Who would have imagined I’d be renting a room and sharing a house with roommates at the ripe age of 60 plus? I certainly didn’t. I’ve always visualized myself living in a luxurious home by the beach decorated to fit my unique style. . . whatever that is. But that vision has yet to manifest.
Life intervened several times, I made bad decisions, and now here I am – locked in a tiny room during a pandemic. As far as I’m concerned, it’s temporary – at least I’m hoping it is. It’s not that the house is awful or in a lousy neighborhood. I had a choice of living in a sketchy neighborhood by myself, but instead, I’m in a comfortable 1950s-style tract home surrounded by beautiful trees in the valley.
It could be worse
It’s just weird living with roommates. When I was living with my boyfriend it was hard enough but at least I had control over the kitchen when he wasn’t telling me how to load the dishwasher. I also had my own bathroom. To me, that’s mandatory.
Here, I’m sharing a bathroom with a guy who goes out for a smoke in the morning and spent a year being homeless after getting kicked out of his mother’s apartment when she died. Not someone I’d want to date. He’s clean enough, but still, it’s kind of icky.
Then there’s cooking
My refrigerator and freezer space is limited to about 12” but the good thing is, I’m losing weight. I could buy a mini-fridge for my room, but I don’t mind what I seeing on the scale.
That’s because most of my meals have been frozen “healthy” Power Bowls and occasional Grub Hub deliveries that I make last for 2-3 days. They’re portion-controlled. Plus, I’m not going back and forth to the refrigerator to snack because there’s no room for snacks.
I baked chicken and fish a few times but when I moved, I tossed out all my pots and pans, except for a few things I keep in my room in a set of plastic Walmart drawers. The rest of my kitchen equipment is in a storage unit on the other side of the valley in case I move back there.
I’m not really a roommates-type person
I thrive in my own space. Even when I was living with my boyfriend, I had my own room and bathroom. When I was in my twenties, I lived with several female roommates, and it was fun. Then, I got my own apartment and loved it. It’s exasperating to think I had a nice one-bedroom apartment as a young girl in the 70s but now I have to live in a small room in my 60s.
Adapting to it
My landlord is in her 50s and is a nice woman, but she has her own rules. She never uses the garbage disposal and wants food bits to sit in the sink strainer until it’s emptied. She also wants us to lock the top and bottom lock of the front door even if we’re just taking out trash.
I can’t complain. It’s her house and she likes things certain ways. I probably would too, if I were renting to tenants.
It’s fine to use her pots and pans and I can cook whenever I want, but it feels strange using someone else’s stuff. Plus, even though we’re supposed to be isolated, her kids, grandkids, and their dogs are over almost every day. They’re nice people too, but I feel awkward interrupting them and have to watch where I step because the little ones leave toys all over the floor.
On the upside, renting a room means I don’t have to pay utilities, which are expensive in Los Angeles, especially when it’s warm. The WIFI is included, and there’s air conditioning. My landlord’s been having hot flashes so sometimes she turns the air up extra high and I have to close my vent to keep from freezing.
It’s hard to believe that my room rents for $2,000 less than the apartment I was in. The choice was to have a life or spend every bleeding buck on rent.
It wouldn’t be bad if I could get out once in a while
I hear people who live in big houses with their families complaining that they’re going bonkers during this pandemic but imagine if you’re stuck in a tiny room and share it with two small dogs. I can’t work out other than walk, because there’s no room to move around. I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at my desk in front of my computer. And, every time I take out my Flawless to mow down my chin hairs, I’m afraid my roommates will think I’m using a vibrator.
I look forward to being able to get out and see friends, go to networking meetings and sit in a restaurant. That may take some time though, because Los Angeles is being cautious, just to be safe.
The bathroom is my main beef
The first night I was here I sat down to pee and the guy I share the bathroom with started asking if I was going to be in there long because he had to go someplace. It took me 2 days to poop because I was afraid he’d interrupt me midway.
We both wake up early so either I race to the bathroom or I have to wait until the coast is clear. When I was in my apartment, I could browse Instagram and take my time. Now I always feel rushed. He also has the most disgusting looking bath rug that I don’t want to step on.
I guess I’ll get used to it or flee when I get the chance. It’s not that I mind sharing a house, but I don’t want to ever share a bathroom again. I’m just weird that way.
How would you feel if you had to have roommates or are you rooming with someone now? Please leave a comment below.