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House Dreamland

[ website | http://www.housedreamland.net/ ]
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"Goodnight house." [29 Jan 2005|11:40pm]

[ mood | melancholy ]

I'm glad it went as well as it did. I wish it could have gone better. Thanks for the good times and the lessons learned.

Fare well.

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Looking for Housemates [09 Dec 2004|01:28pm]


In case you haven't heard the news, sinboy, rosefox are moving out at the beginning of February, leaving hopeforyou and me to look for housemates.

Hope and I have finalised our advertisement for housemates. Since she's going out of town next week, we'd like to start interviewing potential housemates this coming Sunday and Monday evenings.

We want the word to be spread on poly and bi bulletin boards and mailing lists, and also in the general queer, kink and Pagan communities—we'd rather save CraigsList as a last resort. Recommendations for places to post would be appreciated, and feel free to just copy and paste this to anywhere where it's appropriate. Also, if you know anybody who you think we should consider as a housemate, even if they don't belong to any of the aforementioned communities, feel free to forward this to them as well.

Here's the ad:

We are seeking two people to share our four-bedroom house in the Glen Park district of San Francisco. Both of the available rooms are large and have lots of storage space, but the ceilings are a little low. They are not suitable for people who want views or ample natural light, but very suitable for people who want quiet at night. The rent for each room is $675 per month, plus $75 to $125 per month for utilities, including broadband internet. The deposit for each room is $800.

The two-level house is two blocks from a BART station and has easy freeway access. It features two modern bathrooms, a washing machine and dryer, and a small back yard. The dishwasher-equipped kitchen is a good size and it adjoins a dining room, which in turn adjoins a living room with a bay window. There's also a garage which is presently used for storage.

We are an opposite-sex poly couple in a primary relationship. We're not neat freaks but we prefer to keep the house tidy and clean. It's also important to us to keep the house clothing-optional. Jen is a 35-year-old software analyst/graphic designer who is currently contracted in Mountain View. Mik, a vegetarian, is a 32-year-old software developer who does other work on the side while waiting for his startup to start up. We sometimes do a bit of activism as well, and we like to live in a social household. Each of us typically has a friend or lover over a couple of nights a week and we host one or two social events per month.

We're looking for reliable, responsible housemates who know how to communicate respectfully. We want people who will be happy sharing common areas, easy-going but not afraid to talk about issues if they come up. We don't care much about age, gender or sexuality; we're kink- and trans-friendly and are both bisexual. Of course, we expect our housemates to be GLBT-friendly as well, and we do not want to live with drama queens, prudes, bigots or anybody who thinks nudity and polyamory are all about sex.

The rooms are available from the end of January 2005 and we need people who can start paying rent then. We are on a two-year lease that expires at the beginning of June; the lease will need to be renewed with your name on it if you want to stay after that.

If you are interested, please e-mail rooms@housedreamland.net. Please include a telephone number in your message.

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Dishes and dishwashing [19 Nov 2004|10:56am]


I thought I'd post this entry here, in case anybody outside of the household had advice to share. For example, I've seen dishwashers with "clean" and "dirty" signs on them, while everywhere I've lived, we've always gone with "if it's unlocked, it's dirty, and if's locked, it's clean, and it's your job to empty the dishwasher". I've lived in a few dishwasher-featured households, and that, along with a few other rules, has been what's worked best in all of them.

</strong></a>dreamland now has a working dishwasher too. This means there's no need to have anybody volunteer for 'dish duty', which is a good thing because next week I start working pretty much full-time, and I won't have any more time for chores than anybody else in the house.

So here's how the system I have in mind works:

  • If you don't have any dirty dishes or anything, you don't have to do anything. =)

  • If you have dirty pots and pans, or the colander, then you need to wash them by hand asap. They take up a lot of space in the dishwasher, and it only takes a minute to clean them by hand. This also ensures that they're always available for use. Pots, pans and the colander are pretty much the only things that we'll ever need to put in the dish drainer, except for rosefox's only-sort-of-dishwasher-safe bunny plates.

  • If you have dirty dishes, you need to put them in the dishwasher.

  • If the dishwasher is full, you need to turn it on. This only takes a minute or two. Here's how:

    1. Move the dishwasher so its back is towards the sink.
    2. Connect the hose to the tap. You do this by pushing the O-ring on the hose connector down, putting the connector on the kitchen tap, and letting the O-ring spring back into place. The connection ends up being fairly watertight.
    3. Turn the tap on to hot. (Our dishwasher doesn't heat its own water.)
    4. Plug the dishwasher in.
    5. Open the dishwasher and put dishwashing goop into both of the containers for it. The containers are in the door of the dishwasher, and one has a little flap that gets opened later in the cycle.
    6. Turn the knob on the front of the dishwasher to the desired setting. Normal wash works fine.
    7. Close the dishwasher—you'll need to slam it a bit. It should start running.
  • If the dishwasher is tightly closed and not running, it means it has clean dishes in it, and you need to put them away. This should only take about five minutes.

