Things I Shouldn’t Have to Tell My Grown-Ass Roommates

As you all know, I live with roommates. Since I moved out to go to university, I’ve lived with more than 30 different roommates in a handful of places. With the exception of one girl who moved out of her mom’s house and then lived here for almost 3 whole months before moving back home, none of those roommates have been on their own for the first time when they lived with me. For the most part, these were grown-ass adults who had lived on their own for years before we crossed paths. The majority of my roommates were my age or slightly younger, but I’ve lived with a few older folk in my day. Hell, one roommate was the same age as my parents.

Now, in all of those years, I’ve had to say some pretty ridiculous things to these roommates. Now, keep in mind that these are grown-ass adults. I cannot stress enough that these are grown-ass adults I’m dealing with here. If these were young kids living away from home for the first time, and their parents did everything for them before they moved out, then I’d somewhat understand having to say some of these things. But these are grown-ass adults. These are people who have had careers and apartments, and through some strange quirk in the universe wound up at the university here and lived under the same roof as me after all that. These are people who should know better.

So, without further adieu, I give to you my first installment of Things I Shouldn’t Have to Tell My Grown-Ass Roommates

  1. Clean out the mesh hair trap in the shower. Otherwise, all the gunk that’s trapped in there just clogs it up and makes the water pool at your feet.
  2. Don’t blow your nose in the shower. Snot clogs the mesh hair trap
  3. Don’t jerk off in the shower. There is now jizz clogging the mesh hair trap, and I sure as hell am not cleaning that.
  4. Don’t turn on the AC if it’s not hot out, and then wear a sweater in the house.
  5. 65F is not hot.
  6. Seriously, buy a small fan. It’s not hot out.
  7. An industrial fan is NOT a small fan!
  8. Seriously, the cat is covered in fur. I’m not about to let him overheat. If he can stand the heat, we can too.
  9. Why the hell would you turn on the AC and a space heater?
  10. It’s a bedroom. Not even a huge bedroom. It’s just a small room full of your stuff. How many damn space heaters do you need?
  11. The house isn’t soundproof, and neither are the walls between our rooms.
  12. It’s like 69F in here. You don’t need three fans and the AC on!
  13. How do I know about the fans? Because the damn house isnèt soundproof and they are loud as hell!
  14. Also, I can hear you boning in there.
  15. Either that girl is delusional and really thinks your name is God, or she’s faking. Take your pick.
  16. It’s not my fault the garbage truck woke you up. It’s 3pm, and you stayed up all night smoking weed and watching movies. Deal with it.
  17. Pubes are hair! Clean them out of the damn mesh hair trap!
  18. That little knob you use to turn the oven on…. it works the other way too. Turn the oven off when you’re done.
  19. Same goes for the stove.
  20. And the lights.
  21. And the sink.
  22. Basically, anything you can turn on, you can turn off again when you’re done.
  23. If you drop food on the floor, pick it up.
  24. If you spill sauce on the floor, pick it up.
  25. Same goes for drinks.
  26. Seriously, this is some basic stuff here. Clean up your damn mess.
  27. Crumbs = bugs. Do you want to live with bugs? No? Then clean up your damn mess!
  28. I’m pretty sure when you thaw chicken breast, you don’t have to leave it out on the counter for 4 days.
  29. Ok, your cat has now pulled the chicken breast off the counter and is trying to pull it out of the plastic wrap on the kitchen floor. Pretty sure that chicken is done for.
  30. Are you seriously eating the 4-day old chicken breast the cat was licking an hour ago?
  31. If you’re going to use the oven or the stove, then freaking use it! Don’t put food in there and fo read a book, or take a shower, or go down for a nap. That’s how things burn and fires start!
  32. If your food is black, crispy, and sticking to the pan, you burned it.
  33. If the kitchen is filling with smoke, your food is burning.
  34. If the cat is sitting in front of the oven and yowling, you took your food out but left the oven on. Congratulations, my cat is now smarter than you.
  35. Bacon grease splatters. Clean it up when you’re done.
  36. Same goes for hot oil
  37. How about you just clean up any food you splatter on the stove?
  38. And since we mentioned bacon, you can’t just dump bacon grease down the drain. When it cools, it solidifies and will clog the drain. Then it attracts bugs, and it stinks.
  39. Do you have any idea how hard it is to scrape your solidified exploded chili and cheese out of the insides of the microwave? Just wipe it out after you use it.
  40. No, I don’t mean “remind me to scrub the microwave the next time you see me using it”. I mean wipe up your own damn mess when you make it!
  41. Why is my wet laundry sitting on the basement floor, covered in centipedes?
  42. What the hell made you think you could put double loads in both the apartment’s free washing machines, and then throw them together in the tiny dryer for 20 minutes, and expect them to be dry?
  43. Better yet, why the hell did you take the soaking wet clothes out of the dryer, bring them home, and leave in your hamper?
  44. That smell? It’s the mildew on your clothes. That’s what happens when you leave wet clothes in the hamper for 6 weeks.
  45. How long are you going to leave your wet clothes in the washer?
  46. Why the hell are you yelling at me for putting your wet clothes in the dryer? They’ve been sitting in the washer for eleven days!
  47. Again with the mesh hair trap! If it’s too big to fit through the tiny mesh there, then it’s going to clog it and you need to empty it. Your toenails are definitely too big to fit through there. Get rid of them.
  48. Ok, when the landlord says that I’m the only one allowed to touch the thermostat, that means that YOU don’t touch it! Period!
  49. Access to the internet is a privilege. It’s in my name, so I make the rules. Just because you pay a fee, which amounts to a very small portion of the total monthly bill, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, especially if it’s going to get me into trouble.
  50. Ok seriously, stop illegally downloading MMA fights and porn. I totally know it’s you doing it.
