Tag Archives: empty nest

One Flying Out Of The Cuckoos Nest


My Christmas gift from my son.  He shares my nerd genes.  Can't wait for this movie!

My Christmas gift from my son. He shares my nerd genes. Can’t wait for this movie!

Our son is moving out.

My first reaction was “Woo Hoo!!”.  My next reaction was “Boo Hoo!”.  (Did you see what I did there?  This is why I am a WRITER, people.)

One would think I would be more happy than sad about this seeing as I have been not-so-subtly dropping hints about it for the past two years.  In fact, as I type this, he is taking a shower while subjecting us to very loud, excruciatingly bad ear pollution (formerly known as “music”) that Lord knows I won’t miss.  But I find myself a little sad too.  It’s kind of the last childhood moment here. My baby is taking flight.

On a side note, I realize I sound just like my mother, who used to tell me how awful my music was.  “THAT’S NOT MUSIC!” she would yell over the Stereophonic screams of the latest and greatest hair band. And then she would make me turn it down.  She was so mean!  It’s a wonder I’m not robbing banks.

And for the record, my music was AWESOME.

I just remembered I also owned a Kenny Rogers album and I sang “Daytime Friends and Nighttime Lovers” with the wrong lyrics because I thought the chorus of  “And shake hands in the light of day…” was actually “And she cans in the light of day…” – as in “canning food” like pickles or tomato juice, which is something my mom used to do so it actually kinda made sense to me.   Shut up.

Okay, fine…maybe not ALL of my music was awesome.  Especially if I was singing it.  But still – 70’s and 80’s compared to now?  Hands down we had better music.

 

 

MOVING ON.

With Matt’s announcement, Dave and I saw a golden opportunity and offered it with fingers crossed. Might he be willing to take the sofa with him?

No, it’s not some gross old horse hair davenport. It’s a mostly perfect 3

-year-old dark brown leather reclining sofa that’s way too nice to live in a beer-swilling, boy-farting environment except for one tragic flaw.

It’s un-nappable.

Somehow, we bought a sofa that cannot be slept on with any degree of comfort.  It’s too short, it has a hump in the middle, and the seats aren’t deep enough for a “whole lotta woman” like me.  And that’s before you add the dogs in the mix.

"You can take the couch but you can't have my blankie!"

“You can take the couch but you can’t have my blankie!”

Of course he said “yes” the Anti-Napper, even though he was one of the biggest complainers about it.  It was free, and at his age, you don’t argue with free.  Unless it’s free furniture on the curb, in which case you don’t ever pick that up unless you also want some free cockroaches.

Fortunately, I am a shopping whiz and found an excellent replacement that is large enough to fit me AND the dogs AND the cats. Aaaannd…maybe a small pony. It also passed my covert, in-store, Sprawled-Out-Butt-Wiggle Test, which I was too embarrassed to perform on the other sofa before we purchased it, and that folks, is how you end up with an Anti-Napper.  Let my experience be your horrible warning.

With this move, we will have a spare bedroom again.  Our recently-moved-home daughter wants his old room (it has a back yard view of cavorting wildlife which is appealing I am sure, although ironically she never opens her shades EVER.) so we are going to move her in there, and then we have to move all the downstairs furniture in her room because we are finishing up the family room in the walkout.

Which led to the idea of making her room my office, and putting a reading nook in the family room where my desk currently resides

My reading nook where next winter I will cuddle on my chaise lounge with fuzzy blankets and mugs of hot coffee and a bookshelf full of books and read trashy novels while watching the birds fight over sunflower seeds.

Or maybe I will just nap.

Oh, and seeing as my office is going upstairs, then I needed a keyboard for my iPad so I can work from the family room in my reading nook (you know – when I’m not napping). And the only logical solution to that was to buy a used Apple USB keyboard from a guy at work and use my wireless keyboard from my iMac on my iPad instead.

Which led to this blog post because I was playing with the two keyboards and needed something to write about.

A little boring, I know. But that’s how life is sometimes. It was better than a sharp stick in the eye, right?

Sue

PS.  Did I mention my son was moving out?  Woo hoo!

PPS.  WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

35 Reasons Why Perimenopausal Women Are Late


A few weeks ago, a fellow blogger and author, Jenny Hansen over at Cowbell, You Need More of It posted links of blogs that left her laughing.  One of them was titled “35 Reasons Moms Are Late” from The Suburban Jungle.

