Tag Archives: home owner

Delicate Dance of Social Ettiquette

This last week my boyfriend and I have been house sitting for our good friends who are out-of-town for two weeks. They offered their place to us due to all my previous gushing over their beautiful, quite, and petite home. It also gave my boyfriend and I some much-needed alone and quite time. We haven’t’ been able to do many weekend getaways this year due to saving for our big trip to Spain, which is two months away.

My boyfriend has felt a bit awkward staying in someone else’s home. I, on the other hand, love it! He feels like everything we do makes a mess, and I feel like we have hardly done anything other than the usual coffee table clutter and dishes. This then started a discussion about how I felt relieved to be staying somewhere else for a bit, like a mini vacation. Which then brought us in to a larger discussion about social etiquette when living with other people, and the additional effort it takes to maintain those social relationships.

I’ve lived with many, many, many different people. Friends, family, strangers, friends of friends, etc. Through all those different interactions I’ve learned how to be a better person, and a better roommate. It’s not easy. Most of my friends now live on their own, without roommates, with a few less, or still live with family. Since we (technically) own our home, we couldn’t afford to not have roommates to help pay the mortgage. Which is also true of many other home owners who have to rent out their own homes and live with family because they can’t afford to pay their own mortgage.

However, having endured awful roommate situations I’ve learned that keeping to a certain level of social etiquette has its rewards when living with roommates. For example, saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” helps to make people feel welcome in their new home, and this may seem simple enough but you’d be surprised how many people don’t put forth that effort. Saying “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” also makes a huge difference in helping feel appreciated for their effort of cleaning up, or helping with the dishes from time to time. Again, simple gestures that make a huge difference when living with people and how you make them feel. Especially when you live with people in a large place, like we do, your mood affects others mood. Even if I’m in a bad mood and I say hello and let them know I had a bad day will help them be more understanding of me, and listen to me rant for a bit. This goes both ways of course. If I place all the dirty dishes from the sink in to the dishwasher, I then ask, “Can someone please put away the dishes once they’re clean.”

I’ve lived with many people who never say hello or goodbye and just wonder in and out of our home like it’s a hotel. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not very polite, and it does effect how you see the other person and how you will react to them once they do talk to you about bills, cleanliness, other roommate situations. If I’m usually friendly and making conversation it then becomes easier for me to ask them when they will have a check ready to pay rent or utilities versus only speaking to them when a bill is due. Not very friendly.

I’m not gonna lie, I have not always been a great roommate, or friendly. However, I’ve at least grown as a person and learned how to live with other people more harmoniously. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of effort on my part to ensure not only my happiness by their happiness as well. I don’t want to have to look for a new roommate every 3-6 months because I can’t learn how to be polite.

I still know a few people who have never learned these small social cues, and it’s been interesting to watch how they react to these roommate discussions. It’s also been interesting to see how others react to small things like asking to pay a bill. For example, one roommate we shall name Rm A, another to be called Rm B react differently to the same questions. When I ask Rm A if they have a check for the utility that is due tomorrow their reaction is, “Yes,” with no further response. Rm A does not make a motion to write a check, or ask when I would like the payment. They simply reply with an answer. Not the greatest interaction, and preferably not what most people would be expecting. I then have to ask Rm A when they can pay the bill, and then follow-up the next day if nothing has transpired. Rm A is also the same person who never says hello or goodbye. When Rm B is asked the same question they respond with, “Yes, do you need it now? Can I write a check for you tomorrow, or pay you in cash?”, which is a more preferred, at least for me, and makes the tedious task of paying bills more tolerable for everyone. Rm B also says hello and goodbye every chance they get, and makes chit-chat when talking about their day. The interaction with Rm B makes both of us more comfortable, informed, and brings a more mellow mood to the household. I’m in no way implying Rm A or Rm B is better or worse than one another, but their varied reactions to innocuous things makes everyone’s life that much more livable depending on what you prefer, or expect out of one another. Everyone assumes people will pay their bills on time if left to write a check or give cash to the person in charge of collecting money for bills. I have learned this is not true. You don’t need to nag, but sometimes people get caught up in their own lives and forget from time to time, and when you have to actually go to someone and ask them to pay the bill the personal relationship you have with them, whether good or bad, will affect how they respond to your request.