  51. Well, I’m not the one downloading this crap. That means it’s either you or the damn cat, and I’m pretty sure the cat isn’t into Big and Busty Housewives of Macomb County IIV.
  52. Why is your pee on the floor?
  53. Seriously, there’s pee on the floor. I sit down to pee, so we both know it’s not mine. Clean up your damn pee!
  54. While you’re at it, you could work on the skid marks you left in the toilet. I really don’t need to be looking at your poop remnants.
  55. I rent a room here, just like you. The landlord is the guy you pay rent to, who made you sign the lease. We are two different people.
  56. Stop trying to give me your rent. It says right in the lease how to pay the landlord, and it in no way involves giving me money.
  57. Ok if I don’t collect the rent from you, then I definitely can’t give you a rent receipt. Talk to the landlord about that.
  58. Yes, the landlord lives in a whole different province, and the internet is in my name. The landlord and I are still two separate people though,
  59. Ok, I don’t care how much you try to intimidate me. No matter how convinced you are that you can kick my ass, that still does not change the fact that I am NOT the landlord, and cannot write a rent receipt for you.
  60. Stop stealing my food from the fridge.
  61. That doesn’t mean “replace all of my food with your food”.
  62. Ok, you’ve now completely filled the fridge with meat. I guess that means you won’t be stealing my vegetarian protein meat substitutes.
  63. Why are you yelling at me because you don’t like the taste of “mushroom soy veggie meat”? That’s mine, so that shouldn’t bother you.
  64. Seriously, stop complaining because you don’t like my food. If you weren’t stealing my food, then you wouldn’t know you don’t like it.
  65. Ok, when you complain that my food tastes like crap, you’re basically screaming “Hey, I’m stealing your food and eating it when you’re not around!” Stop denying it.
  66. If you throw raw meat on the counter, you’ve got to scrub that counter down and sanitize it.
  67. “Sanitize it” doesn’t mean wipe it down with a rag or a damp sponge. Use some cleaner or bleach or something!
  68. No, you can’t sanitize the chicken after the cat licked it. Maybe you shouldn’t leave it out for 4 freaking days.
  69. No, even bleach won’t work on your chicken.
  70. So yeah, the kitchen isn’t the only common area. If you use a space, clean it up.
  71. Why are there take-out coffee cups all over the living room?
  72. Ok, there is mold in the freaking coffee cups! How did long did you leave them in there?
  73. Ok, I know we had a floor in here the other day. Now there’s just pizza boxes, McDonald’s bags, and empty beer cans. What the hell happened?
  74. Your room is too hot because you closed off all the vents in there, maybe?
  75. Vents aren’t closed? Well then maybe there’s something blocking them.
  76. Ok dude, seriously? I can’t see your damn floor. There are layers of clothes and garbage. Ever thank that might block your vent?
  77. That case of iced tea that’s been sitting on the vent for months is probably what’s blocking the damn vents.
  78. It’s winter now. Not only is that iced tea all going bad from sitting on a hot vent, it’s now officially a fire hazard!
  79. If you put a pan of bacon grease in the bottom of the sink and then fill the sink with water, the water is going to be full of bacon grease.
  80. Anything you try to wash in that water is just going to get coated in bacon grease.
  81. Why are my coffee mugs so slippery? You used the bacon grease water again, didn’t you?
  82. What do you mean “when is the landlord delivering more dish soap”? Cleaning supplies are not included in the rent. We buy our own stuff here.
  83. No, most landlords do not deliver dish soap. Or cleaning products. Or vacuum bags. Or ziplock bags. What the hell kind of landlords did you have before?
  84. The room comes furnished if you want it to. You knew that when you viewed the room, and it says so in the lease. So what do you mean “what’s all that furniture doing in my room”?
  85. It comes with the furniture in the room. Or we can move it out of the room for you. If we move the furniture out, then the room isn’t furnished anymore. It’s not a hard concept.
  86. Why the hell would the landlord let you pick out all new furniture, and then buy it for you? That’s not what “comes furnished” means!
  87. Sure, send the landlord a copy of the Ikea catalog. I’m sure that will totally change her mind and she’ll buy you all new furniture. And then, we’ll take all the old furniture and use it to build a rocketship to go colonize Mars.
  88. Why the hell would you think you could take the landlord’s furniture with you when you move out?
  89. No, the furniture isn’t yours now that you’ve used it. People used it before you too. They didn’t try to take it with them when they moved out!
  90. That beeping sound coming from your smoke detector? It’s the low battery warning. Same thing it was this morning when you asked me what that beeping sound coming from your smoke detector was.
  91. No, the house isn’t on fire. Usually, when the smoke detector beeps and then says “low battery”, that’s a sign that the battery is low.
  92. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that changing the battery might stop that “low battery” beep.
  93. Why is the laundry tub full of dishes?
  94. Ok, how long are those dishes going to sit in the laundry tub?
  95. Is that my favourite tea mug floating in the laundry tub? The one you swore you have never seen in your life and had no idea where it had gone to?
  96. No, I’m pretty sure I didn’t go downstairs and put my mug in the laundry tub. I use the kitchen sink for dishes, like everyone else in the damn house.
  97. No, you can’t use laundry detergent to wash your dishes, even if you wash them in the laundry tub.
  98. No, you can’t use Ivory soap and shampoo if you wash your dishes in the bathtub either.
  99. Seriously, dish soap really isn’t that hard a concept!
  100. Ok, why the hell is there 3 days worth of food clogging up the damn mesh trap in the bathtub drain?
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Move From Hell: My Move Here

So far, today sucks. The battery in the smoke alarm downstairs was supposed to be changed over the weekend. Normally, that responsibility would fall on whoever is living in the bedrooms downstairs. Apparently, the guy living in the basement has never had a smoke detector in his house before. Neither has the creepy dude on the main floor with us. The battery is low enough it’s making that beep sound every few minutes, and neither of them had any clue what it was.

