Charlotte Mecklenburg let her mind drift ahead many years to the fall of her prospective offspring's freshman year in college. She imagined her child grousing about a cramped living space or a messy roommate, and she scoffed.
"They will never be able to complain," said Mecklenburg, who just began her freshman year at St. Mary's College of Maryland. "Because I'll be able to tell them, 'Look, I lived in a boat!'"
Like 239 of her St. Mary's classmates, the Gaithersburg resident was trying to keep a good humor Monday about the decidedly unusual turn the college's year has taken.
After being forced from their dorms by mold and spending a week in local hotels, Mecklenburg and company were supposed to move Monday onto the 286-foot Sea Voyager, docked beside campus on the St. Mary's River. They began arriving with their belongings only to learn that because of safety issues related to the depth of the river, they wouldn't be able to board the floating residence hall for at least another 24 hours.