The National Weather Service is pleased to report that Hurricane Alberto's rating has been reduced to Tropical Storm Alberto, now that his stuff has been somewhat contained.
What a sense of karmic revenge we have here. To all the people who have lived with me over the last 20 years or so, thanks for all your patience with my lack of spatial organization, awkwardness with mechanical objects and inability to control my stuff. It is so ironic to see all these traits in another human being and to be irritated by them even as I empathize and recognize them in myself. I never thought I'd be the Felix in the Odd Couple, but here's my big chance to be as anal-retentive as I want to be. Whoo-hoo!
So, my cortisol levels dropped Saturday night after Alberto and his former roommate got the godawful bookcase out of the front entry and upstairs into his room. Sunday afternoon, Alberto got almost everything that didn't belong in the kitchen and dining area into appropriate storage and, at my request, moved my baking ingredients out of one pair of cabinets and into an almost empty one, so he would have a place to store dry food, spices, etc. I had to reorganize my own stuff afterwards and just shook my head in amazement at how he couldn't get it all to fit--a few turns of the boxes would have solved most of the problem (thanks, Carol, for teaching me better spatial organization by example!), but it wasn't too hard to pick up the pieces. And I even cleaned the refrigerator, a chore I hadn't ever done in the year and a half I've lived in my house. (Truly, I am no saint as a housekeeper and there is a plus to having another human being around--it's a great prod to tackle those long-undone chores.)
As the chore-fest wound down and Alberto prepared to leave and take a few more excess items away to be donated, I said, more to myself than anything else, "Man, I just swept the floor and I'm still stepping on stuff! I guess next weekend's task will be mopping the kitchen floor." I went out later with a friend and got back around 11 p.m. When I walked in the house I smelled cleaner. "Did he clean the bathroom?" I wondered, and then went back to the kitchen. He had mopped the floor.
We still have to get his ugly carpets out of the dining room and a few other things like that, and I'm not sure he's totally clear that he doesn't get to put his stuff anywhere he thinks it should go, but we have made great strides. And he's on a month-to-month lease. I made it very clear that I'm not sure I'm ready for a roommate (sort of the "it's not you it's me speech" in roommate-speak) and that I'll be checking in with him at a couple of points to let him know whether it's working for me. So, God bless him, he's still trying to impress me, even if it means he mops the floor but fails to empty the compost bucket I told him we wouldn't be able to use until spring, when I get the lead out of the back yard.
As the Weather Channel says, stay tuned for more updates on Tropical Storm Alberto.
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