A few years ago I made an effort to always say please, thank you, you’re welcome, hello and goodbye to every single person I interacted with on a daily basis. I found these small social cues tend to make people feel more comfortable and responsive when you have to interact with them on a deeper level. There is a higher level of respect and you are viewed in a more positive manner. Even going so far as to introduce to myself to others instead of waiting for someone to do it for me has made interacting with people more positive. I’m no longer seen as shy or silent and brooding. I am now seen as friendly and positive. I’ve been in a few social situation lately with people I’ve never met before and tried to be friendly, but they didn’t really want to know me. I tried to say hi, they ignored me. I was talking to the others in the room, and they would interrupt or pretend I wasn’t there. It was really awkward. The old me would have made a scene, or started talking shit in front of them without actually talking to them. Realizing I’m an adult, and I was at another persons home, made me bite my lip, and wait for an appropriate time to let me friends (who lived there) know how I felt about what happened to me. They were surprised, to say the least, that I kept quiet about their rude behavior, and apologized for not introducing us to the selfish people.

Living with multiple people is a bit of a social burden from time to time. Making sure I’m polite, but not overly talkative can be a challenge. Listening politely when the other person is being friendly and talkative, even though I’m in a bad mood and would be prefer silence, is also an adjustment from time to time. Offering to make enough food for everyone who are home has been helpful in making people feel welcome in our home, and I love cooking for others because I feel it’s rude to eat in front of other people without offering at least a taste (I love to taste other people’s food, as my good friends know). Even making polite conversation helps everyone to understand where you’re coming from, and helps build those relationships to ensure you don’t grow to hate one another. I may avoid talking about Harry Potter with one of my roommates, but I know I can chat about novels, writing, and politics from time to time.

Every bit makes a huge difference when you want to stay positive and be known as a welcoming place to stay, or just being someone other people want to know. Leaving your shoes in the living room is not a big deal, but if you leave dirty dishes or trash behind often you probably might be annoying to live with. So stay positive, be polite, and please just say hello, and thank you next time to someone you just met and you’d be surprised at the reaction you get. 😉

<;3 The Roommate

Let me know what you think about being polite!

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Morning’s Are Not My Thing

My home is my sanctuary. If any one were to try and mess with it they’d get a whole lot of whoop ass from me and my wrath.

So naturally, when someone comes knocking on my door at 9am I am a bit confused and bewildered by a request to use our property for something. Here goes the story:

A few weeks ago while my boyfriend and I were sound asleep, our roommate knocks on our bedroom door and tells us there is someone who needs to talk to one of us. We ask who, and he politely replies, “It’s complicated. It’s probably best you just talk to them.”

My boyfriend crawls out of the bed, begrudgingly, while I lay in bed slightly annoyed. A few moments later he comes back and tells me the Realtor who is selling the empty house next door came by to tell us they will be using our driveway to do some construction work today, and would we like to “move our trash cans” or anything else we have on that side of the driveway because they will be using that space.

Um….excuse me? No, excuse you?

I fly out of bed and storm off to speak with this so-called Realtor who knocked on our door. I knock on the open door and hear a woman’s voice and two men. I introduce myself and ask what construction is happening that they need our driveway all day, AND don’t know when they’ll be done? She says their installing a central air system today and she doesn’t know how long it will take. “I came by to give you a neighborly notice because your trash cans and things are in the area they’ll need to use for construction.”

“I’m sorry,” I reply, “knocking on our door at 9am is not a neighborly notice. We ALL work today and I’m gonna need someone from our home to keep an eye on your construction guys to ensure our property isn’t damaged. Especially since you’ve given no prior notice.”

“Well, the side of the house we need is technically THIS houses property line so I didn’t need to ask for you permission, I thought I was being neighborly by just letting you know what they were going to be doing.”

“No. Knocking on our door at 9AM is not neighborly notice. We own this property and we need 24 hr notice before we allow any one to have access to our open drive way ALL DAY. I may have your guys sign a waiver saying you’ll cover the costs if ANYTHING on my property is damaged before I let any one in our driveway to do construction.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but we don’t need your permission it’s on our property line.”

