i gave up, rented the house to a nice clean family, and ran away. because i was so poor, i took my least favourite roommate (it made little sense at the time, but we became fast friends, amazing roommates and i really really wish i could remember her last name. alas, i cannot, and so i cannot hunt her down and see how well she got over god) and went searching for a hovel to call our very own.
what we found was single rooms in a shared basement suite off whyte avenue in a small, old, smelly cold house. it was so cold that i slept fully clothed and routinely spiked my morning coffee with large glugs of bailey's (a likely excuse, i know, i know). sometimes, in a cruel parody of families gathered around a crackling fire, gail and i would stand in front of the open oven, warming our hands, hoping for something better. showers were long and hot, but flip-flops were necessary on account of years' worth of grime embedded grimly in the grout as well as the occasional centipede.
after a month or two of this, we found a basement apartment to share and moved out. although there had been no move in inspection, the slumlord bitch who owned the place refused to refund our damage deposit because we weren't fools and thus left the hovel as filthy as we had found it. instead of taking this to a landlord tenant mediator or threatening a lawsuit (remember, i was young and dumb) i snuck back after we had moved and cut every single last one of the bitch's glorious tulips. she had our hundred bucks but we had lovely fresh flowers to brighten our dickensian poverty.
we were poor but we had fun. sometimes when we felt like doing something really special, we'd split a bottle of beer and a can of corn. mm, mm good. we subsisted mostly on steamed veggies with molly mcbutter* and oatmeal. occasionally i'd crave mashed potatoes and mash them with a fork until a good friend took pity and bought me a real masher. thanks, f! eating out meant rosie's $4.99 palace, where we would order a beer and a $1.49 coleslaw. obviously, we were all about the balanced diet. sometimes we'd go grocery shopping, grab a small container of sherbet and two spoons from the deli and, at the end of our expedition, present the puzzled cashier with the empty. it made shopping way more fun.
by then, both of us had given up on the whole religion thing (and by extension, the virginity) and so a curious cast of men (in her case) and boys (in mine) came and went, making things fun and interesting. there were occasional fights and tears but overall we got along famously.
she told me she was moving to fort mcmurray about a day before i found out my uncle would be finally coming to canada and needing a place to stay. this worked out well for all concerned, except poor gail who, for all i know, is still stuck in fort mac, dispensing nutritional advice to fat nouveau riche newfies with horrifying haircuts, thinking she is happy. i never did see her there.
*she was a nutritionist and thus shunned real butter and, from what i remember, all foods except steamed veggies and oatmeal.