bnf finishes living, working, learning, and playing together.
A sad year for the bnf – 2014 starts in Astoria, Oregon with bnf finishing the whole living together thing in what became a party house for the kids while Greg & Jenn hunkered down in their room wondering what those noises are… and knowing what those noises were.
The year 2014 ends with Greg & Jenn moving out & wondering wtf just happened to our lives as we started our empty nesting years, crying a lot while listening to the 180 South movie soundtrack over and over and over then binging the Parenthood series hoping to have an outdoor dinner table with lights in the trees and grandkids someday.
Our mantra since 2001 was Living, Working, Learning, Playing Together. A decision process that fed our lives starting in the late ’90s, implemented fully in 2001. It is much of what defined barenakedfamily – we worked hard to not do stuff that broke this mantra. Is this job Ok for the kids to be with us? Can this schooling include us all? Does this venue allow kids? Does this activity annoy adults? We’re in.
2014 is the year it all broke with drivers and boy/girl friends and sex, alcohol, drugs, and hipster folk music.
We did our best.
LIVING: All of us plus kids friends in a big house; to Greg & Jenn in an 18′ RV Trailer at KOA with the 180 soundtrack and the kids scattering; to Greg & Jenn in a tiny house we called Lewis & Clark watching the Parenthood series and crying. A lot. WORKING: Jenn writing, marketing her first book. Greg & Jenn writing code to Greg working IT at some local hospitals. Started the year earning about 10% more than living expenses, to a month or so of lost income (code work). Ended the year earning about 45% more than we spent with EMR/hospital work. Paying off some debt taken on from kids transitions. LEARNING: Kids in community college. Jenn publishing, marketing. Greg learning medical IT stuff. PLAYING: Oregon coast. Trips to Portland, Seattle. Pacific Coast Range. Washington, Long Beach. Cape Disappointment, literally. TOGETHER: No more. Kids turned 21, 18, & 17 years old this year. They became terrible roommates, so Greg & Jenn moved out.
LISTEN – 180 South Soundtrack.
January 2014 pictures
We started the year in a big house on a hill. The steepest in Astoria. It’s in the Goonies movie in the police chase scene. Great views of the Columbia river. A bunch of rooms, was probably a boarding house. Kids turned it back into one. Jenn’s book, Becoming Barenaked, is selling good. She printed and bound the first run herself! Our neighbor, Hudson, is hanging out with us a lot. She calls Greg ‘Bubby’ and is learning to talk by babbling non-stop. It’s amazing. Ralph came from Austin to visit. James is living with us. Greg & Jenn are going out alone a lot, because adult kids don’t hang with their parents.
Sunny is mad at us for moving her out of Austin. Jenn is getting fired as CEO of the family as the kids grow.
We flip scenery off now because of Suzi Barrett – I Hate California: Lake Tahoe. It snowed in Astoria, which is as rare as snow in Texas. Everything shut down. The views are incredible from the 8th St house. We walk to Street 14 coffee shop a lot. Our friends, Peg & Brian came to see us and Peg took an awesome shot from Devil’s Cauldron – a hike that Greg scooted on his butt, because heights. Kes turned 18 with a pie from Memphis. The Wandrly came to see us. Greg & Jenn went to Seattle to hang out with Jeanne and Jack a lot.
Greg is freaking out on his remote work slowing down while living in a small community. Jenn is struggling to cook for just two. We bought a giant freezer hoping to feed the kids and all their friends, because we wanted to be cool parents, not regular parents. That was just expensive, and more kids showed up, and partied, and ate. They still pretty much ignored us.
Sunny’s 17th birthday (March 6). We met up with Brandon who sold us a coffee shop some in Austin some years back. Greg & Jenn visited the hotel restaurant in Bellevue where Greg turned in his resignation from Dell back in 2001. And we got married on Jenn’s 40th birthday (March 30) for our fourth time.
The kids think we’re idiots, and they’re the smartest and most popular in town – they have become new toys in a tight knit multi-generational community. Greg comes out of the room in the middle of the night in his underwear, pissed. Yelling at the boys to go home NOW! We are not these people. Greg does not get pissed. They have broken us.
Greg & Jenn continued wandering. A LOT of day trips. Greg got a desk job at a hospital sorting out an Electronic Medical Record system. Kes found the coolest ’80s outfit at a thrift store. Her very cool 1974 Honda Civic blew a head gasket, so she cried on papa. And Sunny got a drivers license.
