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The Sweet Side of My New Empty Nest – 5 Unexpected Benefits

1 May
Discovering the Sweet Side of My Empty Nest

Discovering the Sweet Side of My Empty Nest

While there have certainly been difficult moments through this transition, there have been a lot of unexpected benefits of my new empty nest.

  1. There are no Honeynut Cheerios in the house.
  2. I get to roam around naked.
  3. My microwave has stayed clean for 3 months.
  4. The  “Bank of Kris” (wallet, bank, credit card) is not in perpetual decline.
  5. There is no longer a strange smell emanating from the northwest corner of the house.

There are more, but they mostly revolve around messes and chores (less trash to take out, less random trash floating round the house and yard, less MESS). I recognize that it’s a bit shallow, but it has been SO lovely to easily keep a tidy, organized, beautiful home.

After all, there’s a bit of bittersweet in life. Why not focus on the sweet?

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Adjusting to My New Empty Nest

2 Apr

Yep. Most of you know that things around the home front with my almost-18 year old son have been tense at best. The recent conflict associated choices and consequences of HIS actions was apparently too much for him to deal with. I returned home from a business trip & VOILA – the kiddo’s bedroom was almost empty (although he did leave behind a bunch of trash).  He didn’t just pack a bag, he cleared out his closet, drawers, and shelves (and took a bunch of my stuff too).  I learned that he’s at his dad’s (15 minutes away), although I never got a return call from daddy-o (sigh – really? 15 years later and that’s what it still looks like?). There are more juicy details – post to come – but what I can say is that aside from a few waves of sadness (I’m almost feeling a bit guilty about not being an absolute wreck), I am VERY relaxed and accepting of the whole situation.

Decluttering the Home Sweet Home

It started with my son’s room – scrubbing, dumping trash, and painting. And did I mention scrubbing? It was sort of like a sickness actually – the declutter mania took over. When the boy was here, it was hard to keep things nice cuz he’s just so hard on stuff. But without the teen taz, the time was right to take care of deferred cleaning & organizing. Carloads to goodwill, weeks of full yard/recycle/trash bins – stuff be gone! Years of old paperwork burned, nooks & crannies free of clutter,  NOTHING under my bed, broken screens gone – you get the idea. And, uh, my microwave has remained clean for over 2 months!

Project Beautification

Again, the mania took over. It started with painting taz’s room. Then I noticed that the fascia’s needed a fresh coat. Then the front door was looking a bit ratty, so Rainstorm Blue it will be. And the yard? Fresh tulips (I highly recommend them to make your soul smile), space for the veggies and herbs, space for new roses, transplanted my lovely lilac to a new spot (that too makes me smile), and some love to my humble little lawn. This week my bedroom became Breezy and my container store goodies are expected soon (tidy undie drawer pic to come LOL).

Recovering from a Bum Low Back

See above. Given the lifting, sorting, moving, weeding, and dumping, I SERIOUSLY strained my low back. I consider myself relatively strong and functionally fit – but OH MY GOD – did I do a number on my back! It’s been over 2 months and here’s how the recovery looked: 2 weeks of ice and advil, 2 weeks of supported stretches & gentle yoga; 2 wks of walking/elliptical & 15 second planks & gentle core poses; 2 wks of body weight movement (static squats with stability ball, modified pushups & progressed to 30 second plank); 2 wks of folding in some dynamic bodyweight moves. You get the idea! My back is still tender, but it is definitely stronger. I will NEVER take for granted my low back again – geesh – I need it to unload the dishwasher, get out of bed, and shave my legs LOL.

Taking Care of Myself

Yes indeedy –  I’m all caught up with my pap, mammo, teeth cleaning and physicals. Sha-Bang! I’m giving myself a B+ on nutrition. It’s not an A because: I haven’t been cooking as much as I could, I’ve missed a few breakfasts,  ate out a bit more than I would have liked, and had a mad love affair with chocolate covered almonds. That said, it’s a solid B+ and I’m calling it a win! My exercise routine is definitely out of whack cuz of the back, but I’m ready to start easing back into full body, compound, low weight, medium rep kind of stuff.

Hanging Out with My BF+

Through all of this, I’ve been sooooo enjoying and appreciating my Boyfriend Plus (BF+). We’ve been together for about 14 years (I think), do not live together, and are not engaged. To call him my partner sounds goofy to me. And he’s so much more than a hunky guy that I bring to parties. So that makes him my BF+. He definitely deserves his own post on what exactly qualifies as a BF+, but don’t tell him because he’d be mortified. In short, he has been amazing through all of this. He’s been so supportive with how I’ve handled taz and this new chapter. He reminds me to handle the boy in a way that takes care of myself without any expectations, brings me ice for my back, humors me with patience and love while I try and decide on paint colors & wander through the bedding section at Target.

Of course, there is more that’s going on – simplifying and decluttering my work and digital life, enjoying zero email Fridays, and getting ready for the Earth Day Food and Wine Festival in two weeks, but for now, that’s my easing back into the blogosphere.

Hugs to all of you and thank you for your support and kindness!

Dear Michael | A Note to My Teen Son

30 Dec

We are fortunate. We are blessed with abundance and choices, and we have enjoyed many years together with loads of fond memories. And even though it has been difficult for both of us lately (for me parenting a teenager, and for you being the teen), please remember, you are my son, and I will always love you.

Your wickedly funny and clever sense of humor always makes me laugh. You are smart, capable, and independent. I am very proud of you.

But loving you doesn’t mean enabling you when you veer off course.

Becoming truly independent requires both acknowledging and taking responsibility for our choices. There are always consequences – both good and bad.  Honesty, kindness, and humility in words and actions will always be the best choice . The world will then know you to be a man of your words, a considerate friend, a dependable worker. Trust me, these character traits will serve you well.

I know that I have no control over your choices. But I do have control over some of the consequences. And it is because I love you that I’m not softening the landing for some of your more recent decisions.

I want nothing more for you but to be happy and healthy. And even though it may not feel like that today, remember, you are my son, and I will always love you.



P.S. Mark Twain was smart and witty – I think you would enjoy many of his wise words.

In a Blink, It was Different

11 Nov

One of My Favorite Photos of All Time - Yes - It is a Bit Old

I’ve taken a while to write about this because it’s not sassy or snarky. It is painful. And it is the most significant chapter of my current life book. I’ve started and stopped this post many times, and each time, the tears flow.

I’ve been a single mom for 14 years (my son is 17). It has not been easy. He was difficult. I’ve been tired. He got easier. We got better. Through all the ups and downs, it’s been the two of us in our little 1,000 sf house.  Continue reading

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