Lynn’s Recollections and Reflections #23 – Roommates

This story has become a bit of family folklore. We typically tell it at family events after a few too many glasses of wine and there is someone new who hasn’t heard the story.

My sister-in-law and I laugh so hard we can hardly talk. I think that’s half the reason everyone else also thinks it’s funny. To this day, my poor brother just gets annoyed with us.

I hope I can do it justice and that it is as funny to you as it is to my sister-in-law and me.

The truth is that it might only be funny to us!

My Brother and Sister-in-Law Moved In

In the summer of 1990, my brother and his soon-to-be wife bought a house. The day before the closing, they had a walk-through.

It didn’t go as well as expected.

6-year-old Kenny and I went with them to the final inspection. The house was a cute little ranch in a nice neighborhood. However, upon close inspection. we found some issues. Like the sky that we could see through the roof when we opened the scuttlehole to the attic and the water that was puddled on the basement floor. Concerning but we were willing to see if these things could either be fixed or a price adjustment could be made.

The deal breaker was when my son used the bathroom while we were in the basement. I had taught him right to flush the toilet and wash his hands. When the raw sewage from the flush came down into the basement, the deal was off.

The soon-to-be newlyweds were disappointed by worse than having to start the house hunt over again, they had moved out of their apartment and all of their possessions were in a U-haul trailer; they had no place to live.

my farmhouse on Raymond ave in Barrington

Moving In

Of course, the solution was for them to move in with me and Kenny. My house had room for them and their dog and I was excited to have the company.

I let them have my bedroom which had a king-sized bed and I slept in the guest room.

Our Work Situations

My brother and his soon-to-be wife had recently graduated from college and they both had full-time jobs. My brother was a logistical engineer for a well-known nationwide delivery company. Being the new kid on the block he worked the longest and the worst hours.

His fianceé on the other hand had a job selling light bulbs for commercial buildings. She worked from home and set her own hours. She also worked on commission.

When she made her quota for the week, sometimes hours after she left for appointments on Monday, she would come home and be off the rest of the week.

I had finished school and started an Interior Design Company. So I also worked from home and set my own schedule.


Someday I will come across the photos that fit with all of these Recollection Posts and I promise I will add them in.

Summer Time & One Wool Suit

It was the dog days of summer with most days being in the 80s and 90s.

My sister-in-law and I worked a few hours a day (typically) and then spent the rest of our day watching “The Golden Girls” and planning dinner. We started drinking wine at 4:00 or 5:00 p.m.

By the time my brother got home, we would be well-fed and enjoying the results of the wine we had been drinking all evening.

He would be so tired he many times just went straight up to bed, wanting to have nothing to do with the two of us. We would tell him to “loosen up and have a drink” while he plodded up the stairs to bed.

On one particular day, we thought we would help him out and sent his shirts and suits to the cleaner so he didn’t have to worry about that too. Little did we know that we only left him with one suit and it was wool.

My brother was not happy when he found out that his suits were gone. He wanted at least one back sooner than later.

I had no idea that our dry cleaner sent things out to be cleaned. They were sent out on Thursdays and returned the following Thursday.

Being that it was his first job out of college, my brother was driving a very old car that didn’t have working air conditioning. His commute from work to my house was about 40 minutes during rush hour traffic. Needless to say, his one wool suit was not faring well in the heat. His appreciation of our “helpfulness” was non-existent.

He was so mad at us because we were at home most of the day, watching TV, eating nice dinners, and drinking our wine. Meanwhile, he’s working 12-hour days in 80 – 90-degree weather in his one wool suit.

When I called the cleaner to find out where my brother’s suits were, I found out they had been shipped off. Not fazed by our excuses, my brother was ready to kill us. Luckily for us, we were able to retrieve his shirts right away but the suits were another story.

Once they were finally cleaned, I had to drive two hours (each way) to finally get a hold of the suits. It was probably a week that he had to wear his one suit.

His Boss

When my brother did have time off, he shared with us how much he hated his boss. (A woman)

Knowing this, on the nights he got home early enough to have dinner with us, we would share with him the wisdom that we acquired through wine, “You need to tell that B*#@! to go to H*{{ “. We were sure that we knew exactly how he should conduct himself at his job and how he should handle his boss! We thought he should demand to work fewer hours so he could be at home more, having fun with us.

Woe is Me

I mentioned that they brought their dog with them. We had a cat and we had a ghost and the dog wanted nothing to do with either. He was spooked in our house and was a bit crazy.

The dog was peeing on my rugs and just generally misbehaving. When my brother would come home from work (hot, tired, and stressed out by his boss) he would have to hear from his soon-to-be wife upset that the dog wasn’t behaving and it was stressing her out!

Needless to say, he had no sympathy for her or for me! Who could blame him?

A Home of Their Own

This craziness went on for some time. I’m not even sure how long they were with us. But they found a home that was so much better than what they originally were going to buy and they moved out and into their cute little home.

Me and "Handy" on the right and my cousin and her husband on the left at my brother's wedding.
Me and “Handy” on the right and my cousin and her husband on the left at my brother’s wedding.

They had their wedding reception in their backyard and I took “Handy” to the wedding. It was one of our first dates.

The Ghost!

I promise to share more about our ghost next time.

Peace & Love,

Some of My Favorite Things

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  1. The Introduction
  2. My Parents and Their Friends in the 60s
  3. A Lonely Kid
  4. The Day I Ran Away TO Home
  5. The Tornado
  6.  Moving Away from My Friends
  7. The Summer of 1975
  8. Living with the Devil
  9. After the Summer of 1975
  10. The Wedding
  11. Newlyweds and 2 New Houses
  12. A Baby
  13. Behind Closed Doors
  14. Living the Dream
  15. Four Tumultuous Years
  16. My Sister
  17. Fast Forward To Today
  18. The Divorce
  19. Do Your Homework
  20. Why Am I Writing This
  21. Living Through Abuse
  22. Fixer Upper
  23. Dating Single Mom


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