    I've always gotten into the habit of checking the dishwasher while preparing meals, to make sure I can put my dirty dishes in it when I'm finished. I also left an extra five minutes in my morning schedule to do so in case the dishwasher was closed when I wanted to put dirty breakfast bowls in it. This shouldn't be a problem here, though, since we shouldn't run the dishwasher at night—it's above Rose's bedroom.

    The only time there should ever be dishes in the sink is when somebody had dirty dishes while the dishwasher was running, or when the dishwasher was full late at night while Rose was asleep. If none of us put dishes in the sink at other times, then it won't be a hassle for us to move dishes from the sink into the dishwasher after we empty it.

Like I said, from my experience, this is the system that works best. Of course, I'm open to comments and suggestions.

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Rats! Help! [14 Oct 2004|12:54am]

[ mood | aggravated ]

Our landlord is being a useless waste of oxygen, as usual, and has told us that we need to find an exterminator to get rid of the rat(s) inhabiting our walls (we've only actually seen one, but I've heard them fighting a couple of times *shudder*) since the ones he called didn't call him back (WTF kind of landlord can't manage to get an exterminator to keep vermin from chewing through the walls of his property?!). I would really appreciate any recommendations for exterminators who are thoughtful about things like not poisoning our cat (no, we can't sic the cat on the rats; he can't even kill spiders properly) and being as paradoxically ecofriendly as possible while still ridding us of this particular part of the ecosystem. We're in the Glen Park neighborhood of SF, if that makes any difference, and will happily pay high prices since the landlord will end up footing the bill anyway.


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My past year at House Dreamland. Take 1: finances. [10 Jun 2004|01:55pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]

Cross-posted to hopeforyou.

mikz has recently started writing in livejournal again, including writing about what he's gotten out of his past year at House Dreamland, and more recently, realisations he's had about himself while he spends time camping in the desert.

I've been wanting to write about the same topics, but I find it difficult to know where to begin. The process is muddy and bogged down for me because it's been a hard year for me personally and I wish I could just stop processing it and just be for a while. And because I've been struggling with a mood disorder, whatever I write may be viewed through that filter -- or if it isn't, then I still run the risk of my words being interpreted by some through their imposition of that filter.

That said, I am still going make an attempt to write in this first cut what I think of the last year. It's not going to be the same picture that mikz paints. In part because I think that while he has had a number of the same hopes and dreams I've had, his expectations were less numerous than mine and his minimum desired outcome out of this experience less lofty than mine. I leave that for him to comment on; I make this assumption based on conversations we've had and his most recent entries.

The past year has been much harder than I ever imagined it would be. I've learned a lot, not just by living in this household but through a series of events that were totally unexpected and were nothing I could predict. I know that some people made dire predictions about how this household was or wasn't going to work out, and I walk a thin line of both agreeing and disagreeing with those at the moment (keeping in mind that there is a tendency for me to feel more negative these days).

But this is how it is. I have -- we have been -- trying something that few other people are doing, and there are limited guidebooks to light the path. User manuals are hard to come by for poly households, though mama_hogswatch certainly has plenty of guidance to provide. And even with the advice that's there, each household has its own reality to deal with that requires tailoring guidelines to suit it.

There is always much curiosity over what will happen here next, whether it be disastrous or uplifting. Either way, I'm just going to give it straight and try not to embellish or exaggerate, or paint a picture that doesn't mesh with my perspective on reality. I add here my disclaimer: This post is reflective of my experience and opinion only, and not necessarily representative of the household as a whole.

My first stop on the journey is my experience with finances, since mikz has been raising the issue a fair bit recently and others have been approaching me about it in real life.

A lot of detractors said that money would be the top thing that would tear the household apart, that my being the primary income earner would be too much stress on me; that whether people were working or not would lead to this or that given outcome.

Here is what I think in detail...

The financial angleCollapse )

So to sum it up: Is this "tearing the household apart"? Is this financial situation too much stress on me?

I'd have to say that the answers to those questions are "no, not in and of itself (I'll get to this later, noting that the phrase "tearing the household apart" is a loaded phrase that doesn't coincide with various definitions of reality) -- but out of a number of things this situation is not helpful to me as an individual" and "yes, but keep in mind that this is only one slice of my stress pie and it is cumulative. And note that my ability to cope with stress has decreased during the past year because of all the unexpected stuff that has affected me".

