DEAR ABBY: I’m irritated by my neighbors, and I don’t know quite how to approach it. I live in a densely populated, but quiet, neighborhood. New neighbors moved in a couple of years ago, and after moving in, they hung a wind chime on their front porch. This isn’t your average wind chime. If I had to guess, the chimes are at least five feet long.
At first, I didn’t think much of it. These whimsical little melodies you hear every time the wind blows can be cute, I guess. But it gets quite windy here, and I’m constantly distracted by the loud, clanging chimes. I don’t want to be the type of person who knocks on their door and tells them how I feel. I was hoping you could chime in. — DISTURBED IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR DISTURBED: Make it your business to find out what the noise ordinances are in your neighborhood. Then BECOME the type of neighbor who knocks on their door. When you do, wear a smile and bring along a small gift.
Explain that you don’t want to appear to be a complainer, but could they please modify those wind chimes, because on windy days the constant banging gives you headaches. If they are good neighbors and cooperative, be grateful. However, if they aren’t, you may have to pursue legal means.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for 12 years, but things have changed. We sleep in separate beds, we both work and we spend little time together, and we can’t have a decent conversation.
I feel like I have a roommate who just comes and goes as he pleases. He always has an excuse for not spending time with me and our daughter. I don’t feel like we are married anymore. What should I do? — DISSATISFIED IN VIRGINIA
DEAR DISSATISFIED: Tell your husband you feel like you are living with a roommate rather than a spouse. Tell him you miss the closeness you once shared, and ask if he is willing to work on it. What is currently happening isn’t fair to you or your daughter. Then make an appointment with a marriage counselor to discuss the state of your marriage — with him, if he’s willing, or without him.
DEAR ABBY: I recently married, and my 19-year-old son and I moved in with my new husband. My son works full time and goes to school part time. My husband expects him to do dishes and other chores. My son does take care of the recycling and trash on a weekly basis. I work from home part time, and I don’t mind doing the chores. This is causing a lot of contention between us. Am I wrong to defend my son? — WILLING IN FLORIDA
DEAR WILLING: You should not have to “defend” your son. There are now three adults living under that roof. Your son is not a freeloader, he’s working full time and taking classes. All three of you should be doing the dishes “and other chores” as needed. And you should ALL be in agreement about the timing and rotation of who will do what, and when.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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