“I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.”
The sign in the Bed and Breakfast’s bathroom wall read:
Our aim is to keep the bathrooms clean.
Gentlemen: Stand closer. It’s shorter than you think.
Ladies: Please stay seated for the entire performance.
So it’s come to this. I’m now getting my best lines off of bathroom walls. And I’m thinking of stealing those lines and putting them up in our own bathroom when we start our own bed and breakfast business.
It’s called the Empty Nest Syndrome. The third and last of our spawn, the scrapings of the pot (she objects when I refer to her in that way) moved out almost three weeks ago. My wife Brenda and I helped her pack up her belongings and we temporarily piled them up by the front door. Our daughter Rachelle has never been known to pack one pair of shoes when four or five would do. She does excuse herself by saying that she hardly owns any dresses. But a couple of months ago one of my errands was to go to the dry cleaners and pick up what she would be wearing to the high school prom. I was in a hurry. “I’ve got a dress to pay for and pick up,” I told the polite young cashier. He looked at me, as if needing more information. I felt a sudden surge of… I don’t really know what. “Not my dress,” I hurriedly added. “But who cares anyway? It is 2017, after all.” Paraphrasing Justin Trudeau was the best I could do.
We still had to pack everything op and we had two choices: our 2004 Mazda 7 or our 2006 Toyota Corolla. Two imperfect choices, much like the decision to use arsenic or hemlock. The Toyota, although ultra-dependable would be packed to the gills, leaving few sightlines. The Mazda… well, it’s had three beginning drivers literally learn through the school of hard knocks on this unfortunate vehicle. My wife never agreed with the concept of paying others for Driver’s Education. “I’m a teacher, aren’t I,” she’d retort whenever I meekly opined that maybe a third party would be a safer choice for this particular life lesson. “And I can drive, can’t I? So it only makes sense…”
Of course. The result is that our Mazda 7 doesn’t look much better than the horseless carriage that the Beverly Hillbillies drove and Brenda doesn’t like to think of herself as Granny Clampett. There’s some rust on the sides, “Not too much,” I always say, and the front bumper is held together by wire. “You can hardly see it.” Just to make sure it’s a matching set there’s also a crack in the rear bumper. And it’s not really a case of looking like the Beast and driving like Beauty. We’ve had to pull over more than a few times. I’m on a first name basis with most of the CAA tow truck drivers in the Ottawa Valley district. I always protest when Brenda starts up again about selling it to the local bodywork shop that has seen so much of our business. Her take is that with only two drivers left for much of the time, who needs two cars?
So the Toyota is it. Squeezing everything in left only enough room for Rachelle and me. Brenda would have to say good-bye in the driveway. That’s fine with me; I don’t need an eight hour round trip of driving instructions anyway. When I came back it would to an empty nest.
A five bedroom nest. Brenda and I have actually run that type of business twice before, in two different locations while we both held full-time teaching jobs. We always enjoyed it, and unlike many, we never minded having strangers in the house. They often do a lot less damage than family members. But ironically, mornings could be more of a problem now than when we were working. I’ve usually got hockey, often late at night and which includes the mandatory obligation of having a post game beer, and Brenda likes the early morning workout classes at the gym. So I was thinking, couldn’t we just leave a note on the kitchen table saying…
Be back sometime. Do you mind making your own breakfast?