Tag Archives: my unique living arrangement

My walls might as well be bookshelves….

Today, with the help of my sister-in-law, I redid my bookshelves.

First, we pulled everything out: couple hundred books on the floorThen, we weeded, reorganized them around the room and amongst the different shelving units we have. So far, since I started uncluttering our bookshelves, we’ve weeded out about a hundred or so books.  My husband, who has an attachment to books that borders slightly on obsessive, contributed the most today. I am not kidding when I say that I am proud of him.

And our two main bookshelves now look like this:

Books neatly placed on the shelfAnd yes, that’s me wearing the hippy skirt today. I actually conquered the corner of doom too, instead of a mass of fabric bins, I changed it into the crates you see on the left.  It looks better, even if it is still plastic crates. We’re having to condense all of my husbands office back into our room, and well, storage is storage.

The best part? Only the sci-fi/fantasy section is double stacked. We’d be able to fit everything single stacked with one more shelf. This is a great accomplishment. Shelf on the left is non-fiction, poetry, magazines, and Shakespeare and on the right is fiction.

Bookshelves not pictured:

  • Ikea shelf from the 80’s filled with more sci-fi, kidlit (as opposed to YAlit), teaching texts, reference materials
  • Altar with pagan books
  • My to be read shelf
  • the living room “books from D&D settings” collections
  • The UBER-NERD shelf: manga/comics, gaming books, oversized, SF tie-in novels, SF/F anthologies
  • The built-in shelves with my old book collection and our first editions
  • The kitchen cookbook shelving.

We do not have a book problem here. No sir, books are never a problem. We decorate with books here! But I like it better now that we’ve reorganized. I feel less stressed out and without the stacks everywhere, I feel less boxed in.  I long for a library room someday though. With matching shelving, but this will do for now.


Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Struggling with change

After the past couple of weeks, my morning routine went caput. Horribly awry. I just could not find two shits to give to do anything in the house. Since we sorta worked things out with the landlord and set ourselves right with our roommates, I’ve been able to clean and organize a little bit better. Which is putting me in a better frame of mind overall. I’m hoping to get my morning routine, yoga/dance, sitting practice/prayer going again next week.

However, I’m going to playing with that again. My shift is moving once again, thankfully to an 8 am start time. After a year of late mornings, I can finally go back to being a morning person! But I’m worried that my propensity for time spent in bed half awake with my husband will work against me in getting a morning routine going.  It will be experimentation time again I suppose.

Since the unpleasantness ended, things are getting better around here. I wanted to start cleaning out the office this week, but husband rolled his ankle and I really don’t want him going up the stairs if he doesn’t have to. That way he’s in better shape for work. (Speaking of which, his boss says it could be raise time. We are cautiously optimistic. His boss is sort of …well…he’s something). He missed yesterday and half of today, which is fine. Despite him being pissy at himself, if you need rest, you need rest.

It strikes me as funny that I don’t deal well with change in my personal life (and the unstructured nature of most plans really gets me sometimes) but at work? I’m praised for my ability to adapt and go with the flow and end up on top. Maybe it’s that work is more structured, which means I can deal with the change better. When I’m at home, there’s so much that’s undefined, so much that’s dependent on other people, and I have so much choice of what to do that I just freeze and do nothing for much of the evening. Things at work may depend on people, but not my main task (shopping! research!) and I literally have a list to work from, where I can only work from that list.

One of these days I’ll figure it out. Much like my husband, I’m good at getting others and inspiring others to do well, find a routine that works for them, and adapt, but it’s far more difficult to do that for myself.

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Update on Housing

So, we’re not being kicked out of the house anymore. The grandmother decided to either buy or go live with another family member. Which means at least, we don’t have to look for anything new. On the other hand, we had a sit down discussion with the landlords, who did a great impression of a discussion. It was more of a laying down of the law.

For the past years, we’ve been working under the assumption that we were given that one upstairs bedroom and the upstairs landing was a common area. Apparently we were wrong! But despite that they’ve been aware of how we used the space for the entire year, they’ve now redefined public space as the main floor only. And they are going to rent out the bedroom — we’ve been using it as an office. At least they plan on renting it to another friend of ours.

Pretty much, they’ve cut our space in half. Luckily, my brother has said we can use his house for a little bit of storage if we need it. I cleaned out our closet to start moving furniture and other things around.  Nick’s desk is just going to be thrown out. It wasn’t going to make it another move anyways.

But the things that really gets me is that now they want to issue a per-diem on guests that stay a longer time than one or two days. But we have to be honest and pay it, they won’t keep track. This isn’t in our lease, the understanding isn’t in our lease. And it doesn’t apply to any of our roommates guests, because he’s their son, not their tenant. I’m not sure what to do with this, particularly since my mom is asking for us to take my twin brother in later this month for a weekend and we don’t have the space anymore for him since we don’t have the upstairs anymore. He doesn’t always do well with my other brothers, either.

I’m angry, but I’m getting over it. I can deal with anything for a year. And if my husband can land a teaching job, we are going to try to live on his salary alone, put the rest to debt payment and saving for a down payment. I think we can do it. Now he just has to get a job.

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Posted by on July 3, 2011 in Uncategorized



Maintaining Radio Silence

So, I’ve been not updating for a while. Part was I was too angry to post. Yep, too angry. I’ve spoken before about how my husband and I live with another couple in a single family home, renting from the roommates father. We renewed our lease a couple of months ago, extending it out an extra month or two, hoping that this would be the last year in the house, perhaps even buying our own next year.

Well, this isn’t only our last year in the house, but our last couple of months. And not by choice. Our landlord informed us over email that his mother (roommates Grandma) would need a main floor place to live, and they wanted to move her into our house, and by extension the masters suite we rent. At first, it seemed we could say no, and we did a cursory look for apartments not really finding anything in our price range. When we said as much when we met with our landlord the next day, the tone change from a request to a demand. She was moving in whether we left or not. Which meant being forced out of our specified suite no matter what.

