Sunday, April 18

No Place Like Home?

My good friend Tiff wrote about some places she has lived, and she got me to thinking about mine. After college and technology school, I moved to VA to work in a hospital lab. My parents drove me there, along with all of my worldly possessions (which fit into their car trunk, with space for their luggage too) and found a room for me to rent in a private home across the street from the hospital. The landlady was a widow - a grandmotherly sort. It was a nice enough room, in an older home with large, sunny windows, quiet tenants, and the commute was easily walkable. BUT.... (there always is one of those, isn't there?) it wasn't much fun for a girl away from home for the first time, with no car and no cooking skills. I didn't have cooking/kitchen privileges anyway, so that didn't matter, but I had to eat all my meals away from home, which got expensive even with the hospital cafeteria discount.

The head of the laboratory was also a single woman, about 2 years older than I. She invited me to move into her apartment, which was the second floor of a private home, with an outside entrance. Since she had a car, we drove to work together and went shopping together - in fact - we went nearly everywhere together, which was nice at first, but got to be difficult later on. After we had lived there about 3 months, we were given reason to leave. Seems the landlords (who lived below us) objected to the fact that we went grocery shopping at 2am on Saturday nights and they didn't like the noise of our footsteps going up and down the outside staircase after 10 pm. (We tried to be quiet.) As twenty-somethings, we found that to be an intolerable rule, so we moved. We took an apartment on Shore Drive, across the road from Chesapeake Bay. It was a six unit apartment, with poor views (the apartment next door), but it was convenient to work and shopping and to the ocean and a beach - which is key - right? The night we moved in, we were exhausted. After tossing and turning for a few hours, my roommate got up to get a drink of water. She turned on the lights in the kitchen, surprising at least 1000 roaches walking all over the walls and counter tops, which then scattered back into the cabinets, baseboards, window moldings and floorboards. We screamed like little girls and didn't sleep another wink that night.

(I'm getting deja vu. I think I've told this story recently; maybe here, maybe not. If I'm repeating myself, please excuse me and move along.)

Suffice it to say that the new landlords got several pieces of our minds the next day, and they agreed to call an exterminator and contract with them for monthly service - otherwise we'd move immediately. When they sprayed our apartment, the roaches went next door and downstairs.....which made the neighbors unhappy, so the landlords had everything sprayed and it was okay from then on. It took us a week to clean everything out of the kitchen and get it sanitized (or so we thought - it still turns my stomach to think about it.)

Then, I met mr. kenju - or the man who became mr. kenju - and the relationship with my roommate went downhill quickly from that point. She was jealous. We tried to set her up with dates, but she was very picky. She was about 5'2" tall and not much to look at, but her dates had to be over 6' and very cute. Semi-cute , intelligent, polite and classy didn't mean much to her if the guy possessing those attributes was under 6' tall. (Sheeesh I say. Short girls ought to leave tall men alone so tall women can attempt to get them!) Anyway, she became increasingly hard to get along with and I finally reached the point where I'd had all I could take. A friend of mine in the laboratory owned rental property with her husband, and they offered me one of their apartments, at reduced rent. I pounced on it and moved in May. Luckily, it was fully furnished, since the only thing I owned was a sewing machine. Mr. k and I married that July, so I didn't live there alone for long.

Maybe it was harder for me to adapt because I lived at home until one year after I graduated from college. I'd never had a roommate until that first young woman in Norfolk, so I really didn't know what to expect. I was raised to be considerate of others, but with that woman - you could be crucified for looking sideways at her - and never know or be told why. (Sort of like my

What about you? Did you ever have trouble with room mates?


Debi said...

Thank heavens no. And I've only had one and it was my best friend.

We both got divorced around the smae time, and our sons were best friends and it worked out great for us at the time.

Sounds like you had a horribly rude roomate. Makes you wonder what she is doing today, and if she is married to. haha

Kay Dennison said...

Roommates! I had some winners -- not! I hope I never have one again.

And yeah, I think tall guys should date tall girls, too. At 5'10" (and shrinking) I'm probably biased. LOL

Gilly said...

Oh, I could write a small article on romming, college, living alone etc. etc.!!

But two of the nicest "room mates" I had were two adorable siamese kittens one of my landladies had. As soon as I got home from work they would rush to meet me, skitter upstairs and then settle down on my duffle coat, which, of course had been handily thrown on the bed for them!

The last time I lived alone, I met the man in the next bed sit - and eventually married him!

Pat said...

I left home aged 16 to start a pre-nursing course and shared a room with the other fresher. Unfortunately she had problems and helped herself to my savings book - all of £3 10s. She was identified cashing it but because both she and the girl in the shop were both under age the hospital couldn't take it further. Matron offered to move her in with someone else but that didn't seem fair and fortunately she voluntarily left soon after - to get married - she said. I think she was disturbed but I was very relieved when she left as her hygiene left a lot to be desired.
I earned £5 a month so it did seem catastrophic to me then.

