The first, immediate response to this week’s question is ‘which time?’ I think, over the course of 43 years or so, I moved out of my parents’ house a total of six or seven times. Some much more successfully than others.
The first time I moved out shouldn’t even count since I was only gone for about 18 hours in total, but if I don’t mention it, the folks will certainly give me a ton of grief. Therefore, I want to briefly discuss it, and then put it to bed forever. It went something like this:
I had a friend back then named Craig. Craig was an interesting sort, very artistic, and completely whacked as a human being (not that the two are necessarily related). He was short, maybe 5’6” (152cm) balding and with a full beard. I don’t even remember how we met, but I do remember spending time with him back in ’84 and ’85, when this story takes place. He taught me a little bit about a lot of things, from glass sculpture to leather work to special effects make-up (he had claimed to work in the film industry). He’s the kind of guy who should have been living in a camper van and following the renaissance festival circuit. Instead, he was living in a run-down house out in North Las Vegas, married to a dwarf and father to two kids (whose names I don’t remember)*.
Anyway, I had wanted to move out (as you do when you’re 17/18) and Craig wanted a place, evidently to get away from his life, so he suggested we get a two-bedroom somewhere. That somewhere turned out to be in North Las Vegas, in a not-so-great part of town. On the day we were supposed to move in, the stove was disconnected, and the refrigerator was in the middle of the living room. I knew this was a bad idea, but I’d already committed so I explained to my folks I was moving, packed up all my stuff and away I went.
An hour later, I was calling them asking if I could come back home.
I’m not even sure if I spent the night there, although I might have since the family joke from that point forward was “next time you want to spend the night out, you don’t have to take all your stuff with you!”
From there, I moved out for a few months when I went to the University of Utah for a semester. Aside from meeting my friend Lorin and having some incredibly creative times in the middle of the night, creating comics at the Village Inn, it wasn’t a very positive experience. Coming back from Salt Lake City, I stayed with the folks for a while but at some point, AAron and I got a place at The Pointes, an apartment complex on Decatur. I think I stayed there for about a year. It seems like The Pointes was kind of like the starter apartment complex for a number of people and we had some good times there. Like the time we made dinner for my folks and his mom (and one other person, maybe my Grandfather’s wife Shirley?). Everything was fine except we had bought about a pound of meat for 6 people.
Thankfully, there was a lot of salad.
As for us, we existed on leftover Pizza Hut pizzas (AAron’s job) and popcorn and fruit punch mix from the Red Rock 11 Theatre (my job). Being in your late teens and living on your own is a magical time. We also used to shop two aisles at a time, with AAron throwing stuff we needed over the top into the cart I was pushing.
To be perfectly honest though, at this point, I don’t really know if those three times of moving out happened in that order or not. I can say for sure that they all happened between 1985 and 1987, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to nail it all down. **
The first big move, though, happened in November of 1987. That one changed everything. That was when I moved to LA. And the folks, they wanted to make sure I wasn’t coming back anytime soon, so they followed me down the highway for a ways, then turned off, went to a hardware store, and picked up the supplies to knock out the wall between my old room and theirs, creating a huge master bedroom. Fair play. Lord knows they’d given me plenty of chances to get my shit together and they were hoping this one would stick.
It did, for a while.
When I came back to Vegas in 2003, I stayed with my sister for a bit and then it was back to the folks’ place. The idea was that I was not going to be in town much longer. I planned to graduate with my BA and then go off to a grad program somewhere, so staying with them for a little while wouldn’t be bad. As it was, I ended up moving out of their place and moving in with a girlfriend and then staying in Vegas to finish my MFA.
Naturally, when the girl and I parted, I was back at their place while I searched for a place of my own. I finally found one and would probably still be there had I not accepted a job to teach English in a Hungarian farming village. Of course, never one to let a good thing go, I gave up my apartment and went back to my folks’ place one last time. This one was a little better, only for a couple of weeks until my plane left for Europe.
I’ve been here ever since.
So yeah, looks like I’ve moved out of my parents’ house a grand total of six times. And now that I’ve got you caught you up, maybe I can answer the original question?
So, what was I surprised to learn when I moved out of my parents’ house? That it was always there when I needed it to be.
*According to his obituary, there were more kids, and his wife’s name was Suzie, and while that all sounds correct, I didn’t recall any of this information when writing.
** AAron has since informed me our stay at The Pointes was summer of 86.