Stef and Mike—new roomies!
You know that episode of “Friends” where Monica’s about to move in with Chandler? When she turns to Rachel and with a look on her face that says both I-can’t-wait-to-live-with-the-person-I-love and I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-to-live-with-this-slob-who’s-going-to-leave-the-toilet-seat-up, whines “I have to live with a booyyyyy!?”
I get it now.
About three weeks ago, I moved in with a boy—my boyfriend of over a year and a half, Mike.
The decision to move in together was not a rash one. I have a very strict rule that you should not sign a yearlong lease with your significant other until you have been dating for at least that long. But when we knew both of our leases would be up in June 2009, moving in together just seemed like the obvious, and right, thing to do.
Leading up to the big move, I had no apprehension whatsoever. I was excited to be able to see him every night, excited to feel settled and grounded, excited to move on to the next phase of our relationship. I expected the transition to be smooth—why not? The rest of our relationship has certainly been that way.
We found a small but beautiful one bedroom in the city, managed to agree on furniture that was nice and affordable and fit all of our clothes into our small but mighty walk-in closet—no easy feat for a boy who wears three pairs of socks a day and a girl who…well, and a girl. We decorated and built furniture, and dreamed of bbqing on our tiny balcony and snuggling on our comfy new couch to watch our way too big TV—if we could only agree on what to watch…
And so it began. He likes to go to bed early—I like to stay up late. He likes to cook meat in the kitchen—I don’t want to clean it up. I like to watch quality television like “Jon and Kate Plus 8” and “So You Think You Can Dance” –he wants to watch “Man vs. Wild.” I have to leave my hair straightener out on the bathroom sink to cool down—he wants it out of his way to make room for his beard trimmer. And the list of trivial disagreements goes on…
At first, I got frustrated—and a little freaked out. Why wasn’t everything perfect? What if these little fights turn into bigger ones? What if this didn’t work out?
One afternoon, after a discussion about where to go to lunch escalated into a full-blown fight— amid my irate stomping around and door slamming—I looked over at Mike and smiled at the horrified look he was giving me. I love that “Man vs.Wild” watching, meat cooking boy. Finally, I was able to put things in perspective.
I decided then it was time that I stop fuming about the stupid stuff and start to appreciate all the good stuff that comes along with living with a boy—like, there is always someone to take out the trash, reach things up high and kill spiders! (okay, maybe that stuff is trivial too, but it’s still useful!) And after a long, busy day, we both have someone to come home to, a shoulder to lean on, someone to make us soup when we’re sick, a built in plus one for weddings and parties.
The other day, after many dizzying hours of picking out furniture at IKEA, Mike suggested that we get a set of Shabbos candles. And a few days later, I went to my parents’ house to pick up the mezuzah I had bought years before in Venice, still in its original packaging because I had been saving it for the right time.
Sure, there will always be trivial disagreements when two people try to meld their two living styles into one, but the really cool part about all this is that through putting together this apartment, we are starting to build our life, together. Maybe all these little fights are just practice for some of the bigger compromises that lay ahead of us.
And even though we’re just renting our tiny one bedroom, for the first time since leaving our parents’ houses after high school graduation, the place where we eat, sleep and watch TV is starting to feel a lot more like home.