Monday, September 8, 2014

Lifestyles Clash When Unemployed Brother Moves In With Sister

Dear Tazi:

I lost my job six months ago, fell behind in the rent, and had to move in with my sister and her husband until I can get back on my feet. I appreciate that they have given me the spare bedroom and are not asking me to pay rent, just that I purchase any food that I want but they do not buy for themselves; clean up after myself; and follow the rules of the house. I have no problem with the first request – I have money from my unemployment benefits to buy my own food – but I have a problem with them telling me how to live.

My sister and brother-in-law are eco-freaks. Everything gets reused or recycled. They only use green cleaning products, and insist that I used them to clean on their schedule and to their standard, not mine. For example, they want me to spray and rinse the shower with something called Simple Green after every use. Tazi, I shower every day. The water from the shower washes away any dirt, so the shower is clean when I am done using it. I don’t think I should have to clean it every day. Then there’s the cooking. My sister does not own a microwave because she thinks microwave cooking is unhealthy. Sometimes, all I want is a bag of popcorn, and I have no way to prepare it! She expects me to put popcorn kernels in a pan with oil and pop it that way! I’d buy my own microwave if I could afford it, but I can’t right now. Sis has all sorts of eco-food preparation gadgets, including a yogurt maker. Apparently, she and her husband are too good for the store-bought stuff – it has preservatives in it!

My sister has not yet pushed her eco-lifestyle on me, at least not directly, but I feel smothered by all the eco-[stuff] and eco-rules she has in the house. I feel like she is passively trying to convert me, always offering to let me use her stuff; offering me a taste of the fresh vegetables she grew in her organic garden; and requesting that I use the recycling and compost bins. Is there a polite way to tell her to lay off of me?

Can’t Wait To Move

Dear Can’t wait To Move:

I understand how difficult it can be to live in someone else’s house by someone else’s rules. I hear it all the time – “Don’t scratch on the furniture, Tazi!” or “Stop kicking sand out of the box, King Nebuchadnezzar!” So much for being a king, huh?

On the flip side, I do enjoy my king-sized bed, my multiple feeding stations, litter-box cleaning service, and all of the other amenities that come along with my living situation. Rather than focus on the negative, try to focus on the positive.

You sister is not charging you rent, so you should be able to save a good chunk of money and be able to move back out on your own shortly after you find a job. Right now, your job should be looking for work or improving your job skills so you can find a job quicker. This means you will be living under her rules for the least amount of time possible; and I know you do not want to hear this, but it is her house, so her rules rule. As for your complaints…

Spritzing the shower after use takes all of thirty seconds and is a courtesy towards others. Water does not have antibacterial and antimicrobial powers, so your argument about the shower being clean from the water use is incorrect. If your sister prefers not to keep a microwave in her house than this is her business; make your popcorn the old-fashioned way, invest in a small microwave, or go without microwave popcorn.

Your attitude towards your sister’s green lifestyle borders on hostile. So she has her own yogurt maker; so what? Maybe she enjoys making homemade yogurt. How are her kitchen gadgets having a negative effect on your lifestyle? Your sister sounds like she is trying to make you feel at home, offering the use of her kitchen (and its gadgets) and sharing her vegetables (freshly grown does taste better!). All that she has asked in return is that you respect her lifestyle. If you cannot do this, I suggest you find a cheap motel or a friend’s couch before your presence stresses your sister’s marriage.

Perfunctory snuggles,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

1 comment:

  1. Go Tazi! Rules are rules. Could be worse and the sister sounds very loving and generous...and pretty cool.