I’m not entirely sure I’m “empty nesting” exactly as I should be. I think we should be less busy. Or doing things we enjoy MUCH more often! Alas, this semester, when my kids left me to go back to school, I decided I’d be a lot more productive.
The first semester of my empty nest involved a sacroiliac joint injury (amid pretty severe depression and anxiety) that took months of steroids and physical therapy to heal. I distracted myself with every episode of Game of Thrones and, when I could walk, I worked. I scheduled every weekend of the kids’ Fall semester to include some kind of fun event so I continuously had something to which I could keep looking forward. A lot of it was daytripping, and I’m eternally grateful to the friends who kept me busy during that time of my life: my husband, my parents, my kids, Chris, Erin, Kim, Melissa, my book club people who kept me reading, and my entire team at work who not only tolerated my mood swings, but found ways to keep me smiling. I visited my kids, I hiked in Ithaca a few times, I wined with Chris, I dined with Erin and Kim, etc. Thank you all for keeping me (sortof kindof) sane!
Amid my injury, I did my best to keep moving and keep going. Some days, I couldn’t even stand up. And each time I could, I was petrified that if I did one thing wrong: twisted my body to grab a pencil, walked too hard down the steps, etc, I’d trigger my injury again and be back at my starting point. I’ve had a bad back as long as I’ve been a nurse (#nurseback) -it always healed before. This was different, I couldn’t get better, and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. I spent a lot of time in the autumn and early winter of 2017 feeling out of sorts and unproductive and I vowed I’d not stay in that place forever.
This semester, by the time my kids moved back to school, I was already taking NINE credits at Wilkes University toward my MSN, and I secured a home improvement loan to renovate my tiny kitchen where, over the previous month, we packed in five adults each evening for dinner. And where everyone over the holidays chose to gather despite the other available rooms! I consider myself low maintenance as far as material posessions go: I don’t buy many things, I hate “stuff” and I work to pay kids’ tuitions and travel! But I love my spaces: my home and my car. I’ll happily invest in those two things.
So…The wall came down much more quickly than I anticipated, and there were suddenly problems that needed to be addressed. Thank God for my awesome family who acknowledged my need to do homework in between tasks and let me do so while they worked.
Cost breakdown: Construction: wall materials, electrical supplies and labor by family =$1000. Flooring from Giant Floor=$1500 installed. Gianni countertop kit=$85 incl. shipping on Amazon. Rustoleum cabinet refinishing kit=$77 from Home Depot. “Juno” table and eight chairs by Just Cabinets=$1300. Wall and ceiling paint and supplies Walmart Color Place=$65. Kitchen cost=about $4G. Time spent by Jen, Jeff, Nana and Papa (angels)=2.2 weeks of chaos from start to finish. I love my family and I love this kitchen!