Now, most people would just ask their roommates, “Do you hear that beeping sound? The one that’s slowly driving me insane? That one right there? Give it a minute or two and it will go again. What the hell is that?”. That would be the logical thing to do. Gee, I don’t know what that strange sound is, but no one else seems especially bothered by it. Maybe I should ask them what it is, just to ease my mind. Seems like the logical thing to do, right?

Not for these precious little turd buckets!

I was already in a sour mood this morning by the time the coffee was made. Someone had been messing with the physical connection for the internet (the internet that is in MY name), disconnected our Android Box (which we just use for Netflix and YouTube, since we can’t figure the damn thing out because we’re Really Very Old). So completely uncaffienated, I had to start playing with cords and wires and such, connect things with flashing lights that I’m not entirely sure how they work, hoping that the internet would come back to life for me. I mean, I can’t check my email or update the blog without internet, so my day would just be pointless without it. From there, it was picking up the trail of leaves and mud someone tracked in during the night, sweeping the entrance way, moping the messier spots, and calming down the ever curious Bowser Kitten who doesn’t quite understand how mops work.

Mind you, this is all before I’ve even had a chance to put on a bra for the day, and all the while that damn smoke detector is beeping.

I finally finish all of that up, start up the coffee maker, and sit down to turn on the computer for the day. Pages are still loading up for the day, and I start getting Facebook messages from the landlord. Roommates had been messaging him this morning, telling him that the smoke alarm was going off all night and no one seemed to care. They seemed to be worked up into a tizzy, thinking the house was about to explode and burn to the ground while we all slept. Why was this thing making noise? What was it doing? Were we all going to die?

So there I am, still braless and uncaffienated, explaining to the landlord over messenger that no, the smoke alarm was not constantly going off. The battery is just low and needs to be changed, and apparently, the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend and I were the only ones with enough brain cells to figure that out. In fact, if no one figured that out by the time AAB got home from work today, he was going to change the damn thing himself. We’re used to doing a good 90% of the things around here that need to be done outside of washing your own dishes and picking up your dirty underpants off the bathroom floor. Hell, sometimes we even have to do that for people! Even though all these other people live here, we are the ones who do the lawn, shovel the snow, change the furnace filter, get rid of the mold and mildew in the bathrooms, clean the floors, scrub the toilets, do any and all basic home repairs around this place, and the list goes on. We don’t get paid to do this, and no one else ever has any inclination to help us. And that is starting to drive me mad.

Now I’ve lived with my share of lazy idiots around here. I lived with some pretty bizarre humans in my other dwellings too. But this is the place I’ve lived in longer than any other place in my adult life. I went through hell to move into this place, and for a long time, I really did love this house. But right now, I’m wondering if all that hell was worth it.

My ex-boyfriend lived in the house when I moved in here before he was my ex-boyfriend. One of his frat brothers lived in the room I was going to take and moved out a few weeks before I moved in. Having just finished school and have no job yet, I was trying to make my savings last as long as possible for food and rent. So, instead of renting a moving van, I decided to move everything over here by hand. I only lived a few blocks east of here at the time, so it made sense in theory. I made charts and lists, dividing up what would be moved with what to space out load weight, what could be moved when, and how to move the few larger items I was bringing with me. Since the room was furnished I couldn’t bring my bed or both my dressers with me, but I did need my bookcase and at least one extra dresser. In all, the little bit of furniture would be moved in my mother’s car with the heavier things like textbooks. Everything else would be loaded into reusable shopping bags and backpacks and moved over here by foot, over the course of two weeks.

Did I mention this was taking place in July? During a slight heat wave? I already prefer the colder weather, since it’s so much easier and more socially acceptable to put more layers on to stay warm, instead of taking clothes off until you’re walking the streets naked. The first day I could get things into the room, my friend/new roommate and I vacuumed what turned out to be more than a year’s worth of food, dirt, weed, sunflower seed shells, and other assorted grossness from the carpet. I curled up on the freshly vacuumed carpet to start putting books away……… and the hives started.

They stayed for 94 days.

I had to see half a dozen doctors and specialists over the next few weeks for this. One doctor put me on a ridiculously high dose of anti-histamines for a while, which only stopped my face from swelling up quite so much. I passed my brother on campus one day on my way into the clinic, and he didn’t recognize me at first. My eyes swelled almost shut, my lips swelled up almost three times their size (a doctor actually measured that for me for some reason), and I was bright red and blotchy. I went off the meds for a day to get an allergy test done, and they had to give me a shot of something just so I could ride the bus home afterward. I was so swollen that I could barely move, and they were afraid the skin on my joints might split from the pressure and dryness. Eventually, I was put on a ridiculously high dose of a steroid (which made me pack on pounds) to amp up the ridiculously high dose of anti-histamines I was already on.

Sweating made the hives worse. So did fabric rubbing on them, and sunlight. Still, I had to finish moving. So, all hivey and itchy, I threw on loose cotton pants and a long sleeve shirt in 100-degree weather and walked the few blocks to and from this place while carrying a giant backpack and 2-4 reusable shopping bags. When I would get here, I wouldn’t be able to move without crying. I’d unpack and organize the best I could, and then just sit as still as possible in the air-conditioned living room and eat with my new roommates. The combination of fast food (since it hurt to cook and be around a hot stove), the steroids, and the inability to move without fresh hives popping up meant I gained weight like crazy. I put on a good 60lbs in those 94 days.

