Friday, August 15, 2008


Two weeks ago, we moved my daughter into her on-campus apartment at UNC-Wilmington, where she'll start classes this coming Wednesday.

Tomorrow, we're moving my son - who's actually three years older than her - into his dorm at UNC-Greensboro. Alex wound up working for a few years before he wised up and realized that he really needed an education.

Elaine and I are feeling a little like Tweety Bird playing "This Little Piddy". You know the cartoon. The evil cat is hanging by his claws over some horrifying precipice, and Tweety Bird starts pulling the claws loose one by one - "This little piddy went to market... This little piddy went home..." and so on until the last claw is loose, and the cat takes a disastrous plunge. Tweety Bird shrugs and says, "Uh-oh... no more piddys!"

So, Miss E and I are looking around the house, and we realized that we're fresh out of piddys. All the kids are off doing stuff we probably don't want to know about, and we're knocking around the house like two ball bearings in an aircraft carrier.

Welcome, I said to my lovely bride the other night, to the empty nest.

It's time to party.

I teach psychology at the largest community college on the Atlantic coast, and one of my lessons involves the Myths of Development - you know, adolescent angst, midlife crisis, and the empty nest syndrome. I haven't been an adolescent for almost forty years, but I do seem to recall that it was pretty cool and fun. My wife says I had my midlife crisis when I turned thirty, and then never looked back. Now it's time for the empty nest.

You know what?

The empty nest is a pretty cool place to live. For the first time in over two decades, Elaine and I get to focus on each other exclusively. We can date again without letting the kids know where we are. We can get to know the middle-fifties people we've become while we weren't looking.

We can make noise. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Research into aging, romance, and marriage indicates that there are two really hot times in the life of the average couple. The first period comes in the first year of the relationship. The second comes around twenty years later - corresponding with their desertion by their spawn.

The really cool thing is that the true, lasting, companionate love graph just keeps climbing steadily from first meeting to last gasp -- if you're lucky.

E and I have been pretty lucky. And we're gettin' ready to party!

Now, where did I put that margarita salt?

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