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Duma operating agreements

Knowledgebase > Duma operating agreements

Duma operating agreements

From ICWiki




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.



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.


Everyone is

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



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.


and USE

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.


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.


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



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.



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

people’s concerns.


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.

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