Adulting

Earlier this month I hosted my first big rager with my new roommates. Since I still keep  in touch with my old roommates, and wanted things to remain cordial since our split, I extended the invite to them. “Hey Mom and Dad,” I said one night as I stopped by to eat their food “Did you see the email invite about our Saint Patrick’s Day party? Are you coming?” “Ohh, I’m sorry sweetie,” my mom responded sympathetically. “Dad and I can’t make it, we will be in Florida.” Woooooowwwwwwww, I thought to myself. First off, how dare they miss MY party. Second, classic Mike Sr. and Mo Money living their best lives, always off vacationing somewhere. “Sheesh mcgeesh!” I said “Do you guys even live here anymore?! It’s like if you’re not in Michigan you are in Florida!” After I was able to get the knives out of my heart that my parents just threw at me, I informed them that I needed to borrow their coolers and chairs to which my dad immediately began making comments and jokes about how I was going to fill the coolers with lots and lots of alcohol. I didn’t deny this because, I mean of course I was going to do just that, I’m also trying to live my best life just like they are. But it did turn in to a bit of a light-hearted argument between the two of us. I think this fight was a result of separation anxiety and emotions being high with the three of us still trying to cope with our split. But we eventually made up and even though I was still salty that my old roommates were not coming to my first big party, I sent them a very sweet text before they left for their trip:
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Yes, it’s been quite an adjustment for the three of us living apart. The baby boomers have had to get used to a much quieter house-I know they miss their favorite “smart ass” (as they so affectionately called me) terribly. And I have been learning to navigate the obstacles that come with living on my own and being an actual adult. Luckily, I’ve had a little help from the Baby Boomers along the way.

What was my first obstacle I tried to tackle on my own you ask? Assembling furniture- and let me tell you, I don’t EVER want to do that again. Talk about a chore! I ordered some cheap furniture off Amazon thinking it would arrive at my door all set up and ready for my new place. Nope, it arrived as a bunch of pieces of wood. It took me about six hours to put together my nightstand only to realize that I accidentally bought a child’s nightstand that was sized to go with one of those transitional beds kids have when they outgrow their crib but aren’t quite ready for a big bed yet. It was way too small for my new adult bed.

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This was the most traumatizing experience of my life.

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I still have nightmares about this day and this stupid nightstand that was pretty much made for a doll house.

A couple of lessons I learned here. First, look at the dimensions when you order something online. Second, nightstands aren’t really necessary if you have a cardboard box-Flip that box over and you have a perfectly good piece of furniture. And finally, just before you begin to assemble furniture stop, call your Dad, and have him do it instead. I was done being Rosie the Riveter after putting together that tiny nightstand and was not about to begin working on anything else. Thank goodness Mike Sr. was there to finish the task for me.

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This is a perfectly good nightstand, I just can’t spill anything on it or it will disintegrate.

Another thing that I’ve had to get used to living on my own in a new apartment is not really having a close relationship with my landlord. I knew my last landlords pretty well since they also raised me. My current landlord is a complete stranger-couldn’t even tell you what he looked like! A pro to not being related to my current landlord is that he has never asked me to weed the patio or do household chores like my old landlords used to do. But he also has not once gotten me a donut or made me dinner like Mike Sr. and Mo Money would so that’s a con. Seems pretty rude too, what’s a girl gotta do to get a donut every once in a while? I thought they were included with my rent payment?

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I tried to explain to my old landlord that I should be appropriately compensated for my manual labor, suggesting maybe he make an adjustment in that month’s rent but Dad was not going for it.

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I have yet to wake up to a note like this from my new landlord. He only leaves us notes when we are late on our rent. Super rude.

I’ve also noticed that once you are not living with your parents anymore you have a lot more adult things to worry about so that has taken some getting used to as well. Right now one of my biggest concerns is making sure I break in my big mattress evenly and don’t put a dent in it. When I moved out I treated myself and bought a queen bed. I had always had a twin bed at my parents and thought I deserved a big bed in my new apartment. But it turns out it’s almost TOO MUCH bed for me! I feel like a fish going from a fish bowl to a lake with all that extra space-it’s overwhelming. (I almost said ocean but I feel like that analogy would have been more appropriate if I bought a king bed) I like to sleep on the same side so now I’m worried I’ll put a dent in that side. It’s been stressful! How do I avoid this?! Do I flip the mattress?! Do I rotate it?! And how often am I supposed to do this?! Every month?! A few times a year?! These are the things that keep me up at night.

