Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Learn, Grow, Change

Disappointed.  Not angry, not surprised, but disappointed.

I know there's a risk inherent to opening my home to others, particularly folks who are strangers in the beginning.  I accept that there are many adjustments to be made on every side and there are certain things, control issues, that I must let go of if I am going to give shelter, give sanctuary, to anyone.

I am not an easy person to live with under the best of circumstances, and when I am not at my best I am a pain in the ass for anyone to deal with.

That said, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that, when living in my home, a body doesn't damage it, they respect the property and the people living here, and they own up to their mistakes.

NOT telling me when property is damaged, hiding broken things, and disrespecting some very basic and necessary rules is no way to behave.

There's a hole in the wall behind the door that tells me it was slammed open or slammed up against hard enough to force the knob completely through the drywall.  There is artwork missing.  There are a number of small tchotchkes moved or missing.  There's a socket plate cracked, part on the floor and part still on the wall.  There's a dent in another part of the wall.  There's a spot where paint was picked at and peeled off.  There's a cup that was clearly on the windowsill but was pushed or fell out into the yard and left there.

The truck has front end damage, bald tires, and a huge dent in the side.  The brakes are gone and the promised repairs never happened.  I don't know when the oil was last changed.  There are food wrappers and pieces of food all over the interior.  Things that belong there are missing, removed without permission and put who-knows-where.  It will be expensive to repair everything, and I will have to ask my already overburdened mother for help with that because it is Someone's truck and it's not okay to give it back to him trashed.

And the cigarette butts.

The cigarette butts all over the garage floor, in the driveway, nestled among the stuffed animals that I have kept through my childhood, tossed out the window into the yard, cigarette butts in places that tell me that the no-smoking-in-the-house rule was roundly ignored, putting me and my son in very real danger of respiratory distress and a hospital visit.  That rule is there not because I don't like cigarette smoke (because I don't like it) and not because I represent all my art and craft work online as coming from a smoke-free environment (because I do, and yes, it matters to folks), but because I am allergic to cigarette smoke and both the Evil Genius and I have asthma that can and often is triggered by said smoke.

I don't really care if it's inconvenient to walk a few dozen feet to smoke in the garage or outside.  That's not my problem.  My health and my childrens' health are my concern.

Disrespected.

So many small signs of disrespect, of the people I opened my home to not caring that they were living in a borrowed room, using a borrowed vehicle, using borrowed pots and pans and dishes...

So.

I won't close my heart or my home to anyone who needs a place.  No one gets to change me that way.  I will, however, learn and grow from this experience.

The rules are changing.  They will be simple but not negotiable, and there will no longer be second or third chances.  The first violation will be the last, and there will be no two-weeks notice, not even two-minutes notice - as soon as the infraction occurs, out you go.

There will be rent, and it will  be paid when it's due - no making missed rent up next week, next week, next week.  No.  Pay on time or out you go.

You will contribute to the household groceries.

There will be no smoking of any kind anywhere on this property or in my vehicles.

There will be no eating or drinking of anything (even water) anywhere but in the kitchen, the dining room, or outside.

If you use it, clean up after yourself and put it away.

I will not get up early, stay up late, or change my schedule to give you rides anywhere.  Ask 24 hours or more in advance if you want a ride and if I can, I will, but it will be at MY convenience.

You may not borrow one of the family vehicles.  Don't ask.

You may not borrow or remove anything from this property - no taking my camp chairs, my grill, my coolers, my camping gear to the lake, camping, your Aunt's pool party or anywhere else.  Don't ask.

No, I will not give you the WiFi password and no, you may not use my computer.  You certainly may not change passwords, security settings, or anything else on said computer, nor may you download anything, watch pornography, or do anything legally questionable.

If you damage it, you repair or replace it immediately.  If that means you don't have money for DVDs, cigarettes, beer, or whatever else you think is more important, too bad.  Never borrow what you can't replace, and understand that yous SHOULD replace it first and foremost.

I will not loan you money.  Nope.  There will be no "I need gas to get to work and will pay you when I get my check" or "Can I have a couple of dollars for cigarettes?" or anything else short of a life-saving item, and even then I will likely want proof that a life hangs in the balance.

You may not bring another person to co-habitate with you, or even to spend the night, without asking me first, and more that one night means they pay rent, too.

You will help with the chores when they need doing.

If you use it, you replace it.  If you ruin my cookware, you replace it the next day.

Turn off lights if you're leaving the room, even if it's only for a moment.

If it's not yours, don't touch it.  Don't let your friend touch it.  Don't let your child touch it.  You are responsible for any damage done by anyone you bring to this house.

No drugs.  None.  Not kidding.  I WILL call the blue-light taxi service.  Do not test me.

No drug dealers or anyone who is high.

No fugitives from justice.

Do not bring drama to my house.  Do not bring anyone or anything that might bring drama to my house.  Drama includes but is not limited to stalkers, abusers, out of control addicts, law enforcement of any kind, or snark from the neighbors.

Do not lie to me.

Do not steal from me.

Do not break your word to me.

Those last three are not negotiable, ever.  No wriggle room.  No forgiveness.  The rest?  Yeah, I'd like to be all hard assed about it, but honestly, I know there are circumstances and I AM a compassionate being and I WILL do my best to help a body out as much as I can, but I'm not going to allow anyone to cross my personal boundaries again.  No one has any right to ask it of me, and I'm working hard on the firm yet gentle "No."

Everyone has lessons to teach, lessons to learn.  I am learning.  I hope that I taught something good, something that will carry my former roommates on into strong, healthy, positive lives.

We live, we learn, we grow, we change.  It's a bumpy ride, so hang on tight!

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