Always Say Thank You

Thank you cards given to ex-roommates

Imagine going on vacation to the beautiful island of Jamaica. One week of fun in the sun with your friends and family. Now imagine less than a week after you return home you get informed that you have 10 days to find a new apartment?

What would you do? Who would you call would you just cry? Would you be mad?

Well no need to imagine. This is exactly what happened to me. And I want to share my story with the world. I will explain why this happened and what I did as a response.

THE BACK STORY

For the last year and a half I rented a room in a 3 family home in the Bronx. The setup was simple, easy and convenient for my son and me. The first 6 months we lived on the 1st floor in a 2 bedroom apartment where our roommates were an elderly couple, around 70 years old. In July of last year we moved to the second floor of the home. The second floor had recently been renovated and there was a larger room that would be more suitable for us. At that time we were the only ones who lives on the second floor.

In late August was when our first roommate, Clara arrived. She is a Jamaican woman who immigrated to America to work while her 4 kids ages 11–19 stayed back in Jamaica. Clara was about 45–48 years old. Since Clara’s day job was to be a maid she had a huge obsession with cleaning constantly and heavily. Our interactions were minimal.

A few weeks after Clara moved in a second roommate arrived. Her name was Bianca. Bianca, was similar to Clara in the sense that she was also a native of Jamaica who immigrated to America to work. Bianca worked Monday-Friday as home health aide which meant she was only in the apartment on the weekends. She also had many kids who resided in Jamaica ages 18–36. Bianca herself was around 57–59.

Regardless of the age difference we tried to make things works.

By early October Clara and Bianca had built a very close friendship. They constantly hung out and did favors for one another. As well as started to gang up against me. This was when all the disputes began. They began to complain and fuss about everything I did. Once the situation was debates and dissolved it would be mere weeks before they sparked another issue. Month after month the debates because arguments and the arguments became verbal abuse.

None the less, I tried to stay strong. But these women were out to get me and would do so at any measure or cost.

HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN

From April 8th to 15th I was on my beautiful home Island of Jamaica for a family wedding. Once back home I didn’t have much interaction with my roommates until the weekend. On Sunday April 18th a few of my friends came over to help me make Lasagna for dinner. My roommates weren’t using the kitchen so 3 of my friends were in the kitchen and we were chatting and cooking. About an hour went by and we were finishing up the dinner and that’s when the drama started.
My roommate Clara came to the kitchen and gave many dirty looks to the people in the kitchen. Then she yelled out “I NEED SPACE”. I didn’t respond to her and neither did my friends. I just looked at them and we spoke with our eyes. One person left the kitchen and the other two made space.

Moments later Clara went to Bianca’s room. This time both Bianca and Clara came back to the kitchen. Bianca also gave dirty looks to the two friends in the kitchen. Then she said yelled “GEORGIE YOU CAN’T TELL YOUR FRIENDS TO GET OUT THE KITCHEN CAUSE THEY MUST NOT SEE PEOPLE WANT TO USE THE KITCHEN”. Once again I didn’t respond. I simply gave my friends a look and they understood our unspoken language. This time the two remaining friends began preparing to exit the kitchen.

I stayed in the kitchen to finish up the fried chicken that was being made to go with the Lasagna. Bianca then went to the sink and aggressively started to wash the dishes. Due to how close the sink was to the stove, water began to splash up from the skin and fall into the pot of hot oil I was using for the fried chicken. I simply looked at Bianca and said “Hey Bianca, the water is splashing into oil and it’s popping up”. Instantly after I spoke to her, she turned to me and yelled “SHUT THE FUCK UP GEORGIE”.

My two friends who were on their way to my bedroom, made a complete turn around and walked back into the kitchen. I didn’t respond to Bianca’s disrespectful comments, but my friends felt the need to jump in and stand up for me. They simply responded to Bianca by stating “You didn’t have to talk to her like that”. Bianca then became enraged and started yelling more profanities and marching up and down the apartment. Clara then jumped in making comments that she would call the cops because my friends had no right to be in the apartment because they weren’t tenants.