I think the hardest adjustment for me has been getting used to my MUCH longer commute to work. When I lived at home it only took me three minutes to get to work. But now that I’m living in an apartment a whole three miles away from my parents’ house my commute time has DOUBLED! Yes, it now takes me six minutes to get to work! Plus, unfortunately I now have to drive past two grade schools so if I get caught in that school drop-off traffic that’s easily another two to three minutes added on there. That mini van grid lock traffic can be quite the headache. I mean I get parents want to pull over and give their child a kiss goodbye before they head off to school but don’t they know I am running late and in a rush to get to MY job?! Like shoot them a text later or something I have places to be, let’s move it along people. I’ve started to listen to the traffic report on the news in the mornings before I leave to see how bad my commute is going to be that day. If it’s a special guest day or a Christmas pageant or show and tell day or whatever at one of those schools I might as well just work from home because that makes for a NIGHTMARE commute for me.

Even though I am on my own, being an adult and everything, I do try to go back to the old neighborhood and visit the parents from time to time. It’s nice re-visiting the old place but it’s crazy how fast things have changed since I left-and not always for the best. For example, on my last visit home I noticed my parents switched from Heinz ketchup to Hunt’s ketchup. So I guess it’s a good thing I moved out when I did. Honestly, I couldn’t believe they switched to Hunt’s. You would think they’d be saving money now that I moved out. I made a mental note to start to bring my own ketchup when I go there from now on. But, without me there to offer my advice they are free to do as they please and buy whatever ketchup they want I guess.

So yes, it has been an adjustment for all of us getting used to our new living situation. I know the Baby Boomers miss me but they seem to still be living their best lives just like I am. It will take some time but we’ll adjust, we’ll get by!

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Yes, I know I look like a preschooler even though that photo is from my Junior Year in High School. Headbands were in style back then so LAY OFF!

Baby Bird Flies Away

A few months ago, I did something that most people probably thought would never happen: I moved out of my parents house. Yup, after 27 years of sucking the life out of my Mom and Dad, eating their food, racking up their water and electric bill, I ended my lease. Of course I was cordial and informed my landlords of my intent to move a few  months in advance. Upon hearing my shocking announcement I think my parents went through all the stages of grief. “What?!” My Dad said in disbelief. “You can’t move out, you’re like a little infant! Who is going to feed and take care of you if you’re not living here?!” “Umm excuse me!” I said back. “If you recall I did go away to college for four years and I did just fine! I didn’t even lose my cell phone once!” (Still my greatest accomplishment in life) “Who is going to help us with our tech problems if you’re not around?!” was my Mom’s first question (My younger sister Jane still lives at home but when it comes to technology her skill level is that of a Baby Boomer so my mom knew she wouldn’t be any help in that department.) “Don’t you worry Mom!” I said “I’ll just be about a mile away and plan to get one of those pagers that doctors use so I will still be on call to help with tech support 24/7.” I did my best to explain to them why I was moving. “Sorry Mom and Dad, it’s nothing personal, I do love you and love living with you, but it’s like the great REO Speedwagon said, ‘It’s time for me to fly.'”

It’s hard to sum up all the things I’ll miss about living at Ma and Pa Kelly’s Old Maid sanctuary but after giving it some thought I was able to narrow it down to ten things (in no particular order) I’ll miss about living at home. 27 years of life in a house is too much to cram into one blog post, this is definitely going to have to be a two-parter. So counting down here are numbers 10-6:

10. Mo’s “My Spy” Bird House

Mo loves here birds, often reminding her family that she had a parakeet growing up. I don’t know if this was her way of hinting to us that she wanted us to get her a bird, but that was never going to happen-birds are too loud and obnoxious to keep inside. Mo may love birds, but her family does not, so last Christmas we got her the next best thing-The “My Spy” Birdhouse. I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with this bird mansion or has seen this advertised on TV, but it’s basically a birdhouse with suction cups to stick to your window so you can watch the birds in the house. Seemed like an invasion of the birds’ privacy to me, but it came with a “privacy shade” so I went ahead and ordered it off of Amazon. Wow, was this gift a hit with Mo. Please enjoy the photos below that we captured of her opening her amazing gift last Christmas.

