FOOD WARS

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If the passive aggressive fight over cleaning standards doesn’t end in violence, the foot long brown hairs in the fridge and space for each of our food needs is going to end in violence.

Seriously, it’s only Day 6 of California’s shelter-in-place edict, and we’re mostly keeping our distance and finding out after-the-fact what the other person did to get on our last nerve.

700 square feet of living space is VERY tight quarters when 100 square feet belongs to each bedroom (thankfully at opposite ends of the house!), leaving 500 square feet of communal space for skirmishes or negative, passive-aggressive drivebys.

It’s especially brutal, though, when one is the homeowner, trying to make a homeless house guest feel welcome.  And, when the houseguest is 64-going-on-16, and entitled.

Immunocompromised, I’m fighting for my life after already contracting bacterial pneumonia from this guest after she brought a nasty cold home from her visit to her grandchild over President’s Day Weekend.  She doesn’t understand why I’m on disability as I look well enough.  So, she takes risks, uncaring and indifferent to the reality that I may pay a price from her choices or actions. (the image at the top of this blog shows dishes fully covered with hot water, soaking in soap, before I begin washing the dishes).

This image shows her typical preparations for dish washing, in cold water, with minimal soap:

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She can’t wash dishes worth a damn, refusing to soak them – totally covered – in hot, hot water for a bit before scrubbing them, and insisting on rinsing the still-crusty dishes in cold water.  Never mind using a disposable pan again and again, because she’s claimed it as hers, when I don’t want crust-covered items put back among the clean dishes.

Oh my freaking gawd !

My Mom used to BOIL the dishes water before we had an actual dish washing machine, so I think I’m being reasonable in insisting they merely sit for 30 minutes or so in 140 degree hot / hot water before leaving the dish rinse water on to achieve the necessary warm-to-hot dish rinse water.  (This is an old, old house, and it takes time for the hot water to make it to the sink from the heater).  No burning of skin on hands, you understand, but pretty close.  Just call me “Marilla”, LOL.  (Marilla from the Netflix series, “Anne with an E” in the frustrated homemaker on the right).

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I’ve been going on walks around the fields near my home, trying to stay busy and healthy and not exchange the harsh words hiding behind my teeth as we endure month 9 together.

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But, the food wars and related cleanup may be my breaking point.

My food storage is getting shoved to the side, touched with unwashed hands (yet another point of difference in our habits), and as she crawls in and out of the fridge shoving more and more food into the fridge that doesn’t require refrigeration as this pandemic is stroking all of her fears of being helpless and starving, leaving foot long spider’s web hairs tangled among the condiments and tripping me up when I’m reaching for something, I’m reaching my breaking point.

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(her frozen items are to the left, as her ice creams and other foods crowd my homemade, healthier, food, and I’ve had to remind her that I only get paid once a month, and she is NOT to take all my food storage space as I eat my way through my stored meals).

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(I have the upper left, with water and thawing frozen, 1 cup meals.  Then, my omelet making materials – more protein – is getting squeezed out on the right on the second shelf.  And, the bottom shelf is getting more and more hers as she stores every kind of bread known to man in there, and it’s pressing all my buttons in this petty fight for reasonable access to space).  Now I understand why the Real World MTV series fights were always about food and the kitchen !

We aren’t Jewish, and I don’t run a Kosher kitchen.  But, it might be pretty close by some standards.  And my OCD for order in the fridge, and cleanliness, are getting on my last nerve – never mind hers.

We *will* get through this passive aggressive war for space, but is it so wrong to know that I’m counting the days until she finds subsidized housing – anywhere but with me! – sooner rather than later?

