Roommates from Hell: Being mindful of other’s space

As you know, we recently bought a second fridge…… which promptly died a slow, stinky death. I posted a picture of my roommate/ex-boyfriend cleaning the damn thing out , wearing a gas mask. The stench was so bad, I threw up TWICE, and I was a good 6-8 feet away from it when he opened the doors.

So, this leaves us with one fridge for five people, yet again. We have done this before, by using a few ground rule. It’s not an easy thing to do (five random people sharing one fridge is a lot different than a family of five using one fridge, we found out!), but it can be done……..

……. if everyone would just be mindful of the spaces we have to share in this damn house.

We had a pretty good system going with our fridge before. Of the five of us, DG doesn’t cook much, and barely keeps any food here in the kitchen. He throws some chicken in the freezer sometimes, or brings home leftovers from potlucks. So this SHOULD make sharing the fridge a little easier.

The fridge was divided logically: condiments in the door (write your name on them if you want); tall stuff and drinks on the top shelf; veggies in the crisper; Jeff and I share the bottom shelf; UG and AC can share the middle shelf. Each person has their own cupboard for canned goods and spices and cereal. There’s a big cupboard for bulk stuff. And I set up counter space for stuff like bread and bags of chips.

Pretty damn easy, eh? I mean, it’s not rocket surgery or anything.

Well last night, I was curled up on the couch with my wine, a bowl of popcorn, and my ridiculously amazing boyfriend. We were all settled in, watching a bit of old-school SVU before bed (like, Munch wasn’t even totally grey yet). I got up to go to the fridge and grab a little more wine…….

…… and the fucking pita shells attacked. 6 bags of them!  I just got up and counted them again.

What the hell are 6 bags of pita shells doing in the fridge? Well, they’re chilling with all the crap UG has that is taking up one entire fucking shelf in the fridge! In addition to his bags of pita shells (which I never see him eating, btw), there’s a loaf of bread, a carton of eggs with an expiration date of October 2015, a bunch of random stuff in tupperware, and the mystery can. Mystery can looks almost like an open can of tuna or chicken, but it’s in a zip lock bag and has been in there since before Christmas.

So I tried shoving the pita-lanche back into the fridge without spilling my wine (which I needed so so so much more of after this), I took a good look at the dumb-fuckery abounding in my fridge.

You see, UG has taken over the entire middle shelf, mostly with his bread and random stuff he lets rot for months at a time while he orders pizza. AC, therefore, has no room on her shelf for anything. Her solution appears to be to cram as much random shit into the fridge, in any place she damn well feels like. She already took over Jeff’s half of our shelf, and has been cramming me further and further into the back corner of mine. She has tupperware on the top shelf, milk in the door, and packs of tortilla shells fall all over the place.

The worst part, though, is the way things got moved around.

Instead of putting her milk jug on the top shelf, where we all agreed it belongs, she put it in the door of the fridge where the condiments are. To do this, she crammed random condiments all over the place in the fridge.

That jar of garlic with the leaky lid? Thrown on its side on top of my eggs. The Franks RedHot sauce? Crammed into the veggie crisper, OPEN and on its side! My Sunny D for Sunday morning mimosas? Dumped down the sink to make room for more damn pita shells!

You see, this is not how you share spaces with roommates, especially when said space is full of sharp knives.

We divide up things like storage space for a reason: so we don’t piss off the other people around us. And no, it’s not an easy thing to do. Living like this, I can’t buy things in bulk, or make one giant grocery shopping trip. And neither can any of the other people who FREAKING AGREED TO THIS ARRANGEMENT!!!

You see, this pisses me off to no end right now. On top of the ever growing list of things no one but me does around here (like cleaning, or using a broom), I now have to deal with my food getting used, getting tossed, and getting crammed into the far recesses of the fridge.

Right now, I am down to half a dozen eggs, some butter (if anyone left some for me after they used it without asking yet again), a little bit of bacon, and cheese slices. Add to the the box of wine, the milk I share with Jeff, and assorted condiments I’ve split with roommates over the last few months…….. and I can make an omelette. That’s it.

