i am no fearmonger, but i believe in learning from mistakes.  so, friends, i am posting the batshit chronicles in their entirety.  learn from my mistakes.  do background checks.  get photocopies of id, and most importantly, put things in writing.

Part 1, from: Apparently, helping someone in need is not in the lease

originally posted November 13th, 2007. 

so, many of you, dear friends, have been asking what happened this weekend to destroy my recent spate of happiness.   or, to put it another way: how i discovered my new roommate was bat shit crazy.

my beloved and beyond divine previous roommate, sunny d, left me and our domestic bliss at the end of this past august.  i fault her not because she found love and i could not possibly be happier for her.  that left me in quite the quandary, because not only did i have to find a new person to share my incredibly cozy home, but i knew, hell, everyone knew, that i would never find any to equal sunny d.  or her absolutely perfect predecessor, sileva.

i asked around and around in the two and a half months sunny d gave me for a friend of a friend, but to no avail.  forced to turn to that seemingly necessary evil, i put a brief ad on craigslist.  i had many respondents, but chose one who seemed to fit the bill: a non-smoking female who loved the neighborhood, had a good job, a boyfriend close by (with whom she “often” stays) and a very nice demeanor. 

i was a bit rushed in the process because i had to leave for over six weeks of travel a week before the move out/ move in date, so i probably didn’t investigate as i should have.  although, i’m not quite sure what i would have done differently- called vinny parco, p.i.?

when i returned from six weeks, three trade shows and eight countries on the road, the new roommate, let’s call her batshit, still had not unpacked.  boxes everywhere, piles of plastic bags in multiple locations, clothes in the dining room, i couldn’t even get into the library.  it should be noted that i did come home for a couple of days here and there, to welcome her, tell her where we could displace some of my belongings to make hers more at home, clean out closets, etc.  to no effect, alas.

the situation was making me tense.  i’ve been spoiled, yes, by six years of comfort, but then it is my home, and that’s as it should be.  now, for the entire time i’ve been in the place, it’s been a “shoes off” apartment- street dirt in the bathroom grosses me out.  i informed batshit of this clearly, twice, before she moved in.  also, i informed her, to the letter, what the monthly bills ran us. 

the foreshadowing to this past sunday consisted of the following:

1) month one.  the bills come.  she writes a check but says she can’t do this every month because she’s on a tight budget.  we “need” to switch our internet…. ok.  you knew what the deal was, but i’m reasonable.  i switched to her preference the NEXT DAY.

2) ten weeks into this, she’s informed me that she’s windexed the air conditioner filter (twice!), but the freaking plastic bag of forks and knives is STILL on the counter.

3) she’s always wearing her street shoes in the apartment.

to this last point, i casually, and politely say “[batshit], can we go back to not wearing shoes in the apartment?  it’s one of the few rules i told you about and the bathroom floor is gross.”  her response was that she doesn’t want to walk around barefoot- no one’s floors are that clean.  i suggested she wear socks or get slippers, like entire continents do.  ok, i didn’t say that, but c’mon, people.

two weeks later, i am cleaning.  i don’t clean very often ( i keep things neat, but don’t clean) because when i do, i go anal and wipe down every surface and object and it takes me forever.  i’d gotten up early, gone to home depot, put up two sets of curtains, repotted some plants, watered all the others, and then started the clean up.  i have many, many plants.  not creepy poison ivy of batman comics number of plants, but a nice, fresh air, green apartment amount of plants.  including about eight or ten large ones on a table in my kitchen, which gets the most light.

whilst on my hands and knees cleaning the kitchen floor, the legs of this aforementioned table go out.  the shelf comes crashing down, breaking two bowls my sister hand made and that i love.  i duck my head under and up and balance the table on top of my noggin while holding the table top steady with both hands.  i begin to ponder what in the hell i’m going to do with this situation and the sixty or so pounds of chlorophyll, soil, terra cotta and water on top of my head.  just then, the door opens and i call out “[batshit, come help me, please! this is going to fall!]

batshit (with her sister in tow): um, i have things to do, i can’t…

me: please, just for a second?  it’s kind of urgent.

she goes in her room and puts some things away and then comes over

batshit: what do you want me to do?  what is this?

me: the table’s falling, can you just help keep the top steady while i quickly fix the legs?

batshit: i have a schedule and a lot of things to do.  i can’t be here right now. 

me: seriously?  this is about to come crashing down.  bowls are already broken, and your plants stand (next to my table) is in danger of damage.

batshit: whatever, i have to go.

