Roommates

When I was 17, I ran away from home. My best friend’s parents were kind enough to take me in until school was finished. But as soon as my last exam was written, they started hinting broadly that perhaps it was time I got both a job and the hell out of their house.

So, I moved in with a girl I met in a coffee shop in the wee hours one morning after the bars closed. Her name was Robin and the whole idea of us being roommates had disaster written all over it from the very beginning.

Robin was a very old 19. For one thing she was DIVORCED. At 19.  (Which sounds even crazier from where I’m sitting now than it did from where I was sitting back then.) 

For another thing, Robin was probably psychotic.

She would have episodes where, for no discernable reason, she’d suddenly completely freak out and start screaming and throwing and breaking stuff and threatening violence against herself and others. Fortunately (or unfortunately) she usually did this when I had people over. 

Robin never did any cleaning.  Never. She’d just leave her dishes where she happened to be when she ate off them. She dropped her clothes wherever she took them off.  If I said anything she’d say, “Hey, I don’t care what the place looks like. If you want it clean, you clean it”

When she ran out of clean clothes, she’d “borrow” mine (without asking) — including my underwear.  Sometimes I had to look for my clothes in her room. It was really scary in there. The underwear I let her keep.

She also “borrowed” my food and my money if I was careless enough not to lock it up somewhere.

She’d bring home strange men from bars. Sometimes she’d bring home two or three and go to her room with one of them and “leave the rest for me.” I had a good lock put on my bedroom door.

One day while I was at work, Robin moved out. She took all her stuff and most of mine. I never saw her again.

I lived on my own for a long time after that.

Over the years, however,  I had four more roommates – two female and two male. Both of the female roommates were great. The males were more like relationships than roommates so those situations were all tangled up with stuff outside of sharing accommodations, so they weren’t quite so great in the long run.

Which brings me to the roommate I have now. Let’s call her “Jr.” She may be the second worst roommate I’ve ever had. Don’t get me wrong — she’s a lovely, lovely person – but she kind of sucks as a roommate.

She pays none of the bills, for instance. Ya, that’s right. I pay ALL the bills and pay for all the groceries and toiletries – I even pay for transportation, vacations, school, electronics, some of her clothes, and pretty much everything else.

But, since she hardly makes any money, I don’t really mind paying all the bills. The worst part is that she’s really, really messy.

Her room is 2-feet deep in clothes and who-knows-what else. I don’t know how she manages to emerge from there each day looking immaculately groomed, coiffed and dressed.

I don’t have to look at her room, so that’s not so bad. I keep the door closed and hope nothing ever escapes from there. But she’s just as messy in the rest of the house. For instance, her bathroom is also the main bathroom and the one that guests use. So it would be nice for it to not look like the toilets at Cleetus’ Highway 12 Gas-Up ‘n’ Go.

I ask, I tell, I beg her to keep that bathroom clean. She keeps telling me it is clean and yet it really, really isn’t. Does she just not see the green stuff growing in her toothbrush holder or the dark ring around the inside of the tub?  I don’t understand.

And she can just walk through the kitchen to turn it from tidy and shiny to sticky and smeary. Let’s say she makes a peanut butter sandwich. There will be a trail of crumbs from the toaster, across the counter and down to the floor. There will be peanut butter and jam on the fridge handle, on the cupboard doors and on the cutlery drawer. Sometimes even on the stove though she doesn’t, as far as I know, need the stove to make a peanut butter sandwich.

The knife will have an entire sandwich-worth of peanut butter on it still and will be stuck to the counter. The plate, I will find somewhere in the house —eventually. Or it, along with a stack of other dishes, will re-appear during the Annual Cleaning of Her Room Event.

And she never re-fastens the lids to anything. After using the peanut butter or the jam or the juice or whatever, she just gently places the lid on the jar. So the next time I go to take something out of the fridge, I end up holding a lid. The jar and everything in it end up all over the floor.

