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Empty nest not as much fun as you'd think


So several important topics were discussed in last week's column — wedding anniversaries, world peace, how Top-the-Tater successfully figures into both — but this week, I'd like to expand on one of the more personal subjects raised: the empty nest.

After years of crafting and caring for another human being, my wife and I finally set that person loose on the world. (Astute readers may realize I am referring to our daughter Kaylee, who hardly ever gets mentioned in this column.) She left for college in August and Sue and I have now officially launched the Empty Nest Adventures!


I thought giving the phenomenon an official name, complete with exclamation point, would make it seem less sad and terrifying, but it really doesn't.

Of course we knew this day was coming.

Of course we knew she'd eventually leave to forge her own path.

But you don't feel the weight of all those "of courses" until the morning she steps out the front door for real and it hits you that she won't be coming back through that same door for awhile. Then you get buried under an avalanche of tangled-up emotions — pride, fear, happiness, heartache — that leave you gasping for air.

Of course.

But, so far, so good. She loves college and with today's technology, it's easy to keep track of her every movement ... uh, I mean, TEXT her occasionally! Meanwhile, Sue and I have been busy reconfiguring a Life of Three back into the Life of Two.

For me, it's easy. My wife is beautiful and independent and handles a socket wrench like nobody's business. Over the last 29 years of marriage those qualities have grown exponentially, making me realize how incredibly lucky I am. On my end, it appears I'm still tricking her into thinking she likes me, so I remain optimistic.

We've been filling our days with activities like hiking, geocaching and refinishing the back deck. OK, not every adventure is memorable, but they do all include moments of fun. We recently checked out the Balloon Festival and were pleasantly surprised to see balloons IN THE AIR! It was a nice change of pace to do something that we wanted to do as a couple and not something we had to do as parents. The only drawback to the evening was when we stopped at the Depot on the way to Bayfront for a free viewing of the Lincoln Funeral Car. That was interesting and cool, but being asked, "Are you here for the train or the reunion?" was not. Why?

The same guy questioned us twice within 30 minutes.

The reunion was for the Duluth Central Class ... of 1966.

That full nest must have really aged us.

Brian Matuszak

Brian Matuszak is the founder of Rubber Chicken Theater and invites you to follow him and his theater company on Twitter at, like them on Facebook at Rubber Chicken Theater and visit their website at