We did everything we could to clean this place and try and make the hives stop. The then-boyfriend rented a carpet cleaner and we steamed the carpet, walls, and furniture here. We then scrubbed the walls and baseboards again, cleaned the windows, even washed the ceiling. Nothing seemed to help, but at least this house didn’t seem to make the hives worse, just as long as I didn’t move too much. One doctor finally concluded that my system was in complete shock and was sort of resetting itself. There was so much filth in the carpet here, and there was something in there that I was allergic to, most likely mold from not being cleaned. But when I touched the carpet, there was so much filth that when my body reacted to the mold, it reacted to everything else in that carpet too. Suddenly, I was having a hundred mini allergic reactions at the same time, to practically everything. There was no cure, and this could happen to me again randomly at any time. My body was in such shock that my immunities just exploded for 94 days.

Again, I was moving all through this. The then-boyfriend helped me walk things over here a few times. And the awesome new roommate I was gaining drove over twice one day towards the end of the move to take as much as humanly possible in his car. My mother came over one day, and we managed to move a short dresser, a bookcase, and a whole lot of books in a few trips. Everything seemed to be going smoothly again. All I had to worry about was getting rid of the small bit of furniture I had, most of which came from an old roommate of mine who had moved back home when he graduated.

I took out an ad on Kijiji, looking to sell off my furniture cheap. One young man said he would take everything, and offered me a good $50 more than I was expecting to get. I set up an appointment and moved everything out of the basement room I was then renting and onto the driveway. He showed up late, with his mother, in her minivan. Her very FULL  minivan. Like, crammed as full as I think a minivan could ever be crammed. His mother, apparently, didn’t know they were picking up furniture and he never thought to tell her that. In the end, he took a mattress. That’s it. With days left on my lease, I had to get rid of a boxspring, dresser, desk, chairs, tv, clothing rack, and a whole bunch of drawers.

Thankfully, a very good friend of mine offered to pick me up in his truck, and we could take everything to Goodwill to be donated. He didn’t know how bad my hives were, though. When he got to my place, he just stood there staring for almost a full minute before we could get moving. When we picked up his girlfriend afterward, she did the exact same thing. I was red, blotchy, itchy, heavier, bloated, and not even wearing my eyebrows.  We managed to get everything donated, and I then collapsed on the cold hardwood floor in our living room while the itching and pain took over.

It took me almost three whole weeks to move in here fully. As a result of moving in here, I spent 94 days worrying my throat was going to swell up and I would die at any moment. I had to go to job interviews looking like a diseased Muppet. I almost had to miss my cousin’s wedding because of the hives, but they managed to clear up almost two weeks before the event. Still, I spent the whole night paranoid that the heat and humidity in the tiny hall would make me break out again. I was poked, prodded, had more blood drawn in a few short weeks than I have in my entire life combined (and they drew a tonne of blood when I was quarantinned the summer before, too!), and even had a doctor stick her finger in my butt to see if the hives were migrating internally.

For a long time, even after the then-boyfriend and I broke up, I really did love this house. Hell, I wanted to make an offer to the landlord and buy it at one point! But buying this place would mean honoring the current leases because I’m too nice to do the whole “house got sold, everyone move out thing” that previous landlords have done to me. I can’t stand living with roommates anymore. Just in this house alone I’ve had the two current guys who don’t know the basics like what a smoke detector is, or that leaving food out in your room breeds fruit flies, or that piling garbage bags full of random stuff you’re hording on top of a heating vent can melt the plastic garbage bags. I’ve had to deal with It (the girl who would blast music at midnight so loud that it shook things, and then get mad when we asked her to turn it down because we all had to get up in the morning), The Tweedles (two guys who seemed to think that threatening to rape me would get me to do stuff for them like dishes and grocery shopping), the woman who chopped cabbage on the kitchen floor and left behind a broken treadmill, the guy who just stopped paying rent and left behind a Christmas Tree and all the ornaments his kid made him, the guy who couldn’t figure out that leaving doors wide open meant the ever curious Bowser Kitten could get outside and random animals could get inside, and a whole host of randoms who stayed a matter of weeks before moving on. I can’t take much more of this.

I don’t get paid until next Thursday and have to very heavily budget my money these days, so buying a new 9V battery is the difference between having milk for my coffee this week or not (and drinking it black hurts my tummy too much to do), so AAB is buying one. Otherwise, I’d change the damn thing myself. Buddy downstairs could go get the damn battery, but he’s too busy ignoring the beeping and messaging the landlord that he thinks the house is going to blow up or something. And the creepy dude just keeps asking me over and over what that noise is. Dude, it’s the same noise you asked about an hour ago!

I went through hell moving into this place. I really wanted to turn this place into a home, somewhere I didn’t have to live with random people. But this is all getting to be too much right now. I’m thinking of getting out, of packing up the timid yet fierce Bowser Kitten and AAB, maybe buying a tiny house out here, or getting an apartment of our own. I’m going mad here, I tell you. Mad!!!!

One Of My Biggest Pet Peeves

As I keep telling you, there are five people and the always amazing and precious Bowser Kitten living in this house. Once a week the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend changes the kitty litter, takes out the garbage, and does the recycling. Everyone here does all their own laundry, and for the most part, we do our own dishes. Sometimes we’ll leave something in the sink to soak and someone else will wash it, but we all do that for each other. Even Bowser Kitten does his part, chasing and destroying flies.

So why the hell can’t anyone figure out how to clean the common areas? I mean, it’s like none of them have ever seen a broom before in their lives.

Not How You Use A Broom

In all the years of having roommates, the lack of cleaning in common areas has been one of my biggest pet peeves. I mean, common areas are places in your house/apartment/oversize cardboard box that a bunch (or all) of us use. Everyone in the house eats at some point, so we all use the kitchen. And just like the children’s book taught us years ago, everybody poops. Everybody. Unless you each have your very own individual bathrooms, you share a bathroom with someone else. This ain’t rocket surgery here people. There’s more than one person who uses that room, so logically there should be more than one person cleaning that room.