So tonight, when I should have been relaxing in the kitchen, making a stir fry (no room to thaw my meat, and my veggies got all used up somehow), I’ll be grabbing random stuff out of the freezer that has been shoved into the back that I’ve been able to dig out. So, old shrimp, old dumplings, and brocolli it is then.

So, Sunshine, do you have any roommates who do things like this to you? Maybe instead of takin gover the fridge, they use up every last bit of counter space in the bathroom. Or they take over ALL the storage closets, leaving you to cram all of your belongings into your already crowded room. Leave me a comment, let me know I’m not the only one out there dealing with this stuff!

Roommates From Hell: Cleaning the damn fridge

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Remember how I told you one of our fridges broke here? Well we have one roommate who still INSISTED on putting her food in there…… and then forgetting about it. The smell was so bad, I could barely use the working fridge next to it. And the mold was horrible!

And this is what it came to. This us the ex-boyfriend/roommate I’ve told you about, cleaning up this mess. And yes, that is a gas mask. The smell from the rotting Tupperware (the mild was eating through the plastic!) was so bad, by the time he finished he could smell it even with that contraption on!

So, Sunshine, don’t let dumbassery do this to you. Got a broken fridge? Fix it or toss it, and for God’s sake empty the damn thing put!

Playing Around with my Doritos.

Playing Around with my Doritos.

 

So I showed the new boyfriend a few things on Facebook, mainly Cooking Panda.  We went through a few dozen videos and decided we really need to try a few of them. We settled on Dorito Lasagna (shown in the video above, in all it’s delicious glory).

Not gonna lie, we were a little…….. scared shitless at first. We picked up all the ingredients (canned chilli, Doritos, cheese, and tortillas) Thursday night after work, and set to throwing this all together last night.

Honestly, it was a little scary. Like, “Hey, here’s some perfectly good foods! Lets smash some Dorito chips onto them, smother this thing in cheese, and throw it in the oven and hope it doesn’t catch fire!”

Seriously though, this recipe is totally easy. It’s just layering chilli, chips, cheese, tortillas, and then the chilli, chips, and cheese again. Aside from the possibility of turning into a burning, melting ball of cheese, there’s not much to screw up in this recipe.

And it was damn yummy!

But the best part of this is that last night, he was on his second helping before bed, we sat around and talked about ways to change this up a bit. Maybe some spicy Doritos, taco meat, and salsa? Or ground beef, some sauteed veggies, and a Cool Ranch/Nacho blend?  Basically, you can throw together any combinations you can think of, with any flavour of Doritos you want!

Except dill pickle flavour. Fuck that noise! Who the hell decided “These cheesy nacho chips here are great. But you know what would make them better? Getting rid of the cheese and flavouring them with a fucking pickle!”

So, Sunshine, give this recipe a try with your own unique flair. And let me know how it works out! I am dying to try this one over and over again!

In Hindsight

Ok, so I didn’t do things in what you would call a conventional manner. I took a few years off after high school, went to college for a year, worked for a few years, and then went to university for 5 years. I kind of jumped around the stages of life, and did shit when I was ready for it.

Do I regret any of that? Hell naw!

But there are things I could’ve been doing WHILE I was jumping around that would’ve been so incredibly, totally, unbelievably helpful to my life right now. While I was going through everything in each phase of my life, I sort of focused on one task at a time: college certificate, show up to work on time, write papers, etc….. I never thought to branch out to OTHER things, things that may interest me.

Now, some of these things probably wouldn’t have occurred to me way back when as something I may like. Some of these things, I thought I was actually doing sometimes. And some things are just stuff I wish I had considered, sort of like for a Plan B for my life.

All That Free Stuff In School

Now, I thought I was the MASTER of free stuff on campus. I have given away more t-shirts over the years than I’ve bought in my entire life, thanks to free t-shirts for pretty much everything on campus. I went to events with free food. I never passed up a booth on campus without checking for free things. Years later, I’m still using free pens and highlighters.

