The blog that drew the most views (160) in 2016 was “Top 10 ways I know my son is home from college”. This high readership is either because my son is so popular his friends wanted to read about the chaos he creates when he returns home, a whirlwind on steroids would do less damage. Or there are many frustrated mothers of college-age children who read my blog and were comforted to learn that they are not the only ones spending a small fortunate on their college-bond children only to have them turn into untidy aliens who lock themselves in their room and listen to loud music late into the night. Said music seeps through the floor into my office and sanctuary, making me even more irritable than usual.
I would like to tell you this is a passing phase, but my son just graduated, December 2016, and the house is even more of a wreck since he brought his stuff home (I learned a bicycle and bed were left in Moscow to be fetched at some later date) . After spending $68,000 on his education, he “needs to decompress.” He will be starting his job search in February because we are spending the month of January exploring Australia. He actually could have had a job. He turned down a very good job with a local company after interning there two summers because “it wasn’t interesting enough and he wants to live in Seattle.”
The job fairy told him his first job out of college would be fascinating, with lots of challenges, great benefits and highly paid. This same mythical creature informed him that needy employers would seek him out making him adverse to filling out any applications. We live in a bold new world where talent seekers find us in the wilderness. They go out into the streets of rural America and when miraculously a new college graduate is sighted (there are very few in Idaho), they shout; “Yo! I got a good one over here.” Unfortunately, these creatures have not stopped by my house yet. Do you think it’s because we look too well off to need work?
Scott spent the first days after finals skiing in McCall, staying at our cabin and using a season ski pass his father bought him. When he came home from his ski vacation, he dropped everything in the front door and went back to McCall skiing. His father and sister, serfs to my commands, transferred his many boxes of junk upstairs so our weekly cleaning crew could get into the house. The cleaners only clean the main floor because my children “maintain” their living area, the entire upstairs. I rarely venture upstairs into the” adult free zone”. I m always amazed at the disaster my children find is acceptable cleanliness. Periodically, I pay extra for my cleaning crew to do the upstairs in the hopes that they will find the wild animals, vermin, and various insects that might be residing in this delectable space before I do. After all there is food, plates, forks, glasses, empty cans, used towels, dirty clothes, old pizza boxes and things I’d rather not identify just lying around. Even my dogs, who are known for the devilish tricks do not venture into the “Scott Zone.”
I should not be surprised possessing a bachelors degree has not changed my son’s life style. After all, fraternity houses are probably not the place to learn the social etiquette of maintaining a high end house. When he arrived home from school after the ski trip, he dumped everything from his many boxes on the landing floor(he noticed his possessions had levitated to the upper regions. He acted surprised, attributing the transfer of his possessions to the house wizard. (You know the one who did the entire pick up when he was about 3) He was looking for his toothbrush and deodorant, neither of which materialized in the pile of belongings the size of a mini Mount Everest. After taking a new toothbrush from our stockpile. He miraculously found his deodorant (Thank you to the arm pit gods!) properly spoofed-up to be in public, he took off to see friends again, leaving his belongings unbound.
On Christmas day, I moved all his stuff into the guest bedroom so his sister could get to her room unencumbered. I was tired of hearing her daily status report.
“Mom, he has dumped more stuff!”
“ The stuff is creeping towards my room.”
“ The mountain collapsed and you can’t walk around anymore.”
“It’s awful having him home!”
“When is he going to find a job!”
The day after Christmas, he left for skiing again. His refunds from taxes and his summer 409B plan are funding his activities. After skiing, he touched down in Boise to gather more friends and spent New Years snow shoeing into a yurt, exact destination unspecified since he is an adult and “on his own”.
This scenario caused me to gnaw on my arm until it is bleeding, like a dog with fleas and I have a acquired a terrible pain in my neck on the right side. Meanwhile, my 70 year-old husband goes out to work every day. Am I wrong in thinking there is something askew in this description of familial bliss as we enter a new year.
The first week of the New Year, he has shaved off his mustache and other facial hair revealing a new face and new attitude. He has talked to friends about living arrangements in Seattle and Boise. He has been working on a rough agenda for our trip to Australia, a graduation gift for him and a check on life’s bucket list for me. We are gone three weeks in January. The creeping clothes have managed to sidle up into his drawers and his TV has been placed on a stand on his desk, stopping the loud sounds permeating my sanctuary below. My daughter has stopped complaining about his return and gone back to lurking in her bedroom, door closed, texting friends, and reading the Harry Potter series from start to finish.
Summary: All is well that ends well.