I swept our kitchen three times today. THREE!!! When I got up to make coffee this morning, there were crumbs and dirt everywhere. When I went to take a shower, someone had tracked dirt and grass all through the house. And when I was reheating my leftover Chinese food later in the afternoon, there was rice and dirt everywhere. Now I know none of that stuff got there on its own. Someone had to track in that dirt and grass, and someone had to spill that rice. And whatever someone did that, did NOT clean it up afterward.

For some reason, grown-ass adults in this house who manage to keep their personal bedrooms immaculately clean can’t be bothered to sweep up their spilled food. They can’t find the time to wipe down counters after they use them. They have no problem spilling pasta sauce all over the stove and leaving it there to bake on.

Since I’ve lived here the longest, I tend to take on the ickier sometimes-jobs. I’m the one who pulls the grates off the range hood to clean up the grease from the fan over the stove. I’m the one who scrubs out the oven. I’m the one who sweeps the cobwebs from the corners, who washed the handprints off the walls, who dusts the cupboard tops and baseboards. I can plan for all of this. But having to drop everything to once again sweep up someone else’s mess in the kitchen and re-mop the floors is just draining me.

And it doesn’t stop at the kitchen, either. As amazingly awesome as the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend is, our bathroom is the root of many fights between us. Even after he “cleans” it, I can run my finger along the side of the tub or on the shower wall and just feel the grime on there. But at least he’s trying. We share that bathroom with another person who has cleaned ONCE. Yes, once. And that was just his sink. In the months he has shared that bathroom with us, he cleaned his sink out once. When it comes to 99% of the cleaning in that bathroom that three people use, I am the one who scrubs the toilet and bathtub. I am the only one who washes the bathmats or the floor. And I am the only one to ever clean the mirrors or wipe filthy handprints off the door and walls.

As I’ve said before, I’m far from perfect. I once had the horrible habit of leaving mostly drank 40oz bottles of malt liquor on the sun porch of a house I shared. At my old apartment, I had to sleep in the living room for quite some time and let my piles of books and study material take over a portion of the room. I learned from all of this though. And I pass on what I learned so you don’t have to make all of my mistakes. I mean if you can’t be a good example, you may as well be a terrible warning, right?

One of the main reasons I hate living with roommates so much is because of the lack of cleaning anyone ever does. I am the only one who sweeps anywhere but the bedrooms. I’m the only one who mops, who vacuums, who dusts, and who scrubs anywhere in this house that is not inside a rented bedroom. No matter how many people live here, I am the one who does 99% of the cleaning here. And it drives me up the wall.

Are you living with other people, Sunshine? It doesn’t matter if they’re family, friends, or perfect strangers. If you’re not living a perfectly solitary existence locked behind the door to your own private abode, then you need to get up off your ass right now and do a bit of cleaning. Make sure you didn’t leave any sort of mess behind. Take a quick walk-through your place and think, “Do these floors need cleaning? When was the last time the countertops were washed? Do I know how to use a toilet brush?”. Clean something you normally wouldn’t, but that you normally use. I don’t care if it’s mopping the floor in the whole place or just cleaning cobwebs out of the corners: if you’re not living completely alone (save for any animal friends), then you need to be cleaning a little bit more.

And if you are living that hermit-life….. I envy you.

The Failed GrownUp’s Guide to Not Being a Complete And Total Ass Waffle of a Roommate

Well, here in my little University town, it is officially move in day for the residence students. That means that not only is campus flooded with new students and their folks, but the 7-11 I go to every freakin Sunday for my junk food meal of chicken wings and a corn dog is going to be beyond packed and utterly destroyed. That also means that Casa del Failure is packed again.

Once again it’s me, your favourite failure, with my precious Bowser Kitten and the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend taking care of the place. I do most of the general cleaning int he common areas and small repairs; AAB does all the yard work, the really dirty work, and scrubs out rooms when people move out; and Bowser Kitten is in charge of pest control. We have our quirky and quite strange roommate A, who failed to learn how a slow cooker works in his 46 years on this planet (at least I think he’s from this planet), on the main floor with us. In the basement is our young student C, who Bowser absolutely adores right now, taking up the most recently vacated room. And our newest addition is a recent masters graduate we’ll call J, whose girlfriend was my next-door neighbour and babysitting charge more than 15 years ago in a whole other city.

Yes, once again I am living in a house full of dudes. This is a two ovary household still.

So far, things don’t seem too bad. The only real problem we had was with the people moving OUT of rooms. Over the years that I’ve been here, our basement has become quite the collection of randomness that people seem to think I either want or have a burning desire to get rid of for them. Seriously, our little storage area in the basement (which is really just a wide open area when you first come down the stairs with no organizational structure at all) is beyond filed, with things spilling out into the basement common area (where we keep the really really comfy couch).

 

Yes, that is a random tire, a whole bunch of styrofoam, an old broken fan, and a box of old used beer pitchers.  Seriously, what the hell do people think I’m going to do with this crap? It’s not like they left it behind and said, “I don’t have access to a truck to haul this off to the dump. Can I leave it here so you can take it the next time you go?”. They just left it behind in a big pile down there. And that’s not all that’s been left behind over the years, either.

 

That right there is most of a Christmas tree, a treadmill, a box of Christmas lights (which I am actually keeping and putting up in the living room because the lighting sucks in there), and a box of Christmas ornaments. A few of those ornaments were made for the guy who left them here by his freakin son!  So now not only do I have to find a way to get all of this crap to the dump, I have to haul a fucking treadmill up the ridiculously awkward basement stairs!

