Roommate agreement forms?

When we were graduate resident assistants, we had a really great roommate agreement form that worked out really well and our students mostly didn’t have problems with their roommates.  Unfortunately I can’t find a copy anywhere.  I also can’t find any that address sexiling which is probably second only to eating the other roommate’s food in terms of causing problems.

We did have to mediate a lot of problems with students from other halls whose RAs hadn’t forced them to do the roommate agreement.   The main problems seemed to center around three issues:  Food, Sex, and Sleep.

Food– Some people are fine with their roommates eating their snacks (my college roommate’s dad sent her the same loaf of jam, jar of peanut butter, and jar of jam every single week for four years– she had gotten sick of them before we started rooming and basically gave them away any chance she got).  Some people are fine if they’re asked first.  Others don’t want to be asked.   These are pretty easy boundaries to set in advance.

Sex– you would not BELIEVE how many kids suddenly in the middle of the year decided that their roommate couldn’t possibly mind being in the room while the kid had sex with someone.  This would be unthinkable at the beginning of the year, but if kids didn’t talk about what to do re: sexiling in advance, the most insane things would happen.  Roommates need to be in agreement about if people can stay over, what to do if they want to have sex in the room (sock on the door/give advance notice/find someplace else/etc.), and how long people can stay.  This is much easier to do before there are any hormones involved.

Sleep– When we were RAs, most of the problems about this were excessive snooze button use in the morning and noise in the hallway at night.  In high school, most of my fights with #2 were about sleep.  I need sleep.  I like sleep.  I hated getting up early but I had early classes.  I can’t sleep through anything.  #2 didn’t mind skipping morning classes.  When people aren’t getting enough sleep they’re grumpy.  People who get up super early and make lots of noise are awful.  In college, fortunately people who are still up are allowed to leave their rooms and can keep from bothering their roommates, but early morning risers need to not push the snooze button a million times while their roommate is trying to sleep.

This is a pretty decent link of suggestions, but the roommate form itself leaves a lot to be desired.

Another thing we recommended was that each roommate have designated some space that was theirs and theirs alone.  If the other person’s stuff was in that space, the first person could move it without being yelled at.  Similarly, people wouldn’t use each other’s beds or desks without their permission.  (And certainly not for sex, like my first high school roommate did once when I was gone for the weekend.  Use your own bed.)

Smaller things:

Toilet roll placement:  My first high school roommate took me aside one day in the spring when she couldn’t stand it anymore and told me to stop putting the toilet roll so it flipped under (I did this about 50% of the time).  So I carefully made sure to flip it over every time I replaced it when rooming the next year with #2.  Which drove her crazy until she finally told me it had to flip under.  Who knew that people had exactly opposite preferences?!  So I’ve been careful to ask any time I share a bathroom since then, but since then nobody has cared (except when we briefly had a kitten who would destroy the tp if flipped one of the ways, I forget which).  I suspect most people don’t care, so likely the people who do care and share a bathroom should communicate their preferences in advance.  Me I’m just happy if the other person replaces it at all, since my sister didn’t always and even mostly perfect DH has been known to forget on occasion.

Cleaning:  One of my high school roommates would leave bowls of chamomile tea (for her face) out until they got mold.  Don’t be that person.  #2 preferred large piles of clutter, but since we each had our own designated space, I could just move her clutter back to her side of the room if it ever made it into mine.

What important things should be on a roommate agreement form?  Share any successes or horror stories in the comments!

My grocery order for the week

Some people like these and this seemed like an easy post.