I’ve tried paying her to do the weekly cleaning in hopes that it will help her recognize what a pain it is when you don’t clean up as you go along. But I soon realized that things were actually getting dirtier when she was responsible for the cleaning. I’d pull dishes out of the cupboard that still had actual food on them – not streaks or crusty spots, but puddles of ketchup, smears of egg and once I even found a French fry on a plate stuck to some gluey ketchup.

I give up. I’m tired of arguing about it. I think it’s just easier to do it myself and then grumble and blog about it.

How is/are your roommate(s)??

Have you ever had a roommate from hell?

Any innovate ideas on how I can get mine to pitch in?

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47 responses to “Roommates

  1. I love my “room mates” but we have actually seen a counsellor over the oldest one’s issues with general cleanliness.

    I *might* have a pathological aversion to wet counters, but I honestly do not understand how swishing pails of water over everything gets anything clean. First of all the pools of water damage the counter seams, wooden floors, and just seem to allow the dirt to swim wherever the hell it wants. Second, it doesn’t matter how much water you swish over a cluttered counter. It isn’t going to magically clean up the crumbs and dishes you left all over said counters. I’m not fooled by “wet” it doesn’t mean anything was cleaned, just soaked.

    So when I clean up I START by laying down towels to soak up the disgusting pools of water and dry everything off so I can, you know , wash it with a normal amount of water and a bit of SOAP.

    I’m not really bothered by the rest of my young roommates. In comparison the frequent changing of clothes and hiding of glasses of milk in desk drawers are minor annoyances.

  2. I pay a good deal of rent, but God, I love my own space! I have had my share of roommates in the past. Non as bad as your first one though. Yikes!

    One guy moved out without notice. After giving me a lift to work, he returned home, stole my telephoto lens and camera (pride and joy Pentax K1000 from college days) and moved his belongings out. The landlord never heard from him again.

    There really needs to be a compromise with roommates; at least keep common areas clean. I don’t think I’d be as tolerant as you have been with Jr; she doesn’t seem realize how good she has it.

  3. That one’s easy.

    Stop paying for stuff like clothes. Stop doing JR’s laundry. Stop feeding her.

    She’ll learn really fast. She’ll be really pissed at you for a while, but she’ll learn.

  4. I don’t tolerate ungracious and messy “roommates” here. I inspect their rooms in the morning after they leave, and anything that is left out where it isn’t supposed to be gets confiscated. Ditto with the random “kid crap” they love to hurl all over the house… if they ever want to see it again, it had better be put away properly. If a room they “cleaned” isn’t cleaned to my specs, I haul them to the scene of the crime, make them aware of the shortcomings, and have them fix it and prepare for a second inspection.

    Their mother’s house, where such rules are not in place, is a veritable pig-sty. Our home shows no sign that occasionally nasty feral children infest it. I like it that way.

    As I am “The Evil Bitch Who Broke Up Their Parents’ Perfectly Happy Marriage”, they’re going to hate me anyhow, so they may as well hate me in a nice, tidy, clean, crumb-free house.

    A Note of Caution: If you feel that it’s more important to be your child’s “buddy” and not an authority figure, than actual rules with actual consequences maybe aren’t the way to go.

  5. Oh man. Childhood is short. I say tolerate the mess.

    “By the time kids are fit to live with, they’re living with somebody else.”

  6. Oh boy do I have a roommate stories for you!

    My first year in Korea I was provided an apartment by my employer but had to share with four other people. There was one engaged couple, me and this quirky lesbian slightly off kilter woman. She was just weird, but she bolted in the middle of her contract screwing our (not very nice) employer out of a fair amount of money.

    The really freaky roommate was her replacement. I’m going to call him Freaky Floyd (not his real name). Freaky Floyd was an alcoholic with some serious bad habits.

    We are teaching English at a chidren’s after school program. Floyd would regularly come into work (4/5 days) with a hangover and/or still drunk despite starting work between 2 and 3pm depending on the day. The kids starting calling him Rudolph around Christmas after the red-nosed reindeer.

    In any case, he did the regular stuff like leaving a mess, never cleaning and was very difficult to get him to pay his share of the utilities. The worst of his problems was that he would get home any time between 3 and 5am and proceed to cook some ramen on our gas range. Unfortunately he’d be so freaking drunk that he’d pass out before turning off the range and the pot would boil dry and keep on baking for hours until someone finally woke up and turned it off.

