Living At Home Survival Kit

Moving back home has been great. Besides the obvious financial help post-layoff, there’s an endless supply of toilet paper, the laundry facilities are stellar, and I even have access to a paper shredder on the off chance I need to shred anything. But eventually cheap rent loses its luster (this became especially true once the steady income was re-established). Now, I’m quickly approaching the point where I need to move out if I want maintain my sanity and not cause somebody bodily harm. Explaining the urge to move out is the one time in life when I can say “it’s not you (or them), it’s me” and really mean it. While I look for the ideal Place of My Own and build up a little cash stash, I’ve devised a survival kit of sorts. Everything I need to maintain state-of-the-art coping skills:

1. A Compound: For some, this consists of just a room, but in my case, it’s a former master bedroom (pre-addition) and a bathroom with a detached (re: in another part of the house) storage facility for the contents of my old apartment and on-street parking. As a bonus, there’s not Pet Rent, and I get front row seats for the Bionic Kitty vs. Dad Harassment Spectacle.

2. Tylenol: Since I couldn’t get a Valium prescription, extra-strength Tylenol will have to do. Trial and error has taught me to take 16 to help speed recovery after venturing out of the Compound for a glass of water, only to encounter Mom and be ambushed into having a conversation about my job search/love life/cat/exercise habits/shoes/laundry pile/or any other topic.

3. A TV, preferably hooked up in the Compound: Since I have one, I rarely have to leave my safety zone. The TV doesn’t have cable, but I can still keep myself entertained with a good pair of bunny ears (yes, they still make those) and a willingness to ignore the sickly yellow overtones.

4. Periodic Absence of Parents: Occasionally, both of my parents are gone at the same time. Moments like these must be cherished, and used for catching up on the Road Rules/Real World Marathon. This is also the ideal time to do laundry as there is nobody to note my excessive love of dryer sheets.

5. Restaurants and Bag Salad: When was the last time I cooked in front of my mother? Day 46, and counting…

6. A Library: It’s free to sit, it’s free to read, it’s free to people watch, it’s free to use the bathroom, it’s free to park, it’s so free that the homeless even hang out there. I am sure that in Swahili the word library is a synonym for freedom.

7. A Mantra: Repeat after me (at various volumes, with a varying sense of urgency, depending on the situation), “I will move out, I Will Move Out, I WILL Move Out, I FREAKING WILL MOVE OUT, HOLY FLIPPING POPEMAN, LET ME NOT KILL (Insert Appropriate Parent Here) BEFORE I MOVE OUT.”

8. Earplugs: Because Dad’s wood working jig band cutting contraption is loud. Really, really, really loud. And he uses it at 8 a.m. on Saturdays. And he doesn’t go out drinking on Fridays.

9. A Friend’s House: Since I don’t look good in orange, stripes, or jumpsuits, I retreat when all else fails.

10. Craigslist: So I can manically scope out the new rentals everyday, and eventually, make a break for it.

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