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Lindsey Kuper

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Cohabitation [Aug. 8th, 2009|04:55 pm]
Lindsey Kuper

A few days ago, Alex oniugnip said, "Pretty girl, I want to push on your furniture so hard," which, given his and my present circumstances, might have been reasonably interpreted as either sexual innuendo or as an allusion to moving-related household tasks, but was in fact neither of those things but instead a reference to an old Joel on Software article in which Joel Spolsky wrote that the best managers of software projects are the ones who "act like their most important job is to run around the room, moving the furniture out of the way, so people can concentrate on their work."

That is to say, Alex wants to make my life easier. And does. Some of the ways in which furniture has already been pushed out of the way as a result of our new living situtation include:

  • We have real curbside recycling now. I no longer have to sneak my recyclables onto campus, one bike-load at a time. I can merely fill up a bin with them and leave it on the curb outside my house once a week on the appointed day, and they're magically gone in the morning. What luxury!
  • Alex comes with a Honda CR-V (four cylinders of pure power). The last time I drove with any regularity was nearly ten years ago, and I don't miss it -- but some chores, such as picking up furniture one has found on craigslist, are damn near impossible to manage on a bike. Alex not only tolerates my nervous, hesitant handling of his vehicle, he encourages me to practice and get better rather than insisting on taking the wheel himself. (I'm no menace to public safety -- just irritatingly slow.)
  • As of yesterday (when the Comcast guy, whom we had been told to expect between eight a.m. and noon, which we took to mean as "around four p.m. or so", actually arrived at the crack of 7:56 in the morning, inciting a string of mumbled curses and hurried pants-donning), I have Internet access at home for the first time in almost a year. Not having Internet at home really was nice for a while, but in recent months it had become more and more of a burden. The lack of distraction made me more productive at home sometimes, but often, all it really did was make me stay at the library all night out of reluctance to go home to my cave -- where, heaven forbid, I might miss something -- and throw my sleep schedule out of whack for days.

I continue to fear that Alex will find that I am not much fun to live with. I had a hysterical episode at Bed, Bath, and Beyond -- not really one of my favorite stores to begin with, but it's bikeable, and I was hoping to get the shopping over with quickly -- when I realized that, despite having mountains of bath linens in a superabundance of colors clear up to the ceiling, they had neither towels nor rugs in the particular color I wanted, a nice royal blue to match our new bathroom tiles. I had a miserable, whiny episode while we were out for a run a couple of days ago because there were bugs flying into my face and nose and eyes and sticking to my sweaty skin, even though it's August and this is the Midwest and that's just what happens and you'd think I'd understand that after having grown up here. I sit around all day reading genre fiction instead of working on the ICFP contest story he's been nagging me to finish for a month, claiming lofty-minded paralysis. I am, it turns out, a person with flaws, and the more consecutive days we spend together, the harder they are to hide.

On the other hand, I'd like to think that this cohabitation thing magnifies our good qualities in each other's eyes, too. While Alex works best in explosive bursts, I work best in long, steady stretches, and our modi operandi served us pretty well during the move. Alex was the one who got the heavy desk up the stairs in a matter of seconds. But the night before I had to be out of my old place, I was the one who was still resolutely packing boxes of dishes late at night when he was halfway to the fetal position. "You're so tough," Alex marveled. "You just keep going and going!"


[User Picture]From: linettasky
2009-08-08 10:05 pm (UTC)
I think you've pretty well expressed the highs, lows and mehs of living with a romantic partner.

The thing that has helped me and Jeff both a LOT is having separate spaces to go and hide. His office is in the basement, and we have separate bedrooms (which is not any indication of where we sleep on any given night). My bedroom is the entire second floor, which means that it's also my sewing room/office/reading nook. Now that I'm working some of the time from home, and I suspect soon when I'm a student again, it is crucial that I have someplace I can go where I have a reasonable expectation of being alone. I can have strange Skype conversations with my coworkers, play whatever music I want to, throw a hissy fit, whatever. He can do...whatever it is he does down there.

I am sure you and Alex will both find things about each other that are SO ANNOYING or whatever; how you deal with those is what matters, and there are plenty of lengthy pieces of writing on the subject.

It sounds like fun so far. :)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-08-09 04:33 pm (UTC)
Indeed. We have our own offices in this house, and they're on different floors. I can close the door of mine if I want even more privacy. (Alex can't close his door, because (a) his pull-up bar is hanging from the doorway and (b) the litter box is in there, but I don't think he'd want to, anyway.)

Before this, we'd only lived together in short bursts of a few days to a few weeks. I think that the thing that Alex found most god-awful about me, before, was my habit of keeping a giant bucket of compostable kitchen scraps in a container in my old apartment's kitchen. I took the compost over to a friend who had a compost bin whenever I could be bothered, but that wasn't very often, and in the meantime, it got rather gross and smelly. I kept it in a bottom cupboard, far away from all the food and swathed in layers of plastic so that it wouldn't smell or contaminate anything, but every time I had to open it up to add more compostable stuff to it, everyone in the immediate vicinity had to leave off breathing for a little while. Of course, now that we have a yard and a place to put our own compost bin, I was only too happy to stop having compost in the house.

Edited at 2009-08-09 04:34 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: keystricken
2009-08-08 11:17 pm (UTC)
"I am, it turns out, a person with flaws"

I like to think that perceiving zero flaws in someone only makes it harder to really understand their stunning, badass qualities.

Sure, you can admire perfection from afar, but it's hard to be inspired. To absolutely butcher Francis Bacon: "There is no excellent [badassery] that hath not some [lameness] in the proportion."
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2009-08-09 04:39 pm (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly.
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