    He would also bring home his Korean girlfriend and end up having noisy sex and/or beating her. Unfortunately at that time domestic abuse was not something the police would really do anything about and even less so when none of us could explain in Korea (we were all new to the country) – complaints to our boss were ignored.

    The worst thing was that after months of this and other crap he finally got fired. I’d already found a new employer but heard about this from the remaining teachers. Freaky Floyd packed up his stuff when everyone was out of the house on a very hot July day. He then proceed to take a massive dump and spread the shit all over the apartment walls and left.

    Needless to say the entire apartment was unlivable forever. I dare anyone to top that story – all of this is 100% true.

  7. Can’t beat poop paint. However I once roomed with my brother in a run down old apartment. I came home from work one day and at the base of the stairs outside was our couch half burned. I go to the apartment and casually ask, “What happend to the couch?” My brother along with his drunken cronies try to explain that one of them dropped a cigarette between the cushions earlier but couldn’t find it, then promptly forgot about it. That is till it burst into flame. They never could explain why they didn’t notice the smoke. On top of this they tried to extinguish the fire by shuttling water from the kitchen in 2 crystal mugs that were given to me by a previous employer as a gift. They broke both of them. I then asked, “Why didn’t you guy’s use the fire extinguisher out in the hallway?” Apparently, they couldn’t figure out how the pump mechanism worked that expelled the water. I went out into the hall and returned with the extinguisher and demonstrated its use. “You take the handle and pull up and when you push down water spurts forth from the nozzle. The harder and faster you pump the faster the water comes out and the further it sprays. It’s not rocket science you moron’s!” I soaked them all and moved out on my own shortly there after.

  8. I had three kids and they were all slobs. Sometimes I wished I could put drains in the floors of their rooms and tile the walls so I could just hose down everything. Both of my sons married girls who are horrible housekeepers and they live in a big mess all of the time. My daughter, who was a horrible “roommate” now keeps her place immaculate and is cooking incredible meals. I don’t know how she turned around. Maybe because I wasn’t there to do it for her.

  9. With teenagers (I’ve got 3 aged from 14 – 18) you have to pick your battles. In our house their rooms can be disgusting if that’s what they want, provided they bring out their laundry. There are privacy issues with their rooms; after all a bedroom is their own personal space.

    However, kitchens and bathrooms are a separate issue. I pay my girls a small weekly allowance for odds and ends, plus I pay a monthly amount into their bank accounts to cover clothes and other things. They’re expected to earn this money by sharing in some chores and if these are not done, money is deducted from the amount paid.

    We have “contracts” with them that state what is expected of them and what will be deducted from their allowances. It works for us, and they’re lovely kids.

    One of the chores is that once every couple of weeks, each of them shops for the ingredients, cooks dinner, and cleans up afterwards. They can buy and make what they like provided it’s within the amount they’ve been given to shop with. They actually enjoy this and it does make them more aware of the need for a clean kitchen – they nag each other over mess!

    And yes, I had some weird roommates back in the days. One was a soprano studying opera and she had a habit of practising her scales in the wee hours of the morning. No one was happy including the neighbours.

  10. What to do about your current room-mate? Is it too early to tell her to get a rich doctor with maid service?

    As for my nightmare room-mate, there was two of us guys and we were looking for a third to share a house. We ended up with this activist poet type female who worked as a waitress at an organic restaurant. The first time I was alone together with her in the house, we had a very nice chat and got to know each other better. Unfortunately, the very next night, she had almost the entire same conversation with me as if she had no memory of the day before. We found out that she was drinking from our cooking wine and re-filling it with water. She kept her room at a tropical 35 celsius.

    She then told me how she was sexually harassed at her last three jobs and by her last four room-mates. Shortly after, we found the kitchen knives had disappeared.

    That was the last straw. With images of the shower scene from “Psyco”, we dumped her things out on the street. When she found out she accused us of being “meat eaters” and reactionaries against the organic food movement.

