When Chip and I started dating, he lived in one half of a duplex with Chris, who he’s known since little league. Around the time we decided to live together, the neighbors in the other half moved out, and Chip snapped it up. Now we live in one side, and Kori, another friend, moved in with Chris in the other. The houses are identical layout, about 550 square feet, two bedrooms, no closets.
It’s on a big corner lot, and the two houses are joined by a big carport, which is also a workshop. It is also the social hub of what ends up really being one big house with five people living in it. Sometimes we’ll eat dinner out there, or hang out for hours. Its cool and shady and comfortable. There’s a rock-climbing wall with random graffiti and stickers on it, and various half-finished projects, and often garden gnomes or action figures in weird places.
It’s an unusual living arrangement, but it’s awesome. There’s almost always someone home, which is particularly great for when I’m desperate for another adult to talk to. Its easy enough to lend or borrow sugar or flour or a beer, or use of a major appliance if one breaks. For example, our dryer is out-of-order at the moment, so I keep hauling baskets of wet laundry across to the other house. Which is essentially going through a time warp, since I stayed there so often before Chip and I moved in together. I walk in and am doing laundry, and the same shows are on the TV or the same music is playing, and I have a moment of total deja vu.
Edward benefits from this arrangement too, because he has two resident uncles who entertain him regularly. He’s always so excited when one of them comes over, or when he’s playing in the garage in his jumper (which he only likes if it’s outside where the Grownups hang out). Having built-in Uncles means extra toys and treats and games on a regular basis, and the older he gets, the more he’s charming those two.
Sometimes Edward will start cracking up for no apparent reason. I’ll look up and it’s almost always one of the boys, waving or dancing or peeking at him.
It will be great when he’s older too, as there are always all sorts of projects. Mostly metal work and bikes, but also water-bottle rockets and furniture and all sorts of other things. It’s impossible to hang out in our garage and not pick up some new skill.
I’m kind of the den mother. I bandage wounds and cut hair and bake cookies, and Jesus, when I describe it it’s kind of nauseating, isn’t it? But I get right in there. I know how to weld and rivet and grind, and have also learned how to upholster furniture and how to punch and how to drink whiskey. I am getting in better shape than I’ve ever been in just keeping up.
Best of all is how nerdy it gets in here. Just in the last two days, we’ve discussed (at length) binary, subnetting, blood diamonds, monopolies and the global economy, gerunds, rubrics, liquefaction, non-Newtonian fluids, the LDS church vs the FLDS church, quicksand, Mister Rogers, viral videos, John Waters filmography and lead exposure.
But, I’m not completely outnumbered. There’s at least one other girl in the Judd Apatow movie I live in.