Exactly one year ago, I spent the night lying awake in panic because I still did not have housing plans for next year.
Then, later that week when one of the many e-mails I had sent out let me know that they had a room open in their house, I was ecstatic. Finally, my worries were over.
My roommates, seven non-K College students, are incredibly nice people. They don’t party (much) and I’m usually able to sleep through their shenanigans when they do. The rent is cheap, I have my own room, and the guy I share a bathroom with is surprisingly clean.
However, there is one aspect, which I’m sure the picture has given away, that I cannot stand: our kitchen.
I don’t consider myself a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination, but I do appreciate clear and clean counter space when I try to cook.
You see, I swear no one knows how to do dishes in this house. There has been a pot with caked-on chili left on the counter for at least a week, plates and cups piled up in the sink because no one will empty the dishwasher, and god forbid they wash their dishes by hand.
When I moved in, I figured my housemates did what I did: cooked, cleaned their dishes, and then ate. This way, you never forget to do your dishes, and don’t come back three hours later to see a pot with a solid layer of cream of mushroom soup along its edges.
However, I quickly realized this was not the case.
The first few months, I found myself doing people’s dishes a lot. I cooked often, I didn’t want flakes of some chicken surprise in my pasta. Luckily, two of my other housemates were the same way. I cannot explain the joy I would feel when I noticed one of them spent the day cleaning the kitchen: sanitized heaven. Too bad they moved out earlier this month.
However, as of this quarter, I have gotten fed up with being a house mom, and it obviously shows.
Now, while I have a right to be disgusted, I also have to partially blame myself for the mess.
When I moved in to a house with seven people who knew each other and had been there for at least two months, I decided to go with the flow.
There were no rules, other than get your rent in on time and to not let the dogs out without supervision, and for a while that worked out fine.
Had we sat down as a house and said “this is what I need,” and written it down somewhere for everyone to see and hold them accountable, I don’t think I would be going downstairs this morning to see more dirty dishes stacked up.
It may seem unimportant and petty, and frankly cliché, but trust me when I say this: set ground rules now, avoid cockroaches later.