The Rachel Files: Week 7 and the real cost of toilet paper

Photo credit: Heather Cowper

Photo credit: Heather Cowper

So I mentioned at the end of my last entry that my house suffered under the care of my temporary roommate, Rachel, while I was gone for four days to a conference. I’m not even going to get into what happened with my dog, son, and elderly parents while I was gone, because none of these are connected to her. Suffice it to say that lately, my little world seems to fall apart if I’m not around, temporary roommate or not.

Shortly upon my return from the conference, the basement toilet overflowed after I took a shower in the first floor bathroom. Not good. I called a plumber – the kind with a machine that jets water into clogged sewer lines with laser-like intensity. You all probably remember Rachel’s fondness for toilet paper. I’m sure you can all make the connection. The plumber guessed that a tree root caught the toilet paper and clogged the line.

Well, it’s clear now, and I’m several hundred dollars lighter. Bless her heart, Rachel is going to help pay for the high-tech sewer enema, but still . . . If I hadn’t already decided she needed to live somewhere else, this would have clinched it.

We had that discussion a few days before I left on my trip. I explained that I felt she needed to live somewhere where people are home more often and can keep track of her more, and that it would be good for her to live with someone who has a better understanding of her condition(s). Also, my son has not adjusted to her presence very well. Just before Rachel moved in, my situation changed (or more like my ex-husband’s situation changed) and the amount of time my son stays with me increased. If I had known that was going to happen, I doubt I would have agreed to the arrangement. But it was too late by that point.

The good news is, I am TOTALLY cured of my half-empty nest syndrome. In fact, I may never let anyone stay in my house again (smirk). Plus, I am learning first-hand about the ravages of mental illness and how crappy some of the medications are.

Word is out now to other members of my church that Rachel needs another place to stay (that’s how I found out about her plight in the first place), so I hope the situation will change in a few weeks.

But, guess who has another work trip coming up in a few days? It just never ends. . . .

Half-Empty Nest Syndrome, Part II

English: a bird nest Français : un nid d'oiseau

A bird nest  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s an update for those of you just dying to know. The lady I’m thinking of helping looked at my son’s former room last week. She liked it, but even more important, she liked my dog, so she’s planning to move in sometime in the next week or two.

We both disclosed our quirks so that we shouldn’t be too surprised by each other. I also explained to her my youngest son’s worries, and we discussed those. I’m sure other things will come up as we go along (don’t they always?) but I feel fairly confident that it will be an okay thing on a temporary basis. I have yet to speak with the people she is currently living with – I’m sure they’ll have some useful insights – but the move is a “go.”

I don’t intend to turn this blog into a blow-by-blow account of the experience, but I will write about any pertinent issues that arise. To protect my roommate’s privacy, I shall hereby call her by the name Rachel.

In the meantime, the weather here in northeastern Minnesota is wonderful. Hope you can get out and enjoy it wherever you are!

Half-Empty Nest Syndrome

An Osprey landing in the nest at Boy Scout Cam...

Osprey nest (credit: Wikipedia).

My oldest son moved out a few weeks ago. Although I’m happy that he’s fledged from the parental nest, it happened a bit sooner than I was expecting and it’s left me adrift, floundering, unanchored, if you will.

My youngest son is with me every other week, which leaves me alone (except for my dog) during those times. The thing is I have not been alone on a regular basis for 21 years. Just like becoming a parent takes adjustment, becoming an un-parent takes adjustment, too. And both seem to happen just as suddenly.

I am finding that I don’t like being alone at home. I am too used to helping other people and having someone around. Granted, I like my privacy and I am an introvert, so I don’t usually seek out crowds, but family is different. They are meaningful people and I like to surround myself with meaning.

So I’ve decided to open my home to a stranger. “Okay,” you’re saying, “does not compute.” How is opening my home to a stranger like living with a family member? Well, it does have some meaning. We both go to the same church so we have the same philosophy in that respect. And she is in a bind. She needs a temporary place to stay while awaiting a place of her own.

Will it work? I hope so. I rented a room in someone’s house once for 8 months, so I am familiar with the logistics. It was not a harmonious home – the mom was not a happy person and liked to criticize the teenage daughter harshly. And I found out toward the end that the house wasn’t even hers. She was renting it from somebody else. Yuk. I could not wait to get out of there after a while.

I’d like to think that my home is pretty mellow and happy. And this lady likes big dogs, so that part should work out well. But I suppose there are all sorts of opportunities for disaster and conflict. This person is coming to look at my son’s room later this week. If she doesn’t like it, so be it. If she does, my nest will no longer be half-empty. And if we end up disliking each other, it’s only temporary. Stay tuned . . . .