This year, my husband and I are considering downsizing after living in our home for going on thirty-two years now. Like everyone else these days, we’re not as busy as we used to be because business models have changed (code for things are getting tight and we’re not getting any younger). My husband thinks this will allow us to save a little money, me, not so much. Downsizing registers in my menopausal, hormonally depleted mind, as a game plan to try to finally get the kids out of the house. They like their fancy-schmancy rooms, the free food, the gourmet meals, the clean laundry sitting folded on the stool just outside their doors, the same doors Mama can’t open because they have combination locks on them so I won’t steal any of their shit. OMG! I don’t want anything out of their room! I mean that literally. I don’t want anything of theirs outside of their room where I can see it or have to pick it up. Sheesh! They say it’s for their privacy. I’m like, “hey, you want your privacy, get your own fucking place!”
I guess I can’t blame them. Who wouldn’t like that? I want that too, but the only way I’m going to get it is if I do all the bloody work myself. Yes, my children think that our house is self-cleaning. Insomnia is the culprit for that. Once I’ve reached my goal of maybe three or four hours of sleep (in a row) per night, well, it’s game on. Out come the dust-busters, the spray cleaners, the brooms, and mops! That 4,000 square foot bitch is shit-shined by six in the morning all the time. Does anyone notice? Don’t get me started!
I have a thirty-one-year-old daughter who lives with us on a part-time basis. Her room looks more like a thrift store that’s in the process of sorting through the days clothing donations. Oh, and did I tell you that she left her little dog behind for me to take care of? Porkus Beans! Who the hell names a dog Porkus Beans? He’s so ugly and odd looking, one of the first times I took him for a walk up the street, my neighbor’s five-year-old son looked at him as we were passing by and said, ‘I like your cat! He’s a tiny little asshole. No, not the kid, the dog, although I’ve come to find out the kids a bit of a jerk too! I’ve managed to clear a path for the dog to get around the piles of clothing and dumpster diving treasures she’s acquired and dumped here, just so he can get to his little man cave under the window seat in her room. He’s a pill. If and when I go in there, which I try desperately not to do, I have to wear knee-high boots in order to protect my legs from that little biter, especially when approaching his den of ill-repute. You don’t see or hear him coming either. I was in there once and I didn’t see him hidden in the back of his man-cave. I bent down to pick up and errant shoe and the next thing I know, I’m in pain, and there’s that little asshole attached to my thumb! I’m waving my hand around in the air trying to dislodge him but, for a little guy, he’s got that Pit Bull mentality and will only disengage when he bloody well feels like it. Personally, I think he likes the sight of blood. I’ve recently begun calling him ‘Meaner Beaner!’
My twenty-three, soon to be twenty-four-year-old son, also lives at home. Oh, and did I mention his twenty-three-year-old girlfriend lives with us too and has taken over our guest room, the one I would catch a middle of the night nap in since battling insomnia, so she can make soap and other beauty products that have yet to see the light of day? Oh, and did I mention that my son’s currently accommodation challenged friend (he’s the second one in this past year) has been staying with us for the last month and has turned our den into his man cave? Oh, and did I tell you that the friend has an extremely active dog who is also staying with us? The same dog who has to be separated from the little asshole at all times so they don’t fight each other to the death or goad each other into seeing who can piss on the floor in the living room as many times as possible in the shortest amount of time?
So, yeah! Downsizing to me is code for outsourcing my kids! Don’t get me wrong. I love and adore my kids (I have to say this, it’s in the Mom Code Book, somewhere, and there’s maybe a judge checking on what I post, just kidding, it’s probably three judges by now), but you know, that’s what cell phones and email and instant messenger and Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, etc, is for—keeping in touch with them all while knowing you can dismiss them with the push of a button. ‘Sorry love, got to run!’ I know it’s my fault for making their lives too easy, but I’ve come to the conclusion that this must change. Where all my girlfriends are sitting there in their now child-free homes with their little crying towels, ‘Oh, my son/daughter went off to college, I’m so sad’, or, ‘Oh, my son/daughter had to move out of state for their job’. Fuck you! Shut up! Stop your boohooing and just give me the bloody secret on how to get my children/hoarder/borders, out of the house. That’s all I want to hear from you.
So, we’ve been out there looking. We’ve seen a few houses that were somewhat nice, but the big rub, the thing that is driving me mad because the realtors know our children will likely be trailing along with us, is that everyone who is selling their homes these days, and remodeled them just for that purpose, has lost their ever-loving fucking minds, and have opened up all the walls to the trendy new open floor plans. If my kids are coming with us, and that space is small enough to put them within twenty feet of me all the time, I don’t just want as many walls as possible, I want a fucking moat around all my personal spaces. I want locks on my doors! That classic realtor line, ‘but you can see your children from wherever you are in the house’. Are you fucking nuts? Give me privacy dammit! Give whatever is left of my mind some peace! I’m a writer. I need quiet. I need seclusion! I need isolation! I need to be able to sip my wine without seven pairs of eyes staring me down wondering when I’m going to start dinner. I don’t want to be seen every day! I want a vault house with my own personal vault room! Is that too much to ask?
Oh, and if anyone out there has a few extra estrogen patches I could have, shoot me an email and I’ll send you my address? If you don’t have any to share, I’ll accept any spare wine you’ve got lying around!
Jacqui Brown is an author, life coach, and stand up comedian. She lives in Southern California with her husband, dogs, and her bloody grown children. Anything you say, can and will be used against you in one of her books. The bumper sticker on her car reads: Menopausal-stay back 3 states!