Empty Nesters

Empty Nesters for 15 Months Now

I haven’t updated you on the boys for a while now. They’ve been in their apartment for over one year.

Just typing that doesn’t make it feel real. I mean, it’s real, but it doesn’t feel real. It feels like they just moved out last month.

It’s scary how fast time flies, isn’t it?

Blake graduated in 2011.

I’m not sure I ever properly introduce them to you all. Blake is our oldest, he’s 23, and Brandon is our youngest, he’s 21.

(Side note: Know what’s REALLY weird? Having an alcoholic beverage with your children. Blake drinks the occasional beer with his dad and though Brandon is old enough to drink, he refuses. He won’t even drink coffee “because caffeine is highly addictive, mom.” haha! That kid. That was really the moment our kids morphed into adults for me, I think.).

The boys moved out around Brandon’s birthday last March. They weren’t motivated to look around for an apartment so Kevin and I did their looking for them. (If we had waited for them to find motivation to look, they would still be living with us and nope, they needed to start being their own people).

There is an apartment complex literally five minutes from our house, just down the street, and they offered a pretty sweet Internet package and we knew that was going to be key for our boys. (They are both pretty huge geeks). So, we made an appointment and we looked at them – it was small but really perfect for both of them. There were two, identical units available, one on the second floor and one on the third floor. They both had fireplaces (how cool is that!?!) but the third floor apartment had carpet in the kitchen and the 2nd floor one did not. I talked them into taking the 2nd floor one, (which was a big mistake, more on that in a minute).

We co-signed their lease since neither one had any credit to speak of, (And *snap*, that reminds me, we need to get them set up on a credit card so they can start building their credit. We can’t continue to co-sign for them forever), and we helped them move in.

We shopped around for a kitchen table and a sofa and they each paid for half. (Luckily, we had taught them the seriousness of saving their money and by the time they graduated from high school, they both had a little money saved up).

I think we ended up buying their kitchen utensils and bathroom necessities. Of course, they had their beds and their computers to furnish their bedrooms. We gave them an old TV we had lying around and they were set.

The first two months they lived there were pretty awesome. They loved it.

Brandon graduated in 2013.

And then someone moved into the 3rd floor apartment above them. The couple have a young daughter and the couple constantly yell/scream/fight with each other and the child constantly runs from room to room. On top of this noise, they started smelling something like a skunk smell in their apartment.

(I wish now I hadn’t talked them into the 2nd floor apartment, they wouldn’t have had to deal with all of the stomping at least, though I suppose the yelling/fighting and smell would still have been a problem).

They finally got fed up with their shenanigans and reported them to the apartment manager. The manager left a note on their door and things got better for a bit.

But then that threat wore off and the fighting, stomping and smell came back. They complained again and the manager sent someone over to check the vents thinking that maybe an animal or something had gotten caught and that was what was smelling, but everything was clear.

We took some ice cream over to their place one night and that was the first time I smelled the skunk smell. WOW. They weren’t kidding, it was pretty bad. We were pretty sure the people above them were smoking some stink weed or smoking … something they shouldn’t have been.

Blake, my quiet, shy, introverted son, finally had enough. He actually called the cops on them one night. Their fighting was getting worse and they would do it in the middle of the night. (I find it hard to believe that the other neighbors hadn’t complained about them given how rude and obnoxious they are). Blake said the cops came over, pounded on their door but no one would answer. They knew they were home because they heard them before and after the police came.

(Side note: After the boys moved in, they found out that there had been a meth lab in the complex several years ago. I’m assuming, given the facility’s history, the police continue to treat complaints from the complex as serious, which is good, in some ways. At least they are being watched).

The police were called … I want to say several months ago. Blake says the noise, though still there, isn’t as bad and he hasn’t smelled that smell in quite some time. I’m hoping the police coming to visit was enough to scare their neighbors, not straight, exactly, but at least taking their crap somewhere else.

It’s sad the boys have had such a hard time with assholes their first time out of the house, but in a way, it’s sort of good, too. We have spoiled them rotten over the years, pretty much giving them what they have always wanted, and they’ve never really been inconvenienced in their entire lives, so this experience has taught them that you have to learn to deal with all sorts of jerks out there and life is sometimes messy.

Honestly, I think we see them more now than when they lived with us. They come over a lot for dinners, (whenever Kevin and I aren’t working late and can make dinner, which hasn’t been very often lately), and they always come over on Sundays, either to drop/start their laundry, (which I don’t mind finishing for them) and to eat Sunday dinner. Now that Kevin has the pool up and running at the rental house, they may start coming over on the weekends to go swimming.

Kevin and Roy also bought an old fishing boat and have been taking it out on Lake Springfield on the weekends. Blake went with them last weekend but he said that none of them even had a nibble. I’m just glad Blake is getting out of the house and getting some fresh air.

Brandon is our social one and I don’t worry about him, but I wish Blake had at least one friend. He’s like me, he doesn’t really have any friends and though I’m okay with that because I have people at work I goof around with, Blake works for Kevin and he doesn’t really have any work friends to socialize with. Having at least one friend would allow him the opportunity to get out and live life once in a while.

Our boys are great people, though. I’m very proud of both of them. They have morals and are kind to people. I wish they would start thinking about their long-term goals in life, though. I mean, if they choose to live their lives going from paycheck to paycheck, I guess that’s their prerogative, but life sure is easier if you have a good job and make some decent money. Like I mentioned, Blake works for Kevin and though he’s not building a lot of social skills, he has developed a lot of bookkeeping experience that will likely come in handy for him one day whenever Kevin retires.

Brandon is still working for the shoe store – in fact, he got promoted just recently. He’s working more hours, making more money and he has temporarily (?) put wanting to work at a bank on the back burner. He likes his manager, he likes his work and he feels comfortable doing it. He’s around people all day, of course, and he is developing some pretty important people skills too. I think everyone should have to work with the public at least once in their lives. Learning to get along with all sorts of personalities is crucial to success, in my opinion.

So, the boys have signed another one-year lease. They were thinking of signing a six-month lease in case their neighbors started being dicks again, but that would have cost them more money every month and Blake didn’t want to do that. (They are such cheap skates – I LOVE IT!). They were hoping one of their cousins would move in with them so they could afford a bigger place, but that didn’t pan out for them. So they are stuck in their apartment until next March. We were hoping their neighbors would move out in May, but nope, no such luck.

This apartment complex has townhouses that would really be perfect for three people. Maybe they will be able to move into one of those when their lease is up in March 2017.

The boys still have their keys to our house and we’ve always told them they are more than welcome to come over any time. They may not live here anymore, but it will always be their home.