“Well good luck getting access because no one is getting access to the driveway without MY permission. Do you realize we own the property next door? We don’t rent. So, a knock on the door at 9am is NOT a neighborly notice. 24hrs notice or no one gets in.” The I proceed to leave yelling “9am! 9am is not neighborly!”

I slam the front door behind me and proceed to tell my boyfriend and our roommate that NO ONE is going to use our driveway and they can go fuck themselves if they think they can just push us around because we look like renters. FUCK. YOU. LADY.

Our very polite roommate offers to watch the construction workers since he will be home all day and has the day off from work. Thank goodness! I thank him for offering, and let him know I’ll see what I can work out with this crazy lady who think she can push me around. Of course, in my mind I’m thinking, “Fuck this lady.”

I then spot two older gentlemen looking at our driveway so I open the front door and introduce myself and ask them if they’re they construction workers.

“Yes, we are,” says the nice older gentlemen. “My name is Jim.” He then hands me his business card.

“I applogize if you’re caught in the middle of my wrath, but we’ve been dealing with a lot of issues with this property since it’s been unoccupied for months, and we had no prior notice this construction was going to be happening today.”

“I completely understand your situation. We were just told this project needed to be done today as well, so we definitely understand and don’t want to be any trouble.”

“Well, it seems we might have a solution since my roommate will be home all day and be able to give you access to our driveway. His name is S**** (I’m hiding him name for his privacy). If you need access ask for him and he’ll make sure nothing on our end is damaged as well. My name is Stephanie by the way. I’m about to go get ready for work but ask for our roommate if you need anything while I’m gone.”

“Okay, great. Well I’ll let the Realtor know we’ve worked this out. Thanks for your help.”

After taking a a shower, screaming, and dressing myself for work our roommate then informs us Mr. Jim came back and told him they will no longer be needing our driveway for construction. The plans have been delayed (possibly because I through a wrench in them).

Awesome.

I scared the Realtor in to complacency!

Once again, I’ve manage to bulldoze in to getting my way (she was in the wrong any way!) and now I don’t have to worry about this crazy bitch who thinks she can show up and tell me what to do. Not. A. Chance.

Words to the wise: I am NOT a morning person. NEVER. EVER. Tell me bad news before 10 o’clock on the morning.

Just sayin’.

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The Fridge Story

A long long time ago…when we first got our house. There was an incident that will forever be known as The Fridge Story. I only decided to retell this story because I suddenly remembered it the other night and could not stop laughing, mostly because I still can’t even believe that it happened.

Part 1

In September of 2008 we moved into our new house, which was purchased by my boyfriends mother.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, while I was home alone and my boyfriend was at work a chaotic incident happened. I was waiting for the cable guys to come by and check out why we suddenly couldn’t get service at our new home. As many know, my DVR is one of my vices. I was already upset because they were suppose to have installed it over a week ago. Suddenly, I hear a knock at the door and am greeted by a guy with a moving truck. “We’re here to deliver a refrigerator. Where do you want it?”

Um…what?

When we first viewed the house with his mother the previous owner of the house had mentioned he would be leaving behind the refrigerator because his new home already had a nicer one. Awesome. Free fridge. When we moved in the fridge was missing. His mother called our Realtor and asked what had happened. Our Realtor mentioned that the other Realtor who worked with the owner had taken it. Caught in an awkward position, our Realtor called the other woman and made arrangements to have the fridge returned.

Keep in mind, the whole time this transaction is taking place my boyfriend and I are not involved in the conversation to return this elusive item. Until I get a knock on the door.

I’m thrown off by his direct question which I only slightly understand. I’m suddenly opening the driveway gate and asking them to bring the fridge through the laundry room door. They then explain to me the door is too narrow. Fuck me. My boyfriend suddenly calls me back and I explain to him what’s happening, and then ask, “Did you know about this?” He of course does not know anything about this abrupt delivery. I ask him to call his mother when he has a break and ask a few questions. As I get off the phone with him and I’m then greeted by the cable guys who begin to tell me they don’t know what or why they’re there, or what their suppose to be looking for. Meet with a sense of pure frustration I tell the nice cable guy and his buddy-in-crime that they need to get on the phone and ask someone else what they need to be looking for. I explain this to him as politely as I can, while trying not to strangle him with my Sith mind powers.

