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.

Empty Nesters

We Are Officially Empty Nesters

EmptyNest-1 So it’s a done deal, the boys moved out.

They moved out just before Brandon’s 20th birthday in March.

Happy birthday, son!

Now get out. HA!

The move went pretty smoothly. The boys don’t have a lot, their bedrooms were the most challenging to move what with their beds and all of their computer crap, er, equipment. We were able to get everything in Kevin’s truck and I think we made a total of three trips with his truck full. I, however, made about twelve trips. I put their dresser drawers, (full of clothes), into my car. Then I loaded my car down with all the “practical” gifts Santa gave them this past Christmas and which they weren’t excited about AT ALL, until we moved everything in.

I also placed SEVERAL blankets in my car and had to drive very carefully to the apartment when it came time to move their computers. I get that they are both INTO their computers and they have both spent a lot of money on their computers, but I get uncomfortable with just HOW much they’re obsessed with their computers – you would think they were made from glass the way they were both acting.

However, we got everything moved over, unpacked and cleaned up in one day. We were all pretty exhausted when it was all said and done. I THOUGHT I had taken some pictures of their place, but I can’t find them for the life of me. They’re probably on Kevin’s hard drive. I think he wiped our camera cards off so we could go to Hawaii. (What?!? Yep – more on that … one of these days).

It’s a cute apartment. Tiny, but really perfect for both of them. It’s a two bedroom, two bath place. We had to put Brandon’s chest-of-drawers in his closet (which I must say, their apartment has some pretty decent-sized closets) to make room for his over sized computer desk. But it works. They have a wood-burning fireplace. And yes, it works. Their apartment is a corner apartment on the 2nd floor – the corner apartments have fireplaces. It still sort of boggles my mind that apartments have fireplaces – isn’t that a HUGE fire hazard?? I pray they have responsible neighbors in the winter time.

When it came time to look at the available units in their apartment complex, we, (and by “we” I really mean all of us), wanted a third-floor apartment. We figured it would be the quietest – they wouldn’t have to worry about noisy neighbors above them. But the only third-floor apartment that was available when they were ready to move in had carpet in the kitchen.

Um – YUCK and NO.

So, they settled for the 2nd floor apartment. They didn’t have anyone living above them for quite a while but now they say they think someone lives up there but they don’t hear a lot of walking around going on so they think maybe their upstairs neighbor travels a lot of something as it doesn’t appear they are home very often.

We did have trouble moving their sofa into the apartment. Since they are on the second floor and right by the staircase, we didn’t have a lot of wiggle room getting the sofa into the apartment. In fact, there was a moment, when we all sort of paused, our arms aching from holding the sofa and thought, “we are NOT going to get this sucker in.” But somehow, we maneuvered it in and I confess, it’s perfect for the space and a pretty comfy couch. I think, though, if they ever move, we will have to take the legs off in order to get it back out again.

They both swear they are not going to move. HA!

•••)o(•••

It’s been … weird not having them here. They’ve been out for two months now and it still doesn’t seem real. It just feels like they’re at a friend’s house or something. But then again, quite honestly, we didn’t see them very much when they were living with us.

I think Blake was happier about moving than Brandon. I’m not sure Brandon was quite ready to move, but now that they’ve been out for a few months, I think they are both loving it. Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss? No rules. No having to live with the frustration of turning the Internet off at 10:00 PM every night. (Yes. We did that because if we hadn’t, they would have been up all night every night. Nope. Not in our house).

Of course, we’ve spoiled them. We bought them quite a few things and in fact, we still continue to buy them quite a few things. For example, Brandon mentioned that they needed a pizza stone so they could cook their frozen pizzas. We bought them one last night.

Kevin gets quite cranky with me with the all the stuff I buy them, but honestly, it’s like playing dolls or something – I just can’t resist!

Kevin found a George Foreman grill at a yard sale for one dollar. Bought it and to our delight, it actually works. We’ll give that to the boys and show them how to cook hamburger patties.

Roy found a set of 12 bowls at a yard sale for $2 – he will keep some of them and plans on giving the rest to the boys.

They also come over to our house quite a few times throughout the week to eat dinner with us. For two reasons, really: 1., it’s nice to see them and to catch up on their lives, and 2., I worry they will be too cheap to eat decent meals. In fact, Brandon has mentioned he had to call in sick one time because he woke up with vertigo and was nauseous. When I quizzed him about what he had been eating it was pretty much Ramen noodles and cereal.

I rest my case.

•••)o(•••

They’ve had a few incidents since living there. The neighbors next to them have fights and get quite loud sometimes. Blake said he woke up one night to some loud music about 2:00 AM and one of the other neighbors called the cops on them.

They were both pretty nervous to live on their own at first – and I think they both still are – they immediately deadbolt the door whenever we leave, lol, but I think they’re getting more used to it now.

Their apartment is not far from our house. It’s literally down the street. I think the close proximity also helps all of us and is probably the reason I haven’t really “felt” their absence. We can be at their house in about five minutes.

This has been SUPER AWESOME though in regards to them appreciating what they have and what they spend their money on. In fact, shortly after we got them moved in, Brandon held up his hands and said, “Okay everyone, you need to take your shoes off.” haha!

And Blake has already mopped and cleaned his bathroom several times.

I love it! That’s what it takes – though it’s super hard to let go of our children, we absolutely MUST do it. They have to learn to take care of themselves and to appreciate what they work hard to have.

Blake is still working for Kevin – I really don’t see that changing until Kevin finally bites the bullet and retires and closes his office. In fact, he is actively looking for more business and may even have to hire an extra person some day if he gets very much more.

And while we’re on the subject of Kevin’s business, his office lease will be up soon. He’s thinking of possibly moving his office to the front part of the rental house thereby saving TONS of money in rent.

