The idea surprised Canby when it first came up, but he says he likes rooming with Sullivan. "It's cool," he added.
Honesty is the basis of their "strictly platonic" relationship. Like any roommates or friends, they have disagreements, but they talk them over and work them out, Sullivan said. Canby is tolerant of Sullivan's teddy bear collection, which numbers 918, and he doesn't mind her parakeet, Chopin.
Because he usually gets in the kitchen first to start a meal, Canby does the cooking. He joked that his specialty is "food." A chef at Hagerstown's Tortuga restaurant, he prepares the restaurant's seafood buffet. Sullivan gave his recent Salmon Wellington a rave review.
They have lives apart and respect each other's privacy, but they are close enough to confide in each other - sharing problems and hurts neither shares with anyone else.
Sullivan, whose disabilities include osteoarthritis and diabetes, said Canby is aware of her limitations and takes them into consideration.
Canby had spotted the building that houses their apartment when he moved to Hagerstown from Martinsburg, W.Va., in 1985. Sullivan also had admired the old house in a neighborhood of historic homes and hopes to research its past. Their lease runs from month to month, and Canby believes they can rent it as long as they want it.
"It's going to be awhile," he said.