As a poor, naive Southerner, I thought that we might see spring and put away our snow boots by the end of February. I remember in November when people would laugh at my optimism and I thought they were jerks. March has come and gone here in the Bond House. Snow lingers on the ground, the temperature has barely cracked 50 on most days, and I’m still wearing wool.
Of course, despite the winter, the Bond House has been a bastion of warmth, laughter, and carbs. Just about every day for the last two weeks someone has been in the kitchen making bread (banana or otherwise). What else can you do when your city is getting hammered by some sort of “snow bomb”/”snow cyclone”/”igloo megadeath” every time you turn on the weather channel? The drifts in our yard were so deep that I lost my dog on more than one occasion. More impressive, the wind was so strong during one of these storms that it broke one of our windows. It’s been too cold to have it replaced, so we have tastefully taped a trash bag over the hole.
The good thing about winter is that it encourages people to get together and have dinner. As you may have surmised from previous posts, all of us like to eat and cook. While we have certainly had more than one big meal with guests over the last 31 days, the night we outgrew the dining room table is probably the most memorable. In a sort of a perfect happenstance, both Michael and Elzerie invited people over for dinner. The head count? 14 for a table that seats 12 comfortably. We mismatched the flatware and plates. My elephant mug with the glued together handle was allowed at the table. It was basically anarchy in the streets.
After throwing together a proper spread and all of our guests had arrived, we sat down in a candlelit dining room and made a toast. To be perfectly honest, I nearly cried. There is something special about having all of these people from so many walks of life come together under our roof to break bread. We joked about adding another table and getting another set of 12 plates for when our dinner parties inevitably grow larger. Or maybe we weren’t joking at all.
I think I was especially glad to have so many people because the first half of the month was heinously empty. Under some sort of freak scheduling circumstances, over half of the House was gone on various trips, leaving Theresa and I to rattle around in the house while Lark and Brennan made occasional visits from the chalet. To sum it up: nights were creepy. When everyone was together again, I proposed that anytime anyone leave for an extended period of time, they must find someone to replace them for the length of their stay.
Almost in response to this need to fill the House, we got a new addition. He’s a photographer and a really sweet guy. The only thing is that there really aren’t any rooms in the inn. So what did we do? Put a door on the linen closet and convert it, of course. The beginning of spring is the start of many such ingenious plans. We continue to plan for a stellar garden with over 30 different kinds of tomatoes, work out our compost situation, and are currently trying to figure out a way to get our tumbler accessible from the kitchen window so we stop having to walk outside (it’s not lazy if it’s clever).
On a more personal note, I’ve been struggling with my depression this month. I am more withdrawn and quiet and closer to tears than usual. I have coping mechanisms. I am prepared to feel this way. The thing is, I wind up feeling very guilty for shutting my roommates out when I isolate. I don’t want them to think that I have a problem or dislike any of them. Quite the opposite, in fact. Part of what gets me out of bed on my down days is knowing that Gizem, Theresa, and Elzerie are going to be in the kitchen making their breakfast. On other nights, when some of the housemates are playing games, all I can do is muster the energy to watch. I am grateful.
But then this really beautiful thing happened at our house meeting (a monthly dinner where everyone gets together to talk about success, issues, and other business matters). We go around the table and check in with everyone. I found out that there is a lot going on with my housemates’ lives: success, betrayal, heartbreak, homesickness, depression, etc. The fact that these other really remarkable human beings are struggling as much as I am makes me feel better about being sick. I think about how much harder living in the city would be without them. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to live in that reality.
As the days finally do start to warm up, I look forward to growing with these people. And when it’s time for the family dynamic to change, I hope to be at least 1/3 as kind and gracious and supportive to the new addition as my roommates have been to me. After all, winter can’t last forever.