My wife pointed out the other night that we know our summer is over when baseball season ends.

Most view Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, but when my son and his teammates walked off the field Sunday, summer ended in our home.

No matter how long the season lasts or how well the team does, it is always a jolt when it ends.

There are a flurry of games near the end of the season and then we have to go cold turkey.

Seems like a cruel way to send us into fall, but then again, even if the season ended a month from now, it would be too soon.

But now we turn our attention to the start of a new school year and all the details that entails.

There is a bit more excitement this year because our daughter heads to college next month, and to be honest, the start of the school year hasn't generated much excitement in our house for years.

Used to be it was a big deal to go shopping for school clothes and school supplies. The kids couldn't wait to get new stuff and head to school to show it off.

But in recent years my daughter started buying clothes year round and my son couldn't care less about clothes beyond gym shorts and T-shirts.

This year is different.

My wife took our daughter shopping for stuff to fill her dorm room, which has generated a small buzz in the house.

College shopping is like shopping to move into an apartment, and suddenly you have to think about things like flooring, bedding, curtains and a refrigerator. There is silverware and shampoo and plates and towels and soap, and all things required to make yourself at home.

I remember moving into a dorm and the most important thing was a television. If you had a TV in your room, nothing else really mattered. A TV meant not having to go to the commons area and being forced to watch soap operas until people left so you could switch the channel to SportsCenter.

Of course, a TV in your room also meant adjusting the rabbit ears and moving it around until you got decent reception.

Today, about every student has a laptop computer, TV and iPod. Some have gaming systems that also play movies.

Making yourself at home has a whole new meaning.

While Claire is readying for the big move, you do not mention school to Alek.

Not only is the baseball season over, but soon so will staying out late with his friends or staying up late playing video games.

Early mornings, many when he will be home alone, will become the standard.

On the other hand there will no longer be fights for bathroom time. He will have the house to himself with no one to blame if he is running late.

I won't have to listen to complaints from either of them over how the other one slowed them down.

I don't think he realizes it, and certainly would never admit it, but he is going to miss the sister who had always been there even if it's for no other reason than because he has to pick up the her chores.

So here we sit, on the verge of a big change in our house, the end of the summer and the start of another school year.

Time keeps marching on, and soon we can start thinking about the beginning of another baseball season. It can't get here soon enough.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.