Duma operating agreements
Duma operating agreements
INFO FOR NEW DUMANIANS
By providing information
about our day-to-day expectations of one another to new folks at
Duma , we hope to make the transition for new residents as smooth
as Velveeta® cheese. Feel free to ask questions about the
following information. And if you have suggestions or concerns
about any of these items, speak with other folks or write about
it in the communications book. As a group, we can change these
agreements at any time.
KEYS, DOORS, WINDOWS,
We have agreed to lock
the outside doors and close ground-floor windows at night to keep
out burglars, rapists, and slimy green monsters with lots of
tentacles. Generally the security person locks the doors and
closes windows around 10 pm and the first people up in the
morning unlock the doors. We have also agreed to lock the
house and close windows in the daytime when no one is home or no
one is on the first floor. It’s wise to take keys with you
any time you leave home. The membership coordinators can give you
a key if you haven’t received one yet. Hallway and porch lights
are also left on at night for safety and security. Please turn
the lights off during the day if you notice them on.
Please indicate what
days you are able to partake in meals on the board located in the
kitchen so the cook knows how much food to prepare and how many
places to set. Please indicate if you need a “late
plate” or aren’t sure whether you can attend dinner. If you
have guests over for dinner, please remember to put the date they
plan to attend on the board as well. If there are any foods that
make you gag, let others know through the communication book. If
you wish to prepare or eat meat in the house, bring it up at a
meeting so we can work out any concerns folks might have.
responsible for cleaning dishes, pots, pans, containers etc. that
they use during the day and after the evening meal. Violators
will be promptly thrown into the dungeon. After washing your
dishes, help out by putting a couple of dishes from the drainer
away. The afternoon clean-up people and the dinner clean-up folks
are not responsible for cleaning up people’s personal messes.
There are a whole bunch of other kitchen guidelines posted in the
kitchen to make sharing food enjoyable rather than a hassle. Please
read through the kitchen guidelines and become familiar with
RECYCLING and TRASH
We recycle just about
everything (except certain contraceptive devices). Please become
familiar with the system, so folks who have lived here awhile
don’t have a cow when they see a juice carton in the trash. It’s
best to ask the recycling coordinator if you have questions,
since what can and can’t be recycled seem to change frequently.
We also have a “free box” and lost and found. Put your
personal garbage in the can outdoors. Garbage pick-up is on
We have found much less
blood is shed if folks do not leave their personal belongings in
common spaces. Please follow through with any project you
start or mess you make.
When you shower, open
the window to prevent the mildew that’s growing on the ceiling
from coming down and gettin’ you. Remove the hair from the drain,
and close the shower curtain to let it dry out when you are done.
(Here’s a Hint from Heloise: Drying in the shower keeps the
bathroom floor drier!) The toilet motto to conserve water is
“If it’s brown, flush it down, if it’s yellow, let it
mellow.” For men only: After you take a pee, put the
seat down so the next person to sit on the john doesn’t have to
put the seat down (or accidentally fall in!) Oh yes, and
everyone, please replace the toilet paper when you use up the
roll or else your ass is grass.
It seems to work best if
messages are left in people’s mailboxes with the day, time of
call, and your name on the message. This information really helps
when you are trying to decipher a message that looks like it was
written in Cantoneese. Speak with the treasurer about obtaining
an account code for making long-distance calls from the house.
Please notice that there’s a special access number for making
calls in SW Oregon and that you should use the upstairs phone for
calls to the outlying areas around Eugene (Veneta, Marcola,
Cottage Cheese, etc.) Trial members and members can also receive
calling cards for use away from home if you wish. If you plan to
be on the phone for a long time, use the phone upstairs.
MAIL and NEWSPAPER
If you bring in the
mail, please sort it and put it into people’s boxes and recycle
any junk mail addressed to “Resident.” The secretary
forwards mail on to folks no longer living here and sometimes to
people who are no longer living. If you bring in the newspaper,
please recycle the advertising inserts and yesterday’s paper. We
leave the current newspaper behind the boxes of periodicals
during the day so others aren’t ripping their hair out looking
for their horoscope or the latest lies from Washington. P.S. Some
people (read: “me”) get peeved when a section of the
paper is left folded up backwards like a gymnast doing a floor
routine or when the paper is strew all over the table.
JOB DESCRIPTIONS .
