Sunday, 19 October 2014

Small Son Update

Small son with niece

Small son is actually now 25 and still living with us - me doing his washing and ironing, him not paying any board and lodge.  How times have changed.  When I was 18, we couldn't wait to get away from home, guys joined the army, fought and died for their country and generally grew up sooner.  How is it that so many are still living at home?  I gather it is a world-wide phenomenom.  It seems to be related to the lack of jobs in an increasingly mechanised/computerised world.  A bit step forward for us in the area of "growing up" is that small son is about to say goodbye to his 1996 Honda Ballade (which is technically speaking still mine) and hello to the real world of Higher Purchase. Luckily for him, he has had access to a real bargain via my husband's work in the form of a Mitsubishi Colt HIghline diesel-powered PIck-up truck. The car of mine he had is basically now wrecked - he has had to pay to get the gearbox and clutch fixed but the driver's window won't wind down, the glove compartment falls open every time you go over a bump, the air conditioning no longer works etc. etc.  I know all this because I have had to take it to the shop to get the windscreen replaced:  this is not a simple matter because apparently there is a large amount of rust in the bottom corner which first has to be fixed. Still, he has an eager and willing buyer in the form of a Zimbabwean with whom he works. Apparently, his only requirement is that the engine be reliable which it is. I shall be glad to be free of this on-going headache.  Cars are very expensive here and small son will be paying a large amount of his salary to pay for this.  Perhaps for this reason: he will look after it better.  Also to factor into the equation is that as of 15th December small son has to find other lodgings as we will be decamping finally to our retirement house.  He can't afford the rent for either of our apartments so he will have to make another plan. We wait and see. 


  1. Welcome to the real world, baby boy!
    My son is currently living with me. I had asked him to stay last winter while I was in Florida and as it happened, he will now stay through this winter. However, hajving been on his own for many years, he knows how to appreciate a good deal when he has one. He makes a great house mate right now.

    1. I picked up on "having been on his own for many years". Enjoy him while you can then.

  2. First let me say that joining the army, fighting, and dying for your country is overrated. I am all for defending one's country, and I am also for a government not putting its sons and daughters in harms way over some ill planned political stupidity which is all to often the case. Anyhow, there is something about dying for one's country that seems to cancel out any advantage of growing up sooner.

    I ponder and worry about the current situation for young men these days. Women don't need us anymore! Personally, after my discharge from the military in 1974, I could not find a job and I was living at home and taking up the fine art of drinking too much. I was lucky, my wife saved me from a life heading for the gutter, and then I found a well paid job in manufacturing that allowed me to support a family. Without those two factors my life would have been pure crap in a gutter. In short I was saved by a woman.

    I honestly believe that society needs to figure out how to make marriage work and provide meaningful jobs. Not everyone is cut out to be professional and society is turning its back on the working class. I always hear that anyone can find a job, perhaps, but when you need three of those jobs to make ends meet, there is not a hell of lot incentive to leave mom and dad's basement.

    Back when I was still working, I stopped in the grocery store for a few items on the way to work. I was pissed off because I had to go in on a Saturday. A rather haggard older woman checked me out. Ten hours later I stopped in a fast food drive through, more pissed off that I had been detained at work because of some difficulties with our test, and there was the same woman at the drive through window who had checked me out in the morning. It occurred to me I probably made more in the past 10 hours of resentment, than she will make in a week with two jobs. For a fleeting moment, I was deeply ashamed. Here I am probably 10 years later, retired and while certainly not wealthy, very comfortable, and that same woman is still at the fast food place. The grocery store was torn down.

    Marriage is becoming more and more a province of the well to do, and I think at our peril. I don't know what the answer is but our tendency in the US to funnel all the wealth to the very few is not it.

    “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have too little.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Second Inaugural Speech

    It doesn't have to be a handout. Good meaningful jobs that pay a sustainable wage is the key to an independent and happy population. I have read that the average family income in the US that provides the most happiness is $75,000. In general terms anything less is a struggle, and anything more is pursuing wealth for the sake of wealth. Money does not buy happiness, but it is a fundamental tool for having those things that do make us happy...meaning, sustenance, shelter, and love.

    I worry about today's young men, and tomorrow's general population...I think there are going to be a lot of lonely people both male and female in the next 10 to 20 years.

    1. I have tried to interest small son in plumbing/being an electrician etc. as there seems to be a great demand for them. In this country, every second person wants to be a doctor or a lawyer or chartered accountant. So we have far too many of them now.

    2. I read a while back that the US had a glut of law schools (because there was good cash in it for the universities) created in recent years thus creating a glut of lawyers. As the Japanese said years ago, America needs more engineers and less lawyers.