Then I’m suddenly greeted by our former Realtor, who is very excited we’re getting the fridge returned to us, as promised. Okay…aren’t I happy? Excited? How am I doing? I explain to her the movers have said the fridge won’t fit through the laundry room door. They can just leave it here in the driveway and my boyfriend will deal with it when he gets home later. Meanwhile the cable guys are on the phone with headquarters pacing back and forth in front of the house. Just as the movers and Realtor are about to leave the other Realtor has appeared and is hugging me very happy to see me and the fridge.

I suddenly have this sense of dread…again, and realize that I’m still in my stay-home-and-watch-TV-all-day-pajamas. Fuck me. I explain to everyone the fridge is great, please don’t worry about it. It will remain where it is while I wait for my boyfriend to return home.

And then…the previous owner is walking up our driveway…”How the hell is this happening?” I ask myself.

The cable guys turn to me and say they’ve talked to everyone they could and now someone else will be coming out in another week to install/fix the cable problem. I give them the look of ‘”Thanks for nothing you can go now,” and return to my driveway/fridge problem.

Then, the previous owner of the house has suddenly appeared with everyone else, the two Realtors and two moving guys. And the fridge. He congratulates me on our new home as I awkwardly say my thanks while standing there with strangers in my pajamas in the middle of the day after having smoked a bowl and never bothered to shower. Our Realtor exclaims how the movers could have helped the previous owner when he moved, what a fortuitous meeting. He had such a hard time moving out, a single father, moving all that furniture with no help. His movers decided to never show up. You know, the guys from Home Depot. I stand there and cringe, and want to suddenly stab something, or someone, with a sharp object.

Then, the previous owner suddenly gives the golden advice that the movers could not figure out for themselves, “Oh, you can take the door off the hinges to make the door wider and get the fridge in. That’s what I did.” Everyone’s jaw drops. Then the movers ask if I have a screw driver they can use. Sharp object….

In no time at all the fridge is in the laundry room. There are five strangers in my laundry room. Still chatting. To each other. No one seems to realize I’m still there. Our Realtor suddenly turns and says, “Oh my goodness! You’ve really made this place in to a beautiful home,” while looking in another direction and not actually talking or looking at me.

They all start to walk past me towards the master bedroom and living room and before any of them manage to open any other doors I yell, and I put my hands up in the air. “Excuse me everyone!” They all stare at me like deers caught in someone’s headlights. “The fridge is inside. Thank you for your help. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do. So please exit through the driveway door. Your work here is done. Thank you.”

They begin to quietly shuffle outside and I lock the door behind me. The driveway gate and front door are still open and unlocked. As I usher them all down the driveway they continue to congratulate me and try to peer through the windows in the driveway. I close, and lock the gate behind me as they all walk away together, and then I walk back in to the house through the front door where it all began. I stand in the living room, alone again, and still shocked and confused as to how the hell this all happened.

I drag me feet and go look at the fridge. It has mold inside, and apparently hasn’t been cleaned sine it was emptied. And I wait for my boyfriend to get home. I begin to angrily wash the fridge.

Part 2

A week later, while I am home alone, again, I get a knock at the door. I think to myself, “We just moved here. I’m not expecting any one. Who could that be?” I look through the front door and see one of the movers from the previous week opening the gate to our driveway. I swing open the door and yell at him, “Excuse me! Can I help you?”

“Oh yeah, remember me? I helped bring your fridge here last week?”

“Yes, I know who you are. Why are you entering my driveway?”

“Oh, yeah…sorry. I was looking for our dolly. We left it here, last week, when we dropped off your fridge. Do you remember me? Is it here?”

“I remember the fridge, and you, but there is no dolly here. I’m gonna have to ask you to leave.”