It gets worse too, Sunshine. When AAB moved in here, the landlord cut a deal with him and paid him to clean out the rooms and bathroom in the basement. Why? Because the last tenant who lived down there (who left the tires, a box of wires and chords, and a few old alarm clocks) was a huge pig. It looked like he had tried to sweep before leaving, but just left piles of dirt and debris all over the bedroom floor. There were old McDonald’s bags from months before, random school papers everywhere, and the bathroom hadn’t been cleaned once in the year he was living down there. AAB spent days down there hauling up garbage, scrubbing layers of mold off the bathroom shower, and basically sanitizing the entire basement.

Sad thing is, this isn’t the first or last time this has happened.  The most recent dude to leave here left behind the tree, Christmas things, random end tables everywhere (who the hell has so many tables for no reason? I mean besides me now), and just garbage everywhere. And of course, no one can forget the guy who lived in my room before me who didn’t vacuum for more than a year. Even after vacuuming the carpet multiple times, I wound up having an allergic reaction to something that had been ground in there and was covered in hives for 94 days.

Yes, 94 fucking days of hives. In the middle of summer, when sweat made the hives worse.

Living in a house you don’t own doesn’t give you free reign to trash the place or disrespect the owners (or your roommates). There are so many simple, little things that you can do to avoid pissing off everyone and someday ending up on some random person’s blog as their Roommate From Hell. So, here for your reading pleasure, I give you…….

The Failed GrownUp’s Guide to Not Being a Complete And Total Ass Waffle of a Roommate

#1: Clean Up Your Fucking Messes

This doesn’t just mean “scrape the berries off the ceiling after you try to make a smoothie in a blender with no lid and cause a giant purple delicious explosion in the kitchen”. Did you use the kitchen counter? Then grab a rag, or a clean sponge, or one of those disinfectant wipes, and wipe the fucking thing down. Use dishes? Fucking wash them!

It’s not rocket surgery here, but it’s the one thing I hear the most complaints about from people I know who are living with roommates. There’s nothing worse than coming home at the end of a long day, wanting nothing more than to throw a bunch of shit into a pot on the stove and make random deliciousness, and finding out that every fucking pot in the damn house is dirty and sitting in the sink. What makes it even worse is when you realize you haven’t touched the pots in days, they were clean right after you used them, and it’s the same fucking roommate using up everything all the time and just leaving it for you to clean.

This isn’t just in the kitchen, either. I could’ve avoided 94 fucking days of hives if someone had just picked up a vacuum every now and then and ran it across the carpet. It’s not a huge room, it only takes a few minutes. Hell, I got a shitty little handheld vacuum with a hose attachment to spot vacuum when I need it in here!

Just generally, clean up after yourself. You know all the shit your parents always bitched at you for, like picking up your socks and not leaving wet towels on the floor? I mean that shit. Pick up things you drop on the floor. If you take stuff into a common area, unless there’s a specific place you can put it, take it with you when you leave. I’m fucking horrible for this, always have been. I’ll take a pile of books, papers, and pens and just leave it somewhere when I leave the room. It’s something I consciously try to avoid doing, though, because I don’t want to be an asshole.

#2: Unless You’re Actually Trying to Wake the Dead, Pipe the Fuck Down

The student life is fucking weird, and you keep the most bizarre hours sometimes. I can remember staying up for like 36 hours sorting through research once, taking a nap at like 10 am and then waking up at 2 pm to start writing for the next 5 hours. Between the classes, the class work, working a job or two, volunteering, clubs and societies, parties, and some semblance of a social life, you find yourself doing strange things like going to 7-11 at 3:30 am for coffee and a RockStar, and then going back again at 3:30 pm for the same thing. There is no one set schedule that all, or even most, students live on. That’s why it’s so damn important to pipe the fuck down.

If you have roommates, unless you’re sitting in the same room together right this very second, you don’t know if they’re sleeping. Or, at the very least, trying to sleep. I once had a roommate who had this big old tv in her room, which was right next to mine. She didn’t care if I worked late the night before, or was up all night writing papers. By 10 am her TV was on and cranked as loud as it would go. I could go downstairs to the living room, turn on the tv down there, and STILL hear her TV. I couldn’t sleep during the day in my own room, let alone take a quick nap unless I had hit the point of total exhaustion where I could sleep through anything.

I admit that I’ve been the loud and annoying roommate at times. Sometimes, if I know everyone is awake, I love to blast some tunes in the shower and sing along. And just so you know, the Bowser Kitten has a better singing voice than I do, and he’s a fucking cat. Still, I now try to do that only when I know everyone is awake and most (if not all) of them are out of the house.

You generally don’t know when someone is sleeping, or napping, or trying to concentrate. I’m not saying you have to tiptoe around the house as quiet as a fucking mime. Let’s be honest here, mime’s are fucking creepy and I would never tell you to act like one! Just be a little considerate. Keep your shows and music at a somewhat reasonable volume.

Why am I sounding more and more like my mother while I write this?

#3: Not Everyone Is Your New Bestie

I’m a pretty solitary person usually. I practice voluntary hermit-ism. If it wasn’t for AAB, I would only leave my room to go to work and take a shit. I’m not totally anti-social or anything. I mean, if I run into a roommate while we’re both in the kitchen or something, I’ll chit chat. I’ve had roommates before who I was friends with, and we would sit around at night and watch tv together. I’m not living here to make friends, though.

All those TV shows where random people live in close proximity to each other and instantly become inseparable best friends for life are a lie. A bold-faced, spit in your eye, slap you across the face, help you move into a new apartment while they fuck your girlfriend in the closet at your old place, LIE!  Living under the same roof does not instantly make you best friends.

