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Posts Tagged ‘roommates’

(During last night’s class at Grub Street, I wrote about roommates during three different exercises. Which made me think about all the folks I’ve shared kitchens, bathrooms and general living spaces with over the years.)

1. Mom, Dad and Betsy, till I was 18. Lots of family dinners around the table, summertime road trips, Dad urging us to hurry before church on Sunday mornings, Betsy hollering for me to help her choose an outfit or type her English papers or bring her a washcloth in the shower.

2. Lindsey, during our first semester of college. Late-night laughter, pizza boxes, and so many bowls of ramen (left out to, ahem, ripen) that by Christmas I couldn’t stand it any more.

3. Akane, a quiet Japanese girl, during the spring of my freshman year. We didn’t talk much, but she never complained when I forgot to turn off my alarm clock in the mornings.

4. Jaime, in the fall before I went to Oxford. Red hair dye in the bathtub (freaking me out – I thought it was blood at first), and a few bonding moments over Friends and Saved By the Bell.

5. Joy, who shared my room, and 10 other girls, who shared our kitchen, in Oxford, spring 2004. So much cooking, traveling, laughing, crying, drinking of tea, sharing secrets and hopes and textbooks and recipes.

6. Joy and Bethany, junior year, in a little red-brick house on 16th St. in Abilene. (With Samantha, Joy’s beloved, snaggle-toothed dog.)

7. Kristin, Laura and Karen, in half of a Honolulu duplex, July 2005. We bought grapes for $10 a pound at Wal-Mart and tried to catch a gecko in Karen’s room and invited Scott over for breakfast on his birthday, and listened to Cole play haunting folk songs on his guitar.

8. Bethany, for our senior year in that same little house – repeated viewings of The Emperor’s New Groove, an impromptu party with no living-room furniture, playing Frank Sinatra before parties, and long evenings spent reading in the living room. (We were both English majors.)

9. Leigh Anne and Bethany (with brief appearances by several other girls), in my sister’s house the summer after college. Repeated viewings of Pirates of the Caribbean and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; lavender bridesmaid dresses and broken air conditioners; lots of freaking out about the future from Bethany and me; and Leigh Anne’s despair over having to read Beowulf.

10. Moose, Bryce, Nick, Nathan and Jordan, in the “dungeon” of 9 Canterbury Road, during my first semester of grad school. Oh, how I loved being the girl in that crowd of boys – and oh, how they loved everything I baked for them.

11. Casey, Jaclyn, Eryn, Jessica, Katie and Mary Kate, also in the dungeon, the following semester. A totally different dynamic, but an equally fun one.

12. Lizzie, Jo and Grace, in a wee chocolate-box house in East Oxford, during my year abroad. We watched chick flicks and did puzzles in the dining room, moaned about schoolwork and laughed at the Muppets, helped each other dress for dances and costume parties, and curled up late at night with cups of cocoa, to set the world to rights.

13. Jeremiah. For nearly three years now (our anniversary is next month), first in Abilene and now in Boston. Those five boys (above) prepared me well to live with this one. And I must say, he is an excellent roommate.

Who’s on your list?

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She’s here!

My beloved college roommate, Bethany, arrived in Abilene last night, with a carload of stuff, a snazzy new haircut, and a small cat. She starts her new job at the ACU Honors Program on Monday, and she’s staying with us for a few days while she finds a place to live.

When Bethany and I lived together for two years, in a little brick cottage on 16th Street, Jeremiah was the so-called “third roommate,” and the three of us spent countless nights laughing and eating banana bread and watching The Emperor’s New Groove. The dynamics are a little different now; Bethany and Jeremiah have, so to speak, changed places in the dance. Now he’s the one who lives with me; the stuff inside our walls is his and mine, not hers and mine. She’s sleeping in the guest room; she will soon have a little nest of her own.

But the camaraderie, affection and complete silliness when it’s the three of us – whether we’re eating pasta, playing Phase 10, or just laughing at nothing – is as much fun as it ever was.

I’m so glad she’s back.

