to share or not to share…

The short stories I wrote about the goings on at the green house led me to thinking about housemates.

When young and single, I lived in share houses on 2 occasions.

First with a female colleague. We were good mates and life was a ongoing party. One neighbour, I worried, was in danger of developing repetitive strain injury to her wrist from twitching her curtains while keeping tabs on the comings and goings.

All was rosy until I came home work to find my housemate, her boyfriend and a sack of aromatic green leafy stuff in our kitchen. It wasn’t oregano. They were foil wrapping and packing in ziplock bags a less culinary crop, marijuana, in preparation for a weekend trip to the city. When I suggested in the house wasn’t the best place, they moved it to her hatchback parked under the carport. Not quite what I had in mind, especially when my Dad visiting and foraging in the kitchen cupboards for tea emerged with a recycled Moccona coffee jar full of leaf, but not tea leaves, unless you wanted a really mellow brew.

Things got more confused after I went to call my housemate to the phone one post party Sunday morning and found her asleep in bed betwixt her boyfriend & his best mate. Successively the best mate became the boyfriend even though the old boyfriend remained the business partner.

In the new boyfriend’s spare time he liked to fish, a wholesome pastime unless you come home after late night fishing and a leave a bloody great eel coiled on a dinner plate in the fridge for the other housemate to find too early on a Sunday morning. Then it can be hazardous for your health.

The party wasn’t fun any more. My entrepreneurial housemate wasn’t to be convinced that these pursuits could end in disaster, plus the household was attracting a changing demographic, some of whom spent too many nights sleeping in our living room. That, in addition to a few bathroom health and safety issues led me to taking a second job to get me out of the house, and finding my own place.

My new place was 2 bedrooms, and having 2 jobs I wasn’t there much. It seemed a waste to leave it empty. In country towns there’s always someone who knows someone and it came about that a woman who worked for a government office in town but lived in a nearby regional city needed a place to stay during the week.

The new housemate and I didn’t see much of each other but the evidence of her living there was unmissable. I think she assumed hotel service was part of the rental agreement. She arrived on Mondays, left on Fridays but her mess stayed all week. The crux came when on a rare Saturday night in, I went to grill a chop for dinner. The grill tray looked like a science experiment. It was green, and although I didn’t get too close as opening the grill door unleashed a pungent smell, it appeared to be moving. I tossed it in the bin. And threw her out.

IMG_20130904_095545After that I set up house with the man who would go on to be my first husband… Out of the frying pan into the fire…

25 thoughts on “to share or not to share…

  1. Oh you are inducing painful memories for me of a flat mate I once had who while on holidays her boyfriend made his one call from gaol to our flat, and me, being the only one home. I later found out she had dumped him after someone pulled a gun on them while on a date one night! Only trouble was she didn’t tell ME! I moved out the next week. It was the single life for me for the next seven uears until coming to Australia with my new husband! Good post, thank you!!


    1. I’m no housemate saint… no way am I telling tales on myself, but your flatmate might have mentioned that piece of information. After re-reading my green house short stories, these memories came back to me, and I’ve enjoyed reminiscing… with myself… I’m glad it entertained you as well 🙂


  2. Excruciatingly funny. It’s odd how one part of a shared house/flat arrangement always assumes the other half is in service to them. I know it’s sometimes not much different in marriage.
    A friend just suggested I might be ready for a Thai bride for company and housework. I wonder which of the house share couple he’d be?
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx


    1. Thank you 😉 I think at the time, you just accept things the way they are, only later looking back… a bit like in marriage.
      As I’ve gotten older I might put a bit more thought into considering who I share space with, and how… at least I have the best of intentions, whereas when I was young I gave it not a thought at all.
      I think if you pursue any thoughts of opening up your house you’ll need a secretary and security to sort out all the contenders 🙂


    1. I never even thought about the ramifications of sharing… when you’re very young it’s what you do. When I revisited being single in my late 30’s I didn’t even consider it 🙂


  3. Good one, EllaDee. I would have loved to hear you explain the “tea” to your Father. I had a number of flatmates when I was younger. For me, the success rate was inversely proportional to the length of the co-habitation. A year or less was fantastic but the longer things went beyond 12 months, the worse it got. Heaven forbid if we signed a 2 year lease!


    1. Thank you. The day of that impromptu visit, the living area also looked like a bomb had exploded, so Dad was thankfully a bit distracted 🙂 I guess time is an incubator, the more that passes the greater the potential for eventualities. I’m grateful this was only about 12 months of my life… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t encounter further eventualities…


  4. Oh does this sound familiar.
    This does describe the neighbors so well “One neighbour, I worried, was in danger of developing repetitive strain injury to her wrist from twitching her curtains while keeping tabs on the comings and goings” Guess something had to brighten their days?
    How nicely your put this – but certainly got the point across “assumed hotel service was part of the rental agreement.” Hilarious.
    Enjoyed visiting the house


    1. I’m sure that neighbour was happy to see us go 🙂 Although her evenings, and early mornings would have been much duller.
      I had to work at putting a lot of things nicely when recounting this tale, and in the interests of no names no pack drill, just in case, left out some of more salacious details. I’d hate to have to defend a defamation claim 😉


  5. I’ve lived in shared houses too. They can be great for a while but then small niggles grow into huge niggles, or relationships sour, and it’s time to move on. Having my own place was always my ideal, but I’ve only really managed it for short periods. Once my Daughter finally flies the coop I may get to enjoy being the mad cat-lady in peace. 😀


    1. House sharing was great to start with, yes, then real life caught up with us.
      I lived on my own, not even a cat for company, for about 18 months before the G.O. came to stay permanently, and I loved it. Luckily he’s easy to live with, or I wouldn’t have traded 🙂
      I hope it works out the way you want…


  6. oh so funny … adventures I regret not having many of, although I once shared a house with a friend when I lived in Detroit and learnt a lot about the U.S. lifestyle at close quarters … now I am looking forward to hearing your next instalment about the first husband!


    1. I’d quite put these ‘adventures’ at the back of my mind… funny to look back from the perspective of more than half a lifetime into the future. I’ll see what I else I can dredge up from the vaults of time 🙂


    1. Early adventures are the stuff of life 🙂 But yes, there’s a time and place, and had the G.O. not happened along, I would still have been living solo too 🙂


  7. The Man and I had a few housemates over the years, one who kept his room with us for months after getting dragged into moving in with the new girlfriend so he had somewhere to go when things got too heated. 😀
    We also had one who asked if he could stay a few days while he sorted himself out and ended up staying nearly a year… I much prefer living quietly so any housemate, no matter how well-behaved, was an annoyance to me!


    1. Yes, the latter is to be feared 🙂 The G.O. has a workmate in a similar situation as your secanario 1 but he has nowhere to go… we’re scared to offer him our couch in case we end up with scenario 2.
      I’ve never had anyone stay too long but it’s always a relief when you have your own space.


      1. Unfortunately scenario 2 started with a phone call from his car as he was driving to our house after breaking up with the Missus. No chance of a hastily invented excuse there! He was so hopeless at caring for himself it was laughable. I had to teach him how to cook, even 2 min noodles were beyond him! He was lovely and we are all still friends, but….


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