My one roommate “A” is constantly trying to strike up a conversation with me. If I’m chilling in the kitchen, I’ll chit chat for a bit while I cook. That’s fine with me. But just a few minutes ago I was cleaning the basement out. I was picking up mattresses and throwing them into a pile, moving the junk people have left behind, and “A” came downstairs. So there I am, hoisting a mattress up over my head while trying to walk around piles of junk, and he just starts rambling on to me about something-or-other. Next thing I know, he’s trying to push mattresses around back into the spaces I was pulling them out of! While I’m pulling stuff out of a tight spot, he’s pushing against and just rambling on about random bullshit.

I know, he’s lonely. He’s always trying to talk to anyone within earshot around here. I’ve taken to hiding when I hear his door open sometimes. It’s just annoying. Like, I just wanted to throw some old mattresses around and check all the Christmas lights that were down there in total peace. It’s my procrastination from writing. I clear my mind, blow off some steam, and lift heavy things over my head for a bit. I didn’t need him undoing my work while rambling my fucking ear off.

Don’t think that everyone in your house will want to sit around and let you talk their ear off. I have had roommates that I grew to be good friends with, some that I actively hate, but most of them were just sorta here. We didn’t chat, or hang out, or go out anywhere together. Sure, we talked when we were in the same room. I can tell you a few things I learned about each of them, and we had some laughs. Hell, I had a roommate I never spoke to outside of our kitchen who I bonded with over a few very large bottles of red wine while we tried to learn about wine tasting in an effort to sound smart at networking events (we failed massively and wound up very hungover instead). He’s moved out since then, and we don’t keep in touch. It’s not a big deal, we’re just not friends.

When you’re renting with random people or people you don’t know very well, don’t try and force the friendship. You might wind up friends with some of them, you might not. It’s no big deal, you don’t have to be everyone’s friend.

And NEVER, under any circumstances, try to force a new roommate into a “fun-filled” night in with you and all your favourite things. A friend had a new roommate try this, and said roommate pitched a fit when my lactose-intolerant vegetarian friend wouldn’t sit around eating burgers and drinking milkshakes for hours during one of the busiest weeks before exams.

#4: Is That Yours? Then Why The Fuck Are You Using It?

Years ago I had to walk home in the pouring rain, and the only thing that kept me going was the thought of grabbing my biggest pot and making ALL the pasta for me and a friend. Like, we were walking in the freezing cold, rain soaking through our clothes, umbrella ripped to shreds from the wind, and all we could talk about was smothering pasta in butter and sopping up the butter with fresh hot bread. Pretty sure the rain was washing away massive amounts of drool. We finally get to my place, change out of our wet clothes, head to the kitchen to start cooking……. and all my pots are gone. I had four fucking pots, and they were ALL gone! A few minutes of snooping and we found all four of them, full of my roommate’s food, used up in the fridge.

This wasn’t the first time, or the last time, this particular roommate took my cookware. I’d come home from class and my stuff would just be gone. When I announced I was moving out, he actually had the nerve to try and hide some of my stuff from me! In the end, I did lose a few things in the move because of him. He grabbed stupid random shit (a toaster, a fan, frying pan, three plates and a bowl from a 4-person place setting) and locked it in his room for the week while he was out of town.  I couldn’t get them before I left.

If you’re my roommate and you ask me if you can borrow something, 99% of the time I’ll let you. I can’t help it, I’m Canadian to a fault and way too fucking nice to say ‘no’ to someone in need. All you have to do is ask. And I know a shit tonne of people who are the same way.

If you’re the one who needs to borrow something, don’t just reach for it unless you know you can use it. Don’t assume that just because your roommate doesn’t hoard their things in their bedroom, they’re fair game for everyone to use.  This kinda brings us to my last point for the day……

#5: Treat Everyone’s Shit As If It Was Your Shit

An old roommate had a bunch of roommates over the years in his house. Most of them were pretty chill, easy enough to live with. One turned out to be a disrespectful piece of shit who cost my friend and his landlord money over the time of this guy’s lease. Carpets had to be replaced because he never vacuumed them or cleaned up spills. He would burn cookware and just throw it back into the cupboard. He’d borrow a jacket or a sweater and just leave it somewhere random. He peeled paint off the walls, left food to rot on the counters, and even put holes in one of the walls. Nice enough guy, just a fucking nightmare to live with.

You’re paying money to live in someone else’s house. Don’t treat it like you’re Motley Cru and it’s a hotel room in 1986. It’s someone’s fucking property, their home. How would you feel if this was your place and someone treated it that way? Nevermind the anger from being disrespected, you’d probably be fucking pissed off about the money you’ve got to shell out for repairs!

If you borrow something from someone, treat it like it’s your own. Take care of it, wash it, give it back in one piece, and if something does happen to it then you damn well better replace it. Don’t treat your place and your roommate’s stuff like this is your personal playground.

 

All in all, if you want to not follow any of these tips, just remember one thing: someday you might need a reference. Most of the apartments in this area require AT LEAST one former landlord as a reference and more and more are asking for references from former roommates. So if you’re a giant dickwad to your roommates, lose and destroy their things, destroy the room you’re renting, and are just a horrible fucking human in general when it comes to renting, what are the chances anyone would want to give you a good reference?

Well Sunshine, the sun aint’ shining anymore today. I’m going to grab my sandwich and a glass of whiskey, throw on the comfy pants, and throw on a horror movie or three. Hope any of you moving for the start of the school year made it through the move safely, and without losing your shit (literally and figuratively).

Update

The chicken is STILL “cooking” on high. Roommate hasn’t realized that it’s not cooking properly because the lid isn’t on right. You see, that’s how these slow-cooker things work: you throw your food in there, put the lid on tight, and everything heats up together. If the lid is off, the heat escapes and nothing cooks right. It’s like trying to bake cookies with the oven door wide open.

It usually takes like 4-6 hours to cook a chicken on High in a slow cooker. Like, a whole chicken. We’re coming up on the 24-hour mark, and the roommate just left for the day.  So this thing isn’t getting turned off any time soon.