[I’m NOT making this up]

me: ok, can you at least hand me the hammer? 

batshit: (huff.  goes to get hammer out of drawer 1.5 feet behind her.  it’s filled with tools) i don’t see it. i don’t have time.  i have a schedule.

me: ok, fine, go.

so, there i am, helpless and non-plussed, both about what just happened and what the hell i’m going to do with all these plants on my head. 

i maintain balance and start unloading the plants from above me to the floor.  no easy task from the angle and with the weight of each freshly watered pot.  i finally get them all down, pick up the table, flip it over and investigate.  meanwhile, batshit and her sister are puttering around the living room.  it takes me all of ten minutes to fix the situation, and only that long because my mind was reeling at the exchange that had just taken place.

they leave and i go on cleaning.  scrubbed down the kitchen- counters, cabinets, tables, appliances and washed/ bleached the floors.  i’ve moved on to the bathroom where i am again scrubbing when batshit enters, loudly blabbing on her cell phone hands-free device (very normal), clearly complaining about what a bitch i am and how she can’t believe it.  she’s bringing in bags of groceries.

i roll my eyes, continue to scrub, and say as politely as i can manage, “hey, i just finished mopping in there.  you can’t go in for a few minutes.”

batshit explodes past yelling “yaw not my mutha and i’m not a fucking child, i can go whea-evah i want (she’s from western mass, and boy does it show when she’s angry).  yaw such a bitch, telling me what to do, always touching my stuff, i’ll do whatevah i want.  you can’t tell me what to do.”

me: ZUNH?  “i could ask you for some consideration.”

batshit: that’s funny coming from you, with your condescending tone.  you sit around all day, don’t do anything, yaw  always yelling at me, always touching my stuff [pulls some food OUT of the cabinet to put back on the counter] DO NOT TOUCH my stuff.

me: what the hell are you talking about?  i had to move that stuff to clean the counters. 

batshit: no.  yaw ALWAYS touching my stuff.  you have no right.

me [losing it a little]: well then get it out of the fucking common areas and put it away.

batshit. OH. MY. GOD. you aaah such a bitch.  you have no right.  no one touched othuh people’s stuff.  it’s puhsonal. 

me: a bag full of forks on the table is personal?  if it’s so personal, put it away.

batshit: [a lot of incomprehensible nonsense, followed by] you have NO idea.  i could be a bitch. i could be a huge bitch, but i’m not, i’m nice.  you have NO idea how much of a bitch i could be.  i’m so nice to you and yaw just so condescending with yaw tone of voice, always yelling at me.

me: ok, i don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but you sound kind of crazy right now.  if you’re so miserable, why don’t you move out?

batshit (laughing): oh, yeah! you’d love that.  too bad i have a lease.  ten months, bitch.

i’m just reeling.  i have no idea what to say.  she stomps off (in her goddamned shoes) and proceeds to yell about me on her cell phone.  realizing there isn’t much i can do, i just keep cleaning and try and digest what just happened.

fifteen minutes later, she comes over and says she doesn’t want to have animosity with me.  we have to live together (i’m thinking: no, we don’t).  we need to make a cleaning schedule, i need to watch the way i talk to people, maybe my other roommates didn’t know any better or just didn’t care, but she’s lived with lots of people and never fought with them like this.  she doesn’t keep in touch with them like i do, and isn’t friends with them like i am, but she clearly knows how to live with people, where apparently, i don’t.  also, she’s sorry if i didn’t like the way she handled my situation with the plants, but it wasn’t her problem.  i was so rude.  huh sistah couldn’t believe i talked to huh like that.  that anyone talked like that.  it was insane.  (she belabored this point a lot).

me: batshit, i don’t understand half of what you’re talking about.  if there’s been a problem, i’ve addressed it.  i’ve asked little of you (two things!) and i wasn’t yelling.  i don’t feel comfortable with you. 

