Our little "Color Purple" co-housing fantasy life

minnie: now with more chickens!
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

While I’m talking about chickens on my block, here is a short tribute to my fabulous housemate and fellow “alternative” mom, The Pilot. She’s into fashion design, and she sewed this dress for Minnie, who picked it up today! It’s got chickens all over it, and black velvet trim.

Note that my sister has jeans on under the dress. The Pilot is unpictured, because she was naked. Our houses connect, duplex-style, through my kitchen and her front hall, and so I opened the door… “Can we come in?” “Yeah! But I’m bare-ass-naked!” That’s what life is like around here. We had a dress fitting and discussion of exactly what kind of polka-dotted spats Minnie should make. The Pilot also had strong opinions on red underwear, “or underwear with a bright red bow, right here on the hip.” I think it’s funny to have a seamstress and fashion designer who’s consulting with you while they’re completely nude. She’s such a Burning Man hippie!

Anyway, just to say that I appreciate my housemate. When we were first moving in we had a sort of complicated drama which is so scandalous as to be unbloggable, but we worked it out. Mostly. I learned not to be a big jerk, or how to be slightly less of a jerk, from that. I hope the lesson stuck. Today as Minnie pranced around in the chicken dress, I was thinking about how during one of me and The Pilot’s long processing discussions while we were fighting, I told her how if we were in a book, we would go all “Color Purple” with it and make up our differences and begin a fabulous business sewing people comfortable pants. I still can’t sew – it’s too bad! We don’t have a utopian co-housing fantasy life, and we do sort of have our snippy moments towards each other about the garbage or the yard maintenance or who left the sandbox cover off for cats to poop in the sandbox… but you know… I am grateful every day that we all live here and it makes life SO much less boring. Sometimes people say they would never share housing space because of the potential problems. I think that living alone (or in a nuclear family) also has its problems. And, as I never shut up about… I want to live in a bigger co-housing project someday, within the next 10 years. Big co-ops rock. I know their problems extremely well, but they aren’t insurmountable anymore than the problems of marriages make marriage impossible.

Anyway, The Pilot is fabulous. She listens to Jesus Christ Superstar about 20 million times a day. Her fabric collection would knock you dead. She can fix airplanes! She let me shave her head! And then there was that one black latex outfit she wore to the opening of The Matrix… burned into my brain. Also, she’s a good and funny writer – a good photographer – someday we’ll get her to blog instead of just the mass email reports. I still learn from her and her parenting, and her attitude towards life, and her totally insane creative skills (omg, the bra-making party!) and I like getting to meddle with her charming young sprog. Now to find some really great fabric. Pants, or a cute dress? Maybe a chicken bra?

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