11 April 2010

My Roommate Situation

I sent this e-mail to my housing agency; in addition to sending it directly to my worker, I cc'd it to his supervisor and the director of the entire agency, as well as my therapist & a housing advocate.

Last night, I cooked a package of chicken wings (contained about 30 wings) belonging to my roommate. As I state in the e-mail, I'm now in a "tit-for-tat" mode of dealing w/ him: getting him to ask me before he just goes and eats my food hasn't been working, so now I just take what I want/need of his (and still, the balance is much more in his favor, as he consumes far more of my food products than I do of his). I ate about 4-5 wings, then went to sleep. Woke up to find that he'd eaten the rest of the chicken. Now granted, this was his food but now I'm left with absolutely nothing to eat but four boxes of pasta.

He finished off the rest of my butter, cooking oil, and whatever other ingredients I had left that I could use to make any of the boxes of pasta with.

People owe me money, and looks like I might just have to get a bill collector to start getting it from them. What fun!

Here's the e-mail that I sent, filing an official complaint with the agency (I redacted individual's names to protect their privacy but those were the only changes I made):

8 April 2010

Dear E:

I am writing to file an official complaint with you regarding my roommate, K, and three very specific issues that I have repeatedly brought up with you during our meetings (and with which I repeatedly engage Kenneth in conversation): (1) unsanitary bathroom conditions; (2) consumption of food products purchased by me; and (3) leaving the apartment door unlocked when he leaves.

First, I repeatedly have asked K to either raise the toilet seat or sit down when he urinates. While he has gotten better at this, after a few days, the bathroom indubitably falls into a condition whereby K's urination on and around the toilet comes to a point where it becomes quite uncomfortable, unsanitary, and extremely distasteful should either a guest or myself need to utilize the facilities. He continues--especially in periods of my absence--to urinate without regard as to whether or not his bodily fluids end up in the toilet bowel or on or even outside of it. As I have previously advised you, K's urine is very strong-scented and sticky (which you surmised was from his being diabetic).

Second, K continues to consume my food products, groceries, and cooking essentials without first asking me. As with the situation about his urinating in the bathroom, I have had numerous, multiple conversations with him about this. He sometimes admits and sometimes denies consuming my groceries. For instance, right before I left to visit with my sister, I had purchased four jars of pasta sauce and five boxes of Ronzoni pasta. I used ONE of each of them (i.e., one jar of sauce and one box of pasta) before leaving. When I returned to the apartment approximately one week later, I found one-half box of opened Ronzoni pasta left, as well as one-half jar of pasta sauce, sitting in the pantry. K admitted to using one-half of a jar of sauce but said that he put the portion he didn't use back into the pantry; this leaves two jars unspoken for.

Speaking of placing partially-consumed items into the pantry, I have a number of marinades and salad dressings that have been in the kitchen cabinet, unused. I recently went through them and discovered that almost all of the bottles toward the back of the cabinet have been opened and partially consumed.

Aside from the fact that no one else -- to my knowledge -- has been in our apartment (and even if they were, they wouldn't have consumed my food without letting me know about it), any and all of my friends would know to place the unused portion of pasta sauce from a jar, the unused portion of marinade sauce or salad dressing in a bottle, into the refrigerator and not back onto the shelf or into the food pantry.

The other night, he purchased ice cream for me because he had consumed most of the ice cream that I had purchased. I went to the freezer to get a dish, and couldn't find it. I found the ice cream sitting in the refrigerator, and asked K about this. He advised me that he thought it would be OK in the 'fridge as it would keep the ice cream (now soup) cool so it wouldn't spoil.

I have attempted conversations with K about these matters to no avail. He states that he will replace the items he has consumed, which he sometimes does, but never all of the items. I have attempted assuming a "tit-for-tat" mode of operation with K, to no avail (the difference, however, is that instead of having him have to ask me if I've consumed any of his food purchases, I would tell him (were he home at the time, or the next time I see him) that I had consumed X of his because he had consumed Y of mine and hadn't replaced it -- to which he responded "Oh, okay."