There’s a notebook
describing the responsibilities of each job. Please, please,
please read them so other folks don’t have to remind you that
evening clean-up includes putting away the dishes as well as
washing them. It’s up to you to find someone to cover your job if
you are gone. If you plan on being gone for a while, place the
item on the house agenda so we can decide which jobs can slide
and which jobs others can take on.
The communication book
is a way we can share information with everyone else about
matters that don’t need immediate attention. Items that need
immediate attention or response are posted on the fridge. So if
the house is on fire, post a note on the refrigerator to find who
will be on the committee… Read through the communications book
to see what kinds of entries people contribute and add your own.
Communication flows best if everyone reads the book at least once
a week. A reminder circulates from left to right in the
USE OF COMMON SPACE
If you wish to use a
common space for a group event like having the Grateful Dead play
in the living room, it’s best to write about it plenty ahead of
time in the communications book to see if it’s OK with others.
Sound travels easily in
the house, so we’ve agreed to keep quiet between 10 pm and 9am on
weekdays and between 11pm and 10am on weekends. Leave hall doors
closed during these hours to reduce sound travel. Remember that
the chair sliding across the dining room floor sounds like a herd
of elephants to the people sleeping below.
Most folks enjoy sharing
their belongings with others, but in group living situation such
as ours, it’s easy to take for granted that other people’s
personal belongings are there for everyone’s use. It’s
important then, to take extra care of personal belongings so
people who are letting others use their items don’t harbor
resentment or feel “used”.
Friends, neighbors, and
past Duma members occasionally come over to borrow things from
us. Unfortunately, they aren’t always responsible about bringing
them back. To create some accountability, if Nancy the Neighbor
wants to borrow the nail-puller, ask her to write in the
communications book what she borrowed, when she borrowed it, when
she will bring it back, and how to get in touch with her. That
way we all know who has the nail-puller rather than looking
around for it and wishing we could pull the toe-nails out of the
person who took it.
If there’s no place in
the front or back to park your car, speak with the neighborhood
liaison about where to park on the streets. We wish to keep good
terms with our neighbors, particularly Carl the Car Crusher, so
we need to be careful not to park in their Spot.
SMOKING, ALCOHOL, and
Because smoking affects
other people, outside is the only appropriate place to smoke.
Place cigarette butts in a can and arrange with other smokers to
empty the can periodically. We don’t have any formal agreements
about the use of alcohol or drugs, however, it’s pretty difficult
to have a meeting with full participation when someone is under
the influence of chemicals. Basically, it’ up to the individual
to make a decision about the use of substances as long as long as
it doesn’t interfere with other people or hinder our ability to
create community. Keep in mind that some people may feel uneasy
about substance use in their presence because they are recovering
from substance addictions or have hurtful experiences surrounding
friends or family members who used chemicals.
In general, most people
in Duma feel comfortable about being naked and seeing other
people naked. Please take into consideration, however, that not
all people feel comfortable with nakedness for many reasons
including sexual abuse. If you feel it’s important to be naked
within the house or outside on a regular basis, bring this issue
up for discussion at house meeting by placing it on the agenda.
If you wish to make a
semi-permanent change to your room such as painting or engraving
a silhouette of Barry Manilow’s nose on the wall, it’s best to
check with others first (i.e. write your ideas in the
communication book and ask for feedback) At a meeting, we can
discuss using house funds for making long-term improvements to
To create a sustainable
community, we need processes to work out interpersonal tensions
before they erupt into major conflicts. Confronting one another
directly and compassionately is the key. Many of us have found
that Marshall Rosenberg’s method for compassionate communication
is effective. This involves stating a specific action, how that
makes feel, why you feel the way you do, and what you would like
to see done differently in the future. There’s more information
available about this method of communication.
As a group we will need
to decide at a meeting whether we wish to live with specific
pets. One exception: we do not need to reach consensus on
allowing dust bunnies to live with us since they already do.
Anyone can generate
proposals to consider at house meetings. We slowly but surely
discovered that if proposals are made in writing at least a few
days ahead of the meeting and posted for everyone to read, that
meetings flow with much less turbulence. When writing a proposal,
it’s helpful to give some background information and state the
purpose of making the proposal because it often alleviates other
Over time, we have made
many other agreements to make living together easier. Some of the
most important include agreements about guests, the meeting
process, our values, finances, leave of absence, toe-nail
clipping regulations, our by-laws, and return of investment. It’s
important to gain a familiarity with these agreements (and
suggest changes) so we all have a common understanding about how
we will live together. Look in the agreements notebook or ask
the secretary for a copy of these agreements.