Darlene said...

My roommate in High School was my step-sister and it was WWIII from the very first day. After that I never wanted another roommate.

However, after a fight with my step-father, I moved into the Y.W.C.A. and had a really neat roommate. She was about 5 years older than I and I thought she was so sophisticated. I really enjoyed her. It didn't last long because I went back home after a few months.

Other than my husband, I never had another roommate. That worked out just fine, thank you.

Peter said...

I can't comment Judy,I've never had a roommate, unless you count 2 ex wives, pretty obvious how that turned out!!!!

Angie said...

Nope, no roommates. When I moved out of my parents home it was always me against the world. I never even considered a roommate. I think I knew it wouldn't be good.

Tabor said...

Oh,yes. I had good ones and bad ones. I remember the two sorority girls who felt it was my and my friend from high school's duty to do all the cleaning. We went on strike one month and they actually let the garbage pile high to the ceiling in the utility closet refusing to take it out! They had two huge piles of clothes in the middle of their dirty and one clean. Needless to say, I was a GDI.

amarkonmywall said...

Never had a girl roommate! I left home at 16 and lived alone until I had my first "boyfriend" roommate and it's always been alone or with husband since then. Now, I enjoy a week with my group of good women friends a couple times a year and I enjoy traveling with women but not sure how I would have made it with girlfriend roommates. Your post makes me think I'm not very flexible. And the roaches? Oh, no. No,no,no- that was just wrong in every way. I'd be having flashbacks to that one, too.

Granny Annie said...

I am quite sure you haven't told this story before because it is one we would all remember. Oh those cockroaches -- Yikes!

My first roommate was at college,of course. I was going to be assigned a roommate until I saw Sue on campus, an old friend from a previous town we lived in, and we hugged to see a friendly face and decided to room together. Big Mistake! She was definitely possessed and after many spine chilling adventures she finally decided she was a boxer and wanted me to spar with her. She began hitting me and I swung back and she hit the floor. She feigned unconsciousness and then claimed that I hit her in her brain tumor. Needless to say she moved to a private room and hung black curtains and played strange music. I heard she later became a nurse.

Arkansas Patti said...

That was new to me. Yikes, I only thought Florida had that many cockroaches.
I had 2 roommates and all were easy experiences. One worked a different shift so it was like living alone till rent day.
One I shared such a large apartment with that I didn't even know when she was sick and couldn't go to work. We were good friends and worked at the same bank but drove our own cars. I was a bit embarrassed when everyone asked me how she was and I had no idea. I had been out late the night before, it was quiet when I went to work so thought she had all ready left. Some friend.

robin andrea said...

I've had lots of roommates in many different living situations. There were always "issues"-- mostly around levels of cleanliness (some people don't clean up after themselves) and food (some people eat food in the refrigerator that they didn't buy). Good communication is key.

sage said...

Yes, good and bad ones... this could be a blog post, but I'm not sure I want to go down this road.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Very interesting Judy. I cannot say I have had trounle with Roomates. At USC I had two roomates and they were fine--we all got along very well. And I cannot think of any other time when there were problems. I feel very lucky.

srp said...

My first college roommate and I had roomed together on church related trips but college was different. We were 1200 miles from home. She had worked and was three years older than me and I was only 17, but, I knew what I was there for and wouldn't dare waste my parent's money. She was there to party, even though at a church school the party life was minimal. Still, she broke freshman rules and one night came in after the dorm mom had to send people to find her. I read her the riot act.

I moved out after first semester to another roommate across the hall... with bathrooms and washrooms in between so we rarely saw each other. Her new roommate (poor thing) came screaming over to our side saying there were swarming bugs in her room. My former roommate had found a large stump outside during the winter and thought it would make a nice accent table in the corner.... well, after two days of warmth in the dorm, the hibernating termites awoke with gusto...... You have NO idea at how glad I was to have moved out!

As for the roaches.... there is nothing so large as Texas roaches... you could saddle them and ride them.

Grannymar said...

I grew up in a large family so was well used to having bodies about the place. When I moved to Germany I lived alone. So my husband was my only room mate. He was easy!

LL Cool Joe said...

I never had a roomate, I lived at home until I got married.

HalfCrazy said...

Hi there!

That is disgusting about roaches! Roaches are probably the worst and the most digusting things in my book!

So anyway, about roommates, no, they don't exist in my life. Haha! I still live with my Mom, which is to say the tradition here in the Philippines. I wanna live alone, though. I don't want roommates too, I want my own space. I can live with my high school friends if they are gonna live next to my apartment or something, though. But not with sharing my space. Well, they can stay for like 2 days but more than that, I wanna kick them out LOL.

Let's just say I totally value my own space.

db grin said...

Never had a room mate for longer than a week (trips, camping, etc). I moved out upon getting married, and had to learn living on my own the hard way.

Also learned that it's no fun living with a psycho.