Roommates

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Sunday afternoon, when I was in the yard planting pea seeds, I saw one of my old roommates walking down the street. Dave is a tall handsome brown man with a really super nice guy personality that surrounds him and touches all who come into his sphere. We engaged in some minor chit chat and catching up, before he headed to his SUV, which happened to be parked near the house. He is a super swell, super nice guy.

This reminded me that I've been through at least a dozen roommates in my house in Shaw, most of them were very good people, and several of them I see or contact every so often. Looking back, I am thankful I haven't had a bad roommate situation, but at the end of some tenant's times there were things that weren't working out for me and it was good that they were moving on. One of the reasons for so many roommates was I catered to short term tenants, so if it didn't work out, I'd just have to tolerate the situation for a few months and then I'd get my house back.

My roommates have been a diverse lot, black, white, lesbian, gay, asians, a latina, native born Americans, foreigners, students, fellow feds, vegitarians, a super carnivore, people years younger than me and someone's mom. Their short time, usually from 3 to 8 months, enriched my life and my bank account. My roommates had their own lives but I would spend some time with them talking and learning about them and their take on life, even though their outlook may have been opposite from mine. It might be a mistake for people to look for roommates too much like themselves, they are missing out from hearing other perspectives.

I think it worked out well for me because of what I did before anyone moved in. Because it was a roommate situation I could be picky, and insisted on in person interviews and checking references. The neighborhood had been evovling so I needed people to come to the neighborhood and see if it was their cup of tea. I asked for contact info for former roommates to interview them to find out what kind of roommate they were. I also had to be okay with saying no to people who could not come to DC for the interview (seriously the interview was more about them walking or driving to the neighborhood) and other things I didn't think I'd be able to tolerate. 

I mentioned they enriched my bank account. My fixed rate mortgage used to be somewhere around $600 a month, or less. I charged my first roommate $290 plus 1/2 utilities, it didn't seem right to charge more than half the mortgage. I got over that, and tried to figure out with each new ad for a roommate what the market would bear. Roommates, they make the housing more affordable. So when you wonder how on earth a single person can afford a house that's hundreds of thousands of dollars? Roommates. My last roommate, I think was paying around $800 a month, for a single furnished room, at this point, a little less than half the post-renovation mortgage.

So Dave, Libby, Mary Ann, Josh, Romina, Belinda, and the rest, thanks for being my roommate. 

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