Greg is in his late 40s, feeling too old to start or change a career. Too late on retirement planning. Jenn is wondering wtf she’s done with her life. What now with a non-existent resume as raising family is no CV to start a career this late. Benefits and insurance – WTF is that even like? This new job thing might just be what we need, but Greg is now disappearing for full days, all week. Making friendships with people Jenn does not know. This is not us.
Sunrises and Sunsets. Views for days. Astoria is a great place to live. We sold Kes’ Honda because fixing it without a garage nor parking and half a block up the steepest grade was going to be too hard. Austin helped setup Buoy Beer and started bartending, then helped get Kes a job. We continued to hang out with Hudson, a LOT because she’s one of the coolest kids we know. Her mom does ballet at the local theatre, so we get backstage. Jenn finds every ’80s party. Greg got groped. We bought a Tada RV trailer (rare, short manufacturing run) and hooked it up to our VW.
We generally made more than we spent. We paid off some debts, bought the red trailer, entertained and soothed ourselves with a little too much eating out and travel. Bought stuff and supported the kids financially a little more than we should have; maybe not enough.
This is the month Greg & Jenn called the landlord and arranged moving out, leaving the kids the house to sort out.
Because kids make terrible roommates.
We moved a bunch of stuff into storage. Started living in the KOA. Cried, a lot. Greg worked, friends from Austin visited, Jenn creeped on their baby. The one when a big time celebrity pulled in near us and after buying them a battery, we became Friends and hung with the family for the evening. Halfway through the evening, we were asked ‘you know I’m super-famous, right’. Well played GJ, well played. The kids are still pissed that we didn’t invite them over. Then we Suzi Barrett’ed Seattle and flew to Tulum in Mexico.
The first night we woke at the KOA, Greg woke early as usual, looked out the window and saw a tent in our campsite. Weird. Here’s to Now.
Kes came out of that tent to join us for coffee. Said she came to camp out in the middle of the night because it was too weird without us in the house.
Spent a week in Tulum. Austin signed a lease on the 8th St house with roommates. Mary Mae came from Austin to see us. We went clamming with Mama Jeanne & Papa Jack on the Olympic Peninsula. And Greg chased down Bumfuzzle after passing them on the Megler bridge on his way home from work.
We’re confused. Conflicted. Lost. Not sure where life is taking us, nor where we want to go. We’re abandoned by the kids, while clearly being admired and loved by them and their friends.
Greg & Jenn moved into our ‘Lewis & Clark’ tiny house. Hudson still hung out with us a lot, and pretended to read. We visited the 8th St house and our kids often. Sunny signed a lease on an apartment. And Kes took off to backpack the USA.
Jenn’s marketing her book. Helping transition kids and Greg into leases and back to a career. Writing for publication(s) – Dear American Dream, don’t fuck it up.
The sunsets here in Astoria are incredible. GJ did a golf thing with the hospitals. Our besties, the McBees came to visit. Hudson is still with us a lot. Jenn delivered her book to a tattoo artist in Portland. We tripped around Mt Hood. Kes got naked in Moab and posted pictures online. Greg started helping another hospital get their EMR together.
We’re back in the bars. Playing Meat Bingo with our friends, the Webers. Friends that we made back in the ’90s working at Dell. They kept working, no kids, bought a waterfront property. Meanwhile, we’re still living in trailer parks wandering the country and trying to keep up with the kids.
Jenn’s favorite month, because Halloween. Sunsets remain epic. We’re towing our red trailer around a lot. Dating and hanging with Hudson a lot. Did something at the Astoria tower thing. Visited Halloweentown (the movie) filmed in St Helens, Oregon, a lot. Austin is becoming Buoy and all things craft brew. Jenn dressed Hudson.
Love calls like the wild birds. It’s another day. A Spring wind blew my list of things to do…away.
Sunny & Austin hung around each other and similar friends in Astoria. GJ are trying to hang with the kids as much as we can. We did an 80s cover band thing. Found a Christmas tree in the wild. Austin got a dog, then dropped it off with us a lot. We celebrated Hudson’s third birthday. We started collecting Social Media pictures of our kids – the only ones we could find of Kes. Kes did a commercial for Trimr, a water bottle that can be used doing Acro-Yoga on 600 ft spires in the desert. Greg became some sort of Santa for the local hospital.
We continued to collect Social Media pictures of Kes doing crazy shit. Greg & Jenn continued wandering around a lot. Sunny won adulting. Austin won slacking around. Kes flew home for Christmas and made our favorite picture of Hudson. Austin moved out of the 8th St house.
This is the year that most of our pictures are becoming the ones we download from Social Media. The kids are gone. We’re alone. It’s terribly sad, and wildly appropriate.
We’re proud of them. Proud of us.