A humorous look at the little things in life

It’s a whole new (quiet) world in the empty nest… August 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 7:27 pm
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Recommended wine for today’s entry: After dropping BOTH my daughters at college on a sad, steamy, summer day … I needed something cold, crisp and containing alcohol. Luckily I had tucked a bottle of Chateau Coustaut La Grangeotte sauvignon blanc from the Bordeaux region of France into my little wine fridge before leaving that morning. It was, as promised, citrusy with a bit of minerality and a lot of crisp acidity. I highly recommend it … and so does this finding from “Rating: Recommended – As reviewed by Today’s Bordeaux on 2010. Rated by an independent jury of US wine professionals as one of the 100 affordable, contemporary Bordeaux (priced from $8 to $35) in 2010. Classic Sauvignon character: green, citrusy, very clean. Enjoy it chilled on a warm summer day.”

I have to tell you: Emptying the nest is very, very difficult. Mentally AND physically.

But I’m proud of myself. I survived three weeks of total chaos. The dining room and shed and both girls’ bedrooms were stuffed full of boxes, and lamps, and kitchen tables that have been stripped and stained, and long-forgotten chairs that have been de-spiderwebbed, and the red loveseat with the decorative white paint splatters, which stood on end in the dining room and gored me with its protruding hind leg every time I tried to wedge by to feed the cats (who eat in the dining room…don’t yours?).

I made it through all of the Target trips and clutter and disorganization and more trips to Target and thievery of my pots and pans and the distressing rebuffing of my prized Dansk tableware, treasured wedding gifts carefully saved for the first offspring’s apartment, now re-boxed and banished back to the shed where it will undoubtedly hunker down for the rest of its life or at least until someone knocks its storage box to the concrete floor. I survived all of that — for what?

To spend 10 hours lugging boxes upstairs and compressing all that crap into 1/3 of a 200-square-foot dorm room and a teeny-weeny apartment, all while enduring 95 degrees, 80 percent humidity and sweating through my clothes twice.

OK, here I have to admit that I did the VERY thing that my mother did to me. Yes, my freshman and I discovered that we were wearing matching outfits (black shirt, white shorts) only after parading from the parking lot to the second floor room at least three times. Actually, it was more like five trips because TWICE we got down to the car and I realized I (first time) didn’t have the car keys or (second time) did most certainly have car keys, just not to the car we’d driven. And when my older daughter arrived to check out little sis’ dorm, lo and behold, black shirt/white shorts.

I think families do these little humiliation drills on drop-off day to make the whole separation thing seem like a positive.

Then we got into the car at 9:30 at night, drove home two hours while dodging deer and fighting back tears, had popcorn for dinner at 11:30 (accompanied, of course, by a well-chilled glass of the above-mentioned sauvignon blanc, the highlight of the day) popped two Alleve and climbed into my nice cozy bed, where I was descended upon by two cats, two hyper dogs who had been cooped up in the house all day and the certainty of at least one impending, agonizing hot flash.

Ah, the perfect end to a trying day.

 The next day, I waded through the aftermath: Target bags and hangars and decomposing foodstuffs tumped from backpacks and oozing detergent from last year’s bottle and more Target bags and furballs and dustbunnies that had been hiding behind the piles of boxes and storage tubs and the upended stained loveseat. I washed sheets that hadn’t been cleaned all summer because there was too much stuff stacked on the bed to warrant the effort.

All while being followed by the tabby kitty who didn’t know where her sleeping buddies had gone and in her desolation has taken to pulling all the hair off her legs.

So finally I sat down with Huckleberry the hairless-legged kitty and dealt with it.

The nest is empty, but not all that empty. The needy golden retriever mix still won’t let me out of his sight and the Frisbee-addicted black Lab still needs me to refill the water bowl after she blows bubbles and sloshes it all over the kitchen. And the cat with kidney problems still has to be hand fed, a morsel of medicine-laced tuna at a time.

