Like Grad Students Except With Money

So, how’s the empty nest going?

A few people have asked me that over the last couple of weeks, and the answer is, well, just fine! It probably helps that this last year has involved so many transitions that I am happy just to be staying in one place for a while, kids or no kids. I’m surprisingly busy, as well. I thought I’d have to get another part-time job to stay occupied, but now I’m not so sure about that.

I’ll admit to a sniffly moment or two. I don’t really miss living with teenagers, but I do sometimes look at family photos and wonder where the years went—and how they went by so fast. I now understand why people look forward to grandchildren (note to kids: not in any hurry here!)

When it comes right down to it, though, I raised my kids to be independent. I’ve never been a helicopter mom. I wouldn’t even know how—despite attempts by several schools to convert me into one! I am amazed by my kids, and so, so proud that they both have the confidence to just up and move thousands of miles away. I hope my son succeeds at university, but even if he doesn’t, I’ll always be proud that he got on that plane without a backward look, determined to blunder through it all himself. I’m also relieved that the teachers don’t even know my email address 🙂

Fun fact: my kids are attending universities that are 5,371 miles apart. We’re more or less in the middle. So, don’t be complaining that your kid at your state university is “so far away!”

Right now, we feel kind of like grad students ourselves. Living in a small apartment, with minimal possessions, improvising quite a bit, but also enjoying a break from the 9-to-5 monkey-suit wearing Cleaver family routine. Clarendon is frighteningly young (adds to the grad school feel), but also super convenient with lots of good restaurants. I can avoid most of the DC traffic here too: I only break the car out about twice a week. I really like that a lot.

But unlike college, during which both of us were quite cash-strapped, using real milk crates for furniture and eating way too much ramen, we now have the means to make our home a little more comfortable. After a few Amazon orders and trips to the Container Store and Target, I’m feeling at least temporarily settled in. And I can clean this apartment in half an hour. You can’t beat that!

A little color for the sofas. And we have a plant. Two plants, actually!
A little color for the sofas. And thanks to a friend, we have a plant. Two plants, actually!
Picked up some office art for my husband at a street fair and figured we might as well hang it up.
Picked up some office art for my husband at a street fair and figured we might as well hang it up. it’s funny what a difference a few pictures make.
Target shelves and plastic drawers are key. The painting is a birthday present from my talented father in law. Recognize the view?
Target shelves and plastic drawers are key design elements. The painting is a birthday present from my talented father in law. Recognize the view?
A little color for the dining table. (The brown plastic placemats that came with the apartment go under the cat food bowls!)
A little color for the dining table. (The brown plastic placemats that came with the apartment go under the cat food bowls!)
My cookbook, which is an old Nook reader mounted on the wall.
My cookbook collection, which is an old Nook reader mounted on the wall.
A black shower curtain hung up with Command hooks for our east-facing bedroom window. Pure class.
A black shower curtain hung up with Command hooks for our east-facing bedroom window. Pure class, but it works.
Half-off Michael's craft boxes for clothing overflow.
Half-off Michael’s craft boxes for clothing overflow.
Nice apartment, but worst bed ever! We finally  just made them take back the bed frame and put the mattress on the floor, with a foam topper. Really missing our Sleep Number now.
Nice apartment, but worst bed ever! We finally just made them take back the bed frame and put the mattress on the floor, with a foam topper. It was the only way we could both keep from rolling into the middle. Really missing our Sleep Number now.
The smart cat is bored in the apartment and makes us play fetch with him all the time. The dumb cat is just happy there's a couch.
The smart cat is bored in the apartment. He taunts us from the top of the refrigerator and makes us play fetch with him all the time. The dumb cat is just happy there’s a couch.
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One comment

  1. So glad you are somewhat settled for a little while and are happy to be where you are. I still chuckle thinking about your blog title. It certainly rings true for me. It reminds me of my life, I guess. Happy next phase of your life!

    Like

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