A lot of people I know have had to deal with similar problems as I have, albeit with a different household structure. The couple with children (and a mortgage to pay) with one partner who has been unemployed long-term has similar problems. The roommates who go to school and get their student aid cut for textbooks and school-related expenses have similar problems. There is nothing radically different about my situation with the exception of the relationship structure here and individual expectations.

As you will see from segments to come, it isn't a shift in financial handling that has elevated my stress so much as uncertainty about the future and my (in)ability to balance work with other aspects of my life.
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Dreamland Anniversary [31 May 2004|09:56pm]


[Crossposted in my own journal]

rosefox and I moved into </strong></a> a year ago today, and hopeforyou and sinboy did a week later. This anniversary prompts me to think about the things that have happened here in that time, and to what extent this household has worked for me. I certainly have a lot of homes to compare it to; in one month's time I'll be able to say that I've lived in this house longer than any other place in six years, and there were five places where I lived for less than two months!

As a result of that frequent moving, I quickly appreciated the two year lease and the fact that I can feel more settled here. As far as houses go, though, I was more content in the majority of other places I've lived. I've spent most of my time living in livelier neighbourhoods with better weather more convenient access to the parts of town I like, and above all, in bedrooms with much more natural light. The house certainly has a lot of nice features and I keep finding charming and vaguely interesting things about the area, but overall, I feel I compromised too much.

The thing that makes a house a home, though, is the people. In that respect, this is the best place I've ever lived in! I've never lived with people who I've felt more able to be myself around, for all sorts of reasons. Nobody bats an eyelid when I spend a whole day working in the living room, naked. We seem to have the same cleanliness standards (except, maybe, for the kitchen) and similar ideas about how things should be organised. Important household issues are openly discussed (which is more than I can say for the majority of past places that I've lived in) and the discussions are usually in time to avoid drama, and have minimal misunderstandings. Best of all, House Dreamland is a social house at a level that is optimal for me—I love the way that certain people feel free to drop in, unannounced, without even knocking, but not so much that it drives me nuts. tangentCollapse )

Still, I think all four of us have acknowledged that this hasn't really lived up to being the kind of household we all dreamed of. It's been a tough year, marred by varying degrees of depression, our combined income falling at least US$100,000 short of expectations, and personal growth proving that we might not all be as compatible as cohabitants as we had hoped. Rose, for example, has found that she just doesn't like living in a group, while Hope's and my idea of what living as a family means involves more intimacy.

I've thought a lot about that word lately, the word family. For a long time this didn't really feel like family to me at all. I expected the four of us to be more open with each other emotionally, and that although each of us would ultimately be responsible for our own feelings, the four of us would be more of a support network for each of us as individuals. But this isn't how it turned out. I'm not privy to any of Rose or Sinboy's more intimate emotions or feelings, and when the four of us talk together, it's usually talk about more general household issues and chit chat about the greater community. And even that is rare—Rose says that she's around so many people at work that she prefers to keep to herself when she's home, and Josh tends to get tired soon after our Sunday night dinners and he retires early. None of this causes any bitterness on my part, though, and I acknowledge that in some ways it might be different if I'd made more of an effort to, say, keep up with LiveJournal. But sometimes I feel sad, and maybe a little embarrassed, about the fact that I had so many hopes for the four of us as a relational unit, and some of those hope just haven't been met.

Having said that, I had a very important realisation last week: Dreamland has supported me financially as much as anybody could expect a family to. While my contributions to Dreamland have been the maximum that my own essential bills would allow, this is only a fraction of what would be considered a fair proportion in any other household. This financial leniency made pulling myself out of my depression last year a fairly painless process, and it's allowed me to make a career move that hopefully will be very fruitful for me in the long run. another tangentCollapse ) Anyhow, I think it's crass to spend big money to show how much you care for somebody, so I'm not being too hard on myself for overlooking the fact that this safety net is a function of Hope and Sinboy and Rose caring for me. And while accepting the financial support makes me feel bad sometimes, the care that's behind it makes me very, very happy.

So there's a year to go on the lease, and the people and place I'm living in will more than likely change after that expires. For now, though, I'm content with living here. Thanks, Hope and Sinboy and Rose, for making this a good home, and thanks to everyone else who's supported us making it so. (We never did have that thanks-for-helping-us-move dinner, did we!)

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I want a 12/1 D/s relationship [28 Mar 2004|03:32pm]

[ mood | creative ]

24/7 is too much of a muchness. I'm thinking 12/1: 12 hours a day, 1 day a week. Get someone to come in, clean the house, cook and serve dinner for the family; pay zir with permission to wander around the house in a skimpy maid's outfit (or "sissy" clothes, or nothing at all), a good flogging, and the joy of being permitted to serve.