    3. In reference to what I had said above about funneling wealth to the very few, I found this quote in a book I bought this evening:

      "By 2013 the richest 1 percent in America was hauling in nearly a quarter of the nation’s entire annual income and owned 40 percent of its wealth. The bottom 80 percent of Americans, 250 million people, were struggling to hold on to just 7 percent of the nation’s wealth. No wonder people were demoralized."

      Herbert, Bob (2014-10-07). Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America (Kindle Locations 62-65). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

      So essentially, if the top 1% of the population has 40% of the wealth in the US and the bottom 80% has 7 percent, that means that the top 20% own 93 percent of the wealth in the US. Seems a little lopsided, does it not? I rather imagine that 53% is probably weighted pretty heavily toward the top.

      Here are some graphics that demonstrate this principle.

      In the one above there are 5 slices of pie, each representing 20% of the US population. You only see 4 slices? Well the fifth is there, the bottom 20% but it is only a line in wealth. The numbers are a little different but the principal holds.

      Ahhh this one gives a break down of the top 1%, next 4%, the next 15% and the bottom 80%. So the top 5% has 72% of the wealth.

      And here we have the continental US land mass divided up in terms of the wealth of the people.

      As you can see, there are probably a lot of adult children living with their parents in the US.

    4. While it is true about the wealth divide, don't worry - we will always need you guys as long as we are allowed to keep our genetic differences and allow girls to be girls and boys to be boys. My smallest grandson had his 2nd birthday party last weekend. It was great to see the little boys naturally gravitating towards the boy toys in his bedroom while the girls played Barbies in his sister's. They do sometimes play with each other's toys but 90% of the time they stick to their own gender stuff. Of course, en masse, there will be the few that are clearly destined to be otherwise. Re career-women - it is really really hard for them to juggle family/work. Nature always intended women to stay at home and raise the family. A lot actually wish they could do this. After all, because of the Internet a housewife doesn't need to vegetate at home. We no longer have to prove our brains are as good as the men. I don't know what the statistics say. I would guess you can find numbers to support whatever viewpoint you want. So many studies have too many variables and are way from being scientific.

    5. I just climbed into my foxhole awaiting the shelling to begin. Fiftyodd, you are not afraid to speak your mind.

    6. Heck - I just follow your excellent example.

  3. This post definitely resonates! My children both left home, then returned. My son has been with me the past 5 1/2 years, my daughter was back for almost 4. She has now since moved....after I insisted. She'll be 33 in December and recently told it was the best thing I could have done for her.
    My son will be 27 and he keeps saying he's leaving next year. I plan to retire in 4 1/2 years so I may be sending him on his way then.
    Part of the difficulty is the cost of housing. It is near impossible to live on one's own and neither of my children want roommates (except apparently mom). I do collect a nominal amount of rent since I had to buy a bigger house, and they both did their own washing, made most of their own meals, and helped out to various degrees with household chores. (Though the majority still fell to me).
    I miss the empty nest, but I also appreciate when there is someone here when I am away for work or on a holiday.
    Good luck with the transition!

    1. Sounds like your two pull their weight and have some qualifications behind them. My son is now learning Project Management 'on the job', working for his brother-in-law. He loves it so far: when he was a teenager he always managed to get his friends organised into doing his chores for him, making coffee at our house etc. etc.

  4. You've sparked an interesting conversation! I had my kids late: I'm pushing 57. My girls are almost 19, 16, and 14 - so I've yet to know if they will be successful in finding jobs after college and moving out as soon as possible. :) I had an apartment at age 21; mostly due to my job as a computer programmer.
    I continue to plant seed into the kids, telling them that they can't expect to live in a large apartment and drive an expensive car immediately; that they have to work up to it and have roommates... unless they are lucky enough to earn good money right away. I hope so. I tell them this because today's kids are spoiled. We give them everything. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you all know.
    Sextant: As for women not needing men - not true. We need them more in non-traditional ways nowadays. I think if we talk more and ask each other exactly what we want and need, it might help. Maybe I'll ask my husband today. :)
    Good Luck with Small Son.

    1. Jolly interesting - my best friend has three girls - similar in age to my 3 children. Don't you find that girls are conscientious at school? Mine was, whereas my boys did the minimum required to pass as it wasn't 'cool' to do too well. Correction: boys only exert themselves for subjects they are really interested in and leave the rest whereas girls try hard at everything. Horrible generalisation, I know. Do others have different experience? NB Big son has done very well in computing - he was 12 when the first Commodore 64 s came out and he taught himself at that time.