I missed so much though!

There were free classes, lectures, and seminars all those years I was a student. I just never paid any mind to then because you can’t bring a class home with you like a t-shirt, or 47 free pens. So I didn’t go to them.

What did I miss out on? Well, there was training in ALL the Microsoft Suite programs. Training in programs for statistics, publishing, graphic design, and accounting. There were seminars full of people in my chosen field who were looking to meet possible future employees. There was discounted software, forensics training, book exchanges, and so much more I just ignored.

And I really could’ve used a lot of that.

I mean, any sort of Microsoft training is a god-send these days, especially in this job market. Hell, any sort of computer training is a HUGE plus on any resume! And a lot of them don’t expire: as newer versions come out, you just list the version you’re trained in.

This sort of free training I skipped out on way back when could cost me hundreds or thousands of dollars now!

The Almost Free, or Severely Discounted

At one point, I was given a weird offer: work security at a really shady, crappy, dirty bar for crap wages at first, and the bar would pay for me to get my security license. A job counsellor I was seeing (professionally) at the time talked me out of it.

“With your education, why would you ever even consider that?”

Well, since my degree is in Criminology, it turns out it would’ve been a damn good idea to take this offer!  Most of the jobs I’ve been looking at lately require this license. And to get it now would cost me more than $400, out of my own pocket.

Get paid minimum wage for 6 months, and get this license for free? Or pass on a paying job, and shell out $400+ to get the same license?

Yeah, looking back, this should’ve been a no-brainer.

But, I passed on the opportunity (and am still kicking myself to this day). If you have a chance to get something for a deal like this, even if it means working in a bar where the waitresses sometimes wear body paint instead of a shirt (and the male clientele are of the grabbier persuasion), go for it if you think you can handle it. I mean, I could’ve been working a nice office job with a security firm by now, if I had this damn license.

And on that note….

Get Some Certification!

If there is some sort of certificate you can get, even if it costs you a few bucks, go for it! Varying licenses, first aid and CPR, even certificates showing you can use different equipment or programs…. it’s ALL good shit! The most of this stuff you have, the better you AND your resume will look!

What’s Good For The Workplace?

We had seminars and workshops in things like Conflict Resolution and Training New Workers. Do you think I took any of that?

Well, if I did, I wouldn’t be writing about regretting not taking it, would I?

I am lucky right now. My current VERY part-time job has online learning available to us. We have to keep up with certain training modules. But aside from that, anything else we want to learn about is free for the learning.

So far, I’ve taken online classes in Conflict Resolution, dealing with problem customers, handling stressful situations, and what to do when a situation turns violent. Only problem with this? I don’t get any sort of fancy certificate in the end (although I do list them on my resume, and keep a list of them in my portfolio).

If I had taken the seminars and workshops in school, I would’ve had that little piece of paper that says “Hey, this chick KNOWS what she’s talking about! I prove it!”

Somehow, prospective employers LOVE that little piece of paper.

Classes and Clubs that Last

I joined a bunch of crap, and didn’t really do much with it. Most of my volunteering was limited to a few semesters, or a few short years.

The same went for classes. I jumped around with my interests, not really focusing on much. I wanted a taste of everything, I guess.

Now, if I had stuck with just a few clubs for many years, instead of many clubs for a year at a time, I would’ve gotten so much more out of them! That would’ve lead to things like leadership positions, more responsibilities, meeting potential references, and a lot of solid networking.

The same goes for my classes. If I had focused on something like deviance, or youth justice, I would’ve had the same few professors and teaching assistants quite a bit. I would’ve gotten to know them, gotten in good with them, gotten some good references out of them.

Instead, I went for a more broad approach. And what did I get? One reference and a lot of pointless hours as a newbie volunteer.

This isn’t a full, conclusive list of regrets. Neither is it a list of what everyone needs to do while in school. This is just the ones that have been bugging me most as of late.