I bet I could find someone on Craigslist.

Must bring this up to the rest of the household.

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A letter to rosemom [22 Feb 2004|10:06pm]

[ mood | full ]

My mother's wintergift to housedreamland was dinner for four at Chenery Park, our favorite local restaurant. She stressed that there was no limit and we were to enjoy ourselves to the fullest extent possible. My thank-you email to her was so foodpornographic as to necessitate re-posting.

Subject: A lovely evening out

We stuffed ourselves! As per your instructions, we were unstinting in the pursuit of gastronomical pleasure. Consumed this evening:

Romaine Salad with a Garlicky Dressing, Aged Goat Gouda & Foccacia Croutons
New England Style Clam Chowder (with whole clams in the shell!)
Marinated Shrimp with Crispy Onion & Fennel (the salad was particularly brilliant)

Black Pesto Raviolini with Balsamic Vinegar (Mik scarfed this so quickly I didn't get to try any! He says it was excellent)
Grilled Lamb Sirloin with Gratin Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach & Red Wine Rosemary Sauce (medium rare lamb, perfect potatoes)
Crispy Chicken Breast (divine) with Cauliflower Flan (very strange, but I'm told it was good)
Grilled Double Thick Pork Chop, Roasted German Butterball Potatoes with Escarole Sauteed in Bacon and Apricots (most yummy, particularly the escarole)

Warm Chocolate Cake with Chantilly (*faint*)
Meyer Lemon Tart (I particularly enjoyed this)
Warm Pear Blueberry Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream (by far the favorite dessert all around)
Strawberry Shortcake with Chantilly (very yummy, but we didn't have any room for it!)

a glass of excellent red wine
two Mojitos
a Wild Orchid (which I thought tasted like a Tropical Fruit LifeSaver)
a glass of sangria
a glass of grappa

No champagne, but the above was sufficient to merrily tipsify all of us. We practically rolled down the hill afterwards. And our waiter was fabulous; I assume you instructed them to add a substantial tip, and he definitely earned it.

Thank you very very much from everyone!

Love etc.

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Wish for a clean dish [30 Dec 2003|02:17pm]

[crossposted to hopeforyou]

Between daily housekeeping and special events, I would like to make a few suggestions about cleaning up the dishes. There is currently no dishwasher at House Dreamland, so anyone who can pitch in and help out is more than welcome and appreciated.

If for whatever reason you are not up to the task of cleaning dishes, that is perfectly fine. There are plenty of other things to do if you wish to help out.

If you are, though, please note the following:

  • Please empty the drying rack first if it is full and dishes are dry.

  • Please make sure to not place dirty, food encrusted items on the drying rack or to the left of the sink.

  • Please feel dish surfaces for particles before deeming them clean. Sometimes small white clumps stick to white dishes and may look clean, but in reality are not.

  • ...same goes for grease, oil, or soapy residue on dishes.

  • Please scrape all compostables into the compost bin/bag before stacking dirty plates on counter or in sink.

  • Please place glasses on the counter rather than in the sink...especially if they are wine glasses or other fragile items.

  • If you don't know where a dried item resides, please ask others who live in the house or have put dishes away before.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.
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Website is down [29 Dec 2003|12:27pm]

As of this writing it appears our website is down.

I have to get moving and drive to south bay, but wanted to report this and see if you are also having trouble with it.
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Someone just called the home line [06 Dec 2003|01:32pm]

[ mood | confused ]

asking for Blanca Castillo.

I didn't know White Castle had any franchises in the Mission....

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Nota bene [10 Nov 2003|12:21am]

[ mood | sleepy ]

If you've bookmarked the House Dreamland social calendar directly (as in, not via the House website), please be advised that the URL has changed to


This PSA brought to you by the letters sleepy and zzzz.

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What's the deal with that jar in the kitchen? [07 Nov 2003|08:03am]

Is it a science experiment?

I'm just wondering why there's a label on it saying "bacterial contamination unknown" or something like that...and what the control group is...
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Happy poly kitty [02 Nov 2003|02:37am]

[ mood | amused ]

Last night the cat slept on sinboy's bed. The night before that I think he was up with hopeforyou. Tonight he's curled up with me.

I still think about doing a webcomic sometimes, but you know, if I put stuff like this in there, no one would believe me. I guess pets really do pick up the temperaments of their people!

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Email I just sent re: travel to Australia in February [25 Sep 2003|12:19am]

[ mood | disappointed ]

Figured I ought to post this, since I know some people were looking forward to seeing me.