Here’s our grocery order for this week (picked up this last Saturday):

2x 12 packs of fizzy water cans
gallon milk (DC1 is currently a heavy drinker)
2 things of sliced cheese
2 things of butter (DC1 and DC2 have both opted for heavy baking in their “one cooked item a week” summer cooking, so we’re running low– usually we get one and sometimes zero)
shredded cheese
whipping cream
sliced roast beef
chopped pancetta
pint of ice cream (cinnamon chocolate almond!)
chocolate covered frozen bananas
Kind frozen treat (we’ve never had this before– I suspect it will be bad, but it’s summer and impulse buying frozen things is easy. Update:  much closer to what you want the snickers ice cream bars to be but still too sweet.)
2 packages Sorbet bars (these are new and on a 2 for 1 sale and I wanted to try them out)
PF Chang’s mongolian style beef
2 pot pies (new: I haven’t been able to get any in forever, but this brand doesn’t have yeast extract so I thought I’d give them a try. Usually we make pot pies and probably will in the near future because DH keeps saying “I like pot pie” just before I fall asleep at night, which I think is a hint, though since he’s the one who makes pie dough he could just make pot pie a reality without telling me, though I guess I do make better filling than he does and without a recipe.)
frozen eggrolls
frozen chicken breasts
gala apples
raspberries (all the above fruits are organic.  DC2 and I eat a lot of fruit.  It’s one of the best things about being rich IMO.  I know what we’ve ordered all seems boring, but we still have rambutan from last week, and I’m waiting for organic cherries– or way cheaper conventional cherries– and organic peaches before buying those for the season)
vidalia onions
mandarin oranges
single orange (I think this is for a recipe)
snowpeas (some but not all of the above are organic)
multivitamins (doctor’s orders)
ground beef (organic)
maple syrup
3 bars of Ghirardelli chocolate (low lead…)
pecan halves
beef jerky (we’ve never gotten this before, but it was free with another thing we were going to buy anyway)
brown sugar
whole wheat flour
chocolate chips
canned clams
chocolate wafers for baking
all purpose flour
regular sugar

Total bill: $261.45

We shop every week, I have an overflowing pantry (#depressionparent).  This is about what we spend each week, give or take.  There’s a core set of things we get every week (bread, eggs, butter, milk, garlic, etc.  But no garlic this week because we have 3 in the pantry already.), we get things specifically for recipes (ex. clams, pancetta, basil), and then I tend to get new crazy things based on sales (ex. beef jerky, sorbet bars) or browsing on the website (ex. pot pies, eggrolls).  When we were shopping at the other grocery store I didn’t get as many frozen meals because there was almost nothing that we could all eat– everything either had things that DC2 couldn’t eat because of allergies (food dyes) or I couldn’t eat because of yeast extract.  We would instead get frozen meals at Trader Joe’s in the city, but we do that a lot less now.

I keep a running menu plan on the fridge.  I try to have seven meals listed per week, though it varies.  Here’s a snapshot of this coming week right before I did the next week’s menu planning. (Next week does have a full size pot-pie planned.)  DC1 made the scones and they were good (also why we needed the orange, but zie denuded 3 mandarins instead of using the orange purchased for that purpose).

Some weeks we don’t eat out at all, but I suspect in the summer we’ll eat out about once a week.  It’s much nicer to get take-out when the students are gone and it’s good to support our favorite places in the summer so they’re still there in the fall.

What is your summer grocery shop like?  How often do you go to the grocery store?  Does our bill seem high for a family of 4 or normal?

Link love

Amanda Gorman (who delivered the amazing inaugural poem for Biden) has had her work made inaccessible by book banners in Florida:

Paired action: Buy the book for kids in Louisiana to get it into more hands (only TWO days left on this one– let’s make it happen.. every donation you give increases the probability that donors choose will promote it to more people).

Paxton Is Burning

Delagar’s book is included in a pride storybundle!

Ask the grumpies: What are you doing for long term care/end of life planning?

First Generation American asks:

What are you doing for end of life care planning if anything? Have you calculated how much you need or considered LTC insurance?

… not that much.

