OK, we got back last night, and as Mrs. Who says, it is a treat to have our daughter back home.
We rented a Toyota Tundra with unlimited miles (good thing, b/c we ended up putting 1700 miles on that sucker). It handles nicely and was very comfortable, but since we weren't used to it, parking was just a bit stressful. But it was fine, we didn't dent it or anybody else's vehicle or tear up any trees or anything.
We drove up through Florida and into Georgia on Hwy 75, took 82 through Georgia and Alabama to Birmingham, then 78 into Mississippi. Apparently we blew through Jasper several hours before a tornado struck and did some damage. That is a strange feeling.
Nice visit with my parents on Wednesday. Thursday we drove up to Memphis and visited R's folks. Friday we drove to Columbus to see F for the first time after her finals and all. R started looking at her stuff and thinking how to pack it all in that truck. (Roommate came back with us too, but she only has clothes and such - if she and F find jobs and get an apartment together as planned, her parents will bring the rest of her things.)
We went to the Star Trek movie (and I have a funny story to tell here) and then I visited with my parents, who'd come down to Columbus to spend the night so they'd be there for the Magnolia Chain at 8:00. R and F went back to the dorm and spent quite some time studying her things with tape measure and wrinkled brow, figuring out exactly how things were going to fit together in the truck bed.
We spent the night in the motel and then arrived at campus the next morning for the Mag Chain. I'll probably have some pictures and maybe some short video clips to put up. Graduation was next. My parents were there, and my sister and her husband and two boys, and my SIL with her husband and their four kids, and my other SIL. So F had a good turnout of supportive family to see her graduate with honors, which was nice. Then F's roommate and I went for takeout lunch while F and R started putting her stuff in the truck.
It took 2.5 hours and was a work of genius. If you saw what all had to go, or saw it after it came out, you would have said there was no way in hell all that stuff could travel in that truck. But it did, and R lashed a tarp over it and there we were. F and her roommie went on to the motel and got their room and lay down for a bit.
The Memphis folks had to leave right after the ceremony. R and I visited with my folks a little longer and then they had to go too, but my sister's family and the four of us went to the Little Dooey and had dinner, and a fun time laughing and visiting before they had to leave too.
Then back to the motel for an early bedtime, but of course another tremendous storm system came through with lots of rain and scary wind, and battered heck out of that truck with all of F's stuff in it. Her daddy stood at the window and fretted, but there was nothing to be done - he'd put the tarp on with sufficient care or not, and that was it. It turned out that the tarp held and her stuff did not get blown around or wet at all.
We got started later than I wanted on Sunday but that was kind of inevitable. R and I were in the truck, and F and her roommate L in L's car. We decided to go back by a different route because there were still storm chances all through that area. We took 45 down to Mobile, then 10 across that bit of Alabama and then the Florida panhandle until it ran across 75, then 75 south to home. At some point still on 10 the girls got sleepy, so F got in the truck with R and I drove L's car the rest of the way. Got in late last night. The cats were mad but they've gotten over it.
Offloaded the truck this morning and took it back to the rental place. R tried to clean the lovebugs off of it but it re-acquired mashed bugs between home and there anyway. Then we tried to watch the shuttle launch but clouds, alas. Now we've got some things to do and I have to try to put myself in mind for work tomorrow.
Funny Star Trek movie story: F changed into the vintage Star Trek t-shirt her dad had bought as a teenager when the original series was airing. We didn't see anybody in Spock ears or anything for that particular showing - I think the trekkies must have picked out a different one to go to. Anyway, she sat between her dad and me. There were about 20 minutes of tedious and repetitive commercials and previews before the movie (and after the scheduled start time) and after a while R and I started complaining audibly. I asked F if we were embarrassing her.
"I'm at a Star Trek movie with my parents," she said. "I can't be embarrassed."
I laughed about that through the entire movie - which was very good, by the way. We'll probably see it again, and take L this time.
So that was that. Glad to get the kid through school, glad to be home with the girls and all their stuff intact, ready for the next thing.