Empty Nest, Again

Last weekend M flew out of Albany for her spring semester abroad in Santiago Chile. Actually, we had a bit of a scare when she first checked in at the airport. The service rep at the desk said, “I can’t issue your ticket.” She then explained that since it would be for more than 3 months, M needed a visa. M did not need a visa. She had received explicit instructions that specified that she would not need a visa to travel to Chile, and the airline’s own app had confirmed that no visa was necessary, but the computer said something wrong and the service rep wholeheartedly believed her computer. It was quite a shot of adrenaline on a Saturday morning. M handled it herself, calling her study abroad folks and trying to reason with the rep. Luckily another customer service person saw our obvious distress and helped us chang her return ticket just so the first person could issue the tickets. We’ll just have to change it back again later. Even after it was resolved, the first person who had told us no tried to continue to explain to us why she had freaked us out and how we really should have had a visa, and she was completely wrong and we were all very cranky, but no one told her to stop talking, we just smiled, turned away, and headed to security.

So! M is gone until mid-July, when she will spend a short time with us before heading back to Grinnell for soccer pre-season practices. And yes, her leg is working quite well and she can walk on it and she has fantastic mobility, and she’s supposed to be allowed to start running on it soon.

Meanwhile, J is loving Smith College, and she’ll have a spring break soon, but it’s not clear what her plans will be for the break. She is taking organic chemistry and really enjoying it, which makes it feel like she could not possibly be related to me, except that she looks very much like me. She is doing all sorts of interesting things and I have to tell you, Smith seems really quite fantastic. So far it’s 10 out of 10, would highly recommend.

G is with her second host family, although at this point we are actually hoping that she can come back to us later in the spring. But we are not in charge of that.

With a very quiet house these days, I’ve been a bit at loose ends. Actually, last Monday, I was doing rather a lot of parenting for an empty nester. I found a pair of M’s sneakers and dropped them off with a friend who will see her soon, I refilled a prescription for J with plans to include it in a care package, and I was emailing folks about G’s spring plans. But that day was an outlier. Most days, I have extra time. Here’s some of what I’ve done lately:

I rescued more soggy succulents from clearance. Honestly, “rescued” might be a bit of a loose term, because last time I did this, I ended up killing them all. So this will be a rescue attempt, I guess. I am hoping that I have learned something over the past several months that will help me to not kill these babies. Among my changes: succulent-specific soil with added perlite, potting them separately so that I can respond to each one more individually, and more sun. Wish me (them!) luck:

I’ve also identified a cheap Prosecco that Cute W and I like (usually the cheapest ones are too sweet for us), so put that in the win column:

Cute W and I went to see Dune 2 yesterday. I do aspire to go see more movies now that we have leisure time. Even though Cute W’s been making exceptionally delicious popcorn lately that’s better than many movie theaters. Oh! This reminds me, can we have a moment of silence for Spectrum 8 closing? I am sad. And I am also still bitter that Bowtie never provided the artsy/independent/foreign offerings they said they would before they arrived in Schenectady. My kingdom for a close-by artsy movie theater! (hey y’all: I manifested Simone’s, maybe I can manifest this.) After the movie, we went to Mazadar for lunch. Before yesterday, I’d only ever eaten their take-out. But I’ve gotta tell you: I really preferred eating in. The chicken wrap that I’d ordered was a lovely mix of hot chicken and cold veggies and sauce, fries are always best eaten asap, and they offered plenty of extra sauces at the table.

It was really delicious and I highly recommend it (and my wrap in particular!) It’s right on Central Avenue, so it’s an extremely convenient stop when you’re running errands.

Beyond that, I’ve been doing quite a bit of organizing. I have aspirations to get all of our various records and files in order so if Something Bad Happens it will be easy for anyone to take care of things, but that’s more of a long-term project. And I’ve been trying to tidy up the storage area of our basement, which mostly means purging things we don’t need or want anymore as well as dividing the girls’ things into their own boxes so that at some point they’ll move them somewhere else. So I’m just chip-chip-chipping away at all that.

I’ve been sorting those photos I mentioned before. I am really liking these cheerful photo storage boxes for trying to get things nicely labeled and in order. It’s fun to see all the pictures, but it’s also pretty tedious, and I definitely have a tough time keeping track of various years. I ended up starting a chart of what happened each year because I am a nerdy historian girl. Right now it is all very much a work in progress, and it’s daunting, but I like the idea of having it all organized for M and J so that they don’t wend up with a bunch of photos that are starting to curl up and grow mildew. And, as I mentioned before, soon I’ll share some of the photos just for fun.


  1. Claire

    Sorry about your nightmare airport experience. Sometimes I’m glad I can’t afford air travel. I’m sure it will be worth it, though,and she’ll have a blast.

  2. Nana in Savannah

    Those succulents are looking very healthy, just remember not to overwater. That little one that is in my living room I water about every 25 days and it is quite happy. xoxo

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