batshit: well, let’s create a cleaning schedule and a schedule for when we’re in the living room.  like you get the tv on the weekends when i’m with bob (her boyfriend).  otherwise, i might as well just pay $500 and just use my room.

me: i’m not living on a schedule in my own home.  it’s a big place.  i’ll make a cleaning schedule, yes, but not a room schedule. 

blah blah blah.  i think we worked out some sort of compromise (and by compromise, at least she wasn’t screaming batshit crazy things).  so, she leaves because “she has things to do, a schedule,” and i try to rest and recover the bits of my brain that have been blown all over my apartment.  thinking i can last ten more months, i’ll just chill in my room a lot. 

later on, i go to the living room to get something and she’s in the bathroom WITH HER FUCKING SNEAKERS ON the floor i JUST mopped.

i’m thinking about talking to my landlord to see if he can help me get her out.  he loves me.  i can’t live with this person, who might literally lose all sense of sanity or be the much biggah bitch she can be at any moment and for no reason.

so, that’s the scoop.  i welcome advice and sweet, sweet comfort.

and, yes, the post had to be this long.  i had to get it out.

***********************************************************************************************************

Part 2, from: batshit chronicles, part II

originally posted November 15th, 2007 

suffice it to say that my earlier post “apparently, helping someone in need is not in the lease” was not the end of the story.  hopefully, parts II and III will be.

damn.  i hope there only are parts II and III.

so, after contemplating the events of sunday, i had a long day on monday.  i went out to dinner with colleagues from japan at union square cafe (sidebar: get the pear and gingerbread parfait.  it’s insane. and i don’t eat desserts).  i then met up with dear friends to see no country for old menwhich is, incidentally, also insane.  just fantastic all around.  i got home late, and so did not see batshit.  i had heard her on her cell phone singing happy birthday loudly outside my door at 7 am, but i didn’t see her.

the next morning she really upped the stakes in the passive aggression game.  since i was in bed, i couldn’t see what she was doing, but this is what i have been able to deduce based on what i could hear.  she must have lined up plastic bags on the table and counters (squeezed in between her bags of cutlery, tap lights and trays for non-existent toaster ovens, of course).  i imagine it was set up much like one of those glasses-filled-with-water-that-you-play-on-the-rims scenarios.  anyhoo, after lining up said bags, she began to play what must have been a ten act opera for forty five minutes.  let me tell you, it’s no birdsong, but it certainly does kill the need for an alarm clock.

i spent tuesday worrying and tensing, which we all know is no good.  when i got home, i decided to try and talk to her about moving out.  her moving out.  i’d heard of some places, cheaper even than mine, and was ready to offer to pay for moving men because a) moving is seriously a pain in the ass, b) i’m basically a nice person and have some muddy emotions about asking someone to leave two and a half months after moving in and c) i cannot wait to be rid of the bitch.

first, i talk to signore ar, my lovely and rather hilarious landlord.  he doesn’t like fusses, but he’s behind me 100%.  i’m the “a-boss.”  oh.  did i mention one of signore ar’s more endearing qualities is that he actually sounds like a cartoon eye-talian when he talks?  it’s pretty seriously awesome. 

next, i go to knock on her partially open bedroom door.  [batshit] i say nicely, do you have a minute?  bs: for what?  me: to talk? bs: i guess so.  she opens her door.

i awkwardly, but nicely say that we’re clearly both not happy and i doubt that she wants to be miserable for the next ten months of her lease either.  she stares.  i suggest that she “might want to consider mov”- before i can get it out, and the offers i had devised and mention above, she screams”i have a legally signed document that says i can stay and it’s my choice when i move,” cackles, and slams the door in my face. 

i said “[batshit], come on.  please?  let’s talk.”

bs: “no. i am nawt having this convuhsation.”

me: “why?  let’s talk and figure this out.  i’ve heard of som- ”

bs: “NO. grow up.  i’m not having this conversation. you wanted a roommate and you got one.”

me: “yes, i did.  but i wanted someone with whom i felt comfortable and is stable and-”

bs: “oh my gawd! i nevuh judged you aw called you names.* you aaah so immatuah.”

