Tip #58: Divide and conquer.
I grew up in a house with three sisters and one shower. Most people who hear this fact make a sharp intake of breath and finish with a word of sympathy for my father.
“FOUR daughters???” It’s as though he’d been stricken by some unfortunate plague.
“And a female dog?”
“Your poor dad,” was a refrain that I heard through most of my childhood. Remarkably, I don’t think I’ve once heard my dad glorify the comments with a response. This didn’t stop people from saying it. Still hasn’t.
While I don’t think having four daughters is the problem, divvying one shower among 6 people is a challenge, certainly. Sunday mornings when my family went to church were the worst. Inevitably several of us would sit in the pews with our hair dripping onto the knees of the faithful behind us. I once walked down the aisle to communion with the entire back of my dress still unbuttoned. Getting ready to leave the house in a family of 6.
Now that it’s just two of us sharing a bathroom, things are decidedly less hectic. But getting ready to “leave the house” in a tiny apartment has its share of challenges. Where there was only one full bathroom in our house growing up, the bathroom was large enough for most of us to cram into, and we did. Privacy mattered only when you were the one seeking it:
“Close the DOOR.”
And not at all if you were the one hoping to trample on someone else’s:
“I just need to get a hair elastic and brush my teeth. Gosh.“
More than once I had a sister climb into the shower with me.
In the bathroom in this apartment, there’s not enough room for a full-sized bathmat let alone two full-sized human beings. Lucky for us, our schedules have usually meant that we’re not trying to leave the house at precisely the same time. And if we are, it’s not usually early in the morning. Mostly this keeps the peace.
But if there’s one bit of advice for surviving departure hour in a tiny apartment, it’s to divide and conquer. Even though my morning routine is fairly minimal, I know that I take longer than James to get ready, so I shower first. I also keep my makeup in a small pouch so that if I need to use the mirror above the couch, I can grab everything in one go and I don’t have to bother returning to the bathroom for missing hair elastics. In a tip I learned from childhood, hair drying can happen as easily in the living room as the bathroom. I draw the line at brushing my teeth at the kitchen sink, but James doesn’t. So I guess that’s an option, too.
*It’s hard to asterisk a photo: but I wanted to offer proof that in case you think things are perfect around these tea leaves a) our bathroom mirror is sometimes quite dirty b) I sometimes Bogart the bathroom in order to take vanity shots. Fair use?