As an empty nester, her post brought back many horrific fond memories of trying to dash out the door with small children in tow.  (Long tangent:  One of those memories involves trying to get my stubborn, crabby son out the door to run some errand that we no longer remember.  This particular power struggle had me reduced to writing his name on one of my wooden spoons with a black Sharpie, and then threatening him to within an inch of his life with it.  I am amazed to this day that I a) didn’t actually use the spoon, b) took time from fighting with him to write his name on the spoon and c) most amazing of all, actually finding a black Sharpie on hand.  Usually those are gone within 20 seconds of package removal.  Thankfully, both kids now laugh about the spoon thing.)

I commented that my kids are now grown but I’m still late for everything, and that maybe I should write “35 Reasons Perimenopausal Women Are Late”, which Jenny then challenged me to write.  You all know I have a tiny bit of competitiveness in me, so of course I picked that gauntlet right up…several weeks later….because, well, I forgot.

Better late than never, here are my 35 Reasons Perimenopausal Women Are Late.

1 – 4.  We can’t find our keys, purse, glasses, or phone.  Or a combination of some or all of them.  Technically, this should count for a lot more than 4 reasons, but figuring it out involves algebra or some sort of torturous math, which I have vowed never to voluntarily do again since my children graduated from high school.

5 – 7.  We found our keys, but forgot our glasses, purse and/or phone, and had to go back for them.  What woman can properly function without her purse?  No woman, that’s who.  Even Wonder Woman has a fanny pack.   And even though we all grew up when cell phones weren’t even a twinkle in Motorola’s eye, we no longer can be separated from our social media addictions longer than 5 minutes.  And we need our glasses to read our phone.  Duh.

wonderwoman

 

 

8 – 9.  We either forgot to put the event on our calendar or we did, but we forgot to set a notification alarm, or we did that but our phone was on silent and buried in our purse, or we saw/heard the alarm and even turned off the notification, went to get dressed, and then completely forgot what we were doing by the time we got to our bedroom and figured we might as well take a nap as long as we were in there.

10.  We didn’t really want to go in the first place.  At our age, by the time we get home from work, our brains are pretty much done for the night, and a cozy couch trumps over squeezing into heels and trying to remember someone’s name at a social event (“Nice to see you again…um…is it Diane?  Debbie?  Gosh, I’m so bad with names!  Haha!”  “It’s Jim.”  Well, HE left in a huff.  Obviously has no sense of humor, that one.  What was his name again?  Bill?  Ken?  Whatever.  These shoes are KILLING me.)

11.  Hot flashes.  And not from seeing Hugh Jackman shirtless, either.  No, I’m talking about back on fire, make up running off your face, shirt sticking to your tummy roll, sweat-inducing heat, for no real reason at all, other than your hormones are now certifiably insane.

12.  Random Crying Part 1.  Okay, so you’re getting ready to go, and run across a picture of your kids when they were 2 and 5, wearing those adorable matching outfits and the 5-year-old is missing her front tooth and the 2-year-old is clutching a monster truck and Oh My God they are just so sweet – where did the time go?

My babies, back in the day

My babies, back in the day

13.  Random Crying Part 2.  Where did this these flappy teacher arms come from?  And why are my boobs down around my navel?  Is that seriously a hair growing out of a MOLE?  ON MY FACE?

14.  Random Crying Part 3.  Why can’t I have a donut?  Dave gets to eat donuts all the time.  And cookies.  And ice cream.  WTF – he’s not even affected.  I eat a donut and I gain 50 pounds.  So not fair.  I’m totally not speaking to him for the rest of the day.  Jerk-Donut-Eating-Face.  *sniff*  And they were chocolate with white cream filling too.  *sob*

15 – 20.  Dealing With Pets.  Small dogs in particular.  You see, when your kids grow up and leave the nest, you tend to replace them with small, needy animals.    I see you snickering, but you just wait.  That darling yorkie-bichon-poodle-chihuahua-pomeranian-minpin-dachsund is going to melt your heart with his giant chocolate drop eyes and tiny paws, his little pink tongue licking your nose.  You will do anything for him.  ANYTHING.

LOOK AT THE CUTENESS!  LOOK AT IT!

LOOK AT THE CUTENESS! LOOK AT IT!

Little dogs are like perpetual toddlers. They demand constant attention, are only marginally potty trained, and can’t be left alone without the danger of household destruction.  And you will never be on time for another event in your life, because all of that unused guilt that has been building up since your children left home is now unleashed on the dog.  You can’t walk out the door until you make sure they go potty, are comfy in their kennels, have all their toys, get a treat, and Oh look at them shivering in there – how am I supposed to leave them – poor things!