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After seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (or, as Jeremiah puts it, “the prequel to Pirates 3“), my roommates decided that they were “jewelry pirates” and proceeded to ransack every closet and jewelry box in the house for wearable earrings, necklaces and other baubles. We’ve been borrowing each other’s stuff like crazy since then. I “pirated” Leigh Anne’s turquoise bead necklace this morning. Which led me to thinking about other things I like to steal. Here’s the list so far:

-Kisses
-Hugs
-Bites of ice cream or any other delicious food
-Jewelry & clothes from friends (though I usually ask…is that really stealing, then?)
-Peeks in magazines as I wait in the checkout line
-Smart, funny lines from movies, or from my friends
-Catnaps (only when I’m exhausted)
-Samples of fun stuff (food, magazines, bath products)
-Time with myself

What do YOU like to steal? Fess up…I know there’s an inner thief in all of you. 🙂

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I’m moving. Tomorrow. Out of the little house I’ve called home for almost two years. We’ve been cleaning, sorting, boxing stuff up and moving it to various locations for a week, but it’s finally starting to hit me. It’s ending. And that makes me very sad.

Bethany found the house while Joy and I were in Oxford. She fell in love with the deep red living room and the big picture windows and the hardwood floors and the quaintness of it all. She all but begged us to agree to rent the house. And she did all the annoying deposit work and paperwork while we were gone.

We moved in the middle of August ’04. Couches and tables and bookshelves and pictures and a cheerful checked curtain for the kitchen window. A bathroom shelf that took forever to put up, and a little candelabra for our walled-in fireplace. The love spoon from Wales in the hallway, which Jeremiah continually knocked down…Bethany loved to make fun of him for it! On my first night in town, Jeremiah (bless him) was trying to hook up our TV (with surge protectors and converters) and blew a fuse – putting out the electricity in half of the house for the next 24 hours. Jason, the landlord, had to come show us where the fuse box was the next day. That’s still one of my favorite Cottage stories.

We have lived and laughed and loved in this house. Movie nights with viewings of Pirates of the Caribbean and You’ve Got Mail, Finding Neverland and The Emperor’s New Groove over and over. Lingerie showers for Charity and Kayla; birthday parties with cake and cobbler and friends. Cocktail-less cocktail parties, with chocolate fondue and cheese cubes and fruit, sparkling cider and queso and little black dresses and reading poetry aloud. We even had one last summer with no living room furniture…no one noticed we didn’t have couches until halfway through!

The cobalt-blue kitchen isn’t large, but it’s the heart of the house in lots of ways. Chocolate chip cookies, banana bread (no nuts), various chicken dishes and tons of fast-food takeout (we are college girls)…orange juice (Jeremiah’s favorite) and hot tea and hot cocoa and always a supply of chocolate stashed somewhere. So many deep and silly conversations…hugs…flicking water onto Jeremiah from the faucet while washing dishes…dancing whether we had music playing or not…collecting more and more and more coffee mugs, which we use mostly for tea.

This house gave me a place to grow after Oxford. I stretched my wings and was able to stand taller…as more of an adult than I’d ever been. I dealt with the phone company all by myself; I rebuffed annoying telemarketers and left the porch light on for Bethany at nights, and killed spiders and even wasps on occasion…all the things my dad had always done. We dealt with the frustration of changing landlords (and arguing with them both at various times). We grieved, when Cheryl died and Randen died and Joy’s grandfather died, and we prayed and worried and wondered, when Bethany’s sister ran away and when Joy moved out and when my love life was on the fritz (off and on for a LONG time). And even while I was emotionally strained for a whole year, this house gave my love for Jeremiah a place to grow. We’ve snuggled on the couch and danced in the living room and stood on the front sidewalk looking up at the stars and kissed good-night on the front porch. And always we have talked – about life and love and our families and school and God and friends and who we want to be. Sometimes I think the house belongs to him as much as to Bethany and me.

Bethany took most of her stuff home yesterday, in a bright yellow Penske rental truck (which took only two hours to load…thanks to Mark and Stephen!), and then Stephen and I swept the floors and mopped the laundry room and ran errands, and savored Cajun Cones in the kitchen and talked. Then I watched a movie in our half-empty living room. And I cried because big changes are coming.

