Share The Load

I know, I’ve been quiet for a while now. I’m on assignment on a temp job, working 8:30am until 4:30pm, which means I’m up and out of bed at 6am. Some days, after a full 8 hours in the office, I have my awesome night job, which is 5:15pm until 9:15pm. Weekends are filled with my awesome night job, doing ALL the laundry and grocery shopping, catching up on chores, and having a little too much wine with my dinner.

There are days where I leave the house at 8am and don’t get home until a little after 10pm. That’s 14 hours of work and commute. Add to that the 2 hours of prepping for the day in the morning, and night time prep for the next day (and for bed), and studying for my product knowledge tests for my night job…… and I’m running on empty here. There have been days when I don’t have to go to my night job, and just go home and collapse on my bed for a few hours out of sheer exhaustion.

(It also doesn’t help that the boyfriend seems to be dreaming that he’s a chainsaw or a motorcycle every night, complete with impressions right in my ear. That really cuts into what little sleep I can get each night.)

Needless to say, I can’t keep up with everything I did around the house when I was only working 12 hours a week. And honestly, with 4 other people living there, I shouldn’t have to.

You see, as much as one of my roommates would argue against this, I am the main roommate when it comes to cleaning things up. Yes, he likes to scrub the bathroom and wash the towels and clean the counters. But I am the only one who sweeps, vacuums, mops, washing crud off the walls, organizes the cupboards so things can fit in them, cleans the fridge (even when it’s someone else who spills stuff in there), or does anything else that everyone else should be doing.

And it’s driving me up the wall.

I may have mentioned before that the two roommates who live in our basement (we refer to them as The Tweedles: TweedleDee and TweedleDumbass) don’t exactly clean. They leave food dried to the counters and stove, wash their dishes with cold water, and leave crud stuck to the outside of pots and pans. Last week, while the school was on Winter Break, I had to go into the basement to check the seal on their shower…… and I broke out in hives. I’m allergic to mold, and their bathroom is full of it. It hasn’t been cleaned since they moved in this past September! Their bathroom was also, for some reason, full of cups, glasses, silverware, and bowls. They have bags of garbage piled up in their common room (which they have claimed completely as their own, and use as a giant laundry hamper now).

Last night, after coming home from a very long 14 hour day, I walked in on them using MY dish soap and sponges to clean off their dinner plates. Then, they left dirty pots, pans, and glasses all over the food-encrusted counter.

And I have bloody-well had enough!

No one should have the burden of caring for a shared house/apartment/dorm room/shared van down by the river all by themselves. If there are multiple people living in a space, then there should be multiple people cleaning and caring for that space. It’s not hard: clean up after yourself! Divide up the larger jobs, like mopping and vacuuming, and do your share.

So if you seem to have a cleaning fairy that swoops in and cleans up all your messes for you, wake up! If you’re not cleaning up after yourself, then someone else is. Unless you are paying that person do clean for you, they are not your maid. So be a grown-up, and clean up your own damn messes.


Communication is Key In Roommate Relations

So this isn’t an ideal situation, but at the moment I am a young woman living with 4 men. Two are undergrad students who answered an ad we placed online; one is doing his Masters in Engineering and has lived here for years; and one is our landlord, my boyfriend, and the only one of them not in school at the moment. I thought, being the only girl in the house, there would be quite a lot of awkwardness on my part.

Well, turns out I’m not the awkward one (for once).

Sure, I keep about 30 products too many in the bathroom (neatly put away, though). And I have a few plants around the house (most of which are in my room, and are actually a Chia Herb Garden). And I decorate the house for the Christmas holidays (since I’m the only one home here for weeks at a time around then). But I make everything clear to anyone my actions may impact. I try to clean up after myself, keep my messes contained to my bedroom, and try to limit the number of shoes I keep by the front door (something others seem to clearly have problems with). All I ask is that, if I do something that bothers someone, that they let me know.

Not everyone here lives like that, though.

When the boys in the basement make a mess of the kitchen, blast music while they cook, and throw non-recyclables in the recycling pile, I speak up when I see them. To me, it’s common sense. I let them know if they leave a mess, or they don’t sort things right. If I don’t tell them, how else will they know it’s a problem?

My roommate doesn’t seem to subscribe to the same logic. Guys leave a mess in the kitchen? Come and complain to me. Guys put Styrofoam containers in the recycling bin again? He throws a fit in the kitchen, takes them out, and complains to me about it. What doesn’t he do? Mention any of this to the guys downstairs!

If a roommate is doing something that pisses you off, you need to talk to them about it. Chances are, they have no clue that you have a problem with their actions or behaviour. If you come to them with the little things, before they balloon into something bigger, it also makes it easier to talk about. I mean, what would you rather do: remind your roommate that they have to clear their hair our of the shower drain after their shower so it doesn’t clog? Or get into a screaming match when the shower drain is clogged beyond belief and you’re both running late and can’t shower?

When it comes to roommate living, communication is key. You need to communicate what is working in your living arrangement, and what isn’t working. If you don’t, then you’ll both just wind up miserable and constantly pissing each other off.

Read Your Damn Lease!

(Sorry for the long pause in posts. Saved everything to draft instead of setting it up to post at a later date. My bad!)

So, I was going to post something I have queued about making sure y your syllabus/course outline/assignment rubric/guidelines.  This is somewhat along those lines, but dealing with renters instead.

At the moment, our landlord is half way across the coutnry, doing his Army Reservist training. In his absence, myself and another roommate have been doing some of the things he usually would do (bills, repairs, cleaning, winterization). The two of us have been here for a few years each, so we don’t mind helping out. The new guys in the basement, however, just moved in the beginning of September. They’ve never dealt with the landlord leaving like this. I really don’t think they can handle it, to be perfectly honest.

