The concept of our new living arrangement has raised a lot of questions. Well, one question, mostly: "Do you think you'll all get along okay?" The veiled, deeper question being, "How are two households going to meld without a lot of strife and frustration and seething resentment over whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher? And how many kids is that, again?"
I guess I have no direct answer to that (surprise!), because I don't expect a seamless, stress-free fusion. But I also think it's pretty pessimistic to assume that a group of reasonable adults can't work through whatever issues may arise from a new situation. I've been living with roommates, many of them practically strangers at the outset, since I moved 400 miles from home at 17-years-old. I can hope that, in fifteen years of sharing living space, I've even improved a little in the core concepts of domestic harmony. So far, I have yet to engage in a stereo war with any of the children, and I shared the abundance of my rice cooker with K, even though she insisted on making it meal-like by putting taco sauce and cheese and meat on it instead of just dashing on soy sauce and a couple pineapple chunks.
Of course, since the initial query is generally coming from other mothers/wives, the even deeper question is, "We all know Mama is the boss, so who's running the show when there are two women/mothers in the house?" And the very diplomatic, equanimity-minded answer to that is, "Der. K." Okay, maybe that's not entirely true, but if we were handing out executive titles, she would likely garner CEO for her swift, decisive action and facile networking. She is the company visionary, always keeping the big picture in mind. R, then, would be the household Chief Operations Officer, coordinating and managing the daily activities and making multiple complex tasks run smoothly in parallel. And me? Well, probably some combination of Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information (as in IT) Officer, and my favorite, Chief Compliance Officer. Wikipedia says, "Generally, a CCO is in charge of overseeing and managing compliance issues within an organization, ensuring … the company and its employees are complying with internal policies and procedures." In other words, the goody-goody. Bingo! And of course, we all serve at the mercy of our Board of Directors, a six-person team of tyrannical, and rather short, trustees who call our every decision into question. And question. And question.
And then we have days like yesterday, when we're all put in our proper places as janitorial staff. To celebrate the end of our first week in our new home, our plumbing decided to send us a present. The back-up and overflow of our pipes coordinated nicely with the onset of GK's violent stomach virus. By noon on Sunday, every towel in the house was either catching vomit or keeping sewage at bay, and every adult in the house was engaged in one or both of those endeavors. They say there's no "I" in "team," although the lesser known but even truer aphorism is, there's no "Uh, I'm busy" in "poop coming up through the bathtub drain."
So can we all get along okay? After a day like that, it's hard to see how we couldn't. I'm sure that any one or two of us could have survived it without the other(s), but I think we're all grateful that we didn't have to. Living together might make us a company, but cleaning up each other's co-mingled waste? Now it's a family business.