July 2005: After much work, hanging drywall and plastering the ceiling and laying tile and painting the walls and mounting molding, the room was ready. A closet was built and a window installed. The room was ready, officially a fourth bedroom instead of a vaguely garagelike space. Within a month, my father moved in with us, and stayed for about two years… and then some, because he wasn’t exactly motivated to clear out that which he didn’t strictly need once moving in with his partner.
July 2008: Having finally cleared out all of the detritus of my father’s stay, we had a playroom for the kids. One with most of their toys and – more importantly – a door that shut and therefore muted the bickering. Within a month, L and her daughter needed a place to stay, so the toys were moved back to their hallway-like space and a guest room was re-formed.
April 2009: L has been successfully established in her own apartment, and once again the room was available for our own use. The toys have been moved back in, with the hallway-like space once again wide open and a closeable door minimizing the noise of the constant arguing (and yet somehow they love each other desperately and consider it a capital punishment to be separated).
How long, do you suppose, before someone else needs a space to stay? At least we have toy-reorganization down to an art by now.