“Oh really? I see how it is…after I do you and that guy a favor and bring this fridge here for free! I just wanna see if our dolly is here.”

“Look, there’s no dolly here. You need to leave, now. Or I’m gonna have to call the police because your trespassing, and you came here uninvited, and tried to get in to my driveway without permission. Please leave now.”

“After the favor I just did for you and that guy?! This is how it’s gonna be? I did that guy, your friend, a favor, and this is how I’m treated.”

“Look man, he’s not my friend. And I don’t know you. I just caught you trying to trespass on to my property uninvited. Now leave. I’m going to call the police any second if i don’t see you move. Please close my gate and get the I hell out of my house.’

He closes the gate, sliding his hand off the door handle and walked away grumbling to himself, in Spanish. I watch him from the patio window that looks out onto the street. He stands next to his car and calls someone on his cell phone. He talks to them in Spanish possibly thinking that I won’t understand him, and begins to complain to his friend on the phone and calls me a bitch and a liar. I yell out to him, “I told you to leave. I’m calling to cops as we speak. Get the hell out of here or I’ll have you arrested!” He peers up not realizing that I heard him, or understood what he was saying. Then he quickly gets in to his car and speeds off, afraid that the cops will show up any second.

I call my boyfriend, who is at work, and leave him a message telling him I caught this guy trying to break in to the house to look for his dolly. When he calls me back he is very upset to hear the mover tried to sneak past me because he thought no one was home. He says he’ll call me when he gets his break. We hang up.

Twenty minutes later, I get a second knock on the front door. This time it’s the previous owner’s Realtor. The nice woman who took the fridge and arranged for it’s delivery. I say hello, but never open or unlock the black gate-like front door (We have 2 front doors. One that leads in to the small brick patio that is black, and one that is wooden and leads to the to the living room at the front of the house.) She asks if I remember the movers who brought us our fridge, and that one of them called her upset, because he left his dolly at our house. I reply, “Yes, he was here earlier, and tried to break in to our home. So I’m going to tell you what I told him. You came here uninvited, asking about a dolly that I don’t have, if you don’t leave right now I’m going to call the police.”

Her jaw drops and she begins to yell at me. “Well, I never! How dare you speak to me like that! After all I’ve done for you and your family, this is how I’m treated?!”

I snap back, “I don’t know you! I never asked for this fridge back! You did none of us any favors, now please leave or I’ll call the police on you for trespassing. Never come back here uninvited!” I walk back to the living room upset and frustrated, but proud of myself for not letting her in to the house. I think to myself, “How the hell did all this happen?!”

I didn’t want the GOD DAMN FRIDGE! We were fine without it! We already had a fridge because the house didn’t have one when we moved in. Who the hell shows up uninvited, without so much as a friendly phone call, trying to trespass, in broad daylight to look for a dolly?!?! What. The. Fuck.

A few hours later, my boyfriend’s mother calls me. Concerned. She just got a phone call from our Realtor, who was upset. Apparently I yelled and cursed at her and wouldn’t let her look for this dolly the movers seemed to have left behind. Is this true? Did you really curse a this lady? What happened?

I politely tell her, “Yes, I’m sorry to inform you that I did, probably curse at someone. However, it wasn’t our Realtor. It was the previous owner’s Realtor. Who appeared after one of her mover friends tried to break in to our home and appeared uninvited to look for this dolly. So, I threatened to call the cops on him, he left upset, and then the other Realtor appeared asking for the dolly too. Uninvited, and wanted to come in to our home to look for it. I told her no, and said she was unwelcome in our home and should never come back. None of them would ever have showed up to your home, where you reside, and think they could waltz in to search for a dolly. I’m sorry, I couldn’t let them in.”

Luckily, my boyfriends mother was sympathetic to my anger. She was horrified someone would try to break in to look for a mere dolly, let alone, show up uninvited and practically demand entrance to look for the dolly. We talked for an hour and bonded over our horror and anger and then she politely excused herself and said she would never be talking to either of those women ever again.

Emotionally exhausted, I crashed on the couch and felt a small sense of relief. And smiled to myself.

All of those mother fuckers can go fuck themselves. That damn dolly is mine.

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