We have done our wills.  We have life insurance until DC1 turns 25 (DC2 will be 20 and only have a little college left at that point), although even without it the kids would likely be ok at this point (we should probably change who DC2 lives with upon our deaths once my sister gets married, I dunno).  We’ve signed the medical things you can sign in a lawyer’s office (though I punted and put that decision on DH). I buy the optional disability insurance through work.  DH doesn’t have any so he hasn’t.

We have not calculated LTC insurance.  We have not started siphoning money to our kids in order to let Medicaid take care of us.

Grumpy Nation, have you taken steps for end of life care planning or end of life planning more generally?


Books of fun math games

This post was in my drafts from 2013.  Amazon links are sponsored, though we don’t get a ton from them so definitely buy elsewhere if you can support a local bookstore.

In order of difficulty:

Math for Smarty Pants is a book from the 1980s that’s still in print because it’s still good.  It’s definitely for elementary school kids.

Sadly you can only get Aha! by Martin Gardner used.  It is a fun book of math puzzles for all ages, including adults.  There’s comics for kids and text for adults.

Gotcha! by Martin Gardner is even more fun because it introduces paradoxes, which are mind-blowing.

You can also hit the Car Talk archives for their weekly puzzlers.

We never really fell in love with Family Math, but some people like it a lot.

Related:  tangrams are fun geometry puzzles

Dragonbox apps for your favorite tablet device are also really great

DC2 has discovered Square One on youtube.  They don’t have every episode, but what they do have is fun.

Do you have any fun math suggestions?

Requesting 529 money for DC1’s Calc 3 class was suspiciously easy

I made DC1 dig out the receipt and send it to me, but in the end I guess I didn’t need it?

I just went to the Utah 529 site where our stuff is and they were like, how much do you want?  And then, is it for a qualified or non-qualified expense?  And then they were like, bank deposit or check?

And that was it!

In January they’ll send us a tax form, so maybe something gets done with taxes?  I printed out the tuition receipt and put it with our tax stuff just in case.

They also offer the option to pay the school tuition directly, which I guess is what we will do with DC1’s actual college.

I was expecting it to be more like the dependent daycare account, where there’s a lot more uploading and checking of receipts, but apparently they just trust you for college?  Or they want to make things easy for rich people and less so for working people :/.

Grumpeteers with more experience, am I missing something or is it really that simple?

Link love

Ask the Grumpies: Important “weak ties”

CG asks:

What are the important “weak ties” in your life and why?

So, weak ties are like, acquaintances or friends of friends, IIRC (and if my quick very superficial google to see if I remembered correctly is right).  They’re how #2 has gotten two of her post-academic jobs.

For #1:  Probably the people I meet at conferences?  If I needed a work favor of some kind I could probably cold email a lot of people who sort of recognize either my face or my name.

DH tends to tap on stronger ties (former coworkers, close high school friends) for job stuff.  #2’s DH is similarly valued by former colleagues and close high school friends.

I should say people like the parents of the kids’ friends, but honestly, probably not so much anymore?  As the kids get older, the ones we liked have moved and we don’t really know the parents of new friends.

We both could probably tap people we went to high school and graduate school with if we needed to– those alumni networks are strong.  I think less-so our college networks (though for #2 there’s some overlap since she went to our state flagship along with 40% of our graduating class).

Grumpy Nation, who are your important weak ties?


