housemate reflections

we’ve been married 9 years and counting.  we’ve lived alone less than 2 of those years.  i’m not talking kids, but someone other than us+kids has been living with us almost the entire time.  it’s entertaining, it is.  yes, that’s euphimistic as well as true.  there have been some extremely trying situations, several involving bodily functions that i’m not even going to go into.  tmi already, i know.  some partners in living have been great, some so-so, and all challenging in some way. 

i miss my privacy.  intensely.  i don’t have space to myself (cranking the broken record).  i don’t like to share my kitchen, my apartment-sized fridge, my every bowl and coffee mug and pan.  i don’t like other people’s spit in my sink.  strange leftovers in the fridge.  disappearing ice-cream.  bathroom battles, and kids using buckets in desperation.  (and no, not *always* the kids).  sometimes you just don’t have a choice. 

i’ve gotten better at labeling things, so we don’t have too many food issues.  i don’t mind sharing food most of the time either, it makes it feel that much nicer.  but when you suddenly discover that the bottle of silver you were eke-ing out for another couple of weeks is down to half, and it wasn’t you … i get irritated.  i said they were welcome to share.  when money gets tight, i want to yank the welcome mat back into my territory.  when space gets tight, i want to sweep off counters and window ledges of their accumulated THINGS and make a fresh open space somewhere.  even if i do, it lasts for exactly .3 seconds before a mug or an action figure or keys and mail have cluttered it up again.  everything has it’s place, but that place is sometimes behind or under or squeezed in between or up above so many other things that putting it away right now is frankly more trouble than it’s worth.  you can’t live that way. 

so we live in clutter.  I live in clutter.  no one else seems to care or feel it.  I feel claustrophobic at home a lot of the time.  I was raised in a house with minimal stuff and decoration, and i love it that way.  Wood, books, some pottery, fabric, and windows.  Pretty and useful things.  Not much else. 

The pic up there is a combo, a compromise.  I saved the chicken bone from a stockpot, thinking it was beautiful.  It sat on the window ledge for ages.  Van Helsing is one of a gazillion action figures, about 1/16th of which belong to my boys.  The rest belong to the front room, and are happily shared, crowding about the window ledges and tables.  Clifford was found on the roof of our rental in PA when we first moved in, leftover from a previous tenant.  M perched the bone on Van Helsing’s back and put him on top of the toaster.  After one session of burnt rubber, he was moved to the window ledge, competing for attention with bionicles, wedding cake angels, transformers, and I’m not sure what else.  M added the two to Clifford, and once I moved them from the ledge to Fynn’s shelf, I enjoyed it.  A crazy combination, but it works for now.

I have my moments of frustration, many of them.  Muttered a “please don’t tell me BOTH pots have coffee in them!” this morning, before realizing that it was the front room that had used the 2nd pot.  Then I was glad I had, as I’d likely have censored myself had I known.  I need to either confront graciously, or ignore it completely.  No room for pissy sulking in a house this size, least of all from me.

But it really does even out sometimes.  Like at 5:00 today when the doorbell rang, and I found we were the lucky winners of a long-form census thing-a-ma-jig.  She offered to come back, but I wanted it over with, so when D-of-the-front saw Fynn’s antics starting to get to me (I was stacking Cozy Pillows To Order over him on the hallway bench) as he careened between me and the large census-taker-with-the-laptop-perched-on-her-knees-typing-madly, he came and asked him if he wanted to Play Pirates!  Of course he trotted off gladly, and when I finally came back in another 20 minutes later, both boys were having a ball at the table, with a bag of heretofore unseen action figures. 

It’s good for rubbing the edges off, keeping me on my toes, and not letting me be a perfectionist.  Lord knows I’ve try hard enough!  I still can hardly wait, though, to have a house where it’s just us.  At least for awhile.  There will be enough treehouses for the rest, I swear.  I’ll build those first and live in a tent before sharing tight quarters again voluntarily.