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My Dad is paying no attention to my Mom’s excitement, only thinking about recycling all that wrapping paper. Mike Sr. loves recycling.

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Me: “Yes Mom, we crunched some numbers and the five of us were able to scrap together enough money to buy that $10 bird house.”

Lucky for the rest of us, we all got to benefit from this gift because she had my dad hang it right on our large window in the kitchen, so we were able to watch for birds every day at dinner. Sadly, no birds seemed to want to buy (or rent if they were Millennial Birds) Mo’s My Spy Bird House, which became concerning for all of us.

 

Mom: No birds seem to be going in my bird house! Maybe I should have Dad move it to a smaller window in another room. I wonder if having it on this large window the birds can see us moving around in the kitchen and that scares them away.
Me: Whoa, Mom, I mean I know Jane doesn’t look great in the mornings but that’s a little harsh. She’s just not a morning person.
Jane: HEY! You little brat!
Me: Mom, there are no birds in that thing because you didn’t put any food in it. The birds aren’t going to go in unless there is free food.
Mom: Really? You think? Well we aren’t going to be giving these birds any free hand-outs, and you know how Dad hates when I buy bags of bird seed, so maybe I’ll try putting up the privacy shade and see if that helps first.

So, after talking it out we literally did nothing and the empty bird house continues to sit upon the large window in the kitchen. Going to miss seeing that every day!

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Any Bird would be living large in Mo’s “My Spy” Bird house

 

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That little girl is so lucky-there are so many birds in her bird house like what is her secret??!!

9. Helping the Baby Boomers with Technology

Being the Baby Boomers’ 24/7 tech support was a tiring job, I worked on everything from printers, to phones, TVs and computers. I didn’t mind it though because usually it was very entertaining to me and I got a good laugh. I once showed my Mom that she could set her phone on “low power mode” when her battery got low, a feature she did not know existed and I basically blew her mind. A few weeks later she was heading out the door to babysit for her beloved grandchildren and I hear her yell up to me, annoyance in her voice, “KATHLEEN! WHAT WAS THAT THING THAT YOU DID WITH MY PHONE WHERE YOU PUT IT TO LOW POWER?! IS THAT AN EXTRA CHARGE?! I HATE WHEN AT&T CHARGES ME FOR THESE THINGS! I’M DOWN TO 20% BUT I DON’T WANT THIS TO END UP ON MY BILL!”

Another time I was rushing to leave for work, just about to head out the door when my Mom came down the stairs in her pajamas and robe. “Hi Mom,” I said, going to give her a kiss and hug, “Sorry I’m running late for work gotta go, I’ll talk to you later.” “Good morning sweetie-oh yea no problem, have a good day but just a quick question…” she said as she leaned in for my kiss and then grabbed a hold of me. “After you went to bed last night I was watching one of my murder shows and as I was fast forwarding through the commercials I accidentally hit a button on the clicker and the TV went blank! Can you look at it later?” Yea, yea sure,” I said in a rush, “I’ll look at it after work but I’m running late I have to head out.” But at that point Mo had a strong grip on me and I knew I wasn’t getting away. “Sure no problem, later is fine. But here, let me show you what I think I did,” She said as she shoved the remote in my face, still tightly grasping me. So, being the good IT worker that I am, I put down my things and fixed the TV for her and she was very grateful. Nothing makes Mo more happy than spending a morning watching one of her shows about a horrific and brutal murder while sipping her coffee and eating a yogurt. Knowing I put a smile on her face was the only payment I needed. Definitely going to miss that!

8. Tooling around in Mo Money’s Honda Mini Van

Now that I don’t live at home anymore, I no longer have the ability to borrow Mo’s 2012 Grey Honda Mini Van whenever I want. 16 cup holders, fold-down back seat, enough leg room to comfortably seat 7, she is a damn beauty! It will be a tough adjustment not having Mama Mini around with her automatic sliding doors. I have to open the doors for myself in my stupid Toyota Corolla, it’s exhausting!

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I can bring so many drinks with me when I am driving in Mo’s Mini van. Water, coffee, Diet Coke, Gatorade, all my favorites.

