Tag Archives: empty nest

The Big Uneasy Gerbil Truce

Scary, huh?

You might think that after the gerbil moves out the game is over. Not so. They are still plenty of opportunities for high-jinx, if you are diligent and know how to find them.

Some time may have elapsed since our last bit of gerbil coverage, but make no mistake. The little fellar is still out there.

To recap:

  • The ignominy of Sherlock Holmes’ greatest defeat, The Adventure of the Raspberry Bar. This remains open in the cold case files.
  • The Gerbil Research Institute for Parental Edification published the Gerbil Nutritional Pyramid.
  • The gerbil still has absolutely no idea how or why the blinds in his old room spontaneously were destroyed. (Broken in half.) And absolutely no explanation why coins were found on the ground outside under the room’s window. After the discovery of new elements on the periodic table this is probably one of the great mysteries of modern science. Personally I think they’ll find the blinds were broken by an element with 255 neutrons which I have dubbed Gerbilenium.

There was a period of time where the gerbil disappeared and we thought that our bout of False Empty Nest Syndrome (FENS) woes were finally over, but it was a false alarm. The case has merely shifted to an intermittent condition.

In non-technical jargon, it settled down into an uneasy truce with the occasional flare up.
Continue reading →

Gerbil Games: The Re-Nesting

Our house had a visitor recently…

Yes, the gerbil stopped by. After months of no contact my wife was able to arrange some time together with our son. We were atwitter with nervous anticipation. Would he actually show?

The day of the meeting we spotted gerbil spore. A tweet from the gerbil! The meeting was on. It looked like it would actually happen.

In typical gerbil style he didn’t come to our house and she couldn’t pick him up at wherever he might currently be living, either, since that place is totally unknown to us. No, he wanted to be picked up at the local Walgreens. Gerbils are quite fond of comings and goings in public settings.

The plan was that my wife would take him into a nearby town for dinner and shopping. She had to get a present for our grandson’s 2nd birthday.

The evening went well and my wife had a good time with our son. She did say, however, that when she first picked him up, she almost got a “contact high” from the stench of marijuana that emanated from his person. Ugh. He’s still classy as ever, I see. We did note, however, some baby steps towards civilization. The nose ring and gauged ear lobe thingies were gone.

After the evening was done, she brought him back to the house to use our computer and, little surprise, I was told he’d be spending the night. On our sofa. Just like the good old days. The gerbil was back in the nest.

In the morning, after my wife went to work, it was just me and the gerbil. He slept in to the last possible moment. He finally woke up when it was getting time for me to go to work. It was a bit awkward between us. He grabbed a quick shower then it was time for us to go.

Since the gerbil is no longer trusted with a key to our house, he had to leave when I left, or he’d have no way to lock up the house.

I asked him if I could drop him off anywhere. He said no and elaborated on some complex gerbil plans.

So it was that I drove off to work and saw the gerbil walking away up the street.

Now, get this. I don’t believe in premonitions or instinct or feelings or what not. But as I approached the stop sign at the outer edge of our subdivision, a little voice was yelping in my mind.

“Go back,” it yelped. “Go back and made sure he didn’t leave that side door to the garage unlocked.” I checked my watch. I just had enough time.

So I did a u-turn and swung back around to the house. I couldn’t help but note that as I did so the gerbil had reversed his course and was walking back towards our house. In fact, he seemed mighty surprised to see me.

He stopped, shuffled around comically for ten seconds, as if deciding what to do, then headed off in a whole new direction as if that’s what he had been planning the whole time. Yeah, right. I just sat there and watched.


The gerbil safely out of sight I ran into the house and headed directly to the side door of the garage.

It was unlocked!

And that’s the way that cookie crumbles. This may be the end of this particular chapter but hang on, folks. I’m sure I’ll have more for ya real soon.

(click here for audio track for these lyrics)

Little hellion, kid’s feelin’ rebellious
Checking to see if he can pass our smell test
Pushing us until we feel helpless
’til someone comes along on a mission and yells BITCH!!!
I’m a visionary, had a vision of scary
Could start a renunciation, pollutin’ his brainwaves
Forcing responsibility upon him as an unpleasant task
If it doesn’t work he be kissin my ass *smak*
And it’s a disaster, such a catastrophe
For you to see seem damn gerbil you ask of me?
Well he’s back, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na
*bzzt* Lock your doors and get your keys
He’s entering in, endin’ up in house like a splinter
The center of attention, back for the winter
It’s interesting, teaching him – my failed questing
Infesting our home he’s back in and nesting
*bzzt* Testing, attention please
Feel the tension, soon as someone mentions he
Here’s my ten cents, my two cents is free
A nuisance, you sent? You sent to me?

Something gerbil this way comes

Since the dawn of time Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS) has afflicted women around the world when the last of their younglings finally struck out on their own. Now recognized as a real condition by organizations like the American Psychology Association, symptoms can include feelings of loneliness, depression and grief.

But did you know there is a variant of this condition that has the potential to be even more heartbreaking and devastating? Sadly, as the first person to discover and classify this condition, I’m here to tell you that for me this wasn’t just another scientific discovery. I’m also personally afflicted.

I have dubbed the condition False Empty Nest Syndrome (FENS). Basically this condition is triggered when an expected period of ENS is interrupted, typically by a youngling who either fails to leave the nest as anticipated or returns to the nest unexpectedly after only a short period of time.

Incidentally, and I apologize in advance if this is too much scientific jargon, the term for a youngling that triggers onset of FENS is “gerbil.”

The common characteristics of the genus Modern American Gerbil are:

  • Typically a suburban male aged 21 or higher.
  • Voracious appetite with a particular fondness for food that belongs to others.
  • Usually a high school drop out who, in the intervening years, has invested little to no effort in working towards even a GED. (And also considers the word “college” to be base, vile and profane.)
  • Maintains an unusually-enhanced ability to mooch off others.
  • Common nutrition sources include beer, cigarettes, energy drinks (like Monster and Red Bull) and illegal drugs.
  • Lives in a space (a room, a corner of floor within a room, or even a sofa or comfy chair) that becomes tainted and has a smell similar to the inside of an overly used sweat-sock.
  • Can often go undetected for weeks leaving only telltale signs like empty containers of peanut butter and showing up unexpectedly at inopportune moments (like when you are naked).

Some gerbil behaviors can be fascinating. One in particular is deserving of extra examination. I call it The Deuce Run. This behavior usually happens when you haven’t seen the gerbil for a few days. The gerbil will show up, grunt some form of one-word greeting, then secrete itself in the nearest lavatory. At the conclusion of the visit, the gerbil will immediately depart, often completely undetected. In fact, in many cases, the only evidence of a gerbil visit during a deuce run will be the olfactory spore that lingers behind.

Please check back often for continuing coverage of FENS and the mysterious gerbil in this multi-part journal as I press on with my research.