Broomies: One Year Anniversary

By Laura Chapman 

This month marks a special moment in my life – the one year anniversary of moving into a house with my two big brothers. Together we rent the small ranch house we lived in with our parents and little sister years ago. Sometimes it feels weird living there, like our parents are gone for the weekend and could return at any moment. Other times, that familiarity is nice and comfortable.

Even without Mom or Dad on hand to play referee, the three of us have managed not to kill each other. Mind you, we drive each other crazy, but I consider maintaining peace a small victory. It does not always come easily. Each of us makes compromises and concessions. And at times, none of us win. It has been a learning experience to say the least. With one year of life with my broomies (brothers/roomies) behind me, I want to share five of the big lessons I have picked up along the way.

No. 1: Listening does not matter as long as the other person responds accordingly. Unless it has to do with how much we owe on bills or when our parents expect us for Easter dinner, the broomies and I seldom listen to the entirety of anything one of us says to the other. The broomies do not care if I listen to their analysis of a football game as long as I nod in agreement. Likewise, a “nice,” is a satisfactory response when I tell them about a book I read. For us, good communication means less is more.

No. 2: Cupboards are difficult to shut. And apparently it is impossible to press “reset” on the microwave after taking a dish out before the time is up. When this happens, I find it is best to just close the door and clear the timer and get on with my life. Then I let it go, or rather I make no complaint to them. Even though it drives me crazy, I have learned to pick my battles. Getting into a fight over one of these pet peeves just is not worth it.

7UP made lawn work slightly better in 1962...
No. 3: When it comes to lawn work, chivalry should not be dead. I hate mowing the lawn more than any other chore. I tried it when I was 16 and a neighbor criticized my technique. I swore off doing it ever again. Somehow, I have managed to get through a year without ever having to touch the lawn. And I plan to make it through another. I will load and unload as many dishwashers as it takes to stay off lawnmower duty. In return, I will hope neither of them catches me when I say it is not my turn in the yard.

No. 4: In other cases, being a man means nothing. This past winter our household came under siege from some unwanted guests: mice. We had two take up residence, and even though we found the source of their entry, getting them to leave was a challenge. We set up traps, filled every entrance to the outside with steel wool and monitored the mouse activity. There were a lot of tears (all mine), screams (from everyone) and arguments. And eventually, using a seemingly ridiculous concept I found online, I caught the bastards. What did we learn from this? We all hate mice, and sometimes the little sister can save the day.

No. 5: Under no circumstance should I leave my underwear anywhere but my clothes hamper or dresser drawer. This goes for my makeup, shoes and anything else that falls in the “girl” category. Unless I want broomie retaliation in some horrifying or unimaginable form, I cannot fail in this task. So far, I have avoided falling prey to any of these threats, but fear is still there. Boys are gross, and I do not want to see what they come up with.

Here’s hoping we make the peace last into year two.

Laura Chapman is a journalist, blogger, book reviewer and yet-to-be published novelist. In 2010, she founded Change the Word, a blog that follows her writing career and offers book reviews, author promotions and writing tips. Based in Lincoln, Nebraska, she has two completed novels in editing and is hard at work on her third, which she is adapting for a web series. A regular contributor at Good Humor Girl, you can find out more about Laura here.