  11. The only really bad roommate thing that happened to me was actually My Sweetie before we were married. He liked things neat which meant he would stack everything up in one stack. The year after Dad died I had all sorts of strange tax related documents which I was meticulously keeping in a large manila envelope and My Sweetie stacked it ever so neatly with the newspapers and it got tossed. It was a BITCH getting all of that stuff replaced and sure enough I forgot one thing, and several months after I had paid my hefty taxes, I got a letter from the IRS saying I didn’t claim something and now owed interest on it as well. That sucked.

    As for my daughter’s ratty room, I wouldn’t let her have someone spend the night until her room and bathroom were cleaned. She’s still messy and I do not like to visit her apartment.

  12. I tend to leave stuff lying around but my “roommate” gets annoyed when there’s too much of a mess, so I tend to try and pick up after myself. I also tend to get sick of a mess rather quickly, so the problem takes care of itself pretty much.

  13. Mudmama – I love my roommate, too. And she didn’t have a lot of these issues until about 5 years ago. So, keep your eyes on those little roommates of yours.

    Davina – I know!! I keep telling her that. And the crazy thing is she often comes home from friends’ houses and tells me thanks for keeping the house so clean and then proceeds to tell me horror stories of how disgusting her friend’s house was. I try to turn these episodes into object lessons, but to no avail.

    Ken – That’s just mean. Feeding her is my job. I don’t really pay for her clothes anymore, but I’ve come close to not including her stuff in the laundry. But I don’t know how that would make her any tidier around the house. She’d just have a lot of dirty laundry in her room on top of all the other stuff.

    Susan – Oh she knows I’m not her “buddy” and she has no problems at all with all the other rules. I’m just tired of getting upset about it and/or giving her hell for it. There have been consequences. I keep remembering that I was a slob when I was a teenager, too, despite my parents’ punishments and hollering. I hope she grows out of it soon.

    Zoom – There is that, but part of parenting is also preparing them for the world and part of that, surely has to be making sure they know how to look after themselves – cook, do laundry, not get overrun by their own filth…??? That way their future roommates won’t end up writing blog posts about them decades later.

    Nat – See my reply to Zoom. Also, you must be happy when the hot weather rolls around?

    Sean – Gadzooks! So far you definitely win the prize for the worst roommate. The beating and the shit put you over the edge. This story is also an excellent warning for anyone thinking about getting into a Teach English Overseas scheme.

    Zorro – I always wonder about people sharing accommodations with their siblings. Why not just stay home if you’re going to live with your family anyway? I can’t imagine ever wanting to live with any of my siblings – much as I like most of them.

    Linda – Like I said to someone previously, my room as a teenager was a mess, too and of course all the housework I did, I did as quickly as possible ergo, not very well. I’d get hell for it and have to do it all over again, but I never learned. Once I moved out on my own I magically became tidy. All those lessons my mother used to yell at me about how to clean stuck in there somewhere, so I’m hoping I’m not wasting my breath on Jr. either. It worked for you and it worked for my mum, right?

    Penny – Contracts, eh? Hmmmm. Jr. has a job, so she doesn’t need my money, so I’ll have to think of something else to bargain with. I agree about the bedroom. I leave that well alone. And if she kept the bathroom clean, I could even deal with the kitchen. The irritating thing is though, that she seems to actually think that her bathroom IS clean.

    LGS – Finding a rich man with servants I believe is already part of her life plan. It was part of mine, too, but these things don’t always work out. Your organic roommate sounds like a real prize (you evil meat-eater!) There are some scary, scary people out there, aren’t there?

    Geewits – Oh no! Don’t tell me some of them never grow out of their messiness? I’d like to visit my daughter at her apartment …if she ever moves out and gets one. How is your daughter’s fiancé? Is he tidy? Two of my brothers married women who are slobs and have no idea how to boil water even, so the brothers do all the domestic chores. The younger one (who was in the army) has his place frighteningly immaculate and the wife isn’t even allowed in the kitchen.

    Ellie – She’s gorgeous and funny and has a great personality. So, I really hate getting and getting at her about this, but I don’t want to give up on her either. Sigh. (PS: How are things with you?)

