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We have a big, old empty nest out here in the country. I am the very lucky mom of 5 amazing kids, two loving (and tolerant) kids-in-law, a darling gal who I think of as a daughter-in-law (whether she likes this idea or not) and stepmom to 2 incredible young men. For 32 years, my every waking moment was devoted to raising my two sons and three daughters in an effort to turn out some loving, funny, good, solid, intelligent, thinking members of society. Although I ran a daycare out of my home for a few years there, I have never had an outside job since my first son was born.
I can say (quite objectively, of course) that I’ve pretty much done a great job. Mostly, because I’ve had a lot of help from my wonderful husband of 13 years. In fact, it’s easy to say that, without him in my life, I probably would’ve jumped off a cliff years ago. Several times, if need be.
Now that they are all grown, and ranging from 33 to 20, they’ve all turned into the type of adult kids I want to hang around. Those turkeys have pretty much spread themselves so far away around the country that a visit more than once a year is impossible for anyone to afford. Just when I’m supposed to be reaping the benefit of all that hard work and dedication, they have the audacity to up and leave! Hmmmph. I’m not one bit happy about that.
Coping with teenagers for 18 years damned near did me in; I won’t deny it. By this, I mean, I spent 18 years with one or more teenagers! When the “baby” graduated from high school a year ago, I was more than ready to have an empty nest. No more teenage girl drama, no stinky bedroom (she refused to wear socks and all of her shoes smelled like something the cat dragged in) and messy bathroom, no more running up and down our “hill” to town numerous times a week. No more waiting at the bus stop for hours every week for the bus to pick her up or drop her off. God forbid she walk the mile to our house in the country, right?
I was elated, frankly. So, for a few months, I decided to luxuriate in the calm, stress-free quiet of our home. Bill would come home to a nice, clean home, the fire burning and dinner ready to go (after our happy hour, that is).
Wow – this was the life! And what was funny was that a year before, my daughter-in-law had said she was worried about my being able to handle an empty nest. Naturally enough, this got me worried, too, so I set out on a mission to read a couple of books on the subject. Frankly, those books were pretty boring and I couldn’t particularly relate to any of the writers. Most of them were crying in their beer because their sweet, delightful teenagers were gone. Ha! So, I told myself to get over it and focus on the positive. When the kids would ask what I was going to do with myself, I said “any damned thing I want!”
The trouble was that medical bills from 8 surgeries in the last 10 years have left us rather depleted, to put it mildly. So, no doing lunch with a girlfriend or even spending a day online shopping. In this town, there really isn’t any shopping to be had, anyway. It’s a pretty small town about an hour and a half outside of Portland, Oregon, in the wine country. Beautiful country, but no retail therapy to be had. And no funds to fund the retail therapy!
I’ve always had a creative streak (I didn’t say I was all that talented – just creative). I had set up an Etsy shop (LoftyPerch) and managed to sell a few things. The highlight of my experience with that was the sale of a HUGE stained glass mosaic I had made, using an antique window. I still have nightmares about trying to ship that thing. When I listed the piece on my shop, fairly positive it would never sell, I made a wild stab at shipping costs and decided $45 would cover it. HA! Shipping came to $115. I hadn’t counted on the fact that the humongous box it required, filled with protection, would double its size and weight. Luckily, my buyer generously offered to up her payment in order to cover it. But that experience left its mark. I don’t think I’ve sold anything since. Besides, it kind of broke my heart when I sent it on to its new owner.
I had a second knee replacement at the end of June, and for 2 months I specialized in sitting, propped up, with a book I’d ordered from the library. My beloved garden was tended to by my husband, because it hurt way too much for me to walk down the pasture to it. Considering I had raised all my crops from seed, starting last March, I was certainly a fair-weathered friend to that garden.
I’m finally feeling more human these days, which has led me to feeling restless, too. I knew it was getting bad when I was so bored that I started doing laundry when I only had ¼ of a load! And the topper was when I started cleaning the windows, just for something to do. Major alert! I run a well-organized home, but a little dust does not normally faze me.
So, cleaning to pass the time? Getting excited because the UPS man has just delivered three expandable, washable dusters? God, something was seriously wrong, here!
Maybe it’s time for a blog. Since I’m on the wrong side of 60, there have got to be a few women who can relate. So, here’s to channeling my inner Erma Bombeck! (Not that I could ever be in her league!)
And since I mentioned them, I really do love my expandable, washable dusters. Whenever my daughter calls from Florida, I just pick one up and start walking around the house with it. You’d be amazed how much thoughtless dusting you can get while jibber-jabbing on the phone. When you’ve hung up, you can keep going or just remove the fuzzy head and throw it in the laundry. Check it out here! http://amzn.to/2z1fkDa. These heads are pretty small, but you get three of them! It’s great for a 1/2 hour phone conversation.
Cheers til tomorrow! Vicky