to tour the complex. All I can say is, where were these places when I went to college? Oh yeah, they didn’t exist!!! There were young people everywhere, some sitting on their front porches drinking cheap beer, others sitting on their front porches smoking marijuana, and a medium sized group was at the outdoor pool just hanging out! There is a full size beach volleyball court near the pool, four grill areas on the outskirts of the pool, a fully equipped weight and workout room, saunas, and a recreation area with a pool table, televisions, ping-pong… It doesn’t suck…
After our short break, we went back to unpacking and putting beds together, which we did until finished around 8:00, at which time I was ready to kill somebody for a beer and some food! Fort Collins in a pandemic doesn’t have a ton of options, so Ethan and I took the easiest option we could think of, an 800 foot walk from his front door to the closest brewery, Snowbank Brewing Company. That took care of the beer part, but to get food, we had to order from a local pizzaria. By 9:00 we had finally satisfied our hunger and went back to the apartment where Ethan stuck around to setup televisions and, well, sleep I suppose, and I took the 90 minute journey back to Aurora with the U-Haul.
That’s not the end of the story… I did mention that I was the only family memeber that would fit in the Flex, yeah? So Saturday was about getting the rest of the family up to FoCo and to help our favorite students to get settled. After an easy drive, the family got to see Ethan’s apartment for the first time, which they really enjoyed! Ethan and Rachel were eating when we arrived, so we decided to go out and buy groceries and essentials first and foremost, where we experienced what I can only describe as the most uncomfortable Target shopping trip ever! It was college move-in weekend, so it was PACKED with college students and their families. It was also much hotter than the previous day, with temperatures in the low 100s, and the smoke rolling off of the wildfires had intensified since the prior day! Never mind, though. We succeeded for the most part at Target and went to Sam’s Club for the remaining items and essentials. Quinton, Mireille, and I had still not eaten, but figured we could get something at Sam’s Club. Unfortunately, Sam’s Club is struggling just like other restaurants in this climate, so their options were pretty meager for lunch. We settled on a whole pizza (the only way you can buy it) and an unadorned hot dog with 4 waters, since those were really the only options. I suppose it did the trick, and at only $12, it is likely one of the least expensive meals I’ve ever purchased for my family!!!
After unpacking the essentials, we headed over to CSU to “tour” the campus. As expected, it was very strile. There weren’t many people around, and it was still VERY HOT! It was really a bummer not to have the typical, jockular college environment, but I suppose it is what it is. We got to tour the campus itself, though we didn’t go into any buildings save for the book store. I’m really looking forward to going back later in the year when there are more people around, or even next year if the pandemic protocols are relaxed, because CSU seems like a really fun campus to see a football game, or visit the campus bar where they brew their own beer!!!
At the end of the day, we all hugged Ethan and wished him good luck. It was sad, but the hot weather sort of ruled over all other emotions or enjoyment. We were comfortable in the fact that Ethan had a really nice, safe place to stay and concentrate on his studies, and hopefully meet some new people and experience some new things along the way! I, personally, intend to go up to visit quite often as he is an easy walk to no fewer than 5 different, world-class breweries! Oh, and I want to visit Ethan, of course…