I'm also going to babysit a friend's son (he's 9) about once a week in the East Village. And I'm going to help a friend of a friend organize her files, and then some time later in the fall I'm going to do some house painting for a friend.
It's been chilly at night and in the mornings, but I find myself superstitiously avoiding putting on a sweater or even a long-sleeve shirt. I don't trust the cool weather, I've been so traumatized by the Texas heat. It's been gorgeous out, the kind of bright, cool fall that New Yorkers live for. It's still hot in the subway. I've forgotten how long it takes for that hot air to be displaced in the fall.
I cleaned and rearranged T's kitchen yesterday, spent most of the day on it. T and I have been friends for 20 years. I love him with all my soul. He has many talents but keeping the house clean is not among them. The kitchen was a mess, dirty and cluttered with no place to work and no place to sit. I moved stuff around and created some counter space for cooking and a little eating nook by the window. It's very tenement civilized. Huge difference. And it made T happy to come home from work and see the kitchen transformed. That in itself made the effort worthwhile.
When people ask me for advice about cohabitation, whether it's as friends or lovers (and oddly enough, people ask me), I always tell them my one rule is, "If you think something needs to be clean, clean it." Seriously, stop trying to figure out how to get the other person to do it and just do it yourself. Then it'll be clean and you'll be happy. It doesn't matter who left the dishes in the sink. If you wash them, they'll be gone. Problem solved. What's so horrible about doing something nice for someone like washing their dishes?
People have different styles of housekeeping, different priorities, different levels of dirtiness that they notice or tolerate, and it's probably impossible to change them much. All the trying and the resentment it creates on both sides just corrodes the relationship. My threshold of cleanliness is somewhere halfway between clean freak and slob -- I've been on both sides of the dispute in my various households over the years.
It's hard to believe I've been here for almost two weeks now. I'm happy.