    Jazz – That’s how it should work, I think. The other two female roommates I had worked out well because we both just cleaned up as we went along. There was no need for a roster or arguments or big cleaning sessions. Whoever thought of it would do the vacuuming or whatever and it seemed to work out evenly. It’s such a simple concept. I wonder why Jr can’t grasp it??

  14. Her bathroom probably is clean. We all know what a germ/messaphobe you are.
    You neat freaks waste immense amounts of your life moving dirt from one spot to another and defining that as a better way to live.
    The reason they call it spring cleaning is because it only has to be done once a year.

  15. My worst ‘roommate’ was my sister when we were growing up. We were the only ones on the second floor of our house and shared a bathroom…it was not pretty. She was a total slob, certainly on the order of Jr. The bathroom was so disgusting I started using a bathroom in our basement just so I wouldn’t be disgusted in the morning and afraid to use my toothbrush. Sadly, we even had a big bathroom with a huge vanity and two sinks & she managed to get it all filthy. And yes, a couple of times a year *I* would actually end up cleaning her room and the bathroom because I couldn’t deal with the mess being just a room away. Oh yes, she is 4 years older than me too.

    However, somehow magic occurred and she actually cleans her own house now that she is an adult and me and my mom aren’t there to clean for her. So, there’s hope!

  16. My roommate sounds quite similar to yours, except that instead of the “Thanks for keeping the house so clean” speech when she returns from a friend’s home, I get the “You’re so anal – none of my friends live in places so clean!” variation. Sigh. BUT BUT BUT she is getting better at cleaning her bathroom!!! I still have to tell her that it’s getting rather grotty, and she still replies that she was “just about to do it”, but when she does, the toilet really DOES look like it’s cleaned! I don’t know how this has happened – I doubt it’s my nagging – but there is a light at the end of the tunnel! There are still issues with copious amounts of dirty dishes in her room, though. I haven’t found any way to deal with that yet …

  17. Other then the people who claimed they were my parents I’ve had 3 room mates. One when I was in University, one was my brother and one I ended up marrying so I am not that sure it counts.
    I have a room mate now and he’s pretty bad. He won’t cook or clean but like XUP junior is very fastidious about his own personal grooming.
    That is unless there is a convenient mud puddle about.
    He has a few curious habits in that he insists that he needs to poop and pee outside of the house eschewing the use of the toilet for anything but to use it as his own personal water fountain.
    He licks his balls.
    A LOT.
    He is living proof that if you could you would never leave the house.
    He never brushes his hair but insists that I brush it for him but only if I use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any loose hairs.
    He doesn’t buy or ever pay for anything but if its in my hands then he wants it. He likes to use my cutlery to eat but doesn’t do dishes.
    He likes to go for car rides and always asks to drive but I won’t let him because he can’t pass the driver’s test.
    I wouldn’t trade him for the world.

  18. I don’t remember it but my mother tells me that when I was younger than a teenager, I let my clothes migrate under the bed until one day, I complained to her that I didn’t have any clothes and that’s where she found them all. I was going to comment that maybe neatness is innate but then I remembered that old story. But then I looked at my desk here, and maybe I am not that neat after all. I am neater than many, I think. And I am clean. I am trying to rationalize finding out more about Jr.’s innate personality type, like P and I did years ago. We found out we were fairly opposite, especially in the making decisions category (he likes to “leave his options open”, another way of saying that he can’t make a decision) and in the feelings v. thoughts category (Myers Briggs). Anyhoo, if you find out she is a Perceiver instead of a Judger, that will explain a lot and indicate that, while she might be able to be trained to do some things, like put lids on, she is just messy naturally and isn’t doing it to annoy you. Maybe you can reframe it so that she feels she is leaving her options open by being tidy – i.e. if she knows where everything is, she can make choices at the last possible second and still accomplish what she wants.

  19. I would tell her to pick up her stuff or you will start charging her rent or will deduct money out of her allowance. That might work.

  20. I keep thinking she will grow out of it one day, but at nearly 26, she has not. I would say the fiance is on her same level. Maybe after they are married and buy their own house they will change, but who knows?