The problem is: will people be creeped out going to someone’s house for their accounting needs? We’re still tossing the idea around.

Brandon is still at the shoe store. And in fact, he likes it, much to my surprise. He’s a cashier, which again, surprises me. It’s not that I don’t think he’s smart enough to be a cashier, it’s just, that job comes with a lot of trust and responsibility and I’m flattered that his boss has that much confidence in him. People I work with know Brandon works at this popular shoe store and I had a co-worker instant message me the other day to tell me that Brandon waited on her and she was impressed with his professional demeanor. In fact, he sold her a program that she hadn’t really wanted to participate in but said that he was such a good salesman, she felt like she would be missing out on something if she said no. haha! That really warmed my heart that she told me that and it makes me EXTREMELY proud to be his momma. I think Brandon will go far in life.

I think Blake will, too, I just think his success will be a little more understated than Brandon’s. But who knows, they continue to surprise me every day.

The extra bedrooms are still empty. We are going to use one room for Kevin – he currently sleeps in his office on a futon. We don’t sleep together because he uses a sleep-pap machine and sounds like Darth Vader and I flop so much and snore that it wakes him up. I think we’re going to use the other bedroom as a game room slash workout room. Not sure on that one yet.

The rooms need a coat of paint. They were FILTHY dirty when the boys moved out. In fact, there was so much dust built up that when I cleaned the rooms, I had a respiratory issue for a solid week. No joke. We are going to paint them next weekend, I think, since it’ll be Memorial Day Weekend and I’ll have three days off.

So yes. We’re now officially empty nesters. It’s been a pretty smooth transition. I love when they come over and I love when they leave. Ha!

Empty Nesters

Applying

This picture has nothing to do with anything, just thought it was cute.
This picture has nothing to do with anything, just thought it was cute.

We visited two apartments today.

The first one, we met the gal at the complex and she showed us an apartment on the 2nd floor. The first thing I noticed was – it was dirty. At least, it FELT dirty. And it was right next to a major highway, so there was the highway noise. And then there were REALLY squeaky floors. And the floors felt … bumpy. And I immediately felt sorry for the neighbors down below the unit. And it just felt … wrong. The boys weren’t too terribly impressed, but they haven’t really had anything to compare it to so …

When we left, we discussed the pros and cons. I felt like there were too many cons and I wasn’t impressed.

Moving on.

The second apartment, I had high hopes for. It’s the closest one to our house and the most reasonably priced. It’s near grocery stores and in the middle of a nice neighborhood. I crossed my fingers.

We didn’t have an appointment at this complex, we just showed up. (But to be fair, I had called them them day before and they said it was okay to do that). The guy was super nice and very helpful. He also showed us a unit on the middle floor and I immediately LOVED it. It felt right right off the bat.

The living area was a nice size. The kitchen is small, but again, it’s just the two of them. There’s also a pantry and a coat closet just off the tiny dining area. It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. And the closet in the master bedroom is the BIGGEST closet I have ever seen. In fact, it’s so large, they could easily have a third person move in and use the closet as their “bedroom.” There is definitely room for a twin-sized bed in the closet. They’ve been toying with the idea of having one of their cousins move in with them… but we’ll see how that goes. It came as sort of a shock to Blake, when we talked to the manager more at length, that if their cousin moves in, he just can’t “move in,” he too will have to go through the application/approval process which means he will HAVE to have a job before that can happen. I’m relieved that was brought up and discussed because I really think Blake had plans on basically supporting the cousin and that would have been a bad idea all around.

They have several units available. And again, I think it might be a better idea if the boys either get a ground floor or a top floor – stay away from the 2nd floor. Having neighbors is bad enough, having a neighbor both on top of you and below you is double the trouble.

This complex has a pool, a BBQ area, and a laundry facility. And Blake is seriously considering paying an extra $15 per month to reserve a carport.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We left with some applications and went to our third apartment prospect.

But the manager was out and wouldn’t be back for 45 minutes. So we went ahead and came back home.

The conversation we had with the boys was probably one of the best conversations we’ve had in, wow, a LONG time. We weighed the pros and cons of the 2nd complex and talked about a realistic move-in time. After a while, I said, “what, exactly, are we waiting for? Let’s go ahead and start the application process.”

And that’s what we did. The boys filled out the applications and wrote checks out for the application fee. Kevin wanted to see if they could be approved on their own first before we agree to become co-signers. Either way, we are going to work hard to try and make this happen. The manager said they usually have an answer back within 24-hours. I told the boys to keep their phones close.

We never even returned to the third complex.

I’m so excited for them! This is such a big step in their lives!! We talked about priorities – what would they need to buy right away and what could wait. I even found a pretty sweet kitchen table and chairs on clearance at one of the furniture places. I think I’m going to try and talk everyone into going to a few furniture places tonight after dinner, just to give them an idea of how much things cost.

If today produces nothing else, it was a FANTASTIC learning experience for the boys. We can talk to them until we’re blue in the face, but to actually hear someone else explain the process and do some comparison shopping was a much needed dose of reality for them. I was worried about them being able to afford it, but after delving more into their finances, and being shocked by how much they both have in savings (We’re doing something right!!), I’m more confident they will make this work. And they’ll still have keys to our house, they can come over and do their laundry and of course, they’re welcome to come over for dinners to save them money on food, at least, initially.

I’m hoping we have an answer by the end of this week. I hope they get approved on their own, but if they need a co-signer then let’s get the ball rolling on that process. Our goal is to get them moved in mid-March, IF all goes according to plan.

It would be nice to have them all settled before the end of April.

Why the end of April, you ask? You’ll see … 😀