As you can tell, very illegal. Very unethical. We’re being treated like his children and not renters. We’re going to talk to get a timeline, get our security deposit back, moving costs, etc.  Husband really wants to ask for 5k as well, his estimate of the difference between getting a LKQ apartment/house and what we pay now for the remainder of our lease. Doubt we will get that, but it’s going to be a starting point.

They are treating us shitty, and we don’t really have respect for him anymore. We understand the situation. When it was just them asking, it was okay and while it would have been tense for the next year, we could have done it. Now? Who knows.  And it’s horrible timing for us; husband is frantically searching for a teaching job. He’s had a couple of interviews, but his search radius is an hour and half out. We’re open to moving outside of the city, but we don’t want to move one direction and then he gets a job in the other. And he’s not sure how long his current job will last, either.

I’ve got a couple of leads, but really, we’re very pissed off here and this is the first I’ve been able to write reasonably. The other reason? I was off having a blast at Tribal Revolution. But that’s another post.

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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


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We’re the anti-hippie commune

I love my house. But you have to understand why. After moving to Bloomington-Normal three years ago so my husband could finish his degree (one more class to go!) we moved into an apartment complex that seemed wonderful. Attentive staff, reasonable prices, and well, sure it was subsidized housing, but there didn’t seem to be any problems with people. And a grocery store was being built right next door.

But as the economy took its turn, the complex went down as well. Cigarette butts everywhere, hoards of children roaming all night, fights in the parking lot. What used to be a quiet complex suddenly became very loud and not conducieve to our well-being.

Enter our first roommate. His parents bought a nice house as a retirement home because their housing has been free (his dad is a Methodist minister). W lives in the basement and kept the house in order. But he needed company badly, and asked us to live with him. Last year, we said no. We couldn’t afford the increase in rent or to break our lease. But this year, with the increase that we were going to get at the complex, it was worth the security of one rent and utility payment.

So we moved. Slowly. Books first, then everything else. We cut a deal with W that we’d encourage him to cook and clean more, we didn’t pay for cable/internet and got a little extra to grocery shop for him. It’s been working out really well.

W is a self-professed libertarian gun nut, in college and just totally killed on his LSATS. He’s my opposite, really. We get along really well.

Our new roommate is another friend from college, A, who just got a job teaching Special Ed. She got the job a week before the school year started, moved in the next day. She was lucky that we hadn’t filled that last room in yet! She became one of my dearest friends in the past couple of years and we work well together, particularly in organizing events.

And recently, W’s girlfriend, J moved in. Her conservative christian college and her were not getting along, so she decided to move back here and finish up at home. She’s quiet, has almost no stuff and is stuck in a room with all of W’s childhood playthings.

We have about a million cups, because no one remembers to bring them back to wash. I end up doing most of the cooking, a revolving cast of friends on Friday for a bad movie night. We’re going to have reorganize how we do things when my new shift starts in a week, and I judge my energy levels.

But I love this house — I love that if I want to be with people, I only have to go to one of the living rooms. And if I want privacy …well, I have my own jacuzzi tub.

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Posted by on September 16, 2010 in Uncategorized


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How to talk to others; religious discussion in two parts

Most other married people I know don’t have roommates. We do, and it’s actually a fairly enjoyable situation. We get a great deal with the house and I get a social life built in. And a bathtub that I am marrying. One of the nicer things about our roommate is that both he and his girlfriend are intelligent, thoughtful humans and Christians. So is roommates father, our landlord and minister in his own right.

We were sitting in the garage the other night as people were pounding away at an impromptu armor building session when the girlfriend and I got to talking. She’s a devout Christian the same way I am devout, which is always inspiring. She mentioned that in one of her classes the profession maligned paganism, Wicca and of course (because she does attended a conservative Christian college) said we practiced human sacrifice both now and in the past. The past, whatever. She didn’t say much, other that stating that she believed he was wrong, but mostly because she didn’t know much herself.

So I educated. Basic stuff, really; Paganism is an umbrella term, Wicca is a very specific religion but that it is also used as a shorthand (for good or ill), that there are many different pagan religions — but no, it’s not much like different denominations. Simple stuff — I didn’t need to go into specific practices at this time. Explaining what Hellenic means was sort of amusing, though.

She’s been interested before, and we’ll probably have nice long conversations later as well. She has her faith, one that treats her well and that she is strong in, but it isn’t threatened by me having my own and it being so counter to it. And that gets me thinking, for the most part, this is how I operate in the pagan world. Even when I encounter ideas and practices within the Hellenic community that I don’t abide with, it’s usually easier to just say my bit of thought and move on, if it’s not something that I find directly harms in influences harm.

I’m very active on a forum, though less so than I used to be mostly because I got tired of the same conversations popping up in the religion section over and over again. It was a constant rehash, and others were better at it than myself. But more so, I would look back at how I was framing the discussion. I have a reputation for being the “nice one” but that was in comparison to other members. It started feeling toxic to my own behavior. So I’ve stepped back, and try only to respond in ways that are more productive. I fail sometimes, but it’s a journey.

And that’s really what I want to accomplish as I have these discussions. That they don’t have to be brash, bold and full of snark all the time. They can be quiet and work with the person, so that they don’t get a barrage information that they will never retain all at once, and that they can progress on their own journey. The girlfriend will eventually ask more questions about Hellenic Polythiesm and what I do and believe and I’ll be able to answer well. And on the other forum? I’ll still be respected and listened to, not because I have the best snarky banter, but because I’m fair, honest and compassionate. And hopefully because I’m right.

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Posted by on June 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


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