As for right now, I have had one ridiculously long day (witness to two car accidents, dealing with cops at work, problem customers, and then witness to a domestic dispute on my way home from work). So I’m signing off for now, Sunshine, and setting this to post tomorrow while I’m making strange Dorito-inspired lasagna recipes with the boyfriend.

Stay glorious!

Do What You Love and…….. Starve?

Sound pretty shitty, doesn’t it?

For years growing up, I was told that if I do what I love, then money would follow. The thing is, people didn’t seem to care what I actually loved. What did I love way back in high school? I loved writing, and reading. Even once I finally went back to University (almost a decade later), marking papers and reading student works were the only things I loved more than writing papers.

Who the hell can make a career out of any of that though?

Turns out, plenty of people. When I was told to “do what I love”, people assumed that just meant me sitting in a room, writing. I would be a writer, first and foremost.

But there is so much more to all of this than just writing.

I could have been an editor, or a professor, or a ESL teacher. I would have been happy researching for a company, or a lawyer, or a researcher. I could have become a private tutor, helping students with their academic writing.

None of this was made known to me, way back in high school, before we really knew how to use this whole Internet thing. Back in the days of dial-up, you didn’t have The Googles (as mum calls it) to search for “careers in writing”, or “what can I do with an English degree”. Nope, we had bare-bones web surfing back then: GeoCities for making web pages dedicated to hot celebrities; IRC chat rooms; AIM or ICQ for instant messages; and Hotmail for our email. That’s it. Somewhere out there was porn, but we couldn’t access it at school (believe me, we tried).

Point is, all I ever knew was that I loved to read and write. I still do. I’m broke as all hell, and I just ordered three new(er) books from Chapters this week (damn you Celia Rivenbark for having a book out there that I don’t own!!!!). I was always told that I would be a writer, and needed a career to fall back on.

Well that’s a crock of shit if I ever heard one.

Yes, things are rough out there. Believe me, I know that as well as anyone. I live in the unemployment capital of Canada, where getting 9 hours a week is considered “gainfully employed” to make statistics look good. I know the job search scene, and the toll it takes on you.

And I know what it’s like to feel like a total bitch, because you’re looking at jobs and thinking “well, I need a job, but do I really want to do THAT?!?!”

I am a writer, at heart. I sit at a desk, type things, organize things, research things. This blog is one of many things I do related to my craft, in addition to my part-time job. I know damn well that I would be horrible at certain jobs, because I would spend too much time hating them. Hell, even knowing that, out of desperation I have tried some of these jobs! That is how I know that I AM the world’s worst janitor (it only took me throwing up in a garbage can 7 times in an 8 hour shift to prove that to myself).

My desk-type personality tends to lead me towards other desk-type things. I went to secretary school, and worked in an office for a few years. I went to University and worked in research offices. I am a desk worker. But even that has its limits.

I know that right now, I can’t support myself with my writing. VERY long story short, after being forced out of it for many years, I am only now getting back into my craft. That means no portfolio, no old blog posts, nothing for reference on a CV. I need a job to pay my bills and get the hell out of this house (don’t worry, I have enough Roommates From Hell stories to last a lifetime on here for y’all). While there are a lot of things that I would be horrible at, I KNOW that I can rock a desk job like no-one else. Not a telemarketing job, not a soliciting job, not a call centre job…. a straight up desk job.

Sounds pretty entitled, doesn’t it?

Well, I’ve got the education. I’ve got the office experience. And I am a desk worker. I thrive best sitting behind a desk, typing at a computer. I am a data entry clerk, or a dispatcher, or any other position where I type a lot and don’t have to make phone calls.

And the thing is, doing stuff like that is what I love.

From what I was told for years, even for decades, if I just strive for that, then the money will follow. So where is the money, Sunshine?

Job Search Frustrations

My hours at work have been…… well…. pathetic. I was lucky to get called in for an extra shift this week, bringing my total hours for the week up to 9. Yes, you read that right, NINE whole hours this week. My paychecks are so tiny, I’ve had to dip into my meager savings just to pay rent. So, once again, I’m looking for a job.

