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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
The Problem of the Spare Room 
26th-Jan-2014 04:55 pm
And so we are back to this: the problem that was going to be solved by Michael and Lynne moving in, that we've lost months of traction on solving because we believed and trusted. This is on our mind a lot right now... we managed in summer and fall because of the near-total lack of heating bills, but we're now in a time of extreme scarcity because heating bills + tuition + a bunch of other big expenses over the past few months. Summer will be better, but summer's pretty far away right now.

Point: We still have a $600 hole in our monthly budget from the loss of Judah's rent.
Point: We have a spare bedroom that haunts us with its emptiness.

The clear solution is to rent the room, but now we go into the FAQs!

Q: "Why can't you just rent it out on Craigslist/to my friend/to my friend's friend?"
A: I'm going to state this very plainly, because it is a Really Big Thing and not one that I can easily overcome: In May, I was raped when asleep and on Lunesta by someone I trusted. I cannot feel safe with a stranger living in my house.

Q: "But what about if you put a lock on your door?"
A: That doesn't magically erase the stress, and stress and sleep dep are my two big seizure triggers. There is no way a stranger living in my house will become a thing I can do anytime soon. This is a health issue.

Q: "Oh. Well, have you thought about moving, if the house is too big and not currently affordable?"
A: We have. But the house is only one room too big. And if I get some type of reliable income, it's affordable. Very few houses would be this ideally suited to us, in space and in location, and we've spent considerable time, energy, and money making this space our own. Plus, moving is prohibitively expensive in itself, between down payments and first/last month's rent and renting a moving truck and hiring movers, because damn, we tortured our friends last time. Sorry, y'all. You were amazing.

Q: "Isn't the entire downstairs an in-law apartment? What about moving Adam upstairs* and renting that?"
A: Okay, a) you have clearly never seen Adam's bedroom. It is a claustrophobic near-windowless cave. No one will choose that over the nice spacious room with big windows and a solid ceiling. Also b) we're using the entire rest of the downstairs. A corner of the kitchen is Adam's home office, and the kitchen also houses the gluteny toaster oven and assorted other stuff that would make me sick. The living room holds the entire game collection and the nonfiction section. The washer and dryer are down there, too. Just based on the washer/dryer being there, we can't sublet it as an apartment, because we'd have to be in there all the time. And no one, as I've said, would want Adam's cave over the spare room.

When I say we fit perfectly into this space aside from that one currently-unused room, I really mean it. There's no other wiggle room.

So what are the solutions?

* Renting to someone who feels like family and therefore feels Safe to me. This is a really short list, and almost everyone on it already has a lease or would need an entire apartment or house, not just one room.

* Renting the space as storage or studio space. I floated this last time I talked about it, and no one had compatible needs. I'm still up for it.

* Renting short-term to nomadic family-type friends. A) this is unreliable and b) it requires us to buy at least a bed, if no other furnishings.

* There has to be a solution I haven't thought of. But I haven't thought of it yet.

Honestly, my ideal situation = finding another way to fill that hole in our budget (because we would actually be totally fine if not for that), moving the nonfiction section upstairs, and eventually getting a daybed for that room so we have a proper guestroom (all guests we are likely to entertain would love to stay in a room that houses an extensive mythology and folklore library). The money is the biggest problem, but the emptiness of that room is also a problem, psychologically if not financially. I was fine walking past its cavernous emptiness when it was Caitlin's Future Room, but now it really gets to me. Still, the largest part of the problem is financial.

I am happy to answer questions in comments that are not the above questions! Please check comments before asking a question, as I may already have answered it.

* Yes, Adam and I have separate bedrooms. This is the key to our functional marriage. :) He can't sleep with anyone touching him, I can't sleep with his snoring or CPAP (and see above re: sleep dep being a seizure trigger), we keep very different hours, and we have vastly different baseline levels for what constitutes a livably clean bedroom. Trust me, it is so much better this way.
26th-Jan-2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
could you see if anyone needs a place to store things? and give them cheap rates vs storage places? it'd be used and maybe you will find someone else who needs a place to stay. it could be a quicker temporary fix for some money until something more long term is sorted out?

my heart broken when i heard about things ending and i hope you find more happiness, stability and people to dote and love on who will deserve and appreciate every single thing you do <3
26th-Jan-2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
See the second bullet point under "what are the solutions." That's already one of the options we're looking at. :-)
26th-Jan-2014 10:40 pm (UTC)
I don't have any good suggestions for you (sorry...), but I did want to second the whole "sleeping apart being good for one's relationship" business--my parents have been married for 58 years now, and I suspect it's no coincidence that they've been MUCH happier ever since my mom was able to take over my old bedroom and get away from my dad's snoring like a buzzsaw and occasionally talking in his sleep (both of which traits I seem to have inherited, although the talking bit not so much as an adult). Sometimes you just gotta have your own space...
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26th-Jan-2014 10:51 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't be vastly more comfortable with it.

I don't think Adam would be okay with me posting photographic evidence of the cave, but... one ~6" window, no lighting, exposed pipes in the low ceiling, etc.
27th-Jan-2014 02:34 am (UTC)
That space sounds incredibly cool to me, but I suspect I am at least half bridge troll genetically speaking.

/useless comment
27th-Jan-2014 02:45 am (UTC)
We have a space like that in our house. It is well suited to the person who claims it as bedroom...otherwise it would be office space or some other non-bedroom type space :)
27th-Jan-2014 05:49 am (UTC)
Would you feel safe with a meek young female college student living in the spare bedroom? If so, you might advertise for one at your nearest colleges -- and get references. You might enjoy having such a person live with you.

Also -- and this isn't really directed toward finding a solution for you but more out of my own curiosity -- if the spare bedroom was supposed to be for Caitlin, where were Michael and Lynne going to sleep?

By the way, leaving aside snoring and CPAP, I totally believe that poly people should each have their own bedroom, even if they end up inviting each other to spend the night all the time. It's just easier if you each have your own private space.
27th-Jan-2014 12:44 pm (UTC)
if the spare bedroom was supposed to be for Caitlin, where were Michael and Lynne going to sleep?

*wry smile* My room. I'd already cleared stuff out to make room; we were going to upgrade to a king-size bed. I already have the duvet cover for the bed I'll likely never have; maybe it's exchangeable.

(We really don't want to live with strangers, and there are no colleges close enough that college students would be looking here.)

Edited at 2014-01-27 12:46 pm (UTC)
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27th-Jan-2014 09:14 pm (UTC)
Well, they don't have to have overnight guests -- it can be a rule that they don't. I've got a bedroom I'm trying to rent, also, and potential renters have asked me whether overnight guests are allowed. My answer (different circumstances) is yes, but not so often that I feel like the overnight guest lives here too.

Back to the original problem, though: If Shadesong isn't comfortable with a stranger living in that spare room, then I think it's going to be a long while before the room generates any income. I don't see any easy solutions. I hope I'm wrong. :)
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