Living With Someone: When Good Things Go Bad

Well I’ve been absent from my blog for quite a few weeks. Like I said before, I’ve been going through a lot of stuff. One of those things I’m dealing with has been a very strange break-up.

Now, he and I had been dating for a little over 3 1/2 years, and living together for a little over 2 years. Neither one of us is in any sort of financial position to move out of this house (his parents own the house, and it is a REALLY nice house with a really great price for rent and utilities). We both really like this house. He is an Army Reservist and goes to college, and I’m working (VERY) part-time in customer service, so it’s not like either one of us can afford our own apartment at this time. Plus, part of the reason we broke up is so that we can still live together and be friends, without wanting to kill each other.  So we’re trying to make this “not together but still living together” thing work.

Holy crap, is it harder than I thought it would be!

When I moved in with him (he’s the house manager, but his parents have said they’d rather have him move out than me, which makes things a little weird with that), we seriously thought this was going to wind up either a “forever” thing, or at least a “very very many years together” type thing. Neither one of us thought that a little over two years from then, we’d be splitting up. But that’s just what happened. Thankfully (I guess?), towards the end things started to go south. We each had our own bedroom this whole time, and we started sleeping in our own rooms again. We stopped doing things like cuddling on the couch, and having date night together. And we fought, seemingly all the time.

One day, a week before Christmas, we decided mutually that we needed to break up. It was the day that we were going to exchange our Christmas gifts, too, before he left for the holidays to see his family. I went to work that night, and he picked me up afterwards. We had texted a bit while I was working, making sure we were both ok with this break-up. That night, we exchanged gifts (I got him a new sherpa hoodie and the promise of new craft beers from work in the new year; he got me the book 10,000 Drinks and a machete), made our break-up Facebook-official, and set up our new Tinder accounts. To all outward appearances, we were handling this extremely well.

Well let me tell you, this is nowhere near as easy we have been making it seem!

Ok, so we don’t fight like we used to. But there were some things we were fighting about as a couple that directly related to our living situation (cleaning, roommate drama, his tendency to just let his to-do list get bigger and bigger while nothing gets done around here, my tendency to start just doing the things on his list until I get made and scream at him for not doing them months ago, etc….). None of these things have changed for us since we’ve broken up, but how we have to deal with them has. We used to fight, threaten to end our relationship, and then make-up. We can’t exactly do that now. This is forcing us to really look at things that need to get done around here, and who is actually doing them.

We also have to start dealing with the issue of dating. Now, we haven’t been broken up long, but the last year of our relationship was pretty crappy.  A lot of people thought we would’ve broken up long before we did, and a few thought we had already broken up. So we thought the idea of us seeing other people would be pretty damn easy for us to deal with.

Turns out, not so much.

I took it hard when he started texting with girls from Tinder, even though I have this weird flirtation-type-thing going on with a customer at my work. We have no idea how we handle the issue of bringing dates home with us, and try to make jokes about double dating. We’re also still attracted to each other at times, it seems, and are fighting that too. That last part hasn’t been a big issue between us yet, but it is making us question our behaviour together. We’re both cuddly people, and cuddle with friends. Can we cuddle together, or would that be weird? Can we still confide in each other? What about looking for dating advice? How the hell far can we take this friendship with each other?

Truthfully, it’s pretty damn hard living together like this.  I’m working on my resume as we speak, and will be starting a massive resume blast first thing Monday morning. I need to find a second job, and get out of this house. It’s just too damn weird for me.

All this weirdness is killing my creativity, too. Before he came home after the holidays, I was trying to get back into some more creative endeavours: I bought yarn to learn how to arm knit; started using my adult colour postcard book; started mapping out this blog for the year with ideas and themes; I even caught myself doodling in notebooks and writing down story ideas again. But as soon as he came home, that all just seemed to die.

So, I’ll be trying to get back into this blog again soon. Hopefully, I can write away the weird feelings I’m getting right now.

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The Fabled ‘Tale of the Corn’, or “How I Became Allergic to my Own Damn Kitchen”.

I think sometimes when I tell this story, people don’t believe me unless they knew this particular roommate. The state of her kitchen became a legend among frat boys in our area. It was a punishment to be forced to come over to her place and clean her kitchen for her. More than one frat pledge hurled and dry-heaved his way his way through her dishes, just to come across forgotten pots and pans from what looked to be Christmas dinner, 1976. There are some who cannot remember a time when her kitchen wasn’t covered in dishes. I am not one of those people, though. I can remember scrubbing our kitchen when we lived together, having an empty sink and a drawer full of squeaky clean cutlery. In my mind, the kitchen was just a minor problem that we could handle together.

Until the corn pot.

She had never been one to do dishes in the first place. For many years, she had a deal with her fiance where he would do dishes if she would do all their laundry. When he left, she stepped up from time to time, cleaning up after herself. This would usually only be after at least a week of dishes piling up in the sink, crusted food rotting on their pretty floral pattern. I bought myself a set of blue plastic dishes, trying to make sure I always had something to throw my pizza on while I watched tv. Over time, even those dishes somehow wound up in her growing sink mound.

