Apparently the college where my kids are headed next month will attempt to enforce a 1-hour limit on parent help during move-in day.

I say ‘attempt’ because I have a hard time imagining anyone limiting my Armenian-American spouse to just 60 minutes of feathering the nest for her kids.

I mean, I suppose the Chinese Communist Party could make a solid run at stopping her.

But also? They would fail.

And certainly a university — without advanced weapons or at least campus-wide security deployments — will fail too.

I worry that Aleen’s shenanigans will be stressful for me as a bystander.

Who am I kidding? Chances are astronomically low that I won’t be dragged into the mess as a miserable and ineffective co-conspirator.

As a general rule, our most successful operations are ones which start with Aleen saying, “Keep your mouth shut. You know nothing. Keep your eyes on me.”

I actually prefer those instructions. I’m a bad liar and tend to collapse like a house of cards under the first, weakest whisper of official scrutiny.

Disguises seem like an obvious tactic Aleen may explore.

And by ‘Aleen,’ I mean ‘Aleen and me.’

I really don’t want to wear a costume. But if she puts a gun to my head — which isn’t out of the question — I just hope the fabrics are breathable.

I’m alarmed that my old college roommate, Bob Baxter, has a child moving in on the same day. I made the mistake of sharing with him my anxiety over Aleen’s antics.

“Looking forward to the show,” he texted back.

So now there’s the double embarrassment of not only wearing a clumsy, sweaty disguise on a sweltering August day, but also being heckled by Baxter along the way.


When I was growing up in Maryland, my older brothers were outdoor types. They would exit their bedroom windows on the third floor and practice rope climbing. They’d move easily up and down the exterior of our home with ropes and carabiners.

Okay, their real motive was less to practice climbing and more to avoid my mother’s panther-like pounce at 2am if they tried to re-enter the house through more traditional means, i.e. doors.

“BOBBY, YOU SMELL LIKE A BREWERY,” was a nighttime exclamation which my slumbering 4th-grade self was not unfamiliar with.

I tell you all this because, like an idiot, I have told my wife these same stories. I worry she’ll see rope-climbing as a possible strategy.

Not that she or I could scale any walls. But it’s not beyond imagining that she’ll pay for one or both my brothers to fly in. She’s aggressive like that. And my brothers are annoyingly fit, even at 59 and 61. They’d be game for the challenge.

Scheming wise, Aleen subscribes to the kitchen-sink method. So we’ll likely be doing all of it that day — the costumes, and my brothers scaling walls, and security guards being bribed, and a couple of absurd, easily disprovable medical conditions which supposedly make the 1-hour rule ‘dangerous and unreasonable’ for Aleen and me to follow.

Odds are roughly 2-to-1 I’ll be walking with a cane that day.

You may say, ‘Kit, just put your foot down.’

Oh reader.

I haven’t put my foot down in 25 years.

I did remind her that I arrived at college all by myself back in 1986. No parents! Just me and a duffel bag!

But here’s the thing about my beloved spouse. She gives zero fucks what I did back in 1986.

My son tried to allay my fears. ‘Dad, I think maybe it’s a two-hour limit, not one.’

Won’t matter. The number is beside the point. That there is a limit at all is the point. The college could set the limit at 56 hours. Aleen’s brain would still shift into overdrive.

We need 57!

You may also say, ‘But Kit, you named her in this essay. You have blown her cover.’

Hahahahaha. If only it were that easy.

I wish I were blowing her cover.

Even if I did — and I’m starting to feel like you’re not fully grasping this part — it would. Not. Matter. A blown cover would be just one more thing for her to work around on D-day.

I suppose I could post a picture of her here.

At least that would give campus security a fighting chance.

Looks harmless enough, right?

Do not be deceived. If you are campus security and you see this woman on Aug. 27, don’t wait for costumes, rope-climbing, any of it. ARREST HER IMMEDIATELY. Don’t wait for back-up. And — super important — do not honor her request to ‘speak with a supervisor.’

Once the whole Russian-doll supervisor nonsense begins, you are toast, and my brothers are in the background making one successful ascent after another.

You know what? Better yet, arrest me.

Hold me indefinitely.

