Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Happens in the Empty Nest, Stays in the Empty Nest

Even though I haven't posted for nearly two weeks, I truly have not disappeared - yet.  Between dealing with the newly empty nest and Dave's job change, not to mention job, bills, laundry and all the other minutia of life, I've been mentally overloaded and haven't done much reading.  On top of that, my enthusiasm for posting about what little I have read is sub-par, which all totals up to an empty blog.  In keeping with our current life theme of "lets change everything at once", I am seeing a change in blog style and direction coming on.  I've already made the changes in color/background scheme to better reflect my tastes.  Hope you like it.  There will still be book reviews and book-related events, and of course we'll always encourage couple's reading - but I anticipate more posts on non-bookish topics.  In short, I'll be using this blog as my personal therapy couch. :)  In honor of this new viewpoint, here are a few random thoughts and lessons learned in the past month:

1.  When women are expecting that first arrival they "nest" - prepare a nursery, purchase adorable little outifts, strap a child seat into the car - whatever is necessary to welcome the new baby.  When the last little chick flys the coop, that same woman will "un-nest".  Un-nesting involves a 30-gallon trash can, frequent trips to the dumpster and lots of incredulous shouts of "Where did we get all this stuff?" "Why did we ever think we would need THIS?", "Do we HAVE to store all 37 Barbies?" or "Did you know there was a desk in the corner of the basement?".  At our house this has been followed by Dave asking "Where is my____?" only to be met with a blank stare and an innocent "Your what?"

2.  Parenting college-aged children/adults sucks! The chicks may have flown the nest but they aren't out of the tree.  They are sure they are now responsible adults who can make their own choices, but they still want to know Mom and Dad are holding the net under them.  My role as mother has been reduced to sounding board (no response or advice, please, unless it includes the words "You're absolutely right."), banker ("I spent all my money on a - insert name of unnecessary thing here - so I'm a little short for rent.") and scapegoat ("Yes, I know I'm the one who did this dumb thing, but you should have WARNED me.")  Yes, there are moments of pride and flashes of humor, but at this moment they are outnumbered by panic and frustration. 

3.  On the flip side, the physical empty nest is wonderful.  I clean things and they stay clean.  I put things away and they stay put.  No daily loads of towels to wash.  No one to complain if we're having cereal for supper.  Late night games of Strip Guitar Hero...

4.  Dave has always been the "big picture" person at our house - life insurance, retirement investments, college funds, etc - while I handle the daily stuff like groceries, the electric bill and doctor appointments.  This works well for us and plays to our strengths, until we decide to move.  This isn't our first move (or "adventure" as Dave prefers to call them) - we have lived in 16 houses in 12 towns during the 28 years we've been married as Dave climbed the "corporate ladder" - so this isn't a new revelation.  Dave sees the big picture - new job, new town, new experiences, new friends - all good things.  I see every weed in the yard and crack in a wall that needs to be repaired before we list the house; changing banks, changing doctors, hiring a moving van, and packing.  You can see how differently our minds work and perhaps why I'm a bit befuddled lately.

5.  On the flip side (again), we are using this Adventure to help us each appreeciate the other's perspective.  I am looking forward to the freedom of a fresh start, just the two of us.  Dave has made a list of the practicalities we need to deal with before we go and is sharing that load.

6.  Golf truly is a relaxing game - if you have an understanding Hubby who is ok with you reading a book in the cart and mumbling the occasional "Good shot." 

So, now you see that I really haven't disappeared, just got lost in the maze of life's details.  I'll find my way out soon.  And that plan for spending our empty nest years as professional gamblers is still in the works.  Book reviews coming soon: "Counting Cards for Dummies" and "Making Your Own Loaded Dice for Fun and Profit."


  1. Tami you will always be a humor blog to me - regardless of whether you are posting about books, food, family or life's daily revelations. Strip Guitar Hero indeed!!!

  2. LOVE the green and purple colors!

    I feel as though I should save this post and then copied it to my blog next year :) I can totally relate to all your emotions - and my Geoff is the mirror image of Dave.

    While I am looking forward to the empty nest (although my downstairs still won't stay clean due to the dogs)....we will probably stay put for a while. I simply can't face all those household remedies that have been ignored for years...nor the accumulation of "stuff" in our attic.

  3. This blog post was your funniest to date. Simply hilarious! Your writing reminds me of Erma Bombeck's.

    I've been gone from blogging for two weeks so I've missed out on what's going on. It sounds as if you are moving to a new town. I hope you're not leaving Kansas.

    I'm so glad you are looking at the empty nest in a positive way. Many people get sad and emotional. I thought it was a time for rejoicing. Not because they were gone but because I felt it was my successful graduation from the daily rigors of parenthood. Sounds like you feel the same way.

    P.S. I love the new look.