The one car couple

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.

10 responses to “The one car couple

  1. The empty nest thing is a good thing! It’s just another stage of life that has its ups and downs, but what it affords is the chance for husband and wife to reconnect and enjoy their life together alone again. Sounds like you’re already figuring that out, so you are a great step into the process. I enjoyed reading your post. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Us Empty Nesters need to stick together and find our way!!
    Have a fabulous day, week, month and year in your empty nest!

  3. Isn’t it funny how we have become a society so dependent on families having more than one vehicle. Sounds as though ya’ll have worked through your difficulties (hopefully!) What an adjustment! Hang in there!

  4. Glad it’s working out now. A few years ago we were newly married and had one car. I drove my husband onto base and waited for many early morning pt’s and formations. Then I got a job, and had to bum rides off of military wives I hardly knew. Awkward!!!! (No bus system, too far to walk.) We bought a second car shortly after, but I remember going through,what you did. Any new wheels yet?

    • No new second pair of wheels yet. AND we actually had a flat tire yesterday, I watched hubby change the tire AND we had just got an entire new set of tires last week. Funny eh? I’ll be riding the bus home at least three times this week as he’ll need to get the tire replaced or patched (free) and use it for a working lunch. This car sharing is a bonding experience for us empty nesters.

  5. I couldn’t imagine having only one car…especially since hubby and I have different work schedules in different areas of town. I laughed at the little bumps in the road you encountered, but it sounds like it might just work out for you. I hope so!

    I cringed when I saw you rode the bus. I hope your bus system is better than ours. I rode it a couple summers ago (summer in Phoenix isn’t the best time to walk a mile to and from the bus stop.) It took me an hour and half to get to and from work, but I could drive it in 45 minutes. The final straw was when my son got sick and I needed to pick him up from school. They didn’t like the “I can be there in 2 hours” answer. Luckily my parents bailed me out. Needless to say, my bus days are over 🙂

    • I totally agree. I would never have been able to ride the bus with kids in school who needed me to come in emergencies. When the kids were little I had the car and my husband bicycled, took the metro or the bus, because his schedule was pretty set for work.

      I think we will be getting another car – soon.

  6. How brave you are. In my country life and how rural we are, I can’t imagine having only one car. As it is our second car is a 1993 toyota truck that I can’t drive any more because everything is standard. The clutch hurts my back and the steering takes more strength than I have.
    Kodos to you for your empty nest adventures.

  7. I tried to learn how to drive a clutch when my husband and I first got married. I was too frightened. I really gave it a good try though, practicing and all. We gave the car to my brother in law. I am not sure where that car is now.

    We will be looking for a second car before the snow flies. Thanks for dropping by. The empty nest adventures continue……

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