Because that’s how long my wife’s move-in process will take.

About Kit Troyer

Kit Troyer lives in Los Angeles. He worked previously as a newspaper reporter and a criminal defense attorney. For the last 15 years, he has been a stay-at-home dad. But that gig is running out. Kids will soon be moving out and moving on.
This entry was posted in CHILD REARING, MY CHILDHOOD, THE ARMENIAN IN-LAWS. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to OH BOY

  1. Sharon Miller says:

    Kit – I have worn disguises to get Aleen what she wants. It’s really easy. Wear a red sweatshirt when you show up for the first round, then change to a grey sweater with a baseball cap, or just a simple t-shirt with the cap. No one looks at your face and no one will know the difference.

    You got this.

  2. Mary McCormack says:

    Hahaha….this is great. I wish Aleen had dropped me off at college. The best.

  3. Kit, you will out-do the Rat Adventure! This is epic! I can’t wait to read the adventure! Please, O’ Please, write it up, and pictures, too! If you don’t, I feel certain your brothers will do the deed! Thanks for posting!

  4. Alek Keshishian says:

    One of your all time funniest posts because it is SO TRUE… some people assume the hour is rooted in hyperbole, but I am here as her brother to tell everyone everything you said is true and the humor is not based on hyperbolizing Aleen. What is funny are all the useless endeavors you propose to try to outwit her… I would suggest instead that the only way to evade Aleen is to attack during SLEEP… kids wear a deep disguise and escape very early in the morning and move themselves in and then disappear… because the one thing we KNOW about Aleen is she does prefer not to wake up before the sunrise… Be careful however, because she also prefers not to go to sleep before dawn — you and the kid’s might have half hour window. I see end of August in Cambridge that will be sometime around 5:32 AM… No guarantees but probably their only chance in hell.

    • Alek Keshishian says:

      excuse my typo: HOUR in the 2nd line meant to be “HUMOR” (I went to college as well… only I’m long out of it as my current typos attest).

  5. Sonia Keshishian says:

    I am dying 😂😂😂😂😂😂I knowing my amazing Aleen . To be continued . 👍

  6. mamason99 says:

    You could make a good living off your writings. Good again.

  7. Aleen Keshishian says:

    1. This is defamation.
    2. Costumes are for amateurs.
    3. Please send me your brothers’ dates of availability in late August.

  8. Demetra Dunne says:

    legit laughing out loud at my desk…you’re gonna get me fired.
    PS – I can tell I would love Aleen. xo


    I am so proud of Aleen. She makes the impossible possible. And she tells me she takes after me. When we arrived at ” Effel Tower in Paris, the line was a mile long. With my granddaughter Lulu We approached a couple two yards into the front line, and said: Hello, how are you? Can we stay next to you and walk together, as if we belong to the asame group. They were surprised, they were on their Honeymoon from Barcelona Spain, and they welcomed us with open arms. One of he Elevators on the Eiffel Tower had broken, that’s why the delay. We were so happy and proud of what we did that day.

  10. Stefanie Zadravec says:

    While not college- both our kids bailed on us without so much as a goodbye at the entrance to summer camps they’d never even seen before.

    Don’t underestimate the power of a 17 month quarantine to manifest a FAST transition into freedom.

  11. Aileen sounds like someone to know for sure. Determined, creative, and fun. ^_^ Wishing you luck on the upcoming adventures/shenanigans. lol

  12. Ann Coleman says:

    I’m with your wife, I don’t think I could honor a one-hour time limit either. Security guards would probably be involved, but other than that, I don’t hold a candle to her creativity and persistence, though. Thanks for my first laugh of the day!

  13. Gary Fultz says:

    Too funny, It sounds like you got her right where she wants you.

  14. Kit,

    I couldn’t stop laughing. My solo first day at school was in September, 1963. I survived and clearly that first day without my folks did little to shorten my life.


  15. LaDonna Remy says:

    A great read. Thank you for the laughs out loud. She’s sounds great and like the perfect person to have in your corner 💗.

  16. Gave me a good laugh! Hope all went well in the end…

  17. siraustin says:

    Fucking hilarious!! Miss you all 💕

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