  21. Dave1949 – Hi! How was camping? Once again, I’m not a germaphobe. I’m a yuckaphobe.

    Kimberly – Yay!! That’s what I’m hoping for. I’ve been in plenty of people’s home though that never seemed to have outgrown that teenage slobbiness. Fingers crossed.

    Pinklea – As long as there’s light somewhere. It’s good to know. At least mine recognizes and appreciates a tidy place. She just can’t seem to achieve it yet.

    Lebowski – Aw shucks, you sentimental old fool.

    Julia – I think there’s a neatfreak hiding somewhere inside her. She’s so fastidious about her personal grooming – clothes, hair, make-up, showers, etc… Real natural born slobs are pretty sloppy about their personal appearance, too, in my experience. We shall see. We shall see.

    Pauline – She doesn’t get an allowance anymore since she’s been working. I might start charging her a cleaning fee though!! Hey! Good idea, eh?

    Geewits – Maybe they’ll have enough money for a cleaner? That’s what a lot of people end up doing these days. If they ever want company they’ll have to keep at least the more public areas tidy (ish), right?

  22. Oddly enough, I can live with my own mess much more easily than with someone elses. So, when I had roommates, I was much tidier! I don’t have any roommates from hell stories that come close to some of the above ones. Thank god.

    (P.S. I never noticed)

  23. I have lived with in my time two guys at once, both gay, I don’t recommend it, not because they are messy, but there is a constant stream of strange men in and out of your home on the weekends and there was only one bathroom.

    The other two roommates I had were my exes. The first one was miss spotless, perfect home, everything in its place and she mostly did all the cooking.

    The second one was a packrat and where it lays it where it stayed. I never saw the top of her dresser when we moved she put the stuff in a bag and poured it back on in the new place. There were constant arguments about keeping the dining room table cleared of books, magazine, papers and bills, one scene was so bad she said if you want it clean, clean it, so I tipped over the table and said: That’s clean to me, now let’s keep it that way. The spare room was wall to wall book cases with books in them, on them and around them. And we had a giant treadmill in the living room and some other gym equipment. The Kitchen, was spotless and she could never bear to have so much as a glass in the sink before we went to bed. The bathrooms were also cleaned weekly. And the bed had to be made everyday.

    I live alone now so the only person I can complain to if there is junk on the dining room table is me.

  24. yikes! i couldn’t resist commenting on this one. i am definately with KEN here. i would not be paying for her clothes, toiletries, any of that stuff unless she started to pick up after herself. she does not seem to be appreciative of what she is getting for FREE.

  25. I never had a roommate who wasn’t family. I am way too introverted for that, and I totally need my own space. I stayed at home until I could afford my own apartment, and it was a tiny bachelor apt all to myself. I only eventually moved in with my hubby-to-be, now hubby.

    My kids are already messy and I thought that it would gradually get better. Ah well, I’m on the same page as Zoom because you probably can’t win this one and you may be better off picking bigger battles.

    I was very messy as a kid and teen, and my inclination is still to be messy, except I can’t stand the chaos of it, so that forces me to tidy up. I think we all learn that life lesson when we get out on our own, and I’m sure your daughter will too. All in all she sounds like a fabulous girl and I think you are very lucky, and have obviously been a great Mama to her.

  26. you just completely described my daughter. and my husband, and my son. i warn everyone to check their dishes b/c some may have good on them. even if they pull them out of the cupboard. just today i tilex’ed the toothbrushes b/c they had mold on them. not mine, see i keep mine safe from theirs.

    no one i’ve ever lived with have been neat and clean, either my expectations are way too high or i like to torture myself. i have actual daydreams about living alone where everything stays in it’s place and it’s clean all the time.

    now, i was a SLOB while living at home and until i got my first place on my own. that’s only when it kicked in and i began my path to a clean home. i’ve tried everything known to man-kind to get through to them and nothing’s worked. so i think they may be trying to kill me slowly. i’m the minority.

  27. Between university and grad school, I’ve always lived with someone between 1982 and 1992.

    I’ve had great room-mates. And I’ve had ones from hell.

