You know, living with roommates and living with family is totally different. I started gaining true independence after a few years of living with roommates.
I got a basic credit card for textbook purchases, that I paid off as soon as the payment posted on my bank account. I was a little anal, its true. But that way, I know I wouldn’t forget about the purchase, and I wouldn’t pay any fees. It was simple and it worked for me.
I never bought groceries or gas with the credit card. In fact, I rarely used it at all, aside from online purchases. Sure I bought a box of vintage clip on earrings for my roommate’s birthday, and I even made a somewhat impulse purchase of a PS2, but I never bought something I knew I could not pay for immediately from my bank account.
Times changed, my roommate was graduating and I had a semester left in school. Leases tended to run for an entire year though, so I wouldn’t be able to stay in my apartment. An older lady from work offered to let me live in her basement. I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t want to be caught up in a lease, so it seemed like the best solution.
Then one day I was driving the missionaries to an appointment and a huge truck turned into me trying to make a left from the right hand lane. My little car was totaled.
I had never had that happen before.
The insurance company that ‘bought’ it, sort of cheated me. I didn’t really understand at the time. I was young and naive. They put the mileage down as a much higher number than it had. I also didn’t realize that the new tires, tailpipe andmuffler I had replaced in the last few months should have been reimbursed.
I bought the roommates old junker. And let me tell you it was a junker. At first I just drove it. The tires were totally bald, and when 2 of them went flat when I was in class one day, I replaced them all. I ended up giving her a couple of hundred dollars so she could pay off the title loan she had on the car, and it was mine. Every bit of the oil burning, strange clunking, pulling the wheel to one side, all with no AC. But, lets be honest, you cannot buy a used car in decent condition for less than $1000. The insurance had only given me $1200 so I didn’t have many options. Even though the car has many problems, and was 2 years older than the car I had before. It was what I could afford.
For the next four months I lived in that basement. Occasionally paying her overdue electric bill, cleaning up after the poo filled bunny, and washing her nasty moldy food left in the plates dishes. (That was one thing I never understood, why did she leave, and let the kids leave food in the plates.) I would go home, or away for a 3 day weekend and come back to horrific smells. It didn’t help that the bunny’s cage, which was also filled with poo, was right next to the sink. Lets just say, I gagged often.
Then I met a boy. Roommate was pressuring me to move out (though the semester was not over), and the boy and I decided it was fast, but it was right so we were going to get married.
That’s when things became hard with the roommate. She thought I had lied to her about this boy (totally not true). She was probably also jealous that she was overweight and 40, had an 11 year old half black and blind son, and had never even been engaged. She said some things that really hurt me.
I moved out as quickly as I could. We were officially engaged for just under a month, and found an apartment for a couple of weeks before the wedding. Of course, before I had everything out, she wanted my keys out, and I was so hurt by the things she had said, I don’t know why she thought i wanted to come get the rest of my stuff at a time when she was home. So a few days after the wedding, I sent my new husband by to get it.
It was hard woking where we did. Here I was, in my early 20s and her supervisor. I had to maintain a professional relationship while trying to avoid her so I wouldn’t cry. It was really hard. It was hard to know if I should quit or not. It was a good job. It would be hard to find another that would work with my school schedule, and pay $9.00 an hour (a bigger deal at that time than now days). I had earned the higher wage too.
So life continued, work was stressful, home was pretty relaxed. It was sort of unusual thatwe got along so well as a married couple. Sure things like squeezing the toothpaste in the middle or toilet seats left up were issues, but there was nothing too bad. The hardest part was probably the strange dietary choices my new husband made. He ate his spaghetti with only grated cheese, no tomato sauce. Macaroni and cheese in a box was one of his all time faves, and we ate a lot of white wonder bread (off brand of course). He also ate an unusual amount of ice cream. Lets just say, the biggest change was food. Though personalities and feelings were hurt and words misunderstood (that was mostly me doing the hurting). But financially we were fine with my sort of good paying fast food job, and his temp work that would last a couple of months, take a week or so off, start a new project. It was fine for our life at the time.