Now, a little background for my newer readers: I’m actually an adult woman (in my 30s), with a lot of education. So far I have a BA(H) in Criminology, and am doing the paperwork to try and get my BA in Psychology. I have a Certificate of Office Administration, certification in Microsoft Word and Excel, and a bunch of job experience. I’ve worked offices, research labs, volunteer office work, and customer service. I’m polite, cheerful, professional, and can create the most complex organizational schematics you could ever need to keep all of your responsibilities in check. I don’t miss deadlines, I don’t mess around on company time, and I don’t slack off when stuff needs to be done.

And I just keep getting shit on.

Looking for a job today ain’t like it was for your folks, Sunshine. In this town, when my parents were in high school, you didn’t even need to finish high school to get into the local car plant. Most people just assumed they’d leave or finish school, and just get a job in one of the plants. Today, IF you’re lucky and IF they have enough Temp Part-Time positions available, you MAY get in part-time but ONLY if you’re a college or university student in good standing, taking full-time classes. And even then, you’re not guaranteed to be kept on the whole time you’re in school. There is actually an age limit on how old you can be in this program. So if you don’t jump right into schooling right out of high school and land one of these jobs, you’re screwed.

Back in those days, you put on your nice shoes and “pounded the pavement” to get your resume out there.

“Well, all you need is to get yourself out there! Go inside, introduce yourself. Hand in your resume in person. Get out from behind the computer and make yourself known!”

Any idea how sick to death I am of hearing that?

Where I work my VERY part-time job, we don’t take paper resumes. Like, at all. It doesn’t matter how nice you are, or how presentable you are, or how badly you need a job. Everything is done online now. You go to our website, follow the links, fill out some forms, and submit a resume. The only way you EVER get to see anyone face to face is, after all that, you get called in for an interview.

And we’re not the only ones who do that. EVERYONE is like that now.

“Get out from behind that computer! Go introduce yourself!”

Or why don’t you do something a little more helpful, Kind Elderly Relative, like getting me a job, or shutting the hell up?

I’d say that around 80% of my actual job search is online these days. I have a bunch of sites bookmarked that I check at least once a day for new postings: job search sites, company websites, government websites, temp agencies……..

“Don’t just check the agency’s site. Just go sign up with them. They’ll get you a job right away!”

Really? Because I’ve been signed up with FIVE agencies for a little more than a year now. One got me a six week gig a little over a year ago, and not one has found anything for me since then.

“Well then, maybe you just need a little more training. Go take some classes, upgrade your skills.”

What a great idea!  I’m just going to go out to the Education Tree and pull some of that free knowledge down for myself! Honestly, even using free websites like Coursera, you can’t get all the training you need without shelling out some serious cash. And all that education I already have? Well honey, it sure as hell wasn’t free.

Still, I’ve gone out for more training. I’ve signed up with government agencies that help the unemployed, I’ve taken their classes. I’ve gone to resume workshops, typing classes, Microsoft upgrading seminars, mock interviews……. I’ve done it all! And now, I can type up one hell of a resume that no one will read, and practice for all the interviews I won’t get!

“Maybe if you’d stop sitting around at your computer, complaining and being lazy, you’d have a job by now.”

My job search is not a fun hobby. NO ONE’S job search is fun! On top of my part-time job, I put in anywhere from 20-50 hours a week just in my job search. That’s time spent looking through websites, personalizing cover letters, writing emails, and tailoring my resume to positions. I go to job fairs, networking events, and free classes and seminars at local schools. I do online free courses in things like Conflict Resolution and Basic Accounting to fill in holes in my training. I am NOT sitting behind a desk, marathoning Netflix and eating Cheesies while I whine about being broke.

And neither are the majority of people out there in my same position.

Yes, we all have our times when it just overwhelms us and we need a break. There are days, or even weeks, where there’s just no new postings out there to apply to. There are the weeks you get 7 interviews, and are driving or bussing all over town. Then there are the weeks where you’d give anything just to hear the phone ring.