    When you have one from hell, and you hate your own living space, and you avoid coming home, that’s one of the worst possible feelings in the world to deal with.

    Never EVER again.

    Been living alone since, and I love. it. The next person I live with, will be the one I marry. And that will be it.

  28. Violetsky – You never noticed because I always make damn sure to clean up before I have guests. And I usually clean in there a couple of times a week anyway just because I can’t stand it. Also, you’re messy, eh??? We’ll definitely have to talk about separate wings in the villa.

    Cedar – That’s odd – messy except that the kitchen and bathroom have to be spotless. So she’d prepare her meal in her spotless kitchen and then go try and eat it at the messy dining room table?

    Raino – Talk to me again when your kids are teenagers!! I suspect they’re genetically incapable of being tidy.

    Finola – Shucks, thanks. Ya, I suspect she will eventually get it together and be tidier. I was also messy as a teenager and I still probably wouldn’t live up to my mum’s standards, but oh well.

    Leah – Wait – you put tilex on people’s toothbrushes??? Who’s trying to kill who here? That stuff is toxic. If the toothbrushes are mouldy maybe it’s time to toss them out and get new ones. They’re cheaper than tilex. I have the same dream as you about a perfectly tidy home staying that way. I’d have to get rid of the cat too though. He’s kind of messy as well.

    Friar – Ya, when your home isn’t a home, it’s horrible. I’ve had that feeling more than once for sure. I think you’re very brave to still be willing to live with someone again after being on your own all this time. Personally, I can’t imagine it.

  29. I simply removed messy items from my living space and put them in Jr.’s room, ignored non-dangerous clutter and enforced the rules against filth with removal of priveleges. We had a messy, a neat and an in-between just as we had an early, a late and a born on the due date child. They all have comfortable homes.

    I’m a bit of a neat freak but I can not imagine anything sadder than removing all signs that another human being shares my home. Tolerance begats tolerance. My two cents: shiny quarter, centred on the otherwise clean surface

  30. i had a tammer version of “sigle white female” (remember that movie?). i got my hair cut short. so did she. i started working at a certain institution. so did she. i got a boy friend. so did she. i decided to move in with said boyfriend. so did she. i bought a house with now fiance. she bought the house across the street with now fiance. and she’s a little manic. and not great with the social graces. but she lived across the street and my jellybean loves her boys. what can i do?

  31. I agree with Zoom and Finola. I used to be your daughter, maybe even more of a slob. Once I moved out and had a place of my own I started to clean and care about being tidy. Another good thing happened, I finally started to appreciate all that my Mom did for me. Xup Jr. will do that too…I’d bet you money on that. 🙂

  32. It may seem mean, XUP, but it’s not. She’s old enough to know better. What she is doing is disrespectful and inconsiderate.

    We all love our kids, but a little tough never hurt anyone.

  33. Now that I think back on it, I might have been the bad roommate. I had my share of neat freaks, and gals permanently attached to boyfriends who were permanently attached to my remote control and fed from the fridge like wild animals, but none in particular stand out.

    Like Lebowski, I have a couple of roommates now that drive me over the edge. I had to build a physical therapy rehab center out of PVC in the back yard for one and the other samples drugs out of people’s purses and luggage often enough for me to have started an “overdose response” savings account. And I still like them better than the neat freak and the boyfriends.

  34. Friar – Well, here’s hoping….if that’s what you really want.

    Grace – Oh, there is plenty of evidence of both human and feline habitation in our home believe me. I don’t even consider myself a neat freak. There is plenty of jumble and crustiness to be found if you look for it. A neat freak would not be comfortable in our place. However, I don’t like clutter and I don’t like stuff like dishes laying around or hair all over the bathroom or grimy bathtubs or toilets or sinks. I really don’t ask for much. Really.

    Smothermother – Cool. Does she read your blog? Will she read this comment? Does she know you think of her as SWF? One of those friends you’re going to have forever whether you like it or not, I guess.

    MM – Oh boy. Thanks!! I actually used to be XUP Jr., too and drive my mum crazy— which my mum was foolish enough to tell her once. So, now she lords that over me whenever I complain that she’s too messy.