I reached out to my friends, thanks them for defending me and told them that I didn’t need their help. I knew more than well that this was just another angry attempt from Bianca and Clara to bully me as well as cause havoc in the apartment.

Clara and Bianca continued to yell and disrespect me and my friends for another 30 minutes. They also went on to call the cops and our landlord.

**ABOUT AN HOUR LATER**

The landlord arrived the same time as the cops and he was able to speak to them and tell them he would handle the dispute between the tenants. Upon entering the apartment he demanded that all my friends leave. (They wanted to leave earlier but I asked them to stay as witnesses and also because I didn’t feel safe or comfortable to be alone with my son alongside these two monsters in the apartment).

After all my friends left, I was told I was no longer allowed to have friends over. I would like to remind you I was a rent paying tenant in this apartment and I had paid my rent that same day. Without getting to share my side of the story on what really happened the conversation was over.

THE MOMENT OF TEARS

The following night my best friend who was also there on Sunday, came over to do my hair. Because of all the madness that occurred the previous night I made sure we were extra quiet and that she came over when my roommates were sleeping.
Well at least I thought they were sleeping.

On Tuesday, April 21st around 11 am. I received a call from my landlord. In this phone call he informed that I would need to pack my belonging and that I had to leave the apartment. His reason being that I didn’t follow his rules and that I had someone over after he told me that I was not allowed.

(In connecting the dots of how he knew that I had someone over even was that Clara was still awake and purposely made a complaint to the landlord in efforts to finish the plan her and Bianca sketched out to get me to leave the apartment.)

MY FIRST RESPONSE

At first I was mad. I was so mad that these women has finally got their wish. I was also mad that after it was all said and done I was the one whose life was turned upside down, not them. I was also sad because finals were a couple weeks away, my son was in school, and how I would find a new place so fast.
For about 2 hours my emotions took over and my senses were gone. I couldn’t think, couldn’t focus, and couldn’t breathe.

HUSTLE MODE KICKED IN

I realized that being emotional wasn’t going to help me find a solution to this problem. I had to become proactive. What did I do next?
Step 1: I reached out to my entire network and shared my story. I was asking for ideas and suggestion on what to do to either find an apartment.
Step 2: Once the advice started rolling in I had to sort through them all. What would work vs what wouldn’t be beneficial at the moment.
Step 3: TURN PLANS INTO ACTIONS. After compiling all the best ideas from my networks feedback I implemented them. The first one was to start a Gofundme Campaign, the second was make websites, the third was reach out to realtors and churches for help.

Results: The Gofundme campaign (gofundme.com/helpgeorgiemove ) raised a total of $1,788. Doing websites got me a total revenue of $500. Searching realtors I was able to go and check out 5 apartments (unfortunately they were too pricey or too small or didn’t want kids in the apartment)

THE “HAPPILY EVER AFTER”

On Thursday, April 23rd a close friend of mine informed be about an available unit in her apartment building. This was very good news until I remembered she lived in New Jersey. I have never been to New Jersey before, much less to just move from New York to New Jersey so suddenly. But I still took up her offer to view it on the following day (Friday, April 24th).

I viewed the apartment on Friday and it was pretty much exactly what I was looking for! I spoke to the Apartment manager and told him that I would be back on Monday and that I wanted the apartment.

Long story short. By Monday April 27th the apartment was mine. I immediately went back to my previous home and started packing. With the help of friends and family I got a U-Haul and moved all my stuff to thee new apartment on April 30th. And by April 31st I handed in my old keys, took a last look at the place I called home for the last year and a half. But before I walked out the door I placed two Thank You cards on the kitchen table addressed to my past roommates.

The Cards both read:

“Without all your hard work and help I wouldn’t have been so encouraged to move out and get my very own apartment.
For that I would like to send you many thanks!! And wish you luck on your future endeavors”

As of May 1st my old home was just now a chapter in my book of adventures. I am currently bunking at my mom’s house until my son and I finish school and get furniture for our new place.

LESSON LEARNED

Life will always throw bricks at you. You have to catch those bricks and flip them!

**Names of roommates were changed for this article**