21.  Random Crying Part 4.  (see above)

22.  You ate the stupid donut and now your pants don’t fit.

23.  Random Crying Part 5

24.  You popped a button on your blouse in the chest-al region.

25.  You can’t find your sewing kit to fix said blouse

26.  It’s the only shirt that matches the pants you were going to wear, so now you have to pick out new pants AND a new shirt

27.  You finally decide on a new outfit but you have to iron the pants.  Yes, some of us do still iron.

28.  You can’t find the shoes that go with this outfit because Dave cleaned the house and put all your stuff away.

29.  You pick out new shoes but they require painted toenails.  Your toenails are not painted.

IMG_0619

30.  You find another pair of shoes that don’t require painted nails, but they gave you blisters last time you wore them (they fit fine in the store – what’s up with that?) so now you have to find band aids to bring along.

31.  You found the band aids but with all this running around, now you have to pee.

32.  Before you get to the bathroom, you trip over one of the Toddler Dogs (because did I mention they follow you everywhere?  Including the bathroom?) and you almost fall over, causing your bladder to twitch just enough…

33.  You have to change your underwear.

34.  You will be smart this time and put in a panty liner because no way are you changing again.  Where are those?  Oh yeah, in the other bathroom.

35.  You decide to just grab a quick coffee from the drive thru on your way because Lord knows you deserve a latte by now.  As you drive down the road, finally on your way, not realizing your lip must have a hole in it and by the time you get to your destination, you have a latte trail down the front of your blouse.

At this point, nobody would blame you if you went home.  But you won’t.  You’ll march in, apologize for being late, borrow someone’s Tide pen, and sit quietly while trying not to pee your pants as the latte kicks in.

And that my friends, are the 35 Reasons Perimenopausal Women Are Late – give or take a few.

Until next time-

You’re perpetually late friend,

Sue

 

 

 

Scotchy Scotch Scotch, We Love Scotch


I have had several people ask me why we moved from DePere. The short story: Empty nesters. But you know me. I’m not about the short story. I always gotta write a book. But in the interest of being interesting, I’ll give you the abridged version.

Dave and I got engaged in the middle of a field on Dollar Lane in DePere. We were young and green and dreaming big. But you know how reality reaches in and kinda changes how you look at things – money and circumstances and all that jazz. We couldn’t afford it and that was okay. We found an adorable little house in West DePere, and made our first nest there. Kids started coming, we moved to the next size up on the other side of town, and then Lindsay got sick and then we moved again and then they needed braces, prom dresses, bmx bikes, and cars. You know the song and dance. It was always something. But the dance was lovely, and I wouldn’t change any of it, except maybe the leukemia part for Lindsay.

Empty-Nest

Now we are in our empty nest stage (almost) and have been able to financially breathe easier for a few years now. We have about 15 years (if all goes well) to retirement, and we are both in good health. After talking a bit, we decided that if we were ever going to have that little piece of country, we needed to do it now. So we started looking.

I will admit that I wasn’t on board right away. My open house attendance was half-hearted and I hated everything we saw. We had lived in our current home for 15 years, and in that particular neighborhood for over 20. And I liked our home and neighborhood. I liked it a lot.

These dogs were made for walkin...

These dogs were made for walkin…

 

I liked walking the dogs every night and knowing all the houses and people behind the doors. I liked when Bricky drove past and honked. I liked when Pen and Ben were outside and we hollered across the street to each other or when Jim was in his driveway putting up Christmas decorations and we would stop and chat. I liked walking past “the boys” on Erie Street in the summer, when they would be sitting out side in the evening watching the neighborhood. I always felt a little safer because I knew they saw everything. (Geez, I better quit this – I’m starting to depress myself).

Then one Sunday, we went to an open house out here on Scotchman. While it wasn’t the home we purchased, it was the one that began to turn my heart. I remember standing in the living room there, watching a red-tailed hawk wheel around the farmer’s cornfield, and my heart skipped a beat. I knew I would move to be there. I can’t tell you exactly why – it’s not like we didn’t see red tails in DePere. Or eagles or sand hill cranes or deer or great blue herons, because we did. It was more the area and knowing it would all be right in our backyard. Or close to it.

ScotchyScotchScotch

After a lot of talking to the realtor, we decided to try to purchase a spec home they were going to build out there, a few lots down. It would have a three stall garage and a walk out basement, and would have part of the pond in the back yard. We listed our house and crossed our fingers. A lot was riding on whether we could sell our home on time, and Lord knows I didn’t want to move twice.

Now, I have to be honest here and tell you my heart swayed back and forth for a while. I had mood swings from “I can’t wait to move!” to “WAAAAAAH! I don’t want to moooooove! I want to live here forreeeeevvvveeeerrrrrr!” Dave asked me at least three times if I really wanted to keep pursuing it. I kept telling him yes, but I really wasn’t sure. In fact, right before my birthday, I almost decided to take him up on his offer to back out.