My darling Sunshines, you are not alone in this search. I know it seems like everyone out there has a job, and advice, and opinions, and they all want to help, even if that “helping” just makes things worse. I know what it’s like to have no one around who really understands what it’s like to spend 9 hours typing cover letters and researching positions, just to have people look at you like you’ve done nothing all day. I know the loneliness, the despair, the feeling like there must be something wrong with you because no one out there seems to want you.

So just know that you’re not alone in all of this. I’m here, and there are plenty more of us out there too. Just keep on shining, and someday maybe we can all blog about how great things are for us, and how these tough times made it all possible.

A Few Ground Rules

Let me start this by saying that there are five people in my house: myself, my ex-boyfriend Jeff, Upstairs Guy (UG), Downstairs Guy (DG), and the Annoying Chick (AC). Oh, and my kitten King Bowser Koopa lives here too, he just doesn’t pay rent. Of the five of us, I work part-time, am looking for more work, and have my new boyfriend Ryan over here quite a bit; Jeff is a full-time college student, part-time Army reservist, and has his new girlfriend over here often too; UG is an Engineering student who has a buddy over quite a bit, and is either on campus or locked in his room most of the time; DG is another Engineering student who seems to be in pretty much every club on campus, who is hardly ever home; and AC is a married student doing her Masters, whose husband lives a few hours away from here, and who is either on campus, locked away in her room, or annoying the ever-living shit out of me.

Got all that?

Good. Now, we’re all basically adults here. Ages here range from 20 to the late-30s I think. None of us are living away from our parents for the first time, and we all share certain common areas of the house together (living room, kitchen, dining room, and each floor has a shared bathroom). As adults, we should all be doing out share of the work around here, especially in the areas we share.

That being said, every now and then I feel compelled to make up a list of rules for this house. Nothing severe like a cleaning schedule: just some common-sense suggestions that no one seems to do around here anyway. Why? Well check out my list and see for yourself just what kind of brainless-fuckery I have to deal with here.*

  1. If you need to blow snot rockets in the shower, go for it. Just don’t leave boogers all over the damn shower walls. If you must snot up our shower, at least have the decency to clean it every once and a while.
  2. Garbage goes in garbage cans. It doesn’t belong in the recycling bins, on the counter tops, left on tables, tied up in little bags and left on the kitchen floor, or randomly tossed on the floor.
  3. Recycling goes in recycling bins. Don’t know if you can recycle it? There’s a full list of what you can and can’t throw in there. Read it. Don’t put your fucking eggshells and broccoli stems with my pop cans!
  4. If the garbage is full, take out the bag and put it in the big cans in the backyard. Then, put a new bag in the garbage can in the house. Simple, eh? I mean, it ain’t rocket surgery. Don’t leave the garbage can without a bag in it. Don’t pile garbage up so high in the bag that it spills everywhere just because you don’t want to take it out. Seriously, just don’t.
  5. Again with the garbage…….. if you see a can without a bag in it, but a fucking bag in there! Don’t start throwing used Kleenex in a can, because then I just have to pick it all out when I change the garbage.
  6. When food goes bad, throw it out.
  7. Food goes bad, especially when you leave it for long periods of time.
  8. No, putting your open can of tuna in a ziplock bag does not mean it can last months in the fridge without going bad. Throw that shit out.
  9. If your vegetables start liquifying, throw that shit out. You’re not going to eat it.
  10. I don’t care what your pubic hair looks like, as long as it’s either on you or flushed down the toilet. Don’t leave curly little gifts all over the bathroom, or the hallway floor.
  11. Same goes for shit stains.

That’s just a quick sample of the things I need to somehow embroider and hang up randomly around my house. Do any of you have weird things your roommates do that annoys the crap out of you, Sunshine? Leave a comment telling me your strangest roommate annoyances! And hang in there…….. someday we’ll all be living that roommate-free life.

 

 

*note: I am not a saint, or completely innocent here. I do things that probably piss other people off around here. But as far as the cleaning goes, I do a good 80% of it here (with another 19.5% being done by my boyfriend who doesn’t even live here).