To: australian_joe, sinboy, hopeforyou, mikz
Subject: Travel to Australia in February: probably not a good idea

I don't think I'm going, and I'm guessing other people aren't either. Why not? Lots of reasons:

* sinboy and mikz will be newly hired and won't have vacation time or leeway to take unpaid leave.

* hopeforyou will still be building up vacation time as well.

* I'll only have a week, and I've been taking too much sick time lately to want to take any unpaid leave; as it is, I'll probably work through that week of vacation time to demonstrate goodwill and make up for all of this unwellness.

* Even with all four of us working, we won't really be able to afford a big trip; we all have debt to pay off (including money that the household owes to each of us individually). It's not even certain that I'll have enough frequent flier miles built up for two tickets; if we wait another year, we'll probably have enough for three.

* australian_joe is making money hand over proverbial fist and will probably be coming here again right around the time we'd wanted to travel, most likely in January.

* Things have been tumultuous enough in the household that I want them to have more time to settle down without the interruption of a two-week international trip. We've seen how much can happen in just a few months. Let's take some time to normalize our lives before we disrupt them again.

So really, this doesn't make sense for anyone. I vote we postpone until a year after mikz and sinboy have gotten hired, so that we all have time to build up vacation time and goodwill at work, pay off pressing debts and set aside money, and plan to go sometime when it isn't quite so beastly hot: say, October. This doesn't mean we can't take a family vacation in the meantime--I would love to--but I think we might want to keep it to the occasional weekend someplace we can drive or fly cheaply to, at least for now.

I've been thinking about this for a while; it just hasn't quite added up, and now there are even more reasons for that. Of course we all want to go, and I certainly still want to plan to go when we can, but I think a bit of realism is called for, even though it's disappointing (as realism often is). I'm open to rebuttals, of course, but I don't expect my mind to change on this front.

Love etc.
(crossposted to rosefox and housedreamland)
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*wist* [23 Sep 2003|11:48pm]

[ mood | nostalgic ]

I don't miss doing four people's l*undry.

I don't miss worrying about how to support four people on two and a half incomes.

I don't miss mugs, socks, books, and cabling being scattered about the shared space and left to gather dust and trip people up.

I miss asking sinboy what I want for lunch.

I miss being downstairs and hearing mikz making hopeforyou giggle upstairs: loud enough to be vicariously enjoyed, not so loud that it interrupts what I'm doing.

I miss someone other than me doing the dishes. (I know hopeforyou would do some if she could stand up for that long; I don't blame her for needing to rest her leg. I still miss it, though.)

I don't miss mikz being so conservative with water that he fails to rinse all the soap out of the glasses.

I don't miss not being able to use the electric toothbrush or bathroom fan in the mornings because I'm afraid of waking sinboy up.

I don't miss having to pick up the clothes that people have shed in the living room and carry them down to the hampers.

I miss knowing that if I don't squeegee the shower doors after my shower, sinboy will get it after his.

I miss mikz being able to drop me off at work if I'm running late.

I miss knowing that if I can't be there to help hopeforyou when she's hurting, there are two other wonderfully capable people nearby who can.

I don't miss relying on sinboy to clean out the catbox as often as I want it cleaned out. It's not exactly my favorite way to spend my time, but at least if I'm doing it, I'm doing it often enough that I don't have to hold my breath when I leave my room.

I don't miss reminding other people that we have places to go or things to do.

I don't miss other people turning on the kitchen light (which reflects down through my window), walking over my head, or otherwise doing things that keep me up when I'm trying to fall asleep.

I miss mikz being surprised and impressed by how much I know about something, and having interesting conversations about random and varied things.

I miss randomly sticking my head into sinboy's room and being invited in to cuddle and smooch.

I miss all four of us hanging out together, sorting out family issues with a cheerful willingness to make things work as well as possible for everyone, sharing the latest gossip about people we know, and just being a family.

It'll be good to have them back.

This is, perhaps, a very predictable list, but I thought I'd put it out here all the same. *)

(crossposted to rosefox and housedreamland)

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Fridge maintenance [31 Aug 2003|04:11am]

[ mood | accomplished ]

Today, with the able assistance of sinboy and much cheering on by australian_joe, I cleaned the upstairs fridge (UF). Not just cleaned out, but cleaned: took everything out, washed the shelves and the bins, sponged it down, the whole thing. Now that the weird caramel-like spill hidden behind the crisper bins has been cleaned up, that odd not-quite-a-bad-smell is gone, yay! I don't mind doing this, so if at any future point you think the fridge needs a cleaning, let me know and I'll take care of it. I don't expect to have to do this more than once a quarter, though.