7.  The Glow in the Dark Stars on my bedroom ceiling

Those glow in the dark stars almost got me evicted back in the early 2000s when I stuck them to the ceiling without first checking with a CERTAIN landlord. I’m not going to name any names as to which of my two landlords was not very happy about it but his name just happens to rhyme with MAD. My Dad was so mad I thought I was going to be kicked to the curb with no other option but to become a Newsie at the young age of 8, working the streets selling papers just trying to get by. I actually feel bad writing about this now because I know his blood pressure is probably skyrocketing as he sits and reads this blog, thinking about those damn stars, reminding him how I ruined the ceiling drywall putting them up. While my Dad hated them, they provided me something interesting to look at while I’d lay wide awake in my bed for hours and hours trying to fall asleep. We weren’t allowed to have TVs in our rooms growing up, I needed something to entertain me. Never once did I see a shooting star though which is kind of a bummer. Now that I am grown and still an insomniac, and still don’t have a tv in my room, I miss looking up at those glowing stars.

6. Hanging out with Duke

I’ll be the first to admit Duke and I had a bit of a rough patch in his younger days, but that’s only because I felt he was personally targeting me with his puppy antics. Chewing on only MY shoes, tearing down MY pictures from the refrigerator, chewing and ruining MY 8th grade video. Thank goodness he grew out of that stage and we’ve been buddies ever since. He is always a good sport when I make him take snap chats with me too.

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Boy was that a wild weekend. My parents went away for the weekend leaving me and Duke home alone. Duke ate so many Puperoni’s that Saturday night, he couldn’t even get out of bed on Sunday.

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Living with mostly girls his entire life, Duke has the patience of a saint.

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Jane and Duke are super into art. so cultured.

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I let Duke ride in my Toyota Corolla and the first thing he did was complain about the lack of cup holders. So ungrateful.

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Mike Sr. keeps the thermostat set so low Duke has to keep his paws warm somehow.

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After that I never gave Duke coffee again, he went right back to Dog Chow.

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I was trying to be domestic and work in the kitchen but Duke is anti-gender roles so he was trying to stop me.

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Chilling on the patio with Duke-Dog Days of summer am I right??!!

I’m going to miss that furry face greeting me when I walk in the door. Duke was always excited to see me no matter what time of day or night it was-he never made snide comments about what time I would come home from the bars at either, DAD. Thank goodness my apartment is only a few miles away though so I can still visit with my good friend Duke whenever I want.

***Stay tuned for the next five in part 2!**

One is the Loneliest Number

As I sat in her room and watched her pack her things while I played Michelle Branches’ hit song, “Goodbye to You” on my phone for dramatic emphasis, I couldn’t believe it was true. My sister Bridget, a tenant of the Kelly house since 1989, was leaving the nest. I just couldn’t understand it, why would you want to leave an establishment that provides free doughnuts 1-2 times a week?! (Except during Lent of course)

Me and my roommate back in the good old days. Man, we were so Hawaiian Punch wasted in this picture.

Me and my roommate back in the good old days, before she wanted to leave me. Man, we were so Hawaiian Punch wasted in this picture.

Was I a little bitter that one of my roommates was leaving me? Hell yea I was. I thought she was going to be here for the long haul, especially since we made a very big joint purchase last year. It was a big step in our roommate relationship but we took the plunge and purchased a basketball from Target together. Why? I don’t know, maybe because we are 6th grade girls and like to practice our jump shot on the old b-ball hoop in the backyard. Plus basketballs are not cheap. I could never afford one on my own with my peasant’s salary my job pays me. What are we supposed to do now that we are living apart? Share joint custody of the basketball? She will get it every other weekend and holidays?! Does her new place even have a basketball hoop?!

Hard to believe I was a single woman back then. Most eligible bachelorette on the 7th grade girls basketball team.

The early days of my basketball career. Hard to believe I was a single woman back then. Most eligible bachelorette on the 7th grade girls basketball team.