Sadly, with the disabled and elderly on the list of most likely to pass, I’m also hoping for a bright side to someone else’s misfortune.  Puhleeze, if there is a God, let this pandemic get my houseguest higher up on the waiting list to get a place of her own.  We will both thank whatever powers-that-be…

3 thoughts on “FOOD WARS

  1. I had no idea! My sympathies. I know it’s ‘mean’ but can’t you kick her to the curb? You’ve obviously been more than patient, more than generous. Some folks will take every inch they can get, turning them into miles as time goes on and never ever thinking about the cost of all of it. She needs a wake up call, badly. That whole hair thing would have had me kicking her out immediately as that’s one thing I can NOT abide. Uggghhh. Ew. Oh my goodness! Take care of YOU first and the leech second. You’ve truly done your part! (this person isn’t “C” from the Face Place is it?)… O_o

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, it’s that C. She truly is a decent person under normal circumstances, but this pandemic is bringing out all our different crazies.

    Yesterday, I headed out to find more medical alcohol; I’ve cleaned all touch surfaces with that over the last 4 years, adding peppermint for scent. If I need hydrogen peroxide for hard water stain removal, I use that, too. So, I tell you all that to tell you this:

    After going grocery shopping and running essential errands yesterday, I got home to her telling me she’s put a spray bottle of alcohol in the bathroom, and she thinks “we” need to spray it constantly after using the bathroom. Since I’m not willing to kick her out in a crisis, I just laughed. Clearly, she hasn’t noticed that I’ve been doing this once or twice a day, to compensate for the fact that she only rinses her hands vs. washing them EVERY time. Sad.

    So, we had another skirmish where I laughed and reminded her that she was complaining about the “medicinal” smell of the house when I told her “we” were not buying hand sanitizer or lysol scented disinfectants as they were NOT as effective as straight alcohol, plus the fact that I was already sanitizing the bathroom and the rest of the touch surfaces every night before going to bed, and again in the morning when I was getting up.

    She’s trying to tell me that she’s panicking from my going outside, and that I need to stay indoors (very unhealthy, super paranoid choices). I explained that I’m the immunocompromised one, that I’m happy to do ALL the cleaning for the duration as she doesn’t clean to my standards, etc., etc., etc., but that I was still socially distancing myself and walking to help my own nerves and sanity. She then tried to justify her complaints by saying I’m making her feel incompetent, like she can’t do anything, and I told her that I didn’t care. She was free to do whatever she felt was best, rewashing or sanitizing things as many times a day or night as she liked, but that I rewash my own dishes 2, 3 or as many times as necessary if they don’t pass my inspection after they have air dried, and I’m already sanitizing surfaces plenty, so I was fine with my choices and actions.

    She’s free to leave any time she wants, Sparks, and I’m trying not to be ugly to her as my unhappiness with her level of acceptable cleanliness lacks common sense as it’s already made me sick once, so I’ve ratcheted up my own paranoia and trying to keep my temper under control. I won’t kick someone out who’s already down and frustrated by being kicked out of every home she’s been in since her Dad’s house was sold in Nov 2018. She’s very aware that, if we can’t get her a new “forever” place to age in place, she is free to find a new place to stay elsewhere, however, but once she’s out, she’s out. I will not have a revolving door.

    I’m not a saint, and she’s not a b*tch, but she is trying to guilt me into letting standards slide, and I’m just not playing that game. The corona virus may end up sickening one or both of us, and it may kill us, but I prefer to focus on the fact that 102k people have recovered out of the 382k infected worldwide, with 16k dying.

    We’re likely to catch the virus sooner or later at some point, and I have accepted that risk factor, while being very ambivalent about whether or not I’m ready to die (separate blog coming on THAT mental mess), while the houseguest is running scared and feeding off the panic constant news updates are causing her.

    Luckily, after our last debate, where I offered to bring her home a puzzle or anything craft and hobby related to help her control her anxiety, she’s signed up for Ancestry.com and shut off the TV, using genealogy research to help calm her nerves. We’ll get through this, even if it’s kicking and screaming and dragging each other to the finish line. I am counting the days, though, and wishing that subsidized housing for disabled and elderly would hurry up and arrive.

    Liked by 1 person

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