Category Archives: Getting Along

Privacy in a house of 10 people

It’s tricky, finding quiet in a small house that usually contains 10 people.

We each have a private space, where we can leave things and know that no one else will move them. When private spaces are close together, we can wear earphones or play music when we don’t want to talk.

Here’s Jeremy and Christiana’s office:

for the 9-5ers (8-6ers?)

And mine and Tony’s (yes, it’s the garage.):

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Scott and Sebastien share a bedroom that has a division of space (and I didn’t ask them if I could take a picture).

And the kids each have their own spaces.

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Corner of the closet in the master bedroom
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Behind the reading chairs in the living room

My kids have their own slightly smaller spaces in our bedroom, but our entire bedroom is also off-limits to the other kids.  My kids (one of them, anyway) have quieter temperaments than the other two and need a place to get away. It seemed like a reasonable trade: you get the big master bedroom and ensuite, but the kids all play in YOUR room (sorry, Christiana and Tony!). We are considering raising the bed in our bedroom so that my eldest can have a place to work on projects quietly alone, but we haven’t made time for that yet.  Everyone needs a place to work.

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a tiny box to sit in beside the bed for now
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a place to keep lego, but not much room to play uninterrupted

The other place I’m often finding a need for mental space is in the kitchen. It’s not the clutter; if we’re not on top of that all the time, it gets crazy, so that’s often fine. There are a number of kids that like nothing better than to help in the kitchen, which is wonderful.. in theory. In practice, after having spent the day with short people, I’d much rather have some space to myself when I’m cooking. We have devised an ingenious plan, for the times that we Do Not Want To Answer Any More Questions: THE APRON. When someone wears the apron, they are Not Available.. for ANYTHING. Perhaps if there was a fire, or an accident with blood, the person wearing the apron may take it off, fold it carefully, and then attend to whatever needs doing, but otherwise kids have to go ask someone else. If more is needed, the person wearing the apron can also wear headphones and listen to music. These are things that one can do, when there are other adults around to pick up the slack.

the magical apron!
the magical apron!

We’re chugging along, contacting co-op developers, and hope to have something together on paper soon so that we can go ahead and Actually Buy Something.  More news soon, I hope!

On Cleaning Day, We Do That.

Saturday is cleaning day, which is a Vast Improvement over the previous state of affairs, where the person that was the most grossed out by a tiny hint of bathroom-mung was the one that cleaned the bathroom.  Instead, we get together for about 2 hours on Saturday morning, play music (today, some kind of early-90s mix including House of Pain, which was strongly reminiscent of Much Music Dance Parties in Junior High), pick one of a number of different jobs, and CLEAN.

It works pretty well.  I think that everyone cleans a bit more thoroughly than they would have otherwise, because we each know that we only have to do it for a specific period of time, and when we’re done the rest of the house will be cleaned, too.   The kids participate, mostly, and we all get that nice feeling of having worked together to accomplish something.

This week, I picked Laundry/Sheets/Etc, which meant that I had to find things to do in between loads of laundry, which is how I found myself washing the cord of the laundry spinner.  A laundry spinner is a miraculous device that removes excess water from the laundry by spinning it at a much higher velocity than a washing machine is able to do.  It does not function better if its cord is washed, and the cleanliness of the room is not significantly enhanced, if the cord is washed.  I am not the kind of person that walks into the room, and notices if any given power cable is a bit dirty.. or even if the room is dirty, really.  But such is the power of Cleaning Day, that even the power cords get washed.  One does more than one would otherwise do, because everyone is pitching in.

It’s a beautiful thing.