The One family is "temporarily" installed at my grandmother's home on Capitol Hill, a.k.a. Camp Mimo. I've complained about what a drag it is that our renovation is taking forever and must appear to have quite the badtitude about the situation. But here's a little secret: It's actually kind of awesome.

Mimo is, truly, the Hostess with the Mostest. That usually means the mostest visitors. Newlyweds and adolescent boys, toddlers and ill-behaved doglets -- there is not a nightmare house guest she doesn't welcome with a big hug and a toasty cheese sandwich. Marauding hordes descend on her lovely home two or three generations at a time, along with friends, spouses, creatures and exotic houseplants. My daughter raids her jewelry box while my hubby raids the pantry. Then the two of them duke it out over whether the evening's entertainment will consist of Curious George reruns or Fox News. Seriously, people, the woman is an angel. With a twinkle in her eye, Mimo cheerfully disregards personal comfort and sanity, and sets such a marvelous example of savoring the delightful chaos, every day turns into a party.

When we first landed at Camp Mimo, it was definitely a full house. But NarBan (a.k.a. Brother C and his Very Lovely Bride) moved on to their own place, Brother S. is off keeping an eye on Momo and the gang in Haiti (for the record, their "humanitarian trip" sounds an awful lot like a cruise...), and Mimo herself is away for most of this week. Suddenly, we're all alone. And I find myself humming a lot of Joni Mitchell and missing them all terribly much.

Princess H, Mimo and Tiny
enjoying a perfect Autumn day at Eastern Market

Top 5 Things I LOVE About Being a Spoiled Squatter/Nomad

1. COMMUNAL LIVING! Yes, I miss personal space. But I lovelovelove four chefs under one roof, a quick unencumbered run to the corner store and nice adult conversation when Mr. One is putting in another late night at the office (a sad side-effect of his new job, which, btw, he nonetheless enjoys very much).

2. Location, location, location. Mimo's house is an easy walk from our place, but, frankly, it's in a much more charming and convenient corner of the neighborhood. Love it.

3. Less stuff. Sometimes, I don't love this. But usually I do.

4. Motivational discomfort. Since we don't have all our toys and diversions, I'm making more of an effort to get out every day to enjoy our amazing city -- museums, concerts, classes and friends are a more important part of our daily routine, and we all love it.

5. Happy memories. For as long as I can remember, this little house has been one of the Happiest Places on Earth. It still is, and I'm so glad my husband, children and I are able to enjoy so much of this joyful magic together.