Paige Turner


You Can’t Go Home, Can You?

Recently I moved back in with my parents, which is a fate

that is worse than death, and is quite possibly even more serious than that.

It was temporary, thank the good Lord of all that is holy

and just.

Parents and adult kids just shouldn’t live under one roof. At all. Ever.

It was with a due sense of exhaustion and dread that my husband, my five children, and myself, moved into the home of my parents for the last week.

We were, thankfully, not there to stay, but needed a place to lay our heads for a few days while some renovations were done to our 19th

century home.  PS… if you ever get the inclination to buy a Victorian-era home, because you think it would be really neat and quaint and precious… just don’t.  These homes are drafty as all get out, may have lead paint, and are probably haunted.  But that’s another topic for another time.  At any rate, carpenters moved into our house, and we moved out of it.  To Warrenton.

To my childhood home.

My husband and I literally slept in my extraordinarily girly bedroom, which has been preserved in an almost hermetic state. Ruffled, white curtains with purple hearts still frame the windows, and a matching bedspread covers the mattress. It is a place untouched by time. Old dance trophies line shelves, anciently… my old prom photos adorn the walls. There are crowns

and sashes galore. It’s actually kind of creepy.  Like, if I ever turned up missing one day, they would return to this place to see where it all started to go

wrong.   When you are nearly 40 and you move in with your parents, a

number of things become clear.  Namely, how am I going to have a cocktail in this house without aspersion cast upon me, and secondly, most importantly, how did I ever live with these people on a daily basis to begin with?

The problem was really towels. Towels. My mother. And towels.  “I can tell you how many towels we have in this household… 23. And when you leave, I’m going count the number of towels, and it better still be 23.”

Clearly, my mother is a woman of great compassion and congeniality.   World War III nearly began when my mother discovered that my husband was re-using towels… as in, he would take a shower on Tuesday, hang up his towel on the hook, and then use the same towel a second time on Wednesday, before laundering it.

At first she just thought he was behaving in a slovenly manner and not putting his towel in the hamper.  “You can just put the towel in the hamper when you’re done with it, dear. No need to hang it up.”  When he explained that he gets two uses out of his towels, she looked at him as if he was about to strum a banjo in a remake of “Deliverance.”  She blinked several times, rapidly, in what I think was an attempt to keep her head from exploding.  “We don’t do that in this house.  We use our towels one time.”

Then she turned on her heels sharply and left the room, presumably to go scream into a pillow.

Then there was the thing with the condiments.  Part of

our remodeling would include our old refrigerator being replaced by a new one, but it was going to take a few days, so I simply asked if I could use their extra refrigerator to store my condiments.  It is quite possible that I have had the

same bottle of Worcestershire sauce since the Reagan administration, but I’ll be darned if I’m shelling out money for a whole refrigerator full of new condiments.

My mother, as you can imagine, bristled at this idea.  “My extra refrigerator is for beverages.  It’s where I keep bottled water, soda, and juice.

If your condiments are in there, where will I put the juice?”

I somehow managed to convince her that my condiments could co-exist peacefully with her beverages.  This did not stop her from eyeing the box of condiments with great worry and disgust—and also wondering aloud why a person needs so many kinds of mustard.  When the day came that we were able to move back into our

house, my mother kept our ketchup, because she was out of ketchup, as some kind of hospitality tax.


My point in all this, if I have one, is that it is better for adult children not to live with their parents, although I am extremely grateful that they took us in.

Also, guess who only has 22 towels? Ha!

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