* All salad dressings now live in the downstairs fridge (DF), since no one uses them anyway. Some of the more obscure and rarely-used sauces are also there, as are one of the two open jars of peanut butter, two of the three open bottles of ketchup (seriously--I didn't even think there had been three separate ketchup-consuming incidents in our house since we moved), and three of the four open bottles of Worcestershire sauce. If you run out of something bottled, jarred, or canned, check downstairs to see if it has a twin before putting it on the shopping list.

* There's a bottle of German beer on the top shelf of the UF. I consider this mikz's problem, as no one else in the house drinks beer. Mik, if you don't want it, please put it in the cupboard next to the fridge so that we can foist it off on some beer-drinking guest and it's not taking up fridge space in the meantime.

* I found a container of non-vanilla soymilk way at the back of the top shelf, looking unloved. It's due to expire very soon. hopeforyou or mikz, please taste it to see if it's good, and either finish it quickly or toss it out.

* There's a container of heavy cream and a container of soy creamer in the same situation. sinboy, I will assume that those are yours to take care of.

* Anyone know how long eggs are good after their sell-by date?

* Getting the crisper bins back into the fridge was a real challenge. I'd just like to say that I'm very proud of myself for finding a way to do it without taking the door off.

Some general notes and requests:

* Top shelf of the UF is drinks and sauces. Middle shelf is other non-leftovers. Bottom shelf is leftovers. Please try to maintain this organization: put things back where you got them, and put new things near things that are like them. One of the big problems with the top shelf is that big things like the gallon jug of OJ get put right in front, and you can't see what's behind them; if it really is too much trouble to get something large from and return it to the back of the shelf, at least shift things to the side so that it's not obscuring too many other items.

* Any drink that does not need to be chilled can be found in the cupboard next to the UF, in the liquor cabinet, or in the downstairs fridge. Please don't leave unopened cans or bottles in the UF unless you plan to drink them in the next day or two.

* Refrigerators work by air circulation; this means that crowded fridges don't work in anything resembling an efficient manner. Crowded fridges also lead to duplication and waste: if you can't see what's in there, you'll buy extra of what you have and not know when things are approaching or past expiration. Therefore, please finish any leftovers in the fridge before ordering out and adding more, and repackage in Tupperware whenever possible! A lot of what I tossed out today was in Styrofoam containers that were mostly full of air and taking up absurd amounts of space. (And yes, my next project will be the Tupperware cupboard.)

* Anything not in original packaging (i.e. in a Styrofoam container, paper box, or Ziplock bag) without a label on it will be presumed dead, and I will throw it out the next time I open the fridge. I am the Dread Fridge Pirate Roberts and there will be no survivors. This is your only warning. As a reminder: the date on the label is assumed to be the date that it can be thrown away--not the date you put it in, not the last day that it's good--unless otherwise marked.

* If you don't know how long something will be good, label it anyway! "Opened on 31 Aug 03" is sufficient for it to escape the wrath of the Dread Fridge Pirate.

* Anyone who purchases fruits & vegetables is responsible for using them before they go off. Some of the things in the crisper.... *shudder*

* Similarly, anyone who purchases something which can be kept in the fridge for a while but then needs to be frozen is responsible for remembering the "freeze by" date and freezing it. The package of garlic-gorgonzola ravioli was so full of decomposition gases that it would have exploded if we'd dropped it. I would love to never encounter this situation again. It was very frightening.

* If it's dead, please bury it, even if it isn't yours. If it's not only dead but gross, it is acceptable to hunt down the person to whom it belongs and make that person handle the burial--but please do that in a timely manner, before the grossness gets worse.

I think that covers it. Any other thoughts?

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Scheduling Lesson [18 Aug 2003|06:38pm]


With the help of my fellow Dreamlanders, I've figured out how to avoid some of the scheduling snafus that I find myself in every now and then. I'm talking about when people are under the impression that I have a date with them, and I have no idea about it. Obviously, this has caused people to get upset—I may not have stood anybody up (people normally touch base with me on the day, as I do when I know I've got something on) but I have occasionally booked other functions on top of what somebody else thought was a date night.

The problem, it seems, is this: to me, there's a difference between asking me if I'd like to go to something, and suggesting to make it a date. For example, somebody may ask in passing if I want to go to a concert—perhaps even mentioning possible dates—and I'd say "yeah, that sounds like fun, and I'm free then". However, at that point I expect whoever I'm talking to to pick a date, and preferably let me know via e-mail or something. If they don't, I might not have entered it into my organiser. OTOH, if I respond with something like "okay, let's do that—where do you want to meet?", it's a sure sign that I'm entering it into my organiser, at least as a tentative engagement.

rosefox hit this distinction head on last week, when she asked if it was okay to invite people over for some kind of video-watching party next Tuesday. (To complicate matters more, she asked it to the household collectively, when I was concentrating on something else, so I might never even have understood the question.) Next thing I realise, she's already sent an invitations out via e-mail.

