Picture this in your mind.
A 1250 sq.ft. house with 4 bedrooms.
4 adult women, 1 teenage girl, 1 toddler, and a guy on a 2-week-on-2-week-off schedule.
We have dubbed this house “The House of Wait”. We operate around shower schedules and the capacity of our shitty hot water tank.
In 2008, Lue and I found a house for the family. We got what we could afford at the time. Lue’s older sister, Feona and her daughter Jade, her younger sister, Katrina, the 110 pound black lab, and 2 house cats came to join us shorly thereafter. Then, in 2014, along came baby Lily and baby daddy. Feona thought the house needed some more warm bodies in case the furnace ever shit the bed again.
The Waiting Begins.
I mentioned our shitty hot water tank. It has the capacity to serve two HOT, woman-long showers. Then we wait for about an hour for it to fill back up again. The washing machine is set on cold, so no problem there. The dish washer, however, takes the back of the line-up.
Some of us like to shower in the mornings, some like to shower in the evenings. If someone showers out of sequence, the consequences are… Well, you know the saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn”.
Multiply that by 4.
When it comes to having to use the toilet, there have been times that require someone to make an emergency trip to Starbucks. And it’s not for a latte. At least if it’s only number 1, and being a predominantly female household, we share bathroom time. If the door is locked (because Lily likes to open the door and walk right in), then some of us just pee off the back patio facing what we can only assume is a crack house. But I’ll save that story for another time.
Not only is the hot water tank less than desirable, the electrical is pretty shifty as well. There are no outlets in the bathroom. If there is, the contractor that the landlord hired tiled over it. There are no outlets in the small hallway outside the bathroom. The nearest outlet for hair dyers (that doesn’t blow a breaker) is in the kitchen.
So for those of us with long hair, and don’t want soggy collars or pillows, it’s a kitchen party.
Enter At Your Own Risk.
With so many women, there are even more shoes. And coats. And purses.
The front door opens straight into the livingroom. We have the furniture creating an entranceway, but putting-on and removing outerwear becomes a virtual assembly line. It is especially amusing when the 2-year-old has a meltdown because she has decided that today is an all-day-no-pants-party while we are trying to get her dressed for a walk to the playground. In case you haven’t seen the recent weather in Vancouver, this is it.
But Seriously, It’s Not All Bad.
The one thing that our house has taught me is communication skills. My usual coping mechanism, when something is bothering me, is to shut down. Run, hide, and lock the door. With so many intuitive and observant women around, I am forced to talk about what it is that I am feeling. Which, in the long run, is far more healing.
Bitches be nosey, but I love them.
Our dynamic works pretty well too. Feona is the most maternal of us all, it may have something to do with the fact that she’s the one that birthed two kids, and is also a dedicated birth doula. She feeds us and takes care of us. Lue and I are away working approximately 10 months out of the year, Katrina is a full-time hair stylist at a nearby salon, and Jason pretty much keeps to himself when he’s home. Jade is in high-school and also has a lot of after-school activities. But when she is home, she is doing homework or studying. She is such an amazing young woman!
That leaves Lily. The tiny drunken dictator that can melt your heart with her snuggles and kisses, and at the flip of a switch, bleed your ears with the power of her lungs.
We are down to only one cat… for now.
We have aspirations to buy property and build a large compound for all of us, and whomever would like to join us. Similar to the “Bestie Row” concept.
Our list of grand ideas:
- Each house designed to the owner’s particular tastes. For example, Katrina requires a mini-castle with a wrap-around deck, and holds a constant temperature of 80 degrees. Feona wants a cob house with the biggest kitchen you can imagine. I like something adequately sized to hold me, my wife, and our future children, minimal and simple. Lue wants something resembling the grandeur of Neuschwanstein Castle with a full time Vietnamese lady to cook endless amounts of Pho.
- Located outside city limits, but accessible. Definitely not a suburb. Someone once described his ideal property by having the option to skeet shoot off his back patio in his ginch if he wanted to. Not that he would, but he wants to have that option. We agree.
- A giant garden and greenhouse so we can grow our own vegetables and herbs.
- Chickens, of course, for eggs and meat.
- Pygmy goats, for sheer entertainment.
- A barn with a couple cows and horses, because why not?
- A communal kitchen and hang-out area.
- A shooting area for target practice. Some of us enjoy hunting and why not? It is the best tasting meat and it eliminates the dependence on factory farming.
- Secret passageways to an underground end-of-times shelter.
- Most importantly, OUR OWN BATHROOMS.
Feona would like to clarify that she has never peed off the back patio, but she has shit into a grocery bag. But that is another story, altogether. I’ll leave that to her.