    Ken – Okay, but I’m going to keep feeding her. I can think of other ways to “be tough”.

    LoLa – I don’t blame you. My other roommate is kind of messy, too – leaving his fur all over the place; trailing litter all over and shedding bits of claw every which where. Ah well, at least the place is lived in.

  35. she doesn’t know about my blog. i don’t even know if she reads any. and no, i don’t think she knows i consider her “swf”. one of our little secrets, mkay?

  36. although my kids are not teenagers yet, they will be in 2 months time and are very messy pigs, if allowed to get away with it. what we do is threaten them that if they leave a mess that i have to clean up, i will charge them to clean it. and although they don’t have money making jobs yet, they do get 5 bucks from time to time from their grampa and i WILL take it if they leave a mess. i pay for their clothes now but only when they need them – i will not buy them something just because they want it. i don’t tolerate it now and won’t when they are teenagers either. simple. we had chores growing up. you just did them. my kids have chores and don’t get paid to do them either. see, to me this is part of the responsibility of living in a home.

  37. Raino – You’re right. XUP Jr. has always had chores too that she didn’t get paid for. She just does a crappy job at them. And I’m really, really tired of pointing it out. She says “nothing is ever good enough for you…why do I even bother”.

  38. Holy shit!!! That is EPIC slobbery!!

    From my experience with room-mates I estimate that 40% of people are impressively nuts (‘impressively’ because here they are, still alive and able to pay rent), and about 30% are obnoxious and/or barely housebroken.

    I have had random room-mates that would go into violent drunken fugues, that were clinically depressed, that were nymphomaniacs, exhibitionists, drooling inarticulate slobs, sadistic animal-killers (for real), snide stand-offish art snobs, and last but not least one gun-toting Frenchman with a penchant for bestiality porn.

    As a result of these experiences I have come to feel strait-laced to the point of prudishness. When you go to workplaces you see professionals; follow them home and you see the grotesque and the weird.

    P.S. You are a very tolerant and generous person. I know how frustrating it is to try, forlornly, to change someone whom you are temporarily stuck with and have no power over.

  39. You could always just sort of slightly rearange something she uses semi-regularly. Then, when she undoubtedly asks if you’ve seen it, there’s always the standard “if your room/bathroom was clean, you’d know” routine. Hey, it worked on my brother. 😉

    As for actual, non-related roommates? I’ve had 4, and no more. The next person I end up living with will be married to me. I think I came to that particular decision around the same time the second semester of college started out, after reaching an equally final decision that anyone who’s idea of college is staggering back to the room drunk at 5:00 in the morning when I have class at 8 does not deserve the additional courtesy of my leaving the door unlocked. That he also has class at 8:00 was, decidedly, not my problem.

  40. G – Ummm…you follow your work colleagues home and you call THEM weird? Ha ha. The epic slob in the last part of this post is my daughter. I can see that if you don’t read the blog all the time that wouldn’t be clear though. Anyhow, since she’s my kid, I do sort of have power over her and I really don’t feel “stuck” with her, but I retain some hope that I will be able to influence her to alter her messiness over time. Your ex-roomates sound way stranger and scarier than anyone else’s so far. If there was a prize for worst roommates, I’d send it to you.

    James – Ya, roommates are not really for adults or anyone aspiring to be an adult. It’s like living with siblings — all the same arguments and pettiness – except they had totally different parents so you don’t even have history together.

  41. Well, I know a girl who is almost as messy as your daughter and she became a fairly well-adjusted clinical psychologist – no one’s perfect; you take the good with the bad I guess… 🙂

    Yeah actually, more than one person has told me that my flatmate draw was unusually bad. That’s not even an exhaustive list, just the lowlights.

  42. G – I’m sure my kiddie will be okay eventually. She grew up in a tidy house so I think in her own place she will become uncomfortable if it gets too messy. Fingers crossed.

  43. Even though she’s the worst roommate I couldn’t stop thinking as I was reading your post that you love her a lot. I guess when you love somebody you just have to put up with their garbage. She’ll make it up to you one day.