That’s Not How This Works!

I just walked out of my bedroom and saw this. I think it’s supposed to be a chicken cooking in a crock pot.

I think.

How the hell is this supposed to cook? I mean, the bird is sticking out of the damn crock pot. The lid doesn’t close over the bird. All the heat is escaping before it gets a chance to cook the chicken.

This is dangerous, Sunshine. If you cook meat wrong, like my roommate it doing here, you’re basically just hanging a sign up that says “Bacteria wanted here”.

Salmonella. E.coli. These things live in improperly cooked meat. I’ve had E.coli before, and it is the opposite of fun. It’s fever and chills and crapping your insides out until you feel so weak you might pass out. It’s bloody poop, and bringing stool samples to your doctor. It’s pain and nausea weakness.

The worst part of that chicken “cooking” in my kitchen is that it is spreading germs all over the area it’s cooking in. When he’s done cooking that thing, I have to sanitize the counters, stove, surrounding appliances, everything. 

And this isn’t some young kid who has never lived on his own before who is doing this. My roommate is a 46 year old man who has lived on his own for years.

Do yourself a favour Sunshine: learn how to cook safely. Watch a little Gordon Ramsay or John Taffer and listen to their food safety rants. Google how to cook things. Clean up after yourself properly. 

You don’t want food poisoning. And you really don’t want to randomly be called out on your roommate’s blog either.

Utilities Included……. To A Point

I would like to know on what planet the phrase “utilities included” means “the landlord will pay the utilities for you, and your friends, and their friends, and all your families……..”. Somehow, I keep getting these roommates who see “utilities included” as some sort of invitation for a free-for-all at our place, where everyone and anyone can do their laundry or crank the AC for free.

Now, out of all the places I’ve lived with roommates (both randoms and friends), I have had the landlord come talk to me about utility usage at every single place I’ve been in. And I’ve lived in a lot of places around here. Out of all of those places, there was only ONE that was a BS complaint. At my old apartment, the windows were drafts and leaked when it rained or snowed, there was no AC, and you could feel the heat leaking out the windows from outside. But it was my nightlight in the hallway that was using up too much power and making the energy bill go nuts.

At every single other place, the landlord had totally legitimate reasons to be pissed, and my roommates and I were completely in the wrong with what was going on in our place.

Every. Single. Other. Place.

Now, just so everyone out there is on the same page, no landlord is legally obliged to include your utilities (water, electricity, gas) in your monthly rent payment. Even if you sign a lease with them that says that utilities are included in your payment, there are legal ways for them to get out of that. Like…… say you totally take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for utilities and start using ALL THE POWER POSSIBLE!!!! There are safeguards out there for landlords to protect them from situations like this, so they don’t wind up with $700 electricity bills for a 2 bedroom house that brings in $850 a month in rent.  Depending on the local laws in your area, landlords may be to change your lease (lower your rent but make you put utilities in your own name), evict you, or increase your rent to make up for their losses.

So how do you know if you’re abusing your “utilities included” agreement? Here’s what some of my roommates did:

  1. My first place in University was a house near campus with a bunch of friends and cats and ferrets. I don’t think that place ever had real, natural air flowing through it unless I opened up my bedroom window or sat up in the attic window. There was always either AC or heat blasting. And I’m not talking, “Well, it 100 degrees in the shade,  better turn on the AC to cool the place down” like a responsible person does. No, my roommate would CRANK that AC anytime she wanted. I can remember coming home from the beach on a 90-degree day. She plopped herself down on the couch to cool off after setting the AC to 50 FREAKING DEGREES!!!! And she would do this all the freaking time!  I’m surprised we didn’t burn out the AC at some point. I only lasted 2 years there, while a few of them lasted 4 in that house. By the time they moved out, the landlord was begging them to try and conserve energy, even just a little bit.
  2. I have had multiple roommates try this one, but the worst was at my last place before where I am living now. We had in-house laundry facilities. Logically, this was so the people who paid rent to live in that house could do their own laundry there. One roommate (the one who threw away all my veggies so he could fill the shared fridge with meat) decided that the laundry room was open to ANYONE. His friends would come over and do a few loads. He’d have a small party in his room and everyone would bring laundry to throw in while they drink. He would do a load of three shirts and a sock if he felt like it. I can remember waiting for days to do laundry because he’d monopolize the washer and dryer for days on end. At one point, he and two friends slept in shifts for three days so they could do laundry 24/7.  Do you have any idea how much energy laundry takes?
  3. Right now, I live with grown-ass adults who have no idea how to adult. I AM THE ADULT HERE! If I didn’t lay down the law around here (or have the landlord email everyone with new rules to follow, giving me authority over certain things), they’d just do what they want when they want. Landlord messaged me to say the energy bill was almost $90 higher than it should have been a few months ago. Now, we have ‘peak hour billing’ here, which means the energy costs vary throughout the day. It’s always been a rule here that no one does laundry before 7 pm unless it’s a weekend or holiday. Same goes for running the dishwasher (which we never use anyway). We also have to be careful with the AC.  These grown-ass adults didn’t care though. They’d do laundry all day, crank the AC so upstairs was nice and cold, and the basement was freezing. Then they’d run space heaters in the basement. Instead of using the kitchen to cook, they got spare mini-fridges and hot plates and microwaves and cooked in their rooms. I once came home a little after 1 pm to find the dishwasher running for 2 plates, 2 cups, and a frying pan.

In every single instance here, the landlord had to contact us and say, “look, either you be a little more responsible with your energy use, or I’m going to have to take the ‘utilities included’ clause out of your rental agreement”. So in a alot of these cases, it’s one person ruining things for an entire house full of people. Do you really want to be that one person who pisses off a bunch of people and causes them severe financial harm, especially when they know exactly where you live?