Finally, I need to bring up the third issue with you. When K leaves the apartment, he does not lock the apartment door. This leaves the apartment exposed as an easy target for burglars, considering that without locking the deadbolt on the doorknob, one can easily break into the apartment using a credit card or similar instrument to bypass the doorknob-only lock. K thinks that the doorknob-only lock is enough to prevent invasion into the home by individuals seeking to steal the contents therein.

Additionally, this creates an additional problem, as K often locks himself out of the apartment. As before, I have had numerous conversations with K about locking the front door, explaining to him that without throwing the deadbolt lock utilizing his key, it leaves the apartment exposed to greater risk of theft. I told him that if he put his key into the lock before he closed the apartment door, it would assure him that (a) he had his keys with him and wouldn't be locked out and (b) the apartment would be more secured. Now that warmer months are coming, I expect the return of individuals to the building and its environs who come to the building for illicit purposes and who do not belong here, and whom my neighbors and I chase away whenever we see them. If they gain knowledge of the items belonging to me that are in the apartment and the easy access to the apartment, I can only imagine how devastating a loss it would be to me, both emotionally and financially (I have advised you that a great amount of the items I keep in my apartment are the legacy I have received from my grandparents, donated to me by my sister as she did not want them; therefore, there is great emotional attachment to these items).

Then, there is the aspect of personal safety; with such easy access to the apartment by using a credit card to bypass the doorknob lock, and the flimsy door that serves as a barrier to my own bedroom and private space (it's one of those hollowed-out wooden doors that uses perhaps 1/8" wood on each side of the door, with nothing in-between, and a simple, pickable, bypassable lock to gain entrance therein), who's to say what may happen to me when K leaves very early in the morning to go to his program (sometimes as early as 7am) while I am sleeping (or even not sleeping). Being physically handicapped, I would be at a great disadvantage were a burglar to enter my apartment and especially my bedroom in search of loot and I feel an increased risk for my own, personal safety every time K leaves the apartment without locking the door behind him.

I would hate to have to file a claim against Cluster in such an event of loss due to burglary, given the number of items of value that I own which are stored in the apartment, and in the even more severe situation should I come unto undue harm due to the lack of my roommate properly securing the premises upon his departure therefrom.

As has been the case with my last two roommates, K is not paying his portion of the cable bill (the agreement with which we had finally worked out, months after he has been living here) in a timely fashion. He is in serious need of money management skills and assistance. I have witnessed his CD / DVD collection grow from nothing to nearly one-hundred various CDs/DVDs in the six months or so that I have had K as a roommate. (You will recall that I have asked K to pay $10/week for cable--he hasn't paid in I believe it is three weeks, and considering that the cable-only portion of my cable bill is around $118/month, even you agreed that having K pay ~1/3 of that amount is quite generous of me--I pay for 100% of the Internet/VOIP portion of the cable bill).

Finally, I need to point out to you that contrary to a New York State Law which went into effect on 22 February 2010, there is no carbon monoxide detector installed anywhere in the apartment (for that matter, I believe that no such detectors are installed anywhere within the building).

I cannot continue to live under these conditions, and I never had to deal with such conditions with either of my two previous roommates. I never before experienced issues with my roommate consuming my food (or my consuming theirs) with either Fred or David; I haven't had to deal with them not locking the door when they leave the apartment (if anything, it was the opposite), and I never had to deal with unsanitary living conditions in the common/shared living areas.

I get along with K and I think he's a nice guy; however, I believe that he's in need of serious help and greater supervision. I haven't had these problems with my two previous roommates. I mean, putting my ice cream in the refrigerator after taking some, and thinking it would be OK?

I hope that we will be able to achieve a swift resolution to these issues.

As I have been doing since returning from holiday during the holidays, I am making a more concerted effort to come to the office at least once per week either to see and meet with you or to attend the weekly housing meeting. I will continue to keep to this commitment; however, please do be advised that I have as of yet been unable to resolve my inability to obtain my prescription medication (antidepressants) due to an increase in my Medicare Part D deductible and cannot afford the $216 that CVS is charging for the four generic prescription medications I have been taking and, as such, ran out of meds over the weekend and have begun going through SSRI withdrawal. As such, I've been feeling, to be blunt, like horse-dung.

Thank you for your time and courteous cooperation.

-Peter C. Frank