Except that my apartment is only 380 square feet. And there will be two of us here for 5 days and nights. Now, we love each other. And, as she is always pointing out to me, we have to love each other no matter what, because we're family. But there are rules about women living together in enclosed spaces, and they are inviolable. They're somewhere in between the law of gravity (impossible to actually break, space flight notwithstanding) and things like laws against murder (bad things will happen if you get caught). You can violate the laws, but you will be caught and punished. And it ain't pretty.
I learned all of this living with ten other women in a single-sex dorm in college. Eleven women, one bathroom. Oh, yeah. Bring on the pain. My roommate, the sweetest, most gentle-tempered woman on earth, was reduced to tears on the night of the formal dance, when shower competition was extra fierce, despite a flail at scheduling shower time fairly. I also remember her exasperation the night that the cutest women on our floor came home rip-roaring drunk, sat down in the hallway, and determined to learn the words to "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." Did I say "learn?" Oh, yes I did. Only one of the group knew the words. They had some awesome three-part harmony going (and that's not sarcasm--it was beautiful), but it was a wee small hour of the morning, probably about two hours before my roommate was going to get up, and after four or five false starts on the song, we heard the following exchange:
"I'm never going to get it!"And then they false-started up again. Until that moment I hadn't been sure my roommate was awake. But just as my sleepy brain was trying to decide between righteous indignation, despair, and rage, I heard her leap across the room and rush out the door. In a restrained voice that does her credit and makes me absolutely certain she's become the best mother ever, she said, "That was really lovely. [beat] But are you really going to sing it a thousand times?" They giggled musically and quieted down.
"Don't be ridiculous. We'll just sing it a thousand times and by the end you'll know it!"
Giggle giggle giggle
Here's the other thing. I don't actually know what the laws are. I know I've violated them before. I know the consequences are bad, bad, bad. But if you asked me to name them, I've got no ideas. So all I can do is make the most of my 380 square feet (which means putting some stuff in the basement storage area so we'll have more space and generally tidying up as never before) and making my cousin happy (which basically means placing a giant FreshDirect order for exciting food, buying club soda by the gallon, putting fresh cold water in the fridge, and letting her nap every day).
I'm closing in on tidy, but I'm still mighty far from achieving it. My current strategy involves tequila and an oven timer. I'll update you soon.