punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Waxing poetic: Leaving the nest

So now that TCEP is over, the next convention I am focusing on is Shmoocon, then Katsucon, then Balticon, which means no real planning for anything (con-related) until February. Yay! Of course, a lot of my weekends are already booked. There's a wedding, Renn Fest, and at least four birthdays (three within a week of one another). Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween, too. On top of that, I was just asked this last weekend to be a "backup Emcee" for an exclusive wedding in October.

Life has pretty much become a blur. Ferris Bueller once had some comments about life, slowing down, and missing parts of it. Of course, he was a fictional character, and even his character was a teen without a family to take care of, only a family to fool. I am more like his sister, upset at what he gets away with, and people asking, "Why do you care?" But apart from that, things are going by so fast, that we're quickly facing the next big point in our lives: CR graduating high school in 2008.

We've already decided, after unsuccessfully trying for more children, that's it's too late to start that again, so when CR is 18, this will be the first time takayla and I are a "couple," and the next stage in our relationship. Well, maybe not. It depends on what happens. At TCEP, I was speaking with Tammy about her daughter, now in her early 20s, and what they went through, but Tammy was a single mom, so it's a little different.

The current plan is this: if he stays home, he has to at least be going to college or else he pays rent. If he can do neither, out he goes. I'm willing to give him "free dorm space," but he's got to have a plan. If he decides to work full time instead, with no plan, and playing video games all the time, his time will be limited. There's no guarantee, either, that we'll be staying in our house when he's past 18. He may have to find alternate living quarters no matter what plan of action he chooses. The only thing is I hate moving, and would be perfectly happy to move my den upstairs into his old room and stay in Fairfax for a while. But with property taxes skyrocketing, this may not be possible unless we become a lot wealthier.

I can't compare when I left home. My mom was dead, and my father was actually away on business when I left. My father made a stipulation that I could stay and not pay rent IF I went to college full time, worked full time, and paid for all my food and other things myself. But I had to work full time along with full time college, and after everything I went through that year, I knew I couldn't cut it. I tried very hard, but George Mason kept screwing up my schedule. I told them ALL morning or ALL evening, and they couldn't manage it. When I got my final schedule, it was all over the day all week, and my current job wouldn't let me do that. Looking back on it, I should have gotten another job, but I was stupidly loyal to them, and I decided I would move out on my own (they repaid this loyalty by laying me off a month later... a harsh new lesson on employers). Still, now I was faced with being thrown out. I couldn't fake going to school; I had no car, and where would I stay all day? Besides, what if he asked for my grades? I knew Bruce and Cheryl were hard up for a roommate, so I asked them, and even bribed them with an extra month's rent. They conferred with Liska, and then they agreed. I moved out the next weekend.

I got about 90% of my stuff; two pickup truckloads. The third trip, I was met with a shock: my dad came home early. He was so disgusted with me about the college thing, he nearly struck me down in the driveway. Bruce and a former roommate of his, Quasi, tried to calm him down, stating this was best for me, yatta yatta... but my father told me he would not let me have a key with these "degenerates" and forcibly tried to remove my house keys from the ball-bead chain around my neck. Quasi thought he was trying to choke me, but I got free when the chain broke, and I told my father I had my NEW house keys on them as well, and gave him my old house keys back.

Oh... I wish I had made copies of my old house keys. One of those, "If I knew then what I know now..." moments. My biggest regret is my writing and photo albums that had pictures of my mother.

Bruce spoke with my father for a while. I don't know what he said, but Bruce tried his best to be diplomatic for years about it, until some 5-6 years later, when Bruce confessed to me my father was one of the worst people he had ever met. Quasi offered to beat the shit out of my father, if I so desired. I am not sure if he was kidding or not, but I declined anyway. This was a nightmare. I left without my remaining stuff, which accounted for half my childhood toys and all my writing. I would only see the inside of my house once in the 13 years he lived there afterwards.

My father only said one thing to me until I got married 2 years later. "Why don't you join the Navy and do something useful with yourself for a change?" This was really funny when I found out a few years ago that my father was never promoted in the Navy because they were afraid people under him would kill him first in any conflict. I had always assumed he was this great Navy man who served our country from 1958-1962, and left because the Navy had nothing left to offer... and then I find out they were trying to get rid of him because they felt the same way about him.

At my wedding, he was only slightly obnoxious. We warned everyone about him beforehand, and the only incident I can recall was him saying what a mistake this was, how stupid I was (as usual), and he told Christine's Uncle Dick he didn't own a boat (unusual for him). I guess he was afraid Uncle Dick would mooch off of him. He never knew Dick was richer than all of us combined. I guess it's best Dick never got to know him; Uncle Dick was too nice a guy to have to put up with that.

My dad and I haven't spoken since he left for San Diego in 1999. Perhaps it's just as well.

Christine leaving home was right after our wedding. There was much sobbing and crying between her and her mom. I guess that's normal. I must confess, I was a little jealous. No one missed me leaving. I had tears in my eyes because I was so conflicted. Of course, her mom took me in as one of her own, so that helped me feel a little better. I miss her.

What did you guys experience when you left home for the first time?
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