V.P.’s of Housing- the good, the bad and the totally invisible.

Hard as this might be to believe, there’s a hierarchy in the frat house.  The “top 5” run the place, as much as any five twenty year olds can run anything.  Actually, now there are six, because five never really quite got the job done (the jury is still out on whether or not the extra one is going to help!) There’s the president- who’s the guy in charge, overall.  His main job, as I see it, is to say no a lot.  No, it’s not a good idea to try to build a fence in the back yard, no, you can’t turn the party room into a pool, and no to a million other ideas the level of dumb you would not believe.  There’s the treasurer,  he’s in charge of the money, paying the bills, staying in budget and mainly figuring out how to find more money for alcohol. There’s somebody called the recording secretary, I have no idea why this guy is part of the top of anything, or what he does, except that I assume he records something at some point.  There’s the VP of Social.  Poor guy, he basically just begs one sorority after another to have parties, BBQ’s, cocktails, etc. with the fine gentlemen of KA.  These events get canceled constantly and everyone in the house then hates the VP of social. It seems to me this is a terrible job. But not as terrible as the VP of housing.  Because this poor guy has to try  and figure out how to keep me happy in the kitchen.

The VP of housing (house manager) is responsible for all things related to the actual house. He’s the guy that deals with the Lehigh people most often.  A light goes out- house manager takes care of it.  Once in a while, the university sends some people around to do house “inspections” the house manager is responsible for this.   Get the picture?  The house manager is also responsible for making sure everyone in the house is keeping the house clean. Keeping the house clean is the responsibility of the sophomores, the NIBS- Newly Inducted Brothers.   The NIBS hate this.  I hate this.  I hate this because the are responsible for doing “waits” – set up and clean up of dinner, and for keeping the kitchen clean. Often, this does not go well, leading to conflict between myself and the house manager.

When I first got to KA, I did not know that I  should be in communication with the house manager about all things related to the kitchen.  The treasurer hired me, so I dealt with him, and the president most of the time.  There was a kid there named Jeremy.  From time to time he would say things to me like “we should have this microwave higher”, “we need a better way to store cereal”, “we need—–” and I would say ” that sounds like a great idea” and then nothing would happen.  In the spring, they held elections and I was told there was a new house manager.  House manager?  what’s a house manager? what does he do?  and I was told.  Is this a new thing, this house manager?  No, we’ve always had one.  We do? who is he?  JEREMY.  The invisible house manager.  Looking back over all my composite pictures, trying to remember who all the house managers were, I realized there were one or two others I had forgotten were house managers, probably because they were house managers during uneventful times when the NIBS did a decent job, but no one was as invisible as Jeremy.

Invisible would have been welcome when I had the loudest person on the planet as housing manager!! What a year that was- I had the absolute worst  pledge class ever, that turned into the absolute worst NIB class ever, and I blame fat Joe.  ( I did not give him that awful nickname, if it were up to me, I would have called him “obnoxiously loud” Joe)

Some of my absolute favorite boys were house managers- not at all surprising, considering I deal most closely with them.  So, we get to know one another very well, very quickly.  Most of the time this is a good thing. One thing these young men have in abundance is patience, which is a good thing when dealing with me.  It might actually be that they just don’t give a shit ( In fact, I have actually been told “I just don’t give a shit” by a house mananger – you know it’s true, Mitchel), either way, it works when things are getting a little crazy in the kitchen.  Imagine how out of control it could get if my  frustration  and agitation was met with the same from the kid that’s supposed to be the liaison between myself and the brothers in the house!!  (This actually happened in one of my early years at KA , it was U-G-L-Y) Anyway, back to my favorite house managers, there have been quite a lot of them, many more than the bad or the invisible.  There was the boy whose smile could light up a room in a second- even when he was supposed to be mad at me, he was smiling.  And even when I was trying to be mad at him, that smile made it impossible. There are the three who I still speak to, see often and consider my dear friends- There’s the guy in the photo- AK, who was house manager during a really bad year, and I would call him and say “the kitchen is filthy, I am not cooking in it until it’s clean!!!” and AK would say ” OK, I’ll get it cleaned, in the meantime, meet me at Billy’s downtown diner for breakfast” We had some good breakfasts there.  There were  the back to back housing managers, Zac and Barrett- who supported me through a really dark time in my life,  and who had my back when I needed it most.

As you can imagine, I call, text and stalk these poor kids often, and for a lot of reasons- “I need my soup pot”, “the refrigerator is filthy”  “waits was not complete, I’m not cooking until it’s done”  “where is my can opener” “no more eggs, ever” and the list goes on and on and on.  I had a house manager a while back who was so good, so efficient, so effective (because everyone in the house was scared shitless of him, and with good reason), that I didn’t notice until after he had graduated, that I did not have his phone number!!! Because I never needed it!!! He was THAT good.  I miss you , Timmy G.

On the absolute other end of the Timmy G spectrum is my current housing manager, Brian.  Over this past summer, Brian and a few of his pledge class brothers came to my house for an afternoon of swimming, drinking and eating and after a few beers, Brian told me he had the perfect plan as house manager to make the year go smoothly (let’s keep in mind I had the WORST year ever last year).  Anxious to hear his plan, I asked what it was and he said this “Whenever there’s a problem, I’m going to do this (hold your two hands up as if you were saying stop with both hands) and say ‘Just calm down'”.  Nothing calms me down more than someone telling me to “JUST CALM DOWN”. You can imagine how well this year is going.  Actually, it is going really well, because despite all the craziness and all the frustration trying to get shit done in that kitchen, I really love these guys, and I hope they remember that when I’m yelling, or upset, or crying because someone left a condom on a ketchup bottle on my counter and I just couldn’t take anymore (this actually happened on Tuesday).

I’ve had some great Presidents, Treasurers, Socials and even Recording Secretarys (I assume, since I still have no idea what this guy does), but my favorites will always be the housing managers.  It’s pretty much impossible for me to stay mad at them, because eventually the kitchen gets cleaned, the pots are returned, I cook and peace is returned to the KA kitchen.



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