Summers are very dry in British Columbia, and so just about every garden here has some sort of sprinkler system. Pacific Gardens is no exception. When we had the initial landscaping done, we installed what we thought was a well-calibrated sprinkler system. However, our supposedly fine-tuned system has, like most of the residents here, a mind of its own.
Water spurts in strange directions and locations, and at odd times, and last night we had a particularly spectacular sprinkler malfunction - a geyser of water shooting straight up into the air and threatening to flood a pathway. I immediately rushed to the rescue, but after wrestling with the sprinkler bip (as it's called), I was soaked.Then my neighbours Chad and Susana came to take a look. Chad managed to turn it off, but not before he got soaked, too.
This afternoon a group of us had an impromptu meeting on the lawn to discuss the sprinkler snafu, and, in best cohousing fashion, the conversation meandered onto other problems that needed a solution. What to do about the fellow who needed a place to stay but couldn't find a room to rent? We had a room available. Where could we find more volunteers for cleaning? The teenage relative of a friend was keen to earn some extra money doing chores, as was a new tenant. How were we going to pay for the new blackout blinds in one of our units? A resident came up to us and offered to help cover the cost. One of our three-bedroom-and-den units was up for rent; how we could help the elderly owners find new tenants? We still had an ad posted for another unit that was now rented, so we would just re-direct any inquiries to them, and help out with writing ads for Craigslist and Kijiji.
So, in about 20 minutes, we solved four problems and got started solving a fifth (the sprinklers are still going to need more work, alas). And that's the synergy of cohousing. There's so many opportunities to meet that you just can't help coming up with some great shared solutions!