View from the Empty Nest

View from the Empty Nest: The Quotidian

The majority of days of one’s life are eventless. We wake, dress, eat, do chores, read, watch TV. If there are pets, we tend to them. Weather isn’t remarkable. We go about the business of living, with absolutely nothing exceptional occurring.

This is what we don’t remember. How does one go about pinpointing which exact Thursday it was that there wasn’t any coffee left, so we had to have tea, instead? Or the day that we forgot to pick up the drycleaning.

No. We remember instead the day that the doctor said we needed a biopsy. The day that the car slid on the ice and rammed into a tree. Or we recall with a glow the day he proposed, or that evening that the moon was full and the phone rang with the news that a child was pregnant.

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View from the Empty Nest: All Alone but Not Lonely

Among the books I have read lately are a few about people who are bedridden. One of them was about a woman who was mysteriously ill, another about one who merely wanted attention, and a third about a man who lay dying, looking back on his life.

All of the people in these books spun a rich life inside their heads that made the time alone pass quickly. Days flew by as they reminisced about long-ago luncheons with their friends (every sip of champagne remembered, every morsel of food); days spent in the arms of lovers, or simply the butterflies they chased. Their inner lives were absolutely fascinating.

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View from the Empty Nest: Hostess Gifts

I try to do the right thing. Say “please” and “thank you.” Defer to those older than I—which is getting harder, as just about everybody seems younger than I am nowadays. But certain niceties seem to elude me. I forget.

Martha Stewart would never attend a dinner party without a hostess gift. A nice bottle of wine. Homemade cookies. Rosemary roasted cashews. Of course, Martha would hand wrap them in gift paper she stenciled herself, and there would be a gift tag tied with decorative twine.

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Under the Bed

I have to give one of my cats pills for the next two weeks. He had an abscess, and the antibiotics will cure it. Easy for the veterinarian to say. The first pill went down with ease. Cats, however, learn very fast, and from that point since, he has avoided me like the plague.

Cats are creatures of habit, however, and Salami’s (named by my husband; I have no idea) favorite hiding place is his only hiding place.  He runs under the bed when he sees me coming. This is handy for me, but also depressing, because the following is a list of the things that are also under there with him:

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Girlfriends

Dearest Siri,

Now that we are BFFs, I just can’t tell you how much I love and admire you. You are so wise about so many things. I can ask you where to get sports bras at a discount. I mean, really. And I will never not know where the nearest Starbucks is. Whew.

We do need to talk, though. It’s about my husband. I think he is smitten, and I wish you would quit chatting with him so much. He doesn’t really need directions to anywhere—he was an Eagle Scout, for God’s sake, and he can read maps.

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One Day

Wake up. It’s seven thirty. My God. Too early. Shut eyes and concentrate on sleep, dammit.

Nine. Ok, then. Stumble down the stairs. Make a bowl of nuts and seeds. Really, this paleo thing kind of stinks. Add blueberries and one drop of vanilla. No sugar, because PALEO. But pour on some heavy cream. Oh, yeah—paleo doesn’t always suck. Make a flat white. Carry it upstairs.

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Dinner Party

I suppose that in Paris, if you are invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is really about the wine. Or maybe in New York City, it is about the sparkling conversation, or maybe the clothes the women are wearing. I guess in most cities, it is not really about the food.

I think this is wrong. I live in Ohio. The heart of the Midwest. Although if you look at a map, Ohio really ISN’T in the middle of the west, but I digress. We have dinner parties in Dayton. There are glamorous people hosting them. Not at my house, however. Another digression. What bothers me is the disingenuousness of all this. Because in my opinion, dinner parties should be about the dinner.

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View from the Empty Nest: Food Fatigue

I fully understand teamwork. Division of labor makes all kinds of sense. But somewhere along the line, the division of labor over here has become depressing. At least to me.

Of course, I am sure that my husband must get tired of mowing the lawn. But he only has to do it in the summer, and only once in awhile. And being outside, strolling behind the mower and stopping to talk with the neighbors doesn’t seem all that bad to me. Well, ok. Sweat. But otherwise.

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View from the Empty Nest: Just Your Average Joe

I read an article recently that made a lot of sense, and it also caused great relief. The gist of the article was that our common perception of what is “average” has been vastly inflated by the media. The result is that most of us think what is “normal” is actually far above it. Let me cite an example: Granite countertops. Whenever I watch HGTV, all the young couples looking for their first home absolutely insist on granite. I mean, they actually say things like, “Granite countertops are a must. If the house doesn’t have them, we are afraid that’s a dealbreaker.”

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View from the Empty Nest: Flu 101

Are you one of the few people in the US who hasn’t had the flu yet? You might need some tips from the rest of us who have had it. Follow these, and perhaps your flu experience will be more pleasant and fulfilling!

  • For heaven’s sake, stock up on tissue. I find that the kind with the lotion is overrated. Your nose will get all chapped anyway. So:
  • Stock up on Vaseline. Actually, this is an understatement, because anyone who bought a jar of Vaseline in the last twenty years still has a lifetime supply in that jar. But if you don’t have any at home, get that one lifetime jar. Rubbing it on your nose and lips is soothing. I am not certain that it really heals anything, but when you are at death’s door, soothing is a good sensation.
  • Don’t be afraid to call your doctor’s office, or page your doctor at midnight. Remember, this is what he/she signed up for in med school. They are paid for this. Get the idea of “I don’t want to bother him/her” right out of your mind! My doc was great, and he told me to use both Nasacort and Afrin one right after the other. My nose really hurt, but he was right, clearing out my head did help slow down on the stuff running down my throat that made me cough my lungs out. I won’t use the “m-word.”
  • Go ahead. Moan around. You have earned this.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. I hate fluids.
  • On one of your repeated phone calls to your doc, be sure to get a narcotic cough syrup. This will be the only way you will be able to stop coughing long enough to sleep. And the pleasant buzz is just a nice little side benefit.
  • Plan on coughing for weeks.
  • Plan on complaining for weeks.
  • As long as you have symptoms, you are contagious. So this is another great benefit. It gets you out of stuff like grocery shopping, working, and going to the gym.
  • Facebook is a good indicator: when you no longer see posts from your friends about how horrible they feel, then maybe the worst of the pandemic is over. It might be safe to go out in a few days. Oh, and it also might be time to stop posting agonizing details about your own cough, how many days you have been wearing the same pajamas, and the last time you took a shower.

I am feeling much better now. I must admit though, that I am a little nostalgic for the good old days of my virus, when I called my doctor so often that it was kind of like having a new boyfriend…
Exciting News!!  Molly’s new novel is available for Pre-Sale! Find it on Amazon.com

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