Usually, I would get sick of the mess, throw a fit, and the two of us would clean it up together. If I wasn’t around, though, this didn’t get done. I could scrub the kitchen down completely on a Friday afternoon, go to my parents’ place for the weekend, and come home to a pile of dishes I would later have to help clean.

And that is how the corn incident started.

On a Thursday night, she decided to make herself a big enough meal to have leftovers for a day or two, while I decided to go stay with my parents’ and help them move furniture. Before leaving, I hugged her cats goodbye and watched her browning meat at the stove. I didn’t come home until Monday afternoon.

It seems that part of her dinner Thursday night was a rather large pot of frozen corn. I know this because on Monday night, it was still sitting half-full on the stove. The butter in it had hardened and the pot’s contents were now one giant yellow rock. I asked her if she would be getting rid of that soon, and she said she was just about to.

On Wednesday night, I tried to find a clean plate for my pizza. While moving dirty dishes away from the cupboards, I found the corn pot. It was still full, and starting to look a little fuzzy. I mentioned to her that her food was starting to grown life forms, and she laughed it off.

By Friday night, I was feeling a little off while trying to make dinner. My eyes were burning, my throat felt dry, and I was getting dizzy at the stove. I moved things aside to get to the window, and found the pot. The corn was starting resemble a small cat now, black and fuzzy. The mould on it was growing its own film of mould.

Oh, did I mention that I’m allergic to mould?

The roommate swore again and again that she would take care of it. Yet day after day, that mouldy sat on the stove. I began to have nightmares about what was going on in that pot. Were there tiny little organisms in there, slowly evolving? Were they building tiny little roads and houses? Would they stage an uprising and come to kill me in my sleep?

By the following weekend, I had had enough.  The pot was still sitting there, less corn than fuzzy cat-like blob of fuzz. I stormed into the kitchen, grabbed the pot by the handles, and decided right then and there that I was going to get rid of whatever was living in there.

And that’s when it attacked.

A black mushroom cloud of spores exploded from the pot, enveloping my entire head. I gagged and wheezed, throwing the pot back on the stove and running for the nearest bathroom. Black fuzzy chunks flowed trough my vomit, as tears tried to wash the black from my eyes. And the roommate? She sat in the living-room, watching TV and occasionally calling out, “are you alright?”

For days after, I was a mess. My eyes both watered and were painfully dry. I wheezed after walking the 9 feet to the bathroom from my bedroom. I was cranky and tired, but couldn’t fall asleep with all the itching and coughing. And that damn pot still sat there.

To be safe, I stayed out of the kitchen. When the pot exploded, it essentially made me allergic to the entire damn room. The room where my food was, where I could eat up leftover pizza, where the glasses for my beer were. Allergic! For days, I pleaded with the roommate to clean out the pot. She had midterms, and papers, and studying, and TV, and god knows what else keeping her from that kitchen, though. Unable to even enter the room, I was forced to subside on pizza and McDonald’s; not a huge change from before, but still a huge annoyance.

Finally after close to three weeks of me asking, she cleaned it. While I was on campus, she threw away the growing fuzz-ball and scrubbed out that pot. She scrubbed down the dirty dishes that had been accumulating, wiped down the counters, and even cleaned the stove-top.  For a whole 17 hours, I had a clean kitchen.

Of course, then she made food again.

It was corn.

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.

The Tale of My Chronic Hives

Hey there friendship, sorry for the long pause.

I’ve been moving this last month.  Since I am stubborn, and broke, and have no job, and my student loans are running out, I decided to do 90% of the move using backpacks and reusable shopping bags, walking my things over. I had a bit of help from my mommy, though. She drove my dresser and bookcase over…… and the giant pile of textbooks I’ve somehow accumulated in this whole “higher education” thing. As if the move wasn’t stressful enough, something quite odd happened…….

The boy who lived in the room I’m renting is a friend of mine. I’ve known him through his frat since he was just a little rush-ling. I knew he wasn’t overly concerned with cleaning, but had  no clue how far that went.  After he moved out, he left piles of his things behind, saying he’d be back for them “later”. He also left a disgusting mess. There were tortilla chips and sunflower seeds all over the floor, which hadn’t been vacuumed in more than a year. We (my boyfriend, my other new roommate, and I) vacuumed every inch of the room, repeatedly. Afterwards, I moved some furniture around and sat on the carpet to put a few books on the little bookcase near the bed. That’s when the hives started…… on the 9th of July.

This is July 30th. So far, I have had 5 appointments with my on-campus doctor. I have had blood work done 3 times, and have the paperwork for more. I have had an emergency dermatology appointment. I’ve been on prednisone (a powerful steroid that makes me hyper and puffy), Benadryl, extra-strength ibuprofen, and have a prescription for an EpiPen. My eyes have swollen shut more than once.  I had to go to a job interview with lips so swollen, I looked like the victim of a botched collagen job. In this heat and humidity (it’s been averaging 80F, but feels like 100F+ with humidity), I have to walk around in long pants and long sleeves. My body is entirely covered in hives. And believe me, I do mean ENTIRELY covered. TMI, there are hives in my butt crack.