I don't anticipate this to be a problem in the future. We've started paying attention to how each other perceives questions and answers like that, and are trying to be clearer when polling for general interest or actually setting a date. I'm also going to pay a little more attention to when people ask me questions about concerts and things, and ask questions like "so do you want to go?". Since I'm usually the one who ends up doing the driving, I'll make sure I know how to get to family events, and how long it will take to get there. Finally, to help us actually leave the house on time for morning events, we're going to stop slowing down our individual processes when it's because we think somebody else is running late—Rose is able to be ready to go ten minutes after she gets out of bed, while it takes hopeforyou and me between 60 and 90 minutes to get ready.

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What I've learned in 7 weeks [27 Jul 2003|11:53am]

[crossposted to hopeforyou]

It's been over a month since we all moved in together and I wanted to just write down a few things about what I've learned in this time about living in this household. I say this household because I know that every household is different...I visted mama_hogswatch's Our Little Quad site recently and while some of their daily life snapshots overlapped with ours, there were definitely points where we diverged.

What I've learned...

-- The scheduling algorithm is far more complicated. I find myself having to check a calendar more often to see if I'm available or booked with a date with a partner or some household-wide event. My dating schedule is denser; I used to see rosefox when she came to Beta on weekends and sinboy and I would both spend varying amounts of time with her then. Sunday was my day with her. Now weekends have shifted to accomodate more events with friends and extended family, especially during the busy social summer season. So I have date nights with each partner during the week -- nights which used to be free nights I could spontaneously schedule. It has led to a more thoroughly scheduled life.

-- Overnight guests here for an extended stay -- especially on short notice -- have an impact on relationships. If a visitor is here for a week, whoever is hosting them is ending up shifting their weekly calendar to accomodate them at least part of the time. This means either including another person who originally wasn't in plans, excluding the partner from plans, or leaving the visitor to their own devices. We've done all three here.

-- Food runs out more often. Shopping has to happen more often or in one big trip like OLQ...actually a combination of one big and several smaller trips is in the works.

-- I have no trouble with hearing other people have sex unless the sound goes on for an extended time. I've found that what time of day it happens matters a lot, as it's about getting sleep -- and categorise the sound the same as I would loud music or construction.

-- That there will be nights when I feel lonely, even in a house full of people. Sometimes I want to sleep alone. Other times I don't, and there are times when that happen when I will sleep alone.

-- That we don't have enough pillows. Individually, we may have enough pillows. Collectively, though, if we have overnight guests -- we do not.

-- The financial algorithm is more complicated. We put a percentage of our income into a central account for household expenses and the remainder goes into our personal accounts. We knew the first two months after the move would be quite tight, but it would loosen up afterwards. Right now, we're having to examine defining what's a household expense.When one individual spends on food while at work or public transit, does that come out of household or personal? The definition so far is if they'd been eating at home, it's household; if they're eating out that's personal. But if the four of us eat out, that's household. So we're looking at that and seeing if that works for the best or needs more refining.

-- I learned that I didn't take the money I needed out of my cheque first for my expenses before depositing it in central. This may explain why my personal account ran out of money so quickly...

-- I learned that it's not just food. Soap runs out quicker too, as does shampoo and conditioner. I think it's because guests are using it, and not just the household. It's never run out this quickly on me before and each of us has our own toiletres.

-- I now fully understand why The Rabbit Warren keeps asking people to donate toilet paper. Good lord!

-- I learned that we run the risk of doing the same job twice. sinboy and I have watered the garden twice in the same day because he didn't know I did it earlier. OTOH, a number of tasks get done twice or three times as quickly because more than one person can work on it together.

-- We're often too tired to cook between heavy work and social schedules. As a result, we eat a lot of pasta dishes here as well as homemade pizzas. I have to ensure there's enough protein in the house so I don't starve on my low-carb diet.

-- I learned that I got used to having a car of my own and not having to negotiate to use it. For the longest time I was the sole driver of the household car, and there were only 2 of us. This is probably one of the single biggest shifts I've had to make psychologically.

-- It's the first time in over a decade since I've had my own room. I like it. I find that I need it, too. Not that I don't like the company of my family...it's just that when I telecommute I now have a room I can shut the door on for telecons and not be disturbed. I can have overnight guests here and no-one absolutely has to come in while they're here. I can decorate it the way I like without consulting anyone. I like it.

-- The cat is the happiest I've seen him. He went from a 1 bedroom to 4, and stairs...which he'd never seen before. He loves running around the house like a headless chook, catching invisible bugs.

