Thursday, November 12, 2009

:::Where I Live, 20 Years, and a Little Fella:::

My aversion to writing out details has stopped me from explaining my living situation. Here's the short and sweet version.

{Most of my house photos are on my old computer. This is from last summer.}

I live in an all female boarding house on Capitol Hill. We get breakfast and dinner Monday through Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. The food is standard cafeteria fare. Think Morris Center, circa 1990.

There are about 100+ girls in the house, and almost everyone has a private room. There are two sets of communal bathrooms on each floor, a laundry room, and a tv room and a workout area in the basement. .

Our rent (which is ridiculously low for this area) includes food and utilities.

Last year in September the executive director of the home asked me to be one of the assistant resident managers. This means that about once a week I come home from work and am in charge, so to speak, of the house. I give the front desk person (there is someone at the desk 24/7) her break, have office hours for an hour and a half, deal with resident issues, attend to minor maintenance issues, count the money, close the books, and do whatever else is required of me. I am technically on duty through the night until the next morning at 9 am (I think it's 9 am). I also work one Saturday a month doing the same thing, except it involves more time at the desk, and I can't leave the house the entire time I'm on duty.

Sometimes being on duty is smooth sailing. Nothing happens, the money balances out, and I can get upstairs at the end of the night without any problems. Other times it is a living hell. Residents come in complaining, people don't want to pay their rent, copy bills, etc., guests don't check in at the desk like they're supposed to, people try to smuggle food out of the dining room, skirmishes break out over the tv, toilets clog (fun times!), people don't check-out when they're supposed to and I have to go kick them out of their room, the money doesn't balance, and on, and on.

My worst duty shifts have included vomit cleanup; standing in the boiler room one cold winter night from 12 am - 2 am with another resident manager and the furnace guy waiting for the heater to kick on; the overnight desk person calling in sick and scrambling to split up the hours between all of us managers; filling in at the last minute for another resident manager who had become deathly ill in the night while at the same time taking care of them; dealing with 8 check-ins who came at sporadic intervals throughout the morning and early afternoon...I'll stop. The times that I have to enforce rules can stink, but oddly enough being the enforcer hasn't been too difficult. I'm older than most of these girls and I don't have time for their bidness.

In exchange for my hard work and dedication, I get a credit on my rent based on the amount of hours that I work every moth. Because I'm one of the newer managers I don't get as many hours, but it's still a good deal. Also, I got to move into a big room with my own bathroom. Score!

Residents get to stay for two years, but managers get an extra year. That gives me until 5/15/11 to come up with my next step.

Why did I move here?

1. To get out of Colonial. It's not a bad ward, it's just very much not the ward for me.

2. To get away from having roommates.

3. To not cohabit with Mormons. My roommates were the best, most awesome roommates that I could have asked for when I lived in Arlington. It wasn't them, I just don't handle living with Mormons well. I can't mentally deal with mixing the social side of my life with my religion. I have to keep them separate to some degree so that I am not pressuring myself with the demands of a culture over the demands of a gospel, or letting the former skew/taint my understanding of the latter.

4. I don't have a car. Though I'll probably never stop complaining about public transportation, it's available more widely in the District and is used regularly by many people as their every day means of getting around. I felt stranded out in Virginia and felt like a tool walking places there.

Also, I had to rely on people for rides to church since our building was like 30 minutes away. That made me nervous. I hated feeling stuck out there with no means of escape.

5. At a certain point I just felt like I was wasting my time living on the rim of the city. I didn't move out here to live across the river from DC in a run-of-the-mill Northern Virginia suburb. I wanted to be in the city city experiencing what life here would be like.

Aaand that took forever. If you have any questions I can answer them in a subsequent post.

So, the back story was all so that I could tell you that a couple of weeks ago we had a reception at the house to celebrate our executive director's 20th anniversary of working here. All of her family came to the party, and I spent most of my time adoring her little nephew that is perhaps the cutest baby I have ever seen.

Look at that hair! It was soft, like duck down. And those big cheeks, that yittle wittle neck, and that sweet pouchy mouth of his!

He was such a sweet heart, such a sweet heart. He had this nasty little fistful of food and he kept cramming it in his mouth. He just sat on my lap while I cooed at him and tickled him and babbled on and on about what a cute little sir he was and how 'him so strong, yes him is! I'm-a gonna get him bell-wy, yes I am!'

Is this picture not classic? The look on his face is priceless. 'Uh, lady, you're straight crazy.' I know it, little man. You don't have to tell me.


mom said...

He is a doll. How can you say cutest when they are all the cutest. I think he looks like you!

Rachel and Jeremy said...

A few thoughts:

1. Ahhh, the Morris Center: may s/he rest in peace.

2. That baby is pretty dang cute. I am excessively jealous of all babies with hair--truly. And his face in that last picture is pretty great.

3. I miss your handwriting. I could recognize it anywhere.

lelly said...

sounds a little bit like running a hotel, if you ask me ;)

and, how much do i really want to go and call somebody "straight crazy" right now? 'though i don't think i could quite pull off the accompanying facial expression!

Jill said...

Thanks for the info, I've been wondering. Next I'd like a detailed tour of your actual living quarters. I'm so curious about all of this.

It's funny that you don't like living with Mormons.

Sarah said...

Uh, I'm going to read this post to Buddy when he wakes up. Don't expect anyone to answer when you call tonight.

Also, while THAT baby is looking at you like you're crazy, the look on your face is funnier. It's your classic "I'm going to steal this baby" face. I love it.

I loved the Morris Center. Some of the best times of my single life were spent within the walls of that cafeteria =)

Have I ever told you that I go to church with TWO couples who met while working as RA's at DT? Isn't that crazy? One of the gals worked at the front desk, but the other three were RA's. Crazy.

Sarah said...

I'm so jealous that you live IN a city.

Sheans said...

That baby is spectacular.

michelle said...

This was so interesting! I like having the back story. It sounds like a great deal, since you get a reduction on your rent, a bigger room, your own bathroom, and you get to stay an extra year! Although I'm sure it doesn't feel like such a great deal when you have middle of the night yucky tasks...

That last photo is priceless! Both of your expressions, and your enviable dimples. So cute.

scrambled brains said...

I hope you'll reconsider cohabitating with a mormon someday when I am a widow because you promised to! Never forget that. Because I won't. That little boy is AWESOME. He reminds me of a boy on an old Sesame Street where he is talking to Grover or Cookie Monster and giving the most precocious you know the one?

rebekah said...

I totally remember that one! I've got to find it now.

Whitney said...

holy cows, the look on that kid's face is AWWESOME