I haven’t written in almost a year. I’m sorry, but (insert whatever excuse will allow you to give me another chance here). Truly.
I’ll cut to the chase: Steven and I moved in with four other people and a dog. We did not birth nor are we related (at least in the traditional sense of the word) to any of them.
This, as you can imagine, has been a cause of concern for most of my family and many of my friends, who still have lingering doubts that I did not join a cult in 2007 when I spent a year in missions. So I imagine their conversations look a lot like this:
“Did you hear about Maggie and Steven? They moved into a commune where they share their kitchen and bathroom and probably even their spouses. I think it’s their new religion or something.”
“Oh I heard. And they aren’t even allowed to watch T.V., probably cause the leaders are worried they’ll be influenced by the outside world or worse, democrats. I think we should start an email chain so that we all can share what we think we heard about it. You know, so that we know how to pray for her. ”
Which is why I feel compelled to clear up a few things, just to make sure we’re all on the same page. Or even in the same book (which, for the record, is not Daughters of Zion).
So here’s a brief overview about how we went from being two people in a basement to being six people in a home:
Last year, we met Shannon and Brian Quay at church. They moved to Fort Collins from Ohio for Brian to attend graduate school. Shannon is a teacher, and one of the sharpest women I have ever known. She can make you laugh so hard you forget it’s not okay to pee in the kitchen. Brian is a budding economist, brewmaster and outdoorsman extraordinaire. The two of them together will slay you. I mean, seriously, you are good as dead.
The Quays introduced us to their friend Hannah Pechan, who also moved here from Ohio for graduate school. There are very few things that Hannah is not good at. To name just a few areas in which she excels: loving people, being grateful, staying politically informed, changing the world one baby shower at a time. Also on the sharpest women I have ever known list. Right near the top.
Around the same time, I started getting to know my longtime friend-crush from church, Cassie Blair. She is a designer/artist/photographer/snorter/impeccable dresser. Also on the list of sharp women. You may have noticed a pattern.
The meeting of all these people was soon eclipsed by our introduction to the Quay’s beloved dog, Manii. (Which means a lot coming from me, as those who know me know that I was born without a tenderness for animals. There was nothing the doctors could do.) If you haven’t met him, do whatever you can to change that.
By December of last year, we were all quite nearly smitten with each other. We also were all in need of a new living situation, for various reasons. When the idea of renting a place together was raised, and then once we were certain that the idea was not raised in jest, we got serious.
Steven and I have talked about living in a commune for a long time. Back when we were only a couple in my diary, we talked about living in a big house with all our friends, sharing responsibilities, gardening, pooling resources and opening it up for community events, concerts, feasts, etc.
Although the two years we lived alone together were a necessary investment in ourselves as a unit, the idea that that longtime dream could become a reality, at least in part, was enough to fill us with something that felt a lot like giddiness.
The house hunt ended in April when three* of us signed a lease on a two-level, four-bed, two-bath house on Remington Street. It had everything we were looking for and more. Big windows, wooden floors, lots of kitchen shelves and a hidden storage area in the bathroom where we could hide a small person if the need should arise.
We moved in at the first of August.
Now to dispose of the rumors. Contrary to popular belief (which may or my not have been perpetuated by my own endless fascination with family-bed jokes), we do not share a bank account or a bed. It’s true, we don’t yet have a T.V., but we do have five MacBooks, a subscription to the WSJ and a projector in the works. There is no shortage of routes to the outside world and current, diverse political commentary (so you can stop worrying, Dad).
The only thing we do religiously as a house is drink coffee and listen to Stevie Nicks. Other than that, we’re all still trying to be more like Jesus, and hoping we can help each other in our lifelong pursuits of trying to figure out what that means.
Our adventure has really only just begun. It will not be without trial (what good adventure is?). All that we know for certain is that we will end the year with four friends that are actually family and a dog that we did not have to potty train. And maybe even a few life lessons, if we’re lucky.
I hope you’ll come over sometime.
*The City of Fort Collins forbids cohabitation of more than three unrelated individuals. Which is why Steven, Hannah and I are actually just visiting. For a year or so.