Re: Through the Looking Glass #5
From: Stevenson/Bitner (
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1998 15:44:57 -0500
I remember when Pam and I had not moved in , she confided those left-out 
feelings to me, and it was a relief for both of us to realize that we 
were not alone in our envy, and the feelings were greatly lessened as a 
result.  We've gone through so much since then...

I think the problem of having semi-private events in the common house has 
been handled well in our community.  The common house committee decides 
which events get to use the common house.  If you want to hold, say, a 
private party, you put up a notice on the CH section of the bulletin 
board, stating whether the rest of us are invited, what the group is, 
what room you want, etc.  The common house committee prioritizes requests 
based on a formula we all agreed to in the beginning.  Let's see if I can 
remember- common meals are first priority, then events that are held on a 
regular basis(like contra band practice on weds. nights), events that 
include everyone in cohousing, events that include some members, and 
always last are events that are not related to cohousing at all.  There 
is also preference given to well-in-advance requests.  They also consider 
the nature of the event. 

We also had to come up with some rules after some unfortunate events with 
the participants not cleaning up to our standards.  Every event has to 
have a contact person who is ultimately responsible for the CH being put 
back in proper order.  We also have a list for people to follow so they 
don't have to guess what needs to be done.

People will have hurt feelings no matter how careful you are.  If you've 
done your homework and created a strong community, these hurts will go 
away quickly, but no amount of planning can help a community that doesn't 
trust each other.  We have only rarely had conflicting events. Most 
things can be rescheduled.  

There is only one event that we have at the common house that I don't 
feel is appropriate.  Several times there have been private birthday 
parties for a child, where not every child is invited.  Guess whose kid 
gets left out?  One woman even had it outside on the patio!!  I think if 
you want to limit your birthday parties, keep them at home.  I have cake 
and ice cream for everybody who wants to come to my children's birthday 
parties, and it's great fun.

Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, CA

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