We’ve scrubbed all the walls here twice. We took down the blinds and soaked them in the tub with dish soap. We rented a steam cleaner, which I ran over this carpet 4 times. I even steam cleaned the mattress in here.  The doctor’s aren’t entirely sure why I’m still hive-tastic. Their best guess right now is that this room was so disgustingly, horribly, stomach-churningly filthy that, when I had an allergic to reaction to something here, the filth made my reaction stronger than it should have been. And now, that reaction has just gone crazy.

So what does this have to do with roommate? EVERYTHING!

Once you’re out of your parents’ house and living with other people, your mommy and daddy aren’t going to be around to clean up after you. You are going to have to do things like vacuum, wash floors, scrub toilets, and even take out the trash. The boy who lived her before me is still friends with a lot of my friends, and with my boyfriend.  How do you think they’ll treat him after seeing what his filthiness did to me?

Just because you don’t want to clean, doesn’t mean you don’t have to.

Exam Time Ragers

Well hey there sunshine! Top of the mornin’ to ya!

It’s bright and early here, and I’m downing coffee like it’s water. It’s finals week here for the Intersession classes, such as the two I took this semester. My first exam is today at noon. That means long days and nights of studying, attempting to get a half-way decent amount of sleep…… and pounding on my roommate’s door at 3:30am to tell his random friends to pipe the fuck down*

Now, this roommate isn’t exactly known for being considerate (or for having read the terms of the lease). Why, just a few days ago I had to leave a note on the fridge listing all of my things from the kitchen that have gone missing and I want back. (After a frantic search on his behalf, I got less than half of it back. He then proceeded to use my kitchen utensils.) And last semester, after asking me more than half a dozen times when my last exam was, he brought home a dozen or so friends just after midnight, two days before my last exam. Last night was the absolute worst, though.

I had passed out a few hours before and did not hear Tweedle Dumbass and his entourage come in. If they had just kept the noise down, I probably wouldn’t have noticed at all. But he had to thrown on the techno music, with it’s loud thumping bass. **thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp** thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp** Then his friends, even though they couldn’t be more than a few feet from each other in that room, started yelling to each other.

“I hope no one tries to touch my boobs!”

“We should all just get naked!”

“Seriously, no one better try to touch my boobs!”

“Oh my god guys! I’m wearing one shoe!”

“Goddamn it! Why isn’t anyone trying to touch my boobs!”

**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**thuwmp**

A little before 3am, I woke up.  I pulled a pillow over my head and tried to block out the noise. Surely they won’t be here much longer, I naively thought. By 3am, the urge to pee was rising almost as fast as my urge to slap someone with a raw tuna. 3:15am, that tuna urge had changed from raw to a bag of cans. By 3:30am, I couldn’t take much more of the noise or the throbbing in my bladder (made worse with every **thwump** that shook the walls). I got up to use the bathroom (located right next to his bedroom)…… and the toilet was vibrating was the music.

That was the last straw. Have you ever been half asleep, fully pissed off, with a bladder ready to burst, and have to sit on a toilet that is vibrating to some random techno song set to infinite repeat? My ass is still tingling. After flushing, washing, and resisting the urge to puncture a can of shaving cream and throw it in his room like a foaming grenade, I pounded on his door.

Dumbass didn’t even have the decency to open it himself.  He had a friend come talk to me.

Now, I was half asleep still, with a tingling ass from the vibrating toilet, and didn’t have a shred of patience left in me for this guy. So I let loose with a string of…… something. Like I said, I was half asleep. I’m pretty sure the words “pipe the fuck down” were said, along with an expletive-peppered request to shut up and turn off the music.

In the end, they turned down the music, but kept up the voices. For at least another 45 minutes, they shouted to each other across a tiny room. Every now and then you could hear someone “shhhhushhh” the others, but that would only last a few seconds at best.

So, here I am: one hour before I have to leave for my exam. I’m running on almost no sleep, am in a panic about the exam itself, and am filled with injurous rage. Tweedle Dumbass appears to have fled with his friends in the night, avoiding my wrath.

He can’t stay away forever, though.

*yes, I watch a lot of Jenna Marbles videos on my study breaks.

Bringing the Old into the New

Hey there everyone! Happy Holidays!
I’m working as many shifts at the liquor store as I can get over the holidays; my baby brother is home from his new job in Sweden for a few weeks; my mother has put up so many trees at my parents’ place that she ran out of rooms to put them in and put one in the laundry room; and I am trying to get in some yoga and crafting over the next few weeks while I have the house to myself (roommates are gone home for the holidays!!).

So, I thought I would share with you all some posts from an old Tumblr blog I ran called “How Do I Roommate?” I wrote it about roommate problems I was having around that time. I’m just going to copy and paste them all right from Tumblr, mistakes and all.

So, enjoy my former pain in my Roommates From Hell segment! And enjoy your holidays!