This empty nest thing isn't going exactly as planned.
Then again, we had pretty big plans. Actually, let me rephrase that: I had big plans. My husband goes with the flow and may or may not have realized we had big plans.
At any rate: I had dreams for how this first year without kids was going to go down.
Because Jay and I both work from home, I banked on '20/21 being the Koski Super Duper Remote Adventure. It may have even had an accompanying song. "It's the Koooooski … Super! Duper! Remote! Adve…"
I figured we'd spend September acclimating to life around the house sans kids. After that, I had ambitious, some might say delusional, visions: We'd spend a few weeks working from my parents' Arizona home in late fall, before they made their own trek south. Then we'd return to Rochester for the holidays before snagging a rental not too far from the Gulf Coast in January. Back for six weeks of Minnesota skiing and winter excitement. And then a little apartment in Italy for a few weeks in the spring.
I was dreaming big, friends.
So what I'm saying is that this afternoon, as I sit on the couch writing and gazing out at my snow-covered lawn, I'm actually supposed to be on a lanai with the smell of saltwater in the air, worrying about how the humidity is affecting my laptop.
I mean, who knows if the Koski Super Duper Remote Adventure was really going to happen. But at least, pre-COVID, there was the possibility.
I'm holding on to that dream for next year. In the meantime, I'm working with what I got. And that's an entirely different kind of new horizon: Empty bedrooms.
It turns out that there have been two unused rooms in our house since mid-August. It took me a shocking amount of time to figure this out. For the first several months that the kids were gone, I used their bedrooms as places to lean against the wall and sigh.
But then, during one of my sigh sessions earlier this month, I was like: WAIT A MINUTE. I COULD TOTALLY USE THESE ROOMS.
I could use some space. Jay, who's worked from a home office for nearly a decade now, has a lovely private office in our home. I, on the other hand, have been working from the dining room table for the past nine months.
Here's what that means: There are entire days when I log something like 57 steps total. And also, every time Jay comes into the kitchen to get ice between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., I glare at him.
I started with my older son's room. Tossed the items from his desk into his closet (he'll find them eventually), and bam: My very own home office, conveniently outfitted with a large extra workspace — OK, it's his bed — for my many notebooks and chargers (and maybe an occasional nap).
Then I moved on to my younger son's room. Stowed his skis. Pressed his desk chair against the wall. And, bam: My very own yoga studio … once I rolled out the yoga mat, added an oil diffuser, and queued up Yoga With Adriene on my old laptop.
It doesn't sound like much, but it feels like a whole new world over here. A whole new glorious world where I actually walk stairs and my husband can get a glass of water without his wife hissing, "I'm in a Zoom meeting!"
It's no beach, but it's getting me through. Until the kids come home for spring break, anyway.
Jennifer Koski is associate editor at Rochester Magazine. Her column appears Tuesdays. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.