The House Rules

I’ve been in Maine for a total of ten days and shoveled twice.  My back feels stronger already.

After the holidays and sending my husband back to DC, I drove up to my new home base in Portland.  Tom will be in the DC/central VA area for a few days before moving on to set up house in Honolulu, while I deal with the winter wonderland you see above.  For the moment, we are effectively homeless.  It’s kind of fun, living out of some duffel bags and a hiking backpack, but it would be more fun if he were here.  
That said, living with my cousin Mark is a hoot.  He’s a man of routine and structure, and while he has been incredibly generous about offering his space and a gracious host, he does have certain rules to follow.  Thus follows “The House Rules” according to Mark:
The House Rules
Subcategory 1: Preservation of Mark’s Morning Routine
Abstract: Mark wakes at 4am and works 12+ hour days.  Thus, his morning routine is sacred as it allows the rest of his day to flow smoothly.
Rule 1: The coffee maker is preprogrammed to his specifications.  I am not to touch it.  If I want coffee, he has an extra coffee maker in the basement.
Rule 2A: He eats 3 pieces of toast in the morning.  The type of bread he likes works out perfectly to three slices a day for a workweek.  Thus, I am to get my own bread if I want toast.  This brings us to… 
Rule 2B: The orange juice is also reserved for his breakfast, and if I want OJ I can buy my own.
Rule 3: Do not be in the shower between 4am and 5am, as that is when he wakes to get ready for the day.
Subcategory 2: Preservation of Energy
Abstract: Energy bills in Maine are HIGH, particularly because it is so f***ing cold.  Thus, keep bills down by conserving energy.  All of these are things I would have done anyway, but they were included in the breakdown.
Rule 1: Cold water is free; ergo, wash all laundry in cold water.
Rule 2: The thermostat is set at 65 degrees.  No higher.  No lower.  Cold?  Layer.  That’s why we have extra blankets.  (I’m glad I invested in extra long undies and thick socks.)
Rule 3: Lights are to be turned off immediately upon exiting a room.
Subcategory 3: Housekeeping
Abstract: He’s a VERY tidy dude.  I am really, really not.
Rule 1: Dishes go straight into the dishwasher.
Rule 2: The towel on the rod that is closest to the door is mine.  Towels that are put back on the rod are to be folded in thirds, or else face being accused of having been raised in a barn.
Rule 3: My closet is the coat closet next to the recliner; all things that need to be hung up are to be hung in there.
Rule 4: Get a suction-cup storage unit for the shower as to avoid having “loose bottles” in the tub area.
Rule 5: Shoes off at the door.  (See Rule 2, Barn Penalty for explanation.)
Rule 6: Do NOT block his truck in, and do not leave the front entryway into the duplex unlocked.
All of these are quite reasonable when you think about it; he’s allowed me into his home for a VERY long period of time, and he is a guy who needs alone time more than anyone I’ve ever met.  His world is orderly and structured to best fit his needs and as his house guest, it is on me to disrupt that routine as little as possible.
That said, I was kind of surprised that I would need my own coffee maker.