This BLOG post was inspired by an email I received from my sister-in-law, Leslie. Here’s the email. The BLOG will follow.
Hello; Just thought that I would write to see how you are enjoying your new freedom – will be a change – less taxi driving. Love Leslie
The Nest Will NEVER Be Empty at Grumpy Villa
Whoa, it’s pretty quiet around Grumpy Villa these days. You actually can hear pins drop and moths fart.
Now that the Phenom has flown the coop and taken up residence at Brock University, all of our brood of three have taken flight. The Good Wife and the Grumps are kid- less for the first time in nearly 26 years. The silence around the Villa is deafening.
Grumpy’s role as chief cook, bottle washer and maxi-taxi man is now totally focused on his more domestic pursuits – that of the dreaded “Honey-Do” variety.
“Honey, if you have time, could you steam clean the carpets and all of the furniture.”
“Honey, would you mind heading into town today and picking me some almonds?”
Like a Zombie, Grumpy simply nods with a, “Yes, dear!” since he has, as has been suggested by many, “SO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS”.
Now, Grumpy stares at the Clown Car as it sits in the driveway, a mechanical beast with nowhere to go. Grumpy reminisces about the 130 k added to the odometer in the past two years, the nearly monthly oil changes, and the two sets of tires he’s worn down way past the wear bars.
He’s actually considering, since it’s just sitting there, that he might just give it a wash and a good vacuuming. That poor car appears as if it has just completed the Baja Car Rally.
He’ll give it some time before he makes a definitive decision on that one because he has, “SO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS”.
Grumpy is beginning to wonder if he and the Wife might succumb to EMPTY NEST SYNDROME.
“Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents or guardians may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.”
I’m glad it’s not a clinical condition. Fighting demons is not what Grumpy envisioned. He was more into cartwheel-“Yee-Haw” mode when this clearing of the nest occurred.
“More free time! Yahoooooey!”
But, Grumpy is not one to sit on his laurels. He decided he must research this syndrome because being proactive is the right thing to do. You see, when he was a Boy Scout he fully bought into the, “BE PREPARED” concept of forward thinking.
So, he discovered that one of the best ways to beat this syndrome, this feeling of loss of purpose for parents, is to remain connected to your little birds even though they’ve flown south.
Communicate, stay in touch, and connect!
“One of the easiest ways for parents to cope with empty nest syndrome is to keep in contact with their children. Technological developments such as cell phones, text messaging, and the internet all allow for increased communication between parents and their children.”
Grumpy knew this before he even read it in a book because the reality of it all smacked him in the face mere days after the Phenom left.
PHENOM PHONE TEXT: “Can you email me more money. I gotta buy some textbooks and sh*t!” (Grump hopes the second item isn’t a literal request. That would be just nasty.)
PHENOM PHONE TEXT: “Can you run down to St. Catherines and bring me my new driver’s licence that came in the mail this week!”
PHENOM PHONE TEXT: “I need it to get in the bars, duh!”
GRUMPY TEXT: “Oh, right!” (Must be his licence to CHILL.)
PHENOM PHONE TEXT: “Did you send that money yet?”
You see with today’s technology, even though your kids have fled the nest, they really haven’t left the nest at all. They simply live in you cellphone, computer or telephone. Your house, though quiet, is haunted by other worldly voices coming at you from parts both known and unknown. The cyberspace in your home is filled with “little voices”. Even though you’re not schizophrenic –you do listen to those voices, don’t you?
It is not unlike the Amityville Horror or Poltergeist! Your children speak to you even though they are not there.
Grumpy has even received TWEETS from the Phenom’s friends with picture attachments showing exactly what he is doing in real time.Even better, TWITTER is like putting a location monitor on your child; you know where they are and what they’re doing.
PHENOM’S TWEET: “Crushin’ cans at Isaacs and watchin’ footy.”
TRANSLATION: THE BOY IS AT THE CAMPUS BAR, DRINKING BEER AND WATCHING MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.
Eldest son Matt lives 2400 miles away in Condor, Alberta. No matter, he still inhabits this house. Take this week’s example!
MATT PHONE TEXT: “Dad, I hurt my back. I can hardly walk!”
GRUMPY TEXT: “You need to see a Doctor right away.”
MATT PHONE TEXT: “I can’t get in until next Monday, though.”
GRUMPY TEXT: “Try the walk-in or emergency then.”
MATT PHONE TEXT: “On my way!”
Grumpy’s boys are also in an online Baseball Pool with their old dad. This happened just last night.
MATT PHONE TEXT: “Why did you drop Gausman? Geez, Danny picked him up. I wanted to trade you for him!”
This text appeared minutes after the Grumps had pressed the keyboard key completing the transaction. Grumpy actually got out of his chair to check and see if Matt was back sitting in his old bedroom.
Nope, that was just another voice from the Ghosts of Grumpy Villa.
Alberta Matt will text Grumpy saying, “Dad, be careful there’s a tornado warning for your area. The storm is just west of you.” It’s as if he’s sitting beside Grumpy whispering in his ear.
Yesterday morning while driving the Good Wife to work, Grumpy’s cell phone jangled. It was Grumpy’s daughter, The Smurf. In a New York minute he could tell she was really upset!
The Clown car moans in deference with the thought of MORE kilometres, while the Corner Gas guy high fives his gas Jockey because of those $1.33 a litre gas prices.
No matter, when one of his little birds needs him, Grumpy is off to the rescue!
As it turned out, Grumpy had a great time with little Ryder-oo. We read Pete the Cat Stories, watched videos and sang, “The Wheels on the Bus”, as well as completing a ginormous walk through town. We stopped at the fire hall to see the trucks, observed lots of construction vehicles and diggers, ate lots of Goldfish, burped, farted and smiled at all the ladies giving us attentive looks!
Nevertheless, during that stroll, Grumpy also got another text from the PHENOM saying, “Send more money!”
You see, the technological umbilical cord follows you everywhere, my friends, and that is why there is no such thing as EMPTY NEST SYNDROME.
That illness is GONZO!
Undeniably, the miracle cure has been found in 1-800-MOMANDAD, Text Messages, Twitter, Facebook, SKYPE and the like. Your kids are always with you and always WILL be with you, for eons ever passing. You see, they are a mere speed-of-light electronic burst away!
This was made clear to Grumpy as he and the Good wife were watching the Blue Jays game last evening. The house was quiet except for the hum of the big screen and the voice of Bucky Martinez. The nest was empty and the old birds were enjoying some down time.
However, all the while, there was the clickety-clack of cellphone keyboarding, the “Beeps” and “Ring-tone” bursts announcing received texts, and the buzz and hum of Grumpy’s laptop.
You see the kids were with us; Grumpy texting the Phenom, the Good Wife texting the Smurf and Alberta Matt, while TWEETS rolled in on the laptop updating everyone’s location and current activity – some with INSTAGRAM pictures attached.
You get the picture; our nest is NEVER EVER empty.
His mother, Hellfire Helen, would also remind him, “Be careful what you’re thinkin’ and wishin’ because the devil might be listenin’!”
Well he got his wish and that technological future is here. And, once Grumpy removes the tongue that was firmly planted in his cheek, he can boldly declare, “It’s all good!” despite the fact that the devil IS surely in the details.
CASE IN POINT: “Send more money.”
The only thing that might mess this up is DEAD BATTERY SYNDROME.