So, due to a series of completely unplanned events, I find myself empty-nesting with a vengeance.

My daughter found an apartment within her budget and moved out on the first of the month. I knew she was looking to move – in fact, I was helping her to apartment hunt, but we both thought it would take months to find something that met her requirements and also fit her budget. We were surprised, pleasantly so, to find something almost immediately. But it did mean she moved out months before I was ready to see her go.

Then, 2 weeks later, my husband’s job required him to go to Newfoundland until Christmas, or maybe longer. Since we live in Quebec, he won’t be coming home weekends!

All of a sudden I find myself at home, alone.

Yes, the dogs are here with me, and I love them dearly, but as conversationalists, they are sadly lacking. Working at home as I do, days go by without me speaking face to face with another person. I do have phone conversations with friends, but since they all work at “real” jobs, I don’t get the human interaction that I am used to on a daily basis.

And while I do really like having the house to myself, there’s a lot of work involved that I used to share with my family. Cutting the grass, pruning trees, maintaining the pool, walking the dogs, cleaning the house (yes, there are fewer dishes and less laundry, but still it all needs to be done and I’m “it”!). The gardens are getting short shrift – weeds are getting bigger and bigger, and If I don’t watch out I’m going to need a guide and a machete to get to the back of the yard!

And there’s also the flotsam left behind after Emily’s move. “I’ll come back for it a little at a time, Mom, since you live so close I can bring the smaller stuff in gradually.”  Yes, dear.  Sigh.

But I find that while I miss the routine of having people in the house, it is remarkably freeing to truly be in charge of, well, me! I work at home, and now that I don’t have anyone else’s schedule to mold my time around, weekends and weekdays have stopped being so defined, and I have fallen into a rhythm of my own.

This new rhythm is very much more dependent on the weather than before. These sunny fall days are a real treat – I’ve been going to the stables as often as I can. Chips is 25, and while he acts like a much younger horse, I am becoming increasingly aware that our time together is not infinite. I want to make the most of this time while I don’t have to dress up like the Michelin Man to go to the barn the way I do in the winter.

And I’m getting stuff done in the garden – one good thing about having neglected it for the last half of the summer is that now when I pull two or three big weeds, I’ve cleared a good-sized space!

Nana’s Tree sure did itself proud this year, and since I’ve decided not to bother with preserves, I’ve been giving away pears like mad! This has led to my re-invigorating some friendships that had more or less lapsed due to lack of time and attention. That’s something that I have promised myself that I won’t let happen again – these friends are valuable to me and I have to make the effort to be there for them, just as they are there for me.

There’s going to be more to this adventure of living alone for the first time in 33 years – for one thing, organizing the house in a way that is easy to maintain and enjoy.

Reclaiming the basement into useful living space – well, that’s such a big project that it’s going to be the topic of a later post.