I DON'T WANNA MOOOOOVE!

I DON’T WANNA MOOOOOVE!

We had rented a condo up in Door County for my 50th, right on Lake Michigan. I was stoked because I was finally feeling better, after having been sick for over a month with some mystery virus, and I couldn’t wait for a weekend to snow shoe and tramp along the frozen lake shore. I told my realtor not to schedule any showings that weekend. Showings and open houses were a huge pain in the butt for us because we had to do something with the dogs and cat.  This meant a really long hour in the car with fish-breath hyper dogs and a yowling cat, who also occasionally puked for good measure.

We got a call two days before my birthday that there was a couple that wanted to see our house on my birthday, which meant either losing a night at the condo or one of us (meaning Dave – duh – it was my birthday, dammit) staying home and coming later. I couldn’t believe it. I ranted and raved inside my head and called Dave to see what we should do. I really just wanted to throw in the towel and tell the realtor no. To heck with it. This was crossing the line. A gauntlet thrown at my feet. Nay, I shouted! I won’t give in to the heathen realtors who would steal my birthday!

Of course we scheduled it. Dave stayed home and I went up alone (don’t feel too sorry for me, he came up later).

On the way up to door county, I drove past the turn for the new house, and had an epiphany, kind of how the Grinches small heart grew three sizes on Christmas day. I could feel the area calling to me. I felt at home. I realized I had from the beginning, and that I really wanted to move, but had been to afraid to ask God for it. It seemed a silly thing to ask, when people were starving and dying and suffering, but I had to let Him know my heart. So I prayed. I asked God for His blessing, that we would like to move there if it was okay with Him, and that if the answer was no, we would understand.

The folks who came thru that day, the ones I was so annoyed with my realtor about, came thru again on Sunday. By Monday we had an offer. Huh. What do you know.

And the rest, as they say, is history. A lot still had to happen (read my blog about all the cake eating involved), but it all fell into place, one piece at a time. We sold our house with time to spare. The buyers didn’t want to close until mid-March, so plenty of time for the new house to be finished and we would only have to move once. Given my freak out level thru the whole process, it seemed like a miracle.

Now, before anyone starts singing “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me, a Mercedes Benz,” I just want to say it wasn’t like that at all. We didn’t ask for the house to be given to us or to win the lottery or anything like that. All we asked for was guidance and an open door. And you can look at it as coincidence if you want. We choose to believe that God cared enough to give us an answer.

I believe God works that way – that if you talk to Him and have Him in your life, you’re going to hear back from Him.  Sometimes I enjoy the conversation, sometimes I don’t.  And I don’t always understand what he is doing or why (like, hardly ever).  But I wouldn’t want my life to be without Him.

The other day I was driving to work, basically telling God I surely didn’t understand why Jen died, and what part of His plan required this type of loss. It seemed arbitrary and cruel. When I got home, I had a letter waiting for me from a friend, with words of encouragement that assured me that even though I didn’t ‘get’ what God was doing, He was at least listening.

Enjoy the spring weather!  I will be back next week to tell you all about my Zelda, Ocarina of Time, appliances.  zelda

Sue

PS -My ancestors are from this area. Champion, to be exact. There is even a Conard road (see pic – I was on it last summer and I am sure I will be again, often) and somewhere a cemetery with some of my ancestors in it.

15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame

PPS – When we were growing up, my grandparents had a cottage on the bay. It’s about 4 miles from me now.

PPSS – When my kids were growing up, my parents had a cottage up in Crivitz. This home reminds us both of going there with our kids. I think it’s the open concept, the dark counter tops, and the feel of being up north. Every night we come home from work, we feel like we are going to the cottage.

PPPSSS – Dave’s dad grew up in this area. Attended Holy Cross school and church on Bay Settlement Road and lived not too far from here as a kid. Dad D’s cousin Louie’s dad used to own the land we are currently living on. He still owns a pretty big chunk, and lives only a mile or so away. Less than that as the crow flies. That said, Dad D often stayed at his uncle’s farm, and literally ran and played in these very fields we are now living in. Sometimes I sit, and imagine the DeGroot boys running thru yelling and waving sticks, all brown and dirty and smelling like sun. It makes me smile.

PSPPPSPSPSPSPPS – There is a cemetery up the road with DeGroot ancestors in it, too. And stop thinking the cemetery thing is creepy. I actually like them for some weird reason. I always try to imagine the history of the people buried there – like telling myself a story. Now, I can imagine it, knowing they are people who are a part of who I am.

PPPSSSSPPPPSSSPSPPPSSSSSSSSSP – Maybe it is a tiny bit creepy.