me: “c’mon [batshit] let’s talk.”

bs: whipping open the door “STOP TALKING TO ME AND GET AWAY FROM MY DAW OR I’M CAWLING THE COPS.”

me: zunh?

i walked to my room, got my keys and went down to talk to signore ar.  between sobs i told him i had to move.  i couldn’t (sob) live with her (sob) for ten (sob) more months (waah waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah sob).  he says, no, you stay, you’ve been here nine years (eight really, but who’s counting?).  besides, this isn’t rent controlled and she doesn’t have a term on her lease, she gonna give me two thousand dollars by herself.

eeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt.  what?  she doesn’t have a term? 

no kids, she’s month to month! huzzah!  yay! are you sure?

yes, he’s sure.  he shows me a copy of the non-notarized, non-witnessed lease.  through my sobs i look it over.  i say ok.  he says you stay.  i say ok, i’ll talk to a lawyer and see what we have to do.   he doesn’t let me leave until i smile.  he’s a very nice man.

i go back upstairs, wiping the tears and snot from my face and head towards my room, pausing only long enough to lock the front door and note that batshit is watching TMZ, which she tivos, in the living room.

 *eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 

lo, if this were only it.  stay tuned, batfans, for tomorrows installment of the batshit chronicles…..

 ***********************************************************************************************************

Part 3, from: the batshit chronicles, parts III & IV

oh, internet, where were we?

ah, yes.  i woke up on wednesday, eyes nearly swollen shut from crying (NOT like me) and headed to work.  after consulting a couple of attorneys, i wrote an email to batshit informing her of her thirty days notice (i needed to put it in writing, thought it best to do from a safe distance and cc:ing signore ar, 0f course).  it felt good.  i spent the rest of the day dreading getting a response and not getting a response.

i left work without one, and without getting as much done as i wanted.  i’m exhausted and distracted and i am not my normal ass-kicking self.  i’m trying to shake it off, but internet, you know i’m good at many things, but not that. 

i picked up my laundry after alighting from the subway and trundled home with my granny cart full of clothes.  as i reached my home, i saw batshit and her sister, with papers in hand assailing signore ar with a lot of idle threats, aspersions cast at my character and general nonsense.  they were telling him they went to a lawyer and that it was going to be a long and ugly road to get batshit out.  she brought up her “signed, legal document” many times.  i think it’s safe to say that batshit has had little experience with documents, mistaking the ones with typing and ink on them them for a legal version of achilles’ shield. 

i’d recreate the conversation, but it’s long, and irritating.  let’s just say it was like a mash-up of an episode of cops and the conversation at the mad hatter’s tea party.  salient points:

  • signore ar is having none of this- he repeatedly stood behind me noting that i’ve lived here nine years without a single problem, two months after batshit moves in, hell is breaking loose, hence batshit might be the issue,
  • batshit’s sister is as crazy, if not more, than she is,
  • batshit called me “that.”  as in “i’m scaaahed a huh.  look at the size of me and look at the size of ‘that’ (pointing past signore ar at me)”
  • batshit can really turn on the waterworks when they suit her; she should get out of fashion and get into acting.
  • i’m a horrible person, apparently, because i “attacked” batshit when she walked in on sunday.  attacked= asked for help,
  • batshit is capable of brushes with reality.  she had a moment of clarity when she realized that i was trying to offer help to her the night before and had she not freaked out, she’d have had help finding a place, and have had moving men, for free.  trust me, it was a brief moment, but it was there nonetheless,
  • for the sake of signore ar’s sanity, i agreed to two months for batshit to get the flock out. 

january 15th is allegedly d-day.  pray for me, kids.  because i do not trust this bitch as far as i can throw her.  and rumor has it that this “that” could really get some yardage if she tried.

she and her sister came up, dried off the crocodile tears, and left.  i thought they were leaving for the night and settled into the living room to watch some tv and try and relax.  the locksmith came over, added locks to my bedroom and closet doors, and i assured worried friends that i was safe for the night because bs had left.  ha ha.  spoke too soon, as usual.  she came back later, noticed i’d changed my locks and was mumbling and cursing to herself.  it was only the next day that i noticed she’d already done the same for her doors. 