She’ll be back today and we’ll spend one last night in the house together. Maybe we’ll watch one of our favorite movies…I haven’t unhooked the borrowed TV yet. Tomorrow, she’ll load up her car and head home for good, and my friend Calvin will come with his trailer and help me get the rest of my stuff out. And we’ll say goodbye on the front porch…and lock the door and walk away for the last time.

Someone new will rent The Cottage in the fall. And I hope they love it even half as much as we have. Because this is the kind of house that loves you back. Its walls have submitted to being hung with dried roses and opera posters and tons of photographs, and bulletin boards and a little painting from Spain. Its hardwood floors have felt cool on our bare feet as we’ve walked or run through its spacious rooms, and its windows have let in the morning light and sunsets and let us keep an eye on the street. It gave us space to live, to love and be loved, to grow up and learn a little more about being adults, being Christians, being people. And I hope it goes on and loves whoever lives in it next.

Places do have personality. Ask me about any of the places I love and I’ll tell you about them as if they were people. This little house has been a good friend. I am sorry to leave it – but I know that part of it will always be with me.

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbye…

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I really love my Tuesday nights at Jeremiah’s house. Each Tuesday at nine, nine of us get together to go over the praise music for our small group chapel (Come As You Are) on Thursdays. There’s Jeremiah, who runs the rehearsals with a mix of efficiency and comedy; Bonnie, whose sightreading ability and rich alto voice wow me every week (they say she’ll be the world’s first female Church of Christ worship minister); Brett, a quiet tenor with a surprising sense of humor; and Charity, a vivacious soprano who is one of my favourite people in the world. Add Nate and Jake, two goofy brothers who sing bass and tenor, respectively; Abi, a sweet soprano who is Nate’s new fiancee, and me (the other alto) – put us in a room together (with acoustically helpful wood floors) – and you’ve got a recipe for a good time.

But last night was even more fun than usual: After everyone left, Jeremiah and I started reading (aloud!) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in preparation for the movie version on Dec. 9. I read it once years ago, and he’s never read it at all, so we’re discovering the story together. I love reading aloud, especially with expression – it makes me feel like a teacher (when I’m doing the reading) and like a little kid (when I’m doing the listening). If I close my eyes when someone’s reading to me, suddenly I’m back in Miss Worley’s fourth-grade class, clustered on the floor with twenty or so other kids, brushing Heather’s hair or feeling Kendra’s fingers braiding mine, listening to my pretty teacher read Roald Dahl’s The BFG or Paula Danziger’s Earth to Matthew or Louis Sachar’s There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom.

After reading the cast of characters and the first two chapters, we joined Billy and Nathan (two of the roommates, and two wonderful guys) in Billy’s room for a round of sarcastic, all-in-good-fun teasing, during a portion of the longest World Series game EVER. Billy kept saying, “I wish they’d just bean somebody in the head!” He got his wish sometime in the 11th inning when a pitch glanced off the batter’s helmet.

I’m three years out of high school, but I still miss the group of six guys I used to hang out with, and the spice they added to my life. I was often the only girl and I loved every minute of it – whether I was the center of attention because of that fact, or whether they forgot I was a girl for a few minutes and just relaxed. Both atmospheres have their pleasures, but there really is a certain kind of fun that’s only found in hanging out with “the guys.”

Because of my attempts at wit last night, my new nickname (though probably undeserved) is the Voice of Truth, and Jeremiah is the Voice of Reason (or Logic – which fits both of us, because truth and logic are both valuable. But truth is not always logical, and logic is not always true). Interesting. And watching baseball until all hours, while talking about everything from business classes to racial politics to European travel, means I get to be present for quotes like this one:

Billy: “Do you think God’s gonna have a Chinese buffet in heaven?”
Nathan: “I don’t know. If He is, we’re gonna have to eat you.”

(It’s funnier if you know that Billy is part Asian, but it’s hilarious anyway.) And classic. I love me some worship music, some Narnia, some baseball – and some good guy time.

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