As of tomorrow this helicopter is taking off and looking for something more interesting to buzz. The kid is settled in in Israel, he’s got the phone working, groceries purchased, tuition figured out, bank account set up, direct deposit arranged, hardware store located (plumbing problem), laundry.. All good. He’s walking around the neighborhood, digging the whole experience. Made some friends in his Hebrew class, a group of medical students going to the Technion’s med school…
I guess at this point I can take off and worry about something else for a while. See ya in 2017.
Next up for Team Sankary is the second annual drop off trip to the Great State of Alabama. One downer about having a kid at school 1200 miles away is the four days in the car it takes to get there and back again. I can only listen to so much Adam Carolla. This time down won’t be quite as traumatic as the last time as we’ve done this before. Hopefully the stuff I told him to hide in the bushes over the summer is still there. He’s moving into an on campus student apartment deal with four mates, including one who “we all hate”. Kids these days, back in my day when we had a guy in our group we all hated we didn’t ask him to live with us.
On the other hand, maybe the kid is smarter than I am, when four dudes are living tighter in one apartment there will always be one guy everyone hates, at least they’re going in know who that is. When I was in school, living in a makeshift frat house, it too several days for us housemates to sort out who the hatee was, and it changed sometimes. I think this process is part of the whole life lessons experience; being able to quickly identify and isolate butt wipes.
1983-1984 was the year I lived in a house with five guys and I learned a lot about relationships.
We five signed up to live in a rented house we were going to use as a frat house. Our favorite roommate was the guy who flunked out of school early in his first semester. Since he had signed up for the year, and paid for the year we basically had an empty room most of the time we were there. Absence does in fact make the heart grow stronger.
On the other hand we had the ex-Navy electrical engineer whose company we found trying. Good thing about him, we were able to get free telephone. One day as I walked home from class I found him up the pole in the yard, full on equipment; tether, spikey shoes, work vest, yellow helmet, weird phone with the dial on top, messing around with our phone box. Turns out after the Navy he spent a year working for the utility company in the Bay Area. Thanks to him our phone line was free, downside is it was a party line and we didn’t know what number we could be reached at. But we could dial out and occasionally have conversations with neighbors who didn’t know they had a party line either. We were actually on about 5 lines, it could get kinda weird. Rule of the house never give out our address.
I remember our relationship coming to head in the winter of 1983. For those of you don’t remember that year, it was cold in Chico, down to the mid 30’s at night, occasionally lower. Several mornings we had a glistening layer of frost on the lawn and ice in its wild state on the driveway. I don’t think we had to mow the lawn for the entire 6 weeks of winter that year. Brrr.
But it was cold, especially in the house. We had cancelled our heat in January after getting a $800 electric bill in December. We weren’t sure what the problem was exactly but being young kids we assumed it had to do with the complete lack of insulation in the house and a front door that didn’t close completely. By this time the three “cool” guys in the house had separated from the Navy guy. He was living in the gigantic master suite and rarely came out to hang with us. Which was OK all around.
One fine cold crisp evening we three we huddled on the sofa wrapped in blankets watching TV, you could actually see your breath in the house since it was about 45 degrees in there, cold even by my new Minnesota standard. As we sat there a fellow who was visiting Navy came out of the room and stopped to chat with us. Oddly enough he was wearing nothing but a T-Shirt and jeans. Even more odd he was rather flushed and sweating. And to make matters worse, he complained about how hot it was in Navy’s room.
Looking across the patio at his sliding door it was then we noticed the condensation dripping down the glass. We busted in his door and discovered our electrical problem. It was about 85 degrees in the room; Navy was sitting shorts, not happy to see his roommates. There were two electric radiators in the room, a waterbed, computer, 1000W stereo system and a TV. We did some renegotiating on the spot.
That day ended badly but by the next week there were four of us huddled on the sofa, wrapped in blankets watching TV in a house that was now uniformly 45 degrees.
All part of the experience.
Post Mortem; About three weeks after the heater incident the TV was ripped off by a guy who felt that one of our crew owed him money, that was the end of the sofa camaraderie in the house.
Post Post Mortem: The party line phone created a significant problem that winter. Navy started chatting with some chicks on the line, who told him they were college kids looking for a party. Dumbass broke his own cardinal rule by not only telling them where we lived, but inviting them over for a few beers. I still remember the scene: we had a bit of get together going in the house; cocktails and hors d’vors, no ties needed, and in the front door came about half the Junior Class of Chico High School, mostly girls. They proceeded to raid the house, running through the rooms grabbing everything and anything that even looked like a drink and fled into the night. We were pretty worried about getting busted for something about the phone line, which we were happy to pin on Navy, but more importantly the Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor charges we expected to face when their parents figured out where they a pony keg and trashcan full of spiked punch. As it turned out nothing came of it other than the usual complaints from our neighbor across the street, a physician who watched our every move and reported us to the police twice a week for the first couple months we lived there. The Cops finally asked him to stop because all told the house was actually pretty quiet. Other than an unfortunate incident where couple of our guests became intimate in their backyard hot tub, there wasn’t a lot to complain about.
Unfortunately Mrs. Dr Whatshername nearly had a coronary on discovering the couple “in congress” at midnight in her hot tub and we were never able to build any sort of neighborly relationship after that despite the fact that we really had nothing to do with incident.
The high school girls BTW, apparently they had a habit of looking for parties which were not age appropriate and about three weeks before spring term ended the single middle aged college professor four doors down the street from us was arrested for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor as well as a couple statutory charges for assorted issues. We never knew for sure if it was the same girls, but one could assume.
Post Post Post Mortem: We forfeited most of our $800 security deposit in the house due to rather interesting bas relief of a human form which jutted out of the living room wall. This was the spot where Navy guy threw the TV thief, who returned to the house to ask us to reconcile our debt, through the wall. One of the few incidents where the two of them worked together on something. The massive hole was subsequently patched up by Navy, who may have been a brilliant electrical guy, but at that time didn’t know shit about drywall. He filled the hole with about 5 gallons of bondo plaster repair which expands when it dries. Since no one apparently knew about sandpaper we left it as is and had this great sculpture/trophy on our wall. There was also the issue of the tiles in living room being painted red, green, yellow and blue in order to create a permanent “Twister” board for our use. Didn’t help with the security deposit.
Final Post Post Post Mortem: Things got so cold in the house in early February that we made the executive decision to burn the accumulated junk in the garage to take the chill out of the air. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” as they say an in this case that treasure belonged to a rather beefy Hawaiian dude from the Frat, it was his waterbed frame and a dining set. Apparently he was storing it in our garage for the school year. Who knew? On the other hand one of the only times in the history of the house that the four roommates from hell came together on something was when the good Brudda came by in the spring and asked all of us where his stuff was? The unrehearsed response from the gang, in unison mind you; “I don’t know.” Hard to keep a straight face when you’re lying to a guy a about knowing where is furniture is and you can see the scorched metal brackets that held it together in the fireplace behind him.
Good times people. Good times.