Do's and Don'ts

"Max, you do realize that you'll have a few chores once you come and live with me." I tried not to sound too much like my mother, yet somehow I heard the echoes of her voice in my own.

"Chores?" Max grinned. "What exactly did you have in mind?"
"Well, for starters, the litter boxes..."
"And?" Max's grin hadn't changed shape, so I assumed the litter boxes weren't going to be an issue.

"And, well, the trash... I hate taking out the trash. And, while we're at it, would you mind watering the plants everyday? I know that it was my idea to start a container garden, but you know how much I hate bees. The tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and flowers--anything in pots will need to be watered everyday."

Once I got going, ideas for Max's daily jobs kept spurting from my lips.

Max agreed to a list of specified daily chores, understanding all the while that the rest of the household duties would be shared between us. If I was cooking, he'd be cleaning and vice versa. As an unexpected bonus, Max also offered to pay for a cleaning service to visit our home twice a month. Given the fact that I was not only accepting him, but also Daisy and Rascal (his beloved cats), Max reasoned that maid service was the least that he could do. Who was I to refuse a gift? If Max wanted to pay for a cleaning service, then I would graciously accept.

But chores were not the only thing I needed to discuss with my future roommate. In addition to a daily honey-do list, I laid out a few house rules with Max. First among these was that closet space was non-negotiable. I would give up exactly one of my four closets, and even at that, only the smallest one.


Another rule dealt with bathroom ethics--a most important topic to me. Basically, when I am in the bathroom, Max assumes his presence is unwanted. He enters only when expressly invited by me. "I think that sometimes people can get too comfortable with each other,' I explained when setting this house rule.

"Not a problem," he replied.

Max seemed awfully agreeable to my lists and rules. Of course, I recognized that discussion were merely theoretical. The reality could be an entirely different matter.

Still, a few things have already started to become a reality--Max's things, to be exact. This past weekend, I scavenged Max's dismal one-bedroom apartment for anything that might be useful at my house. I ended up taking Max's everyday glasses, silverware, pots, George Foreman grill, espresso machine, and a bottle of expensive Japanese Saki It's like having a second hand-version of Christmas in July, only we're still in May.

To make Max feel more at home, I did work to add a few of his decorative pieces into my already decorated house. Given that Max has been a bachelor for a number of years, this took some real effort and creativity. Fortunately for me, Max's mother is Egyptian and he grew up in Greece. He has artwork from both countries which works well with my Neo-classic decor. But other than these few pieces, most of Max's worldly possessions were left undisturbed in the apartment, although Max tried to offer up a few more of his things during the scavenger hunt.

"What about these candlesticks?" he asked. I looked at the tarnish brash and fake gems thinking the candlestick were better suited for the trash heap.
"Uh...I don't think so."

Even I saw my nose starting to point upwards. It's a good thing it wasn't raining.

The fact was that in a few short weeks most of Max's worldly possessions were being taken to storage for an indefinite period of time. I couldn't help but wonder how carting away his valuables and memorabilia might make Max feel. Not too long ago, I was reunited with "my things" after years of living with roommates. And although I enjoyed my rooming arrangements, I still missed not having things to call my own. With my life and memories boxed away, I grew tired living out of a suitcase. Would Max ever have those feelings once he came to live with me? Would he merely feel like an invited guest in my home? Would Max miss a place of his own? With these concerns fresh in my mind, I suddenly saw benefit in assuming a more compromising posture. Bending just a little, I offered a small gesture.

"On second thought, Max, do bring the candlesticks. I think I've got just the place for them."
"Great! What about this dog playing poker picture?" he asked.

No, God no. Maybe this invited guest concept wasn't so bad after all.


utenzi said...

Poor Max. I wonder if he knows what he's getting himself into? ;-)

jayfish said...

if he really owns the dogs playing poker picture, you might need to rethink the whole relationship! ;)

Xavierism said...

I didn't know you were heading towards relationshipville. Did I miss a chapter in this book! HA I'm so happy for you!

Take care of YOU!


Jaws said...

Dang!! How did you get him to do a chore list?

My old man.. Gets up.. farts.. burps.. eats.. goes to work comes home.. farts.. burps.. eats.. and falls asleep on the sofa. repeat non stop.