  • I don’t think we’ve had anyone at our house since the Thanksgiving before last.  My sister now spends Thanksgivings with her fiance’s family and we went to her place the weekend after instead of them doing a second Thanksgiving with us on Friday.
  • We only deep clean when people are coming over.
  • Cleaning before DH’s parents came for DC1’s graduation took a couple of weekends and then some.
  • Adding a fried egg and gochujang to most (savory) leftovers makes them better.
  • We really need to replace two of our couches.  Nice kitty has peed upon them and trying to clean them has resulted in holes in the fabric of a couple of the pillows.  These were faux leather grad school couches, so a couple of decades old.  I’m no good at picking out furniture, so we may put this off.
  • How does one protect a new couch from cat pee?  The internet is not particularly helpful.  I guess we’ll probably buy a big cover to use over whatever couches we get when we get new ones so the cover can collect the cat pee rather than the couch.  That seems like the most viable option.  They make water resistant blanket like covers now, which is slightly nicer than the clear plastic of our youth.
  • I guess we’re not really affected by the loss of Heather Armstrong (other than reading a lot of tweets and a few posts from people who were) because we started in the personal finance/academic blog space, not the mommy blog space.  I first heard about her from news articles about her popularization of talking about hating parenting and her promotion of drunk parenting (which reminded me of “mother’s little helper” from the 60s), which did not sit well with me because there are kids involved, and if you hate being a parent you need to do your best to pretend for their sakes and you certainly don’t want to come out as that person who hates their kids with your real name (yes yes, I know the eulogies are talking about how she “fiercely loved her kids”) and their real names.  You can get help but you should not be announcing to the world anything where your kids get known IRL as the ones whose mom thinks ruined her life just by existing.  Online is forever.  In between the eulogies there were some notes about how she’d recently become a very public TERF because one of her kids is an enby, which seems pretty awful.  So, yes it’s tragic and people can be tragic to the world and for profit, even though it’s probably not healthy, but it is inexcusable to drag innocent children into it.  Those poor kids.  No amount of making other moms feel seen can make up for the damage she did to her own kids and the kids of her imitators (or could have done– some kids are extraordinarily resilient).
  • People are complex, but on the whole, I think it would have been better, not worse, if she’d kept her tech job and not made it big on the internet.  And I’m glad that era of blogging is (mostly) over.
  • It’s weird– I didn’t care for the Monkees tv show when I was a kid, it seemed dumb, so I never really got through any full episodes.  But now it’s still dumb but like, I appreciate the humor?  I wonder if I’d like 3 stooges now (I’m guessing not).   Or maybe it’s just that youtube is only recommending good episodes and I only randomly watched parts of bad ones as a kid.  The music is still pretty great.  And I had no idea Mike Nesmith was such an amazing musician, or that Carole King had composed so many Monkees songs.  (Or that Davy Jones was in Oliver!)  I had friends who were Monkees fanatics in the 80s, but it’s taken a few decades and the internet to make me interested.
  • Update:  So, I think it’s the specific episodes.  I still have that strong negative reaction to some of their episodes, specifically ones where there’s a big misunderstanding even though I know where it’s going.  I don’t know if it’s secondhand embarrassment or what.  I liked an episode where they save a princess/queen from her evil uncle.  I liked one where Davy has to dress as a girl for a competition.  I couldn’t handle the one where a music producer finds their music on a tape player and tries and fails to find them while the monkees are trying and failing to get invited to audition for him.  I also couldn’t handle the one where Peter gets scammed into a lifetime membership at a dance studio and they try to get him out of his contract.
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What is DC1 doing over the summer before college?

Not violin! Zie returned it at the end of school.

Lots of piano practicing. There’s already been an increase of this the last month of school.

Music composition, including finally opening up the keyboard my sister got hir for hir birthday that attaches to hir computer and uses FL Studio.

An online AI summer camp which may be good or may be terrible, who knows.  (It was pricy but not as bad as most in person camps, under $2K.)

Camp counseling for the math camp zie has been counseling for for several years.

Finally getting hir driver’s license.  Zie was almost ready over winter break (and is legally ready– all the hours are done), but needed a little more practice parallel parking and then didn’t want to try to get the license over Spring Break.  This will be a priority.

I think we’ll be having both kids pick something to cook each week and they will cook it. Not because they need to learn (they already know) but to take some of our load off.  They also know how to do laundry.  I don’t know that there’s anything left that is vital before DC1 heads off to college.  So DC1 can mostly just do whatever zie wants.

Are you and yours doing anything interesting over the summer?

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