Last month, when rent was due on the 1st of the month, I was shuttling myself between home, work, and the hospice to stay with my grandma in her last days. Those two were wondering why I wasn’t dropping everything to take their rent and deposit it for them. Now, I had agreed that I would take their rent money from them and deposit it IF they had some sort of problem with their chosen method of rent payment. Afterwards, I told them to get things straightened out for this month.

Another month has passed, and those two are yet again wondering why I haven’t dropped everything to take care of them. When one went out partying for 2 whole days for Halloween and missed the small bit of time I was home to collect rent, he had the audacity to get mad at me! Because he didn’t sit down with our landlord and go over things step-by-step (rent payment, how to get a receipt, how to contact the landlord), it is now somehow MY problem. One of them even went so far as to bring his father into this, saying he was going to have his father “deal with me”.

And this is where reading your damn lease comes into play.

You see, the lease tells you EVERYTHING you need to know (or should, legally). It’s like the syllabus you get the first day of classes: it tells you everything that is expected, everything that is allowed, how to contact important people, and when everything comes to an end. On top of that, this is a legally binding document. Basically, you entered into a contract with your landlord when you signed this.

Yes, that’s right: it’s legally binding.So, you should probably know what’s in there.  In the past, I’ve had leases that specified types of furniture that were not allowed (usually waterbeds, extra appliances, and space heaters), certain types of combustibles not allowed (fireworks, propane tanks), and animal regulations (some places require a pet deposit, some won’t allow certain animals, and one place let my friend have a pig as long as it didn’t spook the carrier pigeons next door). Your lease can also also have clauses in it regarding noise, subletting, overnight guests, and otehr things you may not think about when signing your lease.

So, back to my roommates: as it turns out, our lease is VERY clear about how rent is to be paid. On the very first page, the landlord gives multiple options for payment, knowing that there will not always be a landlord on-site on the 1st of the month. The lease states the house bank account number and which bank to make deposits at (only a few blocks from here); it has an option to set up internet banking options (of which there are multiple); and there is even an option for submitting multiple post-dated cheques which can be deposited into the bank. Nowhere in the lease is there the option to harass a fellow tenant and attempt to force her to take your money and deposit it for you.

I will be making new (highlighted) photocopies of each of their leases for them, showing them their payment options.  I also gladly welcome a phone call from the one roommate’s father. He thinks that, by having his father call me, I will somehow be scared into takin gtheir money and not giving them any greif over this. Instead, I will proudly read from the lease his son signed, and invite him to teach his son to maybe read his damn lease before he complains.

Showing A Little Respect

For many, starting school means being on their own and away from their parents for the first time. It also means living with roommates, housemates, flatmates, and other living arrangements. So today, we’re going to talk a little bit about respect for the people you’re living with.

As some of you may know, I’ve not been home much lately. After two weeks of staying in hospitals and a hospice to be with my grandma, she passed away Monday morning. This week was full of funeral planning, contacting relatives, visitations, and the funeral itself. Today is the first day I have had off from all of this in almost three weeks. Before this started, I told my two basement roommates that another roommate and I were planning to recaulk their shower for them (the landlord bought the supplies, and we get perks for doing things like this when he’s not here) while they were both gone for the Thanksgiving break. In order to do this, though, they would have to scrub their bathroom out for us. To make sure they remembered this, I left them a note on the fridge reminding them to clean before they left this morning.

Well, I just did a walkthrough of the house after a late lunch, and I am repulsed! Not only did they not clean up that bathroom before they left, they haven’t cleaned it once since they moved in more than a month ago! I walkthrough the other common areas of the house that we all share, and am now infuriated! They left the TV on in the living room, surrounded by protein bar wrappers and coke cans. Not only have my laundry soap and dish soap been used, but they added water to the bottles so that I wouldn’t notice at first glance. My food has been eaten, the sink was full of nasty dishes with food dried onto them (right next to the empty dishwasher, too), and the counter and stove tops are caked in baked on food. Now, not only do I have to tell the landlord that I won’t be able to help with the bathroom repairs right now, I also have to clean up after these two disrespectful jerks.

Sadly,this is all too common with people who are in school.These are not the first roommates like this I have had. Most of my friends have had roommates like this, or some who were even worse. Not only do roommates like this add extra work and stress on you, but they make you start to wonder things like “why do these people hate me”, or “what did I do to them to make them treat me like this”.

Are you one of these roommates? There is no shame in admitting it, as long as you recognize how absolutely disrespectful and mean it is. It’s never too late to make an effort towards being a better roommate. Also, it’s never too late to tell difficult roommates just how difficult it is to live with them.

Here’s something you might not realize when you, or your roommates, act like this: people talk. Think about it; right now, you’re reading about these two jerks on my blog. My friends (some of whom are in school, and some of whom are homeowners who rent out rooms) have heard me complain about them by name. When they’re looking for roommates or tenents, they’ll remember what I’ve told them. Chances are, they’ll bring these two up to their friends as well. At the end of their lease here, when they go looking for a new place to live, what are the chances that they will look at one of the many places where people have now heard about what crappy roommates they are?

It’s all very simple: don’t be a jerk. Show some respect to the people you live with. You never know when you’ll run into someone they know, who they’ve talk to about you.

You also never know which roommates run blogs, or post on other social media, and may be telling the world about you right this very second.

So this opens up my new on-going segment here on The Failed Grown Up. “Roommates from Hell” is a collection of stories from both myself and my friends, all about the strange/awkward/dangerous/unhealthy situations we’ve found ourselves in thanks to our roommates. So be sure to keep checking in for more of my random ramblings on the topic!