|Re: Post Move-In||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)|
|Date: Sun, 10 May 1998 18:52:39 -0500|
From Lynn Nadeau at RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend Washington ( a couple of hours from Seattle). We are a "lot development" model, and members have progressively gotten around to building on their lots and moving here. I have now lived on site for a year and a half, and I can make a number of positive observations. We have 20 families, with 10 in residence. When I moved over to the site, there were five other families. Even with this small number of families on site, I have had a very positive experience of the advantages of mutual helpfulness which come with cohousing. Most of it is "little stuff" but it makes daily life easier. Next-door neighbor is away skiing and I see her solar-water panels on the roof are leaking-- something froze and cracked. Fortunately, I have a key to her house, know who installed her hydronic system, and am able to get service folks to check it out, turn stuff off and drain it so no further damage happens. Take in a trash can, turn on the heat for someone arriving from Seattle after an absence. Yesterday I borrowed an electric lawn mower from one family, an extension cord from another, and a Japanese sickle from another. My garden bed is doing well, with a soaker-hose system another member set up for me. I've loaned camping equipment, and borrowed dishes. A neighbor and I are about to buy a push-mower together. I ran low on motor oil and borrowed what I needed. Help carrying a big piece of furniture. Delicious food at potlucks. Sharing my first spinach and bok choy. Receiving shrubs from folks who are leaving their old homes. Caring for a geriatric cat while owners are on a month-long trip. Commiseration over the challenges of parenting, or house-designing, or work situations. A member in her late seventies went through terminal illness here. At the time there were just a few other families on site, but we took great care of her. One took care of all her finances, power of attorney, bill payments, etc. Another did all her food-coop shopping. Another made soups and organic grains for her. I did all her medical visits, driving her to out-of-town doctor visits, middle-of-the-night emergency room visits, emergency surgery, taking notes on what the doctors said, fetching her prescriptions. A couple of us took turns sleeping on her kitchen floor so she wouldn't be alone in her tiny house when she needed someone there. Her family, though not far away, was estranged and not helpful. We were her family. We were who sat with her when she was dying. She felt content and cared for. And what connected us to start with, was the idea that we were in community together and were "supposed" to look out for each other. Social karmic investment. Taking care of her was a very community-building factor among those of us who shared the tasks. Common purpose. We've also done a lot of "musical chairs" with our housing, as people sell their previous house before or after their RoseWind home is ready to move into. Currently we have one family taking care of property they have in Puerto Rico. House- and dog-sitting for them for the month is a member who still is trying to sell his home in Portland. Another home got completed but the owners weren't ready to move, and now they are renting to members whose house sold quickly, but whose new construction here won't be done for a few more months. Yet another Seattle family solved their interim "homelessness" by renting the old home of a now-resident family. And so on! Maybe the key is not expecting a radically "peak" experience: little stuff can affect your quality of life too. I love being here, and look forward to the ever-increasing possibilities of interactions as more and more of our families get homes built and moved into. Best, Lynn
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