How We Roll
And we have a schedule of sorts. I am freelancing so when I’m at the computer, Boo sets up his “work” area and does his cartooning. During that time, which is usually several hours at a stretch, we pretty much completely ignore each other. Although we do critique each others’ work.
On days when I’m not working, I like to ease into the day…have a cup of coffee…make a to-do list for the day. He likes to get up and get going. So I seem impossibly slow to him. How can anything get done at that rate? In my mind, he takes off without thinking (without a list) and forgets things because of it. What could have been planned and take one trip ends up taking three trips.
So what do we do about these differences? Ignore them, usually. Or talk about them if something bothers one of us too much. Or laugh about them. I think we have both become “nicer” since it is so very obvious when we are not being nice. So far, so good. We’ll keep you posted.
We have established routines that help. Like the last one up makes the bed (if it is left unmade, one third of the house is a mess) or the last one out of the shower squeegees the shower stall. The regular housework isn’t much of an issue…we both do what we see needs doing and agree that the workload is divided fairly.
In his defense, he fixes things. If anything is out of repair (he is constantly monitoring things like dripping water, loose screws, burned out bulbs) he usually fixes it immediately. So you learn to take the bad with the good. We were supposed to know that anyway (for better or worse and all that), but in this setting it is essential.
And our habits are magnified in this setting. I like to have things in order, which in my world means neat, orderly piles. He thinks my piles are “clutter.” He likes to leave things out that he will use later. Like using a water glass once and leaving it on the counter. Or leaving out a plate that isn’t dirty enough to wash. Or leaving his shoes right next to the chair for easy access. (He claims that is a neat, orderly pile.)
We are constantly bumping into each other, though. Two people can’t go through the doorways at once, so if we both need something from the bedroom at the same time, for instance, one person has to yield. Or if someone is getting something out of the “pantry” (which is a small closet right next to the doorway to the bathroom area) the one that wants to get through the doorway to the bedroom or bathroom has to wait.
So, while we always got along pretty well, we didn’t have much real practice at being together. All the time…day in and day out…incessantly…never ending…togetherness.
There are basically 3 sections in our motor home; there is a sliding door between the bedroom and the bathroom area that can close off the bedroom; there is a door that swings from closing off the toilet closet to separating the bathroom area from the main living area. So if you want to take a shower in privacy, you can close off the living room area and the bedroom. But then wherever the other person is, he or she is stuck there until you are finished. Privacy takes a little planning and basic courtesy.
So one day near the beginning of our odyssey, I woke up and he was still sleeping. I wanted to do some writing and was delighted that I might steal some “alone” time to work. I got up quietly, closed the bedroom slider, went into the living room area, and turned on the computer. But before I had even made my coffee, he got up. I was crushed.
I said something mean like, “What are you doing up? I just wanted a little time to myself!” Good morning. He was mad so he got in the car and left. Later I found out that he just drove around so I could have my alone time. We did talk about it though. He was very understanding. So we just need to say so if we want time to ourselves. Duh.
Granted, we do have a lot of freedom. But there is sooooooo much togetherness-- 24/7 togetherness. And some people ask us about that. Especially our contemporaries or people who might be thinking of retiring soon. “What if we retire and then find out we can’t stand each other?”
It is true that when we were both working, we didn’t spend that much time together. Working full time jobs and commuting didn’t leave much time for just hanging out. And many evenings got spent doing things other than actually talking…watching TV, puttering around the apartment, going out with friends.
(or How Not to Kill Each Other)
According to most people we talk to, we are “living the dream.” We are free to go where we want, when we want. We are as free as the wind…free as birds…free to come and go as we please… footloose and fancy free…