*****************************************************************************

in the morning, she played another plastic bag sonata and left before i’d admit i was up and get out of bed.  i knew i wouldn’t be home after work to ask her for my bills back, so i left a nice, short, polite note asking for her to leave them for me so i could pay them.  with her check, of course.

i got home late and tipsy and saw the bills on the table.  no check, of course, no explanation, just the bills.  i called all the utilities and added extra security/ changed account numbers/ and removed the cable box and wireless router from the living room.  i mean, fuck.  if she’s not going to pay for this shit, she’s not going to get it for free. 

when i woke up in the morning, i said “thanks for the bills.  i noticed there was no check.”

batshit: i don’t get paid till the end of the month (bullshit.  today’s the 15th).  i can’t pay till then. 

me: then tell me that.  i can wait if you tell me.

bs: well, theah’s nothing out theah, so i don’t know what i’d be paying faw.

me: um, the LAST month?  the one in which you used ample electricity, cable (DVRing the hills, say yes to the dress, tmz, pageant place, godknowswhatelse) and the internet; i’d switched providers because she’d asked.

then, i prudently walked away before any escalation was possible.

ready for the punchline:  i got home today and there was a check on the table for forty four dollars.  the memo on the check reads: october electricity.  the best part?  her share was actually forty four dollars and fifty seven cents.  i mean, seriously?  does shorting me fifty seven fucking pennies really give her any amount of satisfaction? 

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

***********************************************************************************************************

more to come, i’m sure…

***********************************************************************************************************

Part 4, from: the sweet, sweet sound of packing tape

yay!

(don’t even think about humoring the small part of me that wonders if it’s all a ploy to make me nuts by having stacks of boxes every where).

in honor of my new favorite sound, please enjoy the lovely bret and jemaine doing as i shall from now on: equating tape and love.

***********************************************************************************************************

part 5, from: step right up! place your bets, folks!

originally posted November 18, 2007 

cslewis suggested we start a poll about batshit’s departure date.  $5 in, winner takes all. 

in the interest of equity, here’s what we know.  she’s started to pack.  several large boxes in the living room.  has emptied out the library, dining room, some stuff in her room, bathroom.  it doesn’t appear anything has moved from the kitchen.

tie breaker question: how will batshit leave?  in the middle of the night?  with a note? an email?  a check for outstanding bills (sorry.  kidding) nothing?  keys on the table? 

backup: what item of mine will she steal- you know she’s going to take something.

***********************************************************************************************************

Part 6, from:  batshit chronicles, part: oh, too many to count.

 originally posted November 27, 2007.

all joking aside.  i can’t sleep.  i’m actually grinding through the fiberglass nightguard i paid $500 bucks for to keep me from grinding my teeth.

my entire body hurts.  when i lay down at night, my neck is so stiff it feels like i’m wearing a brace.

no packing last night.  though, she is moving my things around, juuuuuuuust a little bit. 

maybe i should check and see if she’s taken my copy of gaslight.

***********************************************************************************************************

part 7, from: top this, passive-aggressives! 

originally posted December 1, 2007.

so it seems that batshit really was packing just to get me.  she has compiled a massive stack of boxes and plastic bags in my dining room, but shows no signs of going anywhere.  i’m beginning to think they’re empty.  you may be saying to yourself “methinks isosceles is a bit paranoid.”  i probably would have said the same thing a few months ago. 

but, it seems, this is how they roll in the sixth circle of hell.

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2 Responses to “a craigs list cautionary tale: the batshit chronicles”


  1. 1 uberfrau 5 January, 2008 at 05:16

    I had an even worse roommate. Male feminist-who would warn all my friends about the dangers of date rape. When someone slept on the couch(dude, this was college!) they’d wake up to him standing over them, starring at them in the middle of the night, right before he offered them a ride home. Other than that, things seemed to be going ok until he sent me an email, when we were BOTH home telling me he was going to move out. Later he told me he wouldn’t have time to find a housemate because he was more politically active than I was and more dedicated to the feminist cause.
    AGH!

  2. 2 Steph 9 September, 2008 at 23:57

    I need the end of this story!!!! and what was that plastic bag/opera thing all about?????


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truth

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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