My husband and I are now empty nesters. Woo hoo! We raised our glasses and toasted that both our children have jobs and paychecks. One just graduated from college and the other is halfway through.
That is the good news. Here is the bad news. We have one vehicle.
So you ask….Why did you give away your cars to your children? They have jobs, they can buy their own vehicles?!
We decided, as a couple, that it would be easier, initially, for them to get on their way without any drama, to take the two cars and get to work. My husband and I are more flexible with working together and could share a vehicle. And it is the summer and he makes a habit of biking to work several days a week.
Week One. We drove in together on Monday.
“Isn’t this nice? I really like spending the morning with you driving into work.”
After two days, “Didn’t I tell you? I need the car today, I have a business lunch.”
“What???” I replied, “Why didn’t you tell me that earlier?”
After the first day, the bond of driving in together was wearing thin.
Week Two. I decided I would take the bus on the days my husband needed the car. I have a co-worker who lives on my side of town and she was glad to teach me the ropes of the bus route. So Monday morning I walk to the bus-stop for the 100 Express. I stand there proudly. I condensed my 4-5 bags I usually pack into my car, into a backpack and a water bottle to carry. I’m standing there with another rider and then the 100 rolls up.
I say to the rider “Have you seen the 100 Express?”
“Oh” he said, “it already came by.”
Deflated, I walked back home and my spouse gave me a ride into work. After work, I summoned my courage, to take the bus home. I can do it! This isn’t that hard! So I walk to the bus stop outside my place of work and luckily one of my patients is also waiting to take the same bus. He was so kind. He showed me how to transfer at the downtown bus station to pick up my transfer home. And I made it. I even read my Time magazine and completed a continuing education form.
I told my husband if this sharing a vehicle was going to work we would have to comunicate. I announced I had a dinner date with the girlfriends on Wednesday and a hair appointment on Thursday after work.
“Oh” he announced, “I have a dermatologist appointment on Thursday. ”
“Oh”, I announced, “You need to reschedule because it is so hard for me to get an appointment and my hair is really in need of highlights and I have split ends.”
He was nice and cancelled his appointment.
Wednesday ended up being a disaster. My husband had originally agreed to ride his bicycle home, but life intervened. He had just got a call that day from a co-worker in another state that her spouse had been killed riding his bicycle. This devastated my husband, who, by the way, had a bicycle accident with a light pole last summer. I think the PTSD got stirred up like a bee hive. I told him I would come and get him at work and he could take me to the restaurant and I would get a ride home. Well the traffic was horrendous. What usually is a 15-20 minute drive to my husband’s work from mine, ended up being a one hour bumper to bumper drag. I left work at 5 pm, I got to the restaurant at 6:15p m and my husband got home at nearly 7 pm. Arrrrghhhh.
By the time Friday rolled around, he was feeling less stressed and biked to and from work. It was a good thing because I felt terribly ill with a headache and left work two hours early. I also had to pick the dog up from the groomers as well.
My husband and I are extremely independent people. As my husband says, “I don’t like depending on other people as they usually let me down. ”
Last Saturday we spent a large part of the day together, driving to look at a new car and driving to get new tires on our only vehicle. While waiting for the tires, we went to lunch together. When was the last time we did that? It was a lovely walk to lunch and back to the tire store.
Week Three. Much better, The week was planned, communication happened. I rode the bus home two days, he bicycled to work two days. We car-pooled to and from work Thursday because we had a dentist appointment at the same time, together.
A shift has happened. We are talking to each other. My independent husband is learning to trust me again. We are taking a deep breath and realize we only have each other and the dog right now. We are rediscovering each other at mid-life sans children.
I guess this empty nest thing might be good for us….until the grown child comes home to visit? Just as long as he doesn’ t stay long term.