Thursday, February 16, 2006

Current Weather

Thanks to everybody, especially roommates past, who has offered me an ear while I vent and reflect on having taken on a roommate. Alberto was the first one home last night, got his shower done at a reasonable hour and we were both in our respective bedrooms by 10:30 or so after chatting over a cup of hot chocolate. And I got a decent night's sleep, for perhaps the first time since he moved in. This is more like what I was hoping for. So, signs of progress.

One thing that I didn't fully realize when I decided to give this a try is that it's really different when someone rents a room in a home you own versus when you share the rent on an apartment. There's a disparity of investment and ultimately a power differential here that I didn't really consider and I think he didn't either, since both of us have shared rentals with other people before, but I haven't had a renter in a space I owned and set up, and he hasn't ever been the renter in that kind of situation either. As a former roommate of mine pointed out to me, it's hard when a new roommate arrives and established routines have been set by the old one. The new one can feel like, hey, I live here too, and I split rent, don't I get some say in how routines work? The old one feels like, hey, this is how it's done around here.

I'm sure I feel that even more strongly in this situation than in a roommate transition, since I set up the house by myself and have always been the only one living here. Plus, we're not splitting equal amounts of rent--he's putting in less than 20 percent of my mortgage. I still think I could be in this house for 30 years; he might be here anywhere from three months to three years max. It really creates a different mindset for me in terms of what say he gets about what the common areas look like, especially since I just spent $1000 decorating the first floor. I'm not at all used to this in myself, which probably doesn't make it easier for me to set ground rules and expectations.

To his credit, Alberto is really rolling with this, probably better than I would if I were in his shoes. Yesterday morning at 7 a.m. (about 20 minutes after he woke me up playing the downstairs radio--he didn't have it on that loud, I'm just a really light sleeper and the house carries sound), I informed him that the carpets he had put down last week to provide a runner all the way to the back door were ugly and would have to go as soon as I had time to get a runner that matches what I have already. Perhaps it was a moment when he didn't understand exactly what I said, but he got the point. I got home last night and the rugs had disappeared. During the day I had been thinking OK, they can stay there and wipe up snow until spring, but I felt so much better when I saw they were gone I've decided not to say anything but thank you for moving them.

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