DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been living with two other people in a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home for over a year now. "Carrie" has the main room and its bathroom. "Zach" has the half bath, but has to share the shower in my bathroom. We are all single and never have guests over.
One of the problems is that someone is using my toilet when I'm not home. Carrie and I have similar work schedules, whereas Zach works nights and is home alone a lot of the time. I have tried talking to both of them, and both claim that they don't use it.
I have no way to prove that my toilet is being used, other than seeing the pee or poop that is there when I try to use it. I have two cats, so I always put the lid down on my toilet because the cats like to sit there when I'm in the shower.
I don't know what to do at this point. There should be no reason for anyone other than myself to use my toilet. Carrie says to just flush it, and that I'm overreacting, but it's disgusting! I already have to put up with Zach's hair in the shower.
The second problem is the dirty dishes in the sink. I like to wash any dish as soon as I am done with it, while my roommates like to leave them in the sink until they feel like washing them. At times, it has been over a week before the dishes get any attention.
Carrie, in particular, likes to leave dishes in water to soak, but they start growing mold and it makes the house smell. I truly don't understand why they can't wash them or stick them in the dishwasher. Do you think it's a generational difference? I'm in my late 20s and they are both in their late 50s.
I really like living in this house, as do my cats and dog. They have so many accommodations that we were unable to have when we lived in apartments. Should I just give the house up and find my own place?
GENTLE READER: More likely it is the generational divide that is intimidating you from laying down roommate rules. You are sharing this house and its rent, so it should be amenable to everyone.
Sit everyone down and discuss how to divide the tasks at hand: dishes, showers, all of it. And if the game of "Who pooped in my toilet?" continues not to produce a culprit, Miss Manners suggests that you leave a sign that says, "Please flush after you finish" -- claiming that it's for pets and guests.