Another reason why I told her she needs to stay is that she will miss all the excitement around the house. Let me tell you, her last weekend home was quite the exciting one. First we saw right from our own kitchen window a hawk trying to eat the birds that gather around my Mom’s bird feeder in the tree next door. It was like watching the National Geographic Channel Live in our own backyard! We were all scared for the birds but I think my Dad was secretly cheering for the hawk. He hates the birds that eat all the bird feeder. He refers to them as fat, lazy “welfare birds” that just keep eating all the bird seed he puts out. A couple of weeks ago he vented his frustration to me:
Dad (looking out the window): Look at those damn fat birds eating all the bird seed that I JUST put out! Sheesh I can’t keep up with them it’s like I put it out and I turn around and there they are knocking at the window like “(said in a deep bird voice) Hey Mike, where’s our dinner?! Where’s the bird seed?”
Kathleen: Wow, that’s pretty amazing that the birds are actually knocking on the window and asking you for more food. Do they use their wings to knock on the glass? Next time they do that would you come get me? I would love to see this for myself.
Dad: All those lazy birds do is eat! Damn welfare birds!
Kathleen: You do know you can just stop putting out bird seed, right?
Dad: We are trying to get rid of the stuff! Mom bought a huge bag and it’s in the garage taking up space and I’m trying to get rid of it!
Kathleen: Oh God, this is reminding me of the big box of Honey Nut Cheerios incident. I hope you know how ridiculous you sound. This is hysterical how much you are getting worked up.
(Yes, sadly that conversation actually took place.)
The evil hawk stalking the welfare birds, looking for a quick lunch.

The evil hawk stalking the welfare birds, looking for a quick lunch.

Luckily the hawk gave up and was never able to capture any of the birds. We think he ordered take-out instead. Then, as if the day wasn’t already exciting enough I nearly had to call the fire department later that day! I was trying to make some popcorn for myself as a healthy afternoon snack (Fit for ’15, still working on getting my Michelle Obama arms) and I burned it pretty bad. My two sisters were in the other room and I didn’t want to alarm them so I calmly said, “Oh, I think I overcooked the popcorn.” Then I opened up the microwave and smoke came out, “yup I burned the popcorn.” then I opened up the bag and even more smoke started billowing out, “looks like I’ll have to make a new batch.” As smoke filled the room I finally yelled, “OK YOU GUYS I BURNED THE POPCORN BADLY AND I’M GETTING SCARED SOMEONE HELP ME!!” at last they came to my aid where we had to throw the bag in the sink and run cold water over it. Smoke was filling the kitchen so we had to open all the windows. “Sheesh!” I said, “what does a girl gotta do to get some help around here, I nearly died!” “Well you played it off like everything was fine and then we saw smoke coming from the kitchen!” my sister said. “I was trying to remain calm! Hasn’t anyone ever told you the most important thing to do in an emergency is to remain calm and not panic?!” I replied. It took a few days for the burnt popcorn smell to leave the house, and our clothes smelled like smoke for a while but the main thing is I was able to make another bag a little while later after the smoke cleared and eat that. And everyone was ok, I guess that’s important too.
Even though I gave her many reasons to stay, she still decided to leave. Yup, sadly, all my roommates have been slowly leaving me these days. Pretty soon it’s just going to be me, the ‘rents and Duke. Talk about a recipe for disaster. I can already tell Duke and I will be butting heads. Duke is 42 in dog years but you wouldn’t know he was an adult because he acts like he’s still a teen. He has an attitude, sleeps ALL day, and has an endless appetite. “Why don’t you go out and get a job you lazy bum?!” I yelled to him one morning before work when he was sprawled out sleeping on his plush dog bed. We don’t always get along, me and him. In fact the other day, one of our arguments got so bad I called him an ass hole to his face! I felt bad later so I gave him a Pup-eroni and he quickly forgave me. I guess we will have to learn to get along because in the near future we will be the only siblings left at home.
Duke-my only loyal roommate left, bro-ing out in the backyard, basking in the sun.

Duke,my only loyal roommate, bro-ing out in the backyard, basking in the sun. Also elevating his legs to promote good blood circulation to the heart. So both smart and loyal.

I don’t hold a grudge against my sister for moving out. In fact, I have come to embrace her living in the city. I even offered to stay over a few nights to help her even out her queen sized mattress, wouldn’t want to get any lumps from sleeping in the same spot every night! That is just the kind of selfless person I am. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, the other 4 kids may be gone, but I am here to stay!