Free to Roam

My oldest lives in a house I own. For 20 years Hubbin and I have been running our own version of low-income housing. At first, we bought something cheap and lived in it while our peers openly wondered why we lived in that “Sh*t shack” when we could afford something “nice”. For the record it was nice. It wasn’t cheap either it was “well within our means” as the saying goes.

By the time we had lived in our humble home, we had saved enough money to put a down on another one just up the street and around the corner. My retired parents eventually moved into that one. I worked a job I hated and made extra payments while we subsidized my folks’ rent for about 15 years. We didn’t think about it as a “subsidy” for them but an investment for us. As long as we had enough to cover taxes and repairs without showing a loss. My mother was convinced that we were dependent on them for the payments. This was totally untrue but as a result, we were never allowed to make the upgrades we planned when we bought it. We put a new roof, furnace, water heater, toilet, fence, and electrical into it. When I talked about paint, carpets, windows, etc there was always heels deep into the funky shag rug resistance. 

By the time my mother died taking care of Father was such a big job we had to table anything major. I painted the back bedrooms and dragged a lot of awful stuff out of there because he nested like a raccoon in there. At least my brothers were able to help me clear out the hazardous furniture and the collections of things like carefully cleaned and sorted jam jars (mother’s doing) which lined the kitchen until one couldn’t sit down or move freely. 

That left the stink. That house has had a relentless stink of cigarettes and old man funk which only an airdrop of killz and new flooring will chase away. Yesterday I finally got new windows installed. It was an epic accomplishment. You have to start somewhere and now you can open a window and let some air in while tackling the rest. Hopefully, #1 son will see the difference in his next utility bill. Another perk is he’s Mr sound sensitivity. Triple pane windows should quiet the place down and allow him to have some peace. 

Gosh, I was tired last night. Add the new girlfriend dropping in to see our accomplishment and ugh! Social skills. She seems since it’s the social skills I’m wrestling with. Other people don’t even know because I’m generally good at it but I come home so tired from doing what is supposed to be “normal” behavior that I just crash.

#2 son today. I had to take him to get his driver’s test. Think taking one of those is stressful? Try sitting at the curb while your baby drives away. Yes, he passed. That was a long road in itself. Next stressful thing? Staying home while your baby drives off to town alone to not be your baby but the man he actually is. At the same stage in his life, Hubbin’s parents let him go off by himself and no thought that he was one of the neurodiverse. It was just “good luck kid call us sometime.” Did they worry as much as we do? Does knowing or not knowing make any kind of difference? 

Forget empty nest syndrome. Try this. Once when a stray cat had kittens under our house we took the Mama in and the one tiny kitten that didn’t freeze to death where she’s dropped them in a pile of cedar shavings. One day I passed my mother in the kitchen as I carried the kitten to another room. the timing was such that my mother tossed a soup can into the trash as I passed and Mama cat suddenly thought we had tossed her baby into the trash bucket. Mama cat when bats#*t. My sons are 21 & 28. They are free to roam. That’s how it is. Inside I am feeling just like that stupid cat. The only difference is I am not allowed to attack the trashcan in a blind panic and squall. Making them into people who can function without you is wonderful but these feelings suck.

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2 weeks ago

I like your attitude and patience.

2 weeks ago

I often say that I once believed that the most difficult phase of parenting was when the three kids were little and we were exhausted all the time, but in reality, the hardest part is letting them spread their adult wings and fly independently without giving advice, warnings, or stress.

1 week ago

“I am not allowed to attack the trashcan in a blind panic and squall.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself!

1 week ago

I bet that is hard. One day I’ll be there myself.

Congrats on the windows! I think that’s the next project we’re going to tackle on our own house.

1 week ago

you are so kind to help family out with a second home, I know its hard enough trying to update one, so I imagine it would be a struggle with two.

I underatand completely about the socializing exhaustion– I have always wished to be more like other people who enjoy it & it seems so effortless to them.

1 week ago

When no one is looking just kick the can gently.  Who knows, you might feel better.  🙂