life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, February 20, 2015

Rommate trouble retrospect

All the trouble between Drew and Marc, and Becca's woes vis a vis apartment hunting, got me thinking about my former roommate  Eileen.

I was fresh out of law school and happy in my first real job.  It was time to move out of my parents' house.  The studios and one bedroom apartments I'd seen were either too expensive or not what I wanted, so I used a roommate referral service and found Eileen.  She had a two bedroom apartment in brownstone Brooklyn.  She'd gone to Brooklyn Law and was now working for an insurance company in downtown Brooklyn, and needed a roommate because the classmate she'd been sharing with had moved away.

We got along great at first.  In fact...well, about three months after I moved in, Eileen had a fight with the landlady.  Landlady served us with eviction papers, but told me  that I could stay if I wanted.  I decided it was easier to find another apartment than to find another compatible roommate.

So we moved to another brownstone, four blocks away.  And things were good, for awhile at least.

Drew and I dating  at the time, so every weekend he'd take the train into Brooklyn and sleep at my apartment.  Most weekends, Eileen would stay at her boyfriend's apartment.  Not a bad arrangement.

Eileen was a neat freak, I am not, and while I tried to keep up with the housework ...well, there was friction.   And she was jealous when Drew and I got engaged.

What threw me over the edge, however, was the infamous "mouse" incident.

We stored our nonperishables in a cabinet over the kitchen sink.  We'd store pots and pans, etc. in the cabinets under the sink and countertop.   Eileen was afraid of attracting bugs, so she'd wrap items like boxed pasta, bags of flour, sugar, etc. in plastic.

But she didn't consider other unwelcome visitors.

.  One Sunday morning, I decided to make eggs for breakfast.  I opened up the cabinet to get a frying pan ...

...and nearly died.  For some reason, Eileen had left a five pound bag of flour, neatly wrapped in plastic,  in the cabinet with the pots and pans. It was like an open invitation to the neighborhood mice.  They had a party with her flour, and everything in that cabinet  was covered in floury mouse footprints and  Disgusting didn't even begin to describe the mess.

Drew ran down to the corner deli to buy breakfast.  After he left, I got to work.  I emptied the cabinets, I cleaned the cabinets, I washed the pots and pans, and I put everything away.

It must have been about 4:30 or 5:00 when Eileen came home.  I was still in my bathrobe, still putting pots and pans away.  When she asked what happened, I told her about the mice.  I don't know what I expected her to say, but I certainly didn't expect her to complain that I hadn't done enough because I hadn't gone downstairs to tell the landlord!

And here's why I believe in karma.

The landlord placed glue traps in the kitchen.  I don't think glue traps are humane, but it's his building. I would have chosen a different method.  One of the traps worked, the mouse was caught sometime in the wee hours of the morning, and it cried...and cried...and cried...until it died.

I never heard the poor mouse, my bedroom was next to the living room.

But Eileen's bedroom ... you entered her room through the kitchen.

She was up all night.

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