And the TV viewing has taken a turn for the better. My husband will watch the Little League World Series with me, forgoing that god-awful Snooky and the stupid Situation. I have newfound freedom from shows about people with reproduction issues, including, but not limited to: families who can’t seem to stop reproducing; teens who cry a lot raising babies who cry a lot; people who don’t know they’re pregnant until they have a baby on the floor in KMart; and parents who don’t deserve their kids because they put fake teeth and wigs on them and send them out on stage to be made a mockery of.

On the way up to school, I asked myself: If I could seriously turn back time, would I do it?

The answer was an immediate no. Because there is NO WAY I ever want to go through the six months of a kid with a driver’s permit again.

So the only alternative is to move forward. It’s definitely different in the fur-laden empty nest. But I’m proud that we made it through the really tough part.

And they’re coming home for a visit in 51 days.


14 Responses to “It’s a whole new (quiet) world in the empty nest…”

  1. Debbie Says:

    I loved this one… I can really relate. I will be looking for someone to drink wine with over the next couple of months as my nest is empty too.
    cheers- 🙂

  2. Pennie Medley Says:

    Boy, I feel old. Nuff said. I’m sitting in my kitchen crying because YOUR precious babies are grown. I think I need a glass of wine.

  3. Ashley

    I was wondering how the move went, I absolutely laughed out loud.
    My brother and sister in law, are now empty nesters with two girls
    at the same school, just like your girls. They are ready for them to
    leave the nest because they fight constantly. They are expecting frequent
    calls from the campus police, saying, your girls are still fighting.

  4. ashleyolsonrosen Says:

    Thanks for sharing my pain/relief everyone! Deb … we’ll have to sip some wine and swap adjustment stories (the girls’ and ours)! Pennie … I know! It seems like yesterday I was leaving your 9-year-old in charge of my newborn with absolutely no reservations! and Susan … you have totally pegged it. They just took their brawls to a more public marketplace. It’s only a matter of time. Although so far, so good. But it’s Day 6.

  5. Kim Keeley Says:

    Ashley, I’m laughing and relating to this one. And you reminded me, that 5 yrs. ago when I took my daughter to school, (which I did on my own, and that’s a whole other story) I remember what I was wearing! And as a matter of fact, after reading this I went and looked for that skirt I had on, then tried it on. Well, what can I say, it doesn’t fit any more. Thanks for depressing start of my day!

  6. Jenn Nickel Says:

    This made me cry! But well done. You did it. I have that to look forward to in a bout 17 years, right?

  7. Alyssa Rosen Says:

    You know you miss me more than you lead on 🙂

  8. JoAnn Olson Says:

    Ah, Ashley–not to worry! They’ll be back on every important occasion, with 45 of their “closest friends” It’s a great chance to purge your fridge and cabinets. They’ll drink beer that’s been in the refrigerator since ’02, eat leftover pizza that has a strange grey “fuzz” on it, take care of the cereal that expired many months ago, and find your “butter graveyard”, and give you and Jeff something to laugh about until it happens again.
    They’ll go to the infield at the Derby and come back a little tipsy (just had to try one mint julep), very sunburned and totally broke.
    Your life has just begun, and you’ll find out your husband is a really nice guy.
    Been there, done that!

  9. ashleyolsonrosen Says:

    Kim, there’s no way you could be thinner than you are now! Jennifer … it’ll be here before you know it. The time goes really fast. Except when they are having a slumber party. Mom, thanks for the cheering words – I actually cleaned out my refrigerator already in case of a pop-in visit with unsuspecting friends. Your compartment with 274 butter remnants is forever etched in my (and others’) mind(s)…
    As for you, Alyssa, I miss you oodles and oodles. But since I talk/text with you every 30 minutes, it’s been ok. So far.:)

    • ashleyolsonrosen Says:

      Oh, and Robin — I am sticking to my one mint julep story. Although now that you mention it, there may have been a large amount of Old Milwaukee. Gross. That might be worse than the Natty Light that my college girl drinks ONE of.

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