-- I haven't had to take the TV out of the box yet. None of us has. We've all been too busy to bother. I suppose in the next week or so it may be something to do since we get cable. Maybe.

-- I've learned that one has to carve out time to talk about things that come up. Being as tightly scheduled as we often are, things can happen, people have separate experiences outside the household which add new data to the algorithm and if the communication about it doesn't occur via email, it has to occur in person. Has to. Communication is a necessity not a luxury. If a question or issue comes up and doesn't get addressed or at least mentioned within a small window of opportunity, it runs the risk of getting buried before too long.

-- Sometimes I will have two partners or more who are going through a rough patch at the same time. Rough patch could mean anything from being sick simultaneously to being upset at something -- usually two entirely different somethings. It is very important to ask up front what each partner wants at that time and not to assume, and to also firmly state my own boundaries as to how much I can do to help them. People have envied me because I have a lot of partners and imagine I'm engaged in ecstatic orgies all the time. I just want to say this: Hardly. Consider the flip side of that, that I am responsible for being supportive and helping my partners -- and it becomes clear where my heart and energy are invested.

-- Who belongs to this? I thought once we moved into this house we'd be organised and find everything. Between the move and guests, we're having things pop up which look like they came out of the magic wormhole ("What the hell is that? Is that YOURS?") and things disappear to the unmatched sock aliens ("Where's my hat? I haven't seen it since I moved.").

-- Departure entropy continues. We still announce, "I am not the one we are waiting for", but it turns out to be moot at times when the missing person is on another floor of the house and can't hear the anouncements of the ready-to-go partners.

-- Commuting from San Francisco to work and back has been more of a pain in the arse than living with my partners. And living with my partners has been working out just fine so far and isn't a pain in the arse at all. We have things to talk through and about, but nothing has come out that's led to drama. There have been moments of mindblowing joy I have never experienced in my life before.

So far, so good. My only request would be that mikz finds a job he really enjoys and gets excited about, that folks continue to have faith that we can work out whatever problems come up, and that we have at least 36 hours in a day so I can get more slack and less schedule.
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Food Safety and Expiration Dates [28 Jun 2003|01:29pm]

[ mood | cheerful ]

One topic for the family agenda is when to hold onto food in the fridge and freezer, and when to toss it. I realise there are individual interpretations of what is good and what is no longer good, and perhaps one can look to Hugo's Guide to Freshness for a personal interpretation of what's good and what's not. (At least one can look at it for a good laugh; I seriously would not use that as a guide IRL.)

Is Jarlsberg really bad if mould is on it? Doesn't it depend on what colour the mould is? When do other things go off -- is bad odour alone what determines safety?

I decided to do some research and look for some more objective data. To some degree there is leeway on handling cheese, fruits, and veggies, but expiration dates on meat and most dairy products should be carefully watched. I personally throw out items with mould on them if it's not cheese, and throw out cheese with mould on it if it's any colour other than white. This is because I have an allergy to mould, and after living in my old apartment I especially have little tolerance for it. You may have other ideas; you can eat that which I won't.

But I digress...

Here are some objective pointers:

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One topic for the family agenda is when to hold onto food in the fridge and freezer, and when to toss it. I realise there are individual interpretations of what is good and what is no longer good, and perhaps one can look to <a href="http://members.ozemail.com.au/~redhugo/fresh.htm" target="-blank">Hugo's Guide to Freshness</a> for a personal interpretation of what's good and what's not. (At least one can look at it for a good laugh; I seriously would not use that as a guide IRL.)

Is Jarlsberg really bad if mould is on it? Doesn't it depend on what colour the mould is? When do other things go off -- is bad odour alone what determines safety?

I decided to do some research and look for some more objective data. To some degree there is leeway on handling cheese, fruits, and veggies, but expiration dates on meat and most dairy products should be carefully watched. I personally throw out items with mould on them if it's not cheese, and throw out cheese with mould on it if it's any colour other than white. This is because I have an allergy to mould, and after living in my old apartment I especially have little tolerance for it. You may have other ideas; you can eat that which I won't.

But I digress...

Here are some objective pointers:

<a href="http://www.fhcrc.org/clinical/ltfu/patient/food_safety.html target="_blank"> General food safety guidelines</a> ( I agree with most of it -- take exception to grocery shopping tips about bulk dispensers and free samples)
<a href="http://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/health/az1068.html" target="_blank"> Fresh meat guide</a>
<a href="http://www.healthgoods.com/Education/Nutrition_Information/Food_Safety_and_Storage/food_storage_guidelines.htm" target="_blank">Guide to fruit, veggies, dairy, and meat</a> (check out extensive table)

What do you think? Can you think of better ways to manage when to keep and toss food?
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