Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Live With My Moms

Adults who live at home can be neatly divided into two groups: the passing through and the set up. Members of each group are very proud of their memberhship; they can’t wait to explain why they’re spending a brief stint living at home (with an eyeroll) or explain just how incredible living at home is, and how they wouldn’t have it any other way (with a grin and a couple thumbs up).

I am firmly in the first camp. This attitude is nurtured by my parents, who I am sure live in constant fear that I will wake up one morning, refreshed in my warm room on a cold night, and cross into the the other category. To this end, I am also sure they stay up late every night, huddled over a whiteboard, plotting ways to ensure this never happens.

Although there is a guestroom, I have been assigned to a room labeled by my father as “the adult child returning home” room, although this is a purpose it has evolved into over the years. It was originally built in a section of the attic as a room for my then ten-year-old brother. There is no door, just a set of stairs that leads directly into a single room with bright colours and walls that connect the ceiling and floor at a forty-five degree angle, as opposed to the standard ninety. It’s the ultimate tree fort, and a child’s dream room.

It’s an adult’s nightmare. The only spot in this room that I can fully stand is in the dead centre, where the two walls converge to create a triangle. Everywhere else, I must crouch. The only place I can put the bed is tucked into one of the angles of the triangle; the effect, combined with the waist-high wall that protects me from rolling out of bed and down the stairs, is truly coffin-esque. The pint-sized dimensions and bright colours make me feel like I have, through some kind of horrible bureaucratic mistake, been committed to a mental ward for children.

As my brother grew, he arrived at similar conclusions, and shifted into the room I vacated when I moved out three years ago. This left my parents with every middle-aged couple’s dream: a spare room. The possibilities were endless! It could be a weight room, a storage room – anything!

Its fate was unexpected, unless you’re familiar with my family’s particular brand of kookiness. It became a fibre studio. My mother is passionate about all things fibre. Knitting, spinning, weaving – she loves them all, and the house is positively brimming with accessories to match this love. So the spare room became the place for all these things. The bookshelf is full of brightly-coloured yarn, all organized very specifically according to brightness, shade, hue, and weight. If I were to take it upon myself to rearrange these, it would likely be the last thing I ever do – such is the level of devotion.

On top of the bookshelf is some strange spider-like contraption that looks like could either be a fibre artifact or a Spanish Inquisition artifact; the jury is still out, but either way it's terrifying.

As for the more dull colours, my (single) bed is surrounded by more yarn, in darker and earthier tones, also organized by colour. I have tried to put a glass of water by my bed before and found that this was not an option available to me; there is not enough of a flat surface to safely do so.

At the foot of my bed, there are two things: one, a pile of secondhand fibre reference books, musty-smelling and full of information that I do not understand. Next to the pile, though, is the coup-de-grace: a spinning wheel. The industrial revolution, it seems, has not yet arrived at my parents’ house, and even though there is enough yarn to keep an army warm and snug, my mother still insists on making – and dying – her own from pure wool. While I admire her commitment to fibre, I am also very confused by it.

But I have to thank them. I never want to be the guy who spends a significant portion of his adulthood as a man-child, living at home like he did when he was eleven. Sure, that lifestyle works for some, but it’s not for me. I am glad my parents not only share this value with me, but they will never let me forget it. You get what you pay for in this world, and my house is no exception: zero rent gets you the creepy room. Them’s the rules.


  1. That reminds me of when I was staying with my grandmother recently when we went to visit after Christmas. I was in the room that used to be my aunt's room, I guess, and it was also one of the spare-storage rooms (though the bed was quite comfy...). But there was this photo of my dad's aunt on the wall, on the opposite wall from the bed, so that you would see it every time you opened your eyes, and it was so creepy. It was like she was watching you sleep. Ugh. She wasn't a very nice aunt, either...Creep-y.

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  4. You certainly have a knack with words. I do so enjoy reading your posts. Interesting subject and I have to say I am kind of in the opposite situation: my mother is happy to have me at home and I would rather live on my own.. but due to other needs am home again.. God I need a life. Ha.

  5. PHOTOS!!?? I wish I knew, I would have had you take a photo of the pretty spinning wheel.

  6. Why is it a bad thing to live with your parents? In many parts of the world, extended family living is the norm because shit is expensive. The only problem I can foresee is having a girlfriend, but the myriad of reasons to live with your parents are all good ones.

    1. Yeah if you're allergic to independence.