Yet Another Home “Improvement” Project

Oh, hey! Look what has been hiding under the carpet all these years.

That carpet is every bit as terrible and skanky as it looks. As I have mentioned repeatedly in this blog, our house was in not great condition when we bought it seventeen years ago. But we got a lot of space and a great location for raising our kids within our budget. Some people see problems. We saw character and opportunity. (Real example: a hole in the ceiling of the upstairs hallway where a light fixture used to be. We lived with it for two years before putting in our own light fixture.)

So anyway, this carpet was in my oldest child’s bedroom/soon to be my office. It was old and bad when we moved in. Then a kid who kept many little pets — rats, hedgehogs– grew up in there. I patched and repainted the walls, as well as replacing the curtains after the second time he moved out. Hoping the third launch is the charm, I’m taking over the space to be my office. I couldn’t stand the beyond-salvation carpet. Yet, we don’t have the money at the moment to have a new floor covering installed.

I started peeling it back from one corner of the room, just to see what the floor underneath might look like. Not bad, was the answer. My husband and I decided to go for it and rip out the whole roomful, hoping we didn’t uncover any terrible surprises in the process.

The good news is we found no rotting wood or warped planks. The interesting, character-revealing news is that paint crimes were committed in there at some point during the house’s history. Someone painted without a drop cloth. Maybe multiple someones. So there are splotches of white paint here and there. And there and there. I am honest about my limitations in the current moment, which means I’m not taking on sanding and refinishing. I can live with some character marks and cover up others with clearance sale area rugs.

Then I will have my very own office, with an octagon of tower windows for my desk area. And my writing productivity will soar. Of course it will. Stop laughing. I’m really going to get more writing done and not get distracted by other projects around the place, like putting in more pollinator plants or seeing what the floors are like in other rooms under the carpet, or repainting the living room, or fixing our front porch steps, or…

Special thanks to the spouse for cutting and installing the quarter round.

Life on the Boomerang Roller Coaster

My empty nest didn’t last long. As suddenly as the oldest fledgling flew, they returned, with circumstantial drama and a broken heart (which, of course, hurts a mom’s heart, too.) Things didn’t work out with the new roommates nor with the significant other, and a few weeks later we now have our 21-year-old back with us.

roller-coaster
Aerial view of my life.

In what seems to be typical timing, everything blew up at the very moment Hubs and I were packing to leave on vacation, our first trip without kids in…oh, twenty-one years. We were scheduled to leave our house at 7:30 on a Tuesday morning. Around 8:00 the night before came the text messages followed by a tear-filled hour-long conversation in which it became clear that said kid needed to get out of their situation and return home immediately.Greyhound Bus Lines now emails me every day, believing we’re bff’s because I bought one ticket from them. Continue reading “Life on the Boomerang Roller Coaster”

You Can Leave, but the Mom Jokes Will Follow

I have a new hobby: tormenting my oldest child with joke messages about everything we’re changing now that said kid has suddenly flown the coop.

In my last post I mentioned that I wasted no time, sending a text ten minutes after they left the house, saying “We rented your room.” Start as you mean to go on, is my motto. I waited a few hours to message them with “I sold the rest of your stuff on ebay.”

Hubs and I now find ourselves in charge of the pets that got left behind — a cat, a rat and a hedgehog. After a couple of days, my typing fingers got busy again. I told the offspring, “Since you left us with all of these pets, Dad and I have joined a support group for custodial grandparents.”

The next message I sent included a picture, with a caption:

redesigned-basement
We did some work on the basement. The living room is next.

 

Following that, I sent one saying, “Even with all the ‘grandkids’, we were lonely, so we got a dog.”

new-dog
“He’s really gentle with people he knows. His name is Sweetums.”

Then this: “Check out my new wheels! I traded in the minivan.”

new-wheels

I think I’ll get around to the living room redesign this weekend. I have something like this in mind:

newlivingroom

I have a thousand ideas. I could keep this up for a loooong time. I love how the age of the Internet makes it easy to keep in touch.

 

 

Emotional Whiplash

I’ve been afraid of changin’
Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I’m getting older, too
(From the Stevie Nicks song, “Landslide”)

Two weeks ago, we had a plan, or so I thought. My 21-year-old (who prefers the gender-neutral pronouns “they” and “them”) would continue to live with us for at least several weeks, while continuing college. Their significant other would move into the house as well, temporarily, from the small town where they can’t find work. The S.O. would seek employment here and the two of them would eventually get an apartment in our city, maybe in two to three months.

Eight days ago, I was helping my college junior collect bugs for an entomology lab. The next day — one week ago tonight — the offspring announced that friends in Colorado had a room open and said both of them could move in there. In fact, it would happen over the coming weekend. Both of them would look for jobs once they got to the new place. Friday, my kid withdrew from college and started packing. Sunday night the abductors new roommates arrived and slept at our house, while I spent a sleepless night stalking them on-line. Early Monday morning, they packed what they could fit into a Mazda hatchback and drove off to collect my child’s S.O. before continuing to Colorado.

IMG_2049
Sigh.

This is what young adults will do to their parents. Their life plans change so suddenly and drastically, they leave us with emotional whiplash. I said, “I brought you a stink bug from the garden and this is the thanks I get?”

I had a vision in my mind of getting to know their partner better, helping the young couple furnish their first apartment together, being close enough to have them over for dinner once a week. Calling up occasionally and saying, “Hey, let’s go to a movie, my treat.” Something gradual. Something that would give me time to prepare mentally and emotionally. A bachelor’s degree was in the vision somewhere, too.

I cried real tears. A lot of them, to be honest. My husband even had a little weeping the morning they left. But I suppose the joy of being twenty-one years old lies in being old enough to make your own decisions, but young enough not to be bogged down with worries of everything that could go wrong. The world is out there waiting for you to discover it. $700 in the bank, no car and no job lined up? Eh, it’ll work out.

I spent so many years immersed in the lives and needs of my two children and my mother. Adding in the job I do for a paycheck, I had little time for anything else. Now I suddenly find myself with only my husband and a houseful of pets. In a short period of time, my mom passed away and both kids moved out. At least the 18-year-old will be home for holidays, school breaks and some weekends. He’s doing it the correct way, in other words.

Since I often cope with anxiety and sadness through the use of humor, I gave my firstborn about ten minutes after pulling out of our driveway (roommate driving) then sent a text saying “We rented your room.” A few hours later, I followed up with “I sold the rest of your stuff on Ebay.” I suppose it’s not exactly like sending your kid off on a ship to America from the Irish shore in the 19th century, expecting never to see them again and not even to know for several months whether they arrived safely.

When this child was six, they promised to live with me forever. Liar. Or maybe they simply meant in my heart and mind. I admit, the former feels as if it has a big hole in the middle right now and the latter is still spinning.