2007.09.06 The Empty Nest or why my hair looks funny

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

The youngest child went off to college with the hair dyer and left me with a little red jobbie that is perhaps the first hair dryer our family ever owned. I tried it recently and it blew out blobs of dust and smelled like it was on fire. I figure I could use it to dry paint on craft projects should the occasion arise. I’m not so crafty so I should really just get rid of the thing and buy a new one.

In the meantime, my hair now dries without the aid of warm blasts of air directed at its roots and bangs. I only aim the thing at my head not even half a minute, but that little bit makes a difference between a reasonable hairdo and chaotic locks. So, the immediate effects of the empty nest syndrome can be read on my head and it isn’t pretty.

I have a feeling the empty nest effects are going to keep popping up.

For example: outfit approval. David just cannot be relied on to give helpful advice. While getting ready Tuesday night for a library workshop the next day in Lansing, I tried on a variety of clothes. I walked into our bedroom wearing a tan skirt and a tan and green striped three-quarter length knit shirt.

“How does this look?” I asked.

I’d interrupted his half-hour of reading in bed before he goes to sleep.

“Are you wearing just a slip? That’s not a good idea.”

Maddie would have pointed out that the problem with the outfit was not the lovely swirley linen skirt that she had picked out for me on a recent shopping trip, but the shirt which had “gone wide.” Maddie and Rozee refer to problem shirts this way when they stretch out across the middle and hike up in the back. While looking in the mirror, I had to crane my head around to see what Maddie would have pointed out immediately. David is no substitute for the youngest child’s fashion sense.

And, for more than a week now, the smell of freshly made waffles has not greeted my nostrils. The Waffle Queen is gone. You could count on Maddie making a supply at least twice a week and reheating them daily.

I could console myself by making muffins, but whenever that thought arises I stop myself. David is limiting his consumption in the wheat/sugar department so there’s no appreciative audience for my baking prowess. If I did make muffins it would be blatantly obvious who consumed them all. I could freeze most of them, but what’s the point? Few things rival a blueberry chocolate chip pecan muffin straight from the oven.

So I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate bars this week—the good high quality dark variety currently proclaimed a health food, but full of blobs of fat and sugar nonetheless.

I spent Thursday night in a totally empty nest—David was at the football game in Hudson. I entertained myself writing letters while listening to really loud Putumayo music. Putumayo World Music puts out lots of CDs of music from all over the world.

I’ve never figured out why, but my usually open-minded multi-cultural-loving family just hates it when I play this and other international music. Out of kindness to them I don’t play it very often, but I just love the fast-paced toe-tapping tunes of Baka Beyond, Xtatik, Jamel Allam, Miriam Makeba, Touré Ku and other artists.

I had moved on to a “Greetings from Hawaii” CD when David walked in the house.

“No, no, no, you can’t do this to me,” he protested and immediately turned down the volume.

OK, I’m not a serious fan of Hawaiian music either so I didn’t really mind, especially since I was on the phone (ironically enough talking to Sybil about the empty nest) but that buzzard husband of mine sure was nervy.

It’s enough to make me wonder—is he going to be a tough bird to live with in this empty nest?

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