cereta: Vic from Non Sequitur (Non Sequitur - Vic)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Prudence,
I recently rented a room from a single man whom I had a lot of chemistry with at the rental interview. I vowed not to pursue anything before moving in because he introduced his girlfriend (though seeing how they interacted with each other, I felt doubt as to whether she was really his girlfriend). A few days later, he invited me to an art event he was hosting. He seemed extremely happy to see me, got me a drink, and later sat down beside me and told me his life story, including a couple of serious health conditions. It was clear his implicit question was whether they were deal-breakers for me.

Afterward, I started to walk away, and he suddenly said in a shocked voice that he’d kissed my ear instead of my cheek when we said goodbye. I realized later he’d made a pass at me. Since then, it was somehow as if we’d agreed to pretend nothing ever happened. He recently told me he’d be home all day, with the implicit message that maybe we could hang out, but then wasn’t.
 He also has a relatively new business that keeps him busy. Should I write him off as unavailable, or try to talk to him? Ideally, I’d like to slowly begin to date him, though I worry that’s unwise, because moving again is impossible at the moment, both financially and emotionally.

—Perplexed

Oh, honey. You have expended more emotional energy on a man you have met twice than some people give to actual relationships. Of course she is his real girlfriend. Of course you should write him off as unavailable. This man is your landlord. When he tells you about his health problems, it is not because he is testing your compatibility. Whether the accidental ear-kiss was a clumsy, half-hearted attempt at flirting or simply a fumbled goodbye, it was certainly not an invitation to a relationship. I can guarantee that he has not spent a tenth of the mental energy you have on dissecting your few interactions. Pay him your rent on time and look for a boyfriend elsewhere.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: For the past year, my wife, "Janie," has been getting hot flashes. She is always broiling in the house while the rest of the family freezes. She insists on keeping the temperature at 70, while the rest of us are most comfortable at 74. She recently purchased warm slippers for everyone and suggested we wear long sleeves.

Annie, I like to wear T-shirts and walk barefoot. I work long hours, and when I come home, I like to shed most of my clothes. I pay the mortgage and should not be freezing in my own home. Our family doctor said the hot flashes could last for years. I say she is disrespectful to all of us. She says I am insensitive. We are at an impasse.

I found out she is looking for an apartment. I love my wife and beg you to help us before it's too late. — Upstate New York Where It's 20 Degrees Outside

Dear New York: You think you're uncomfortable? Imagine how your wife feels with an internal thermostat that periodically sets her on fire. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends that your home thermostat be set at 68 degrees in winter (78 degrees in summer). You can warm up more easily than your wife can cool down.

We recommend a compromise. You offer to be comfortable in sweats if she will speak to her doctor about medication to control her hot flashes or visit a health food store for more natural remedies. A pair of slippers and some hot cocoa seems a small price to pay to save your marriage.
cereta: Barbara Gordon, facepalming (babsoy)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: My neighbor has been having sprinkler consultations for the past few weeks because he doesn't want even a drop of his water to land on my lawn. I have my own system that works just fine and has been great for years. It's not fancy, but it keeps my lawn healthy.

I honestly think that this guy is crazy, but my wife is encouraging me to have a conversation to see why he is truly doing this. I don't think this is some sort of hidden issue with boundaries -- some neighbors are simply unbearable. Do I give in to the urging of my wife or take this man for who he is? -- Grass Is Greener, Pikesville, Maryland

DEAR GRASS IS GREENER: Start by taking a deep breath. Stop assuming what your neighbor's motive is, especially since you tend to assume the negative. You cannot know what your neighbor's intention is without asking. But please do not ask with anger or hostility in your tone. Before asking, consider the range of reasons he may be doing this. One could be that he should not be watering your lawn without your permission. In truth, he really should be able to control where his sprinklers direct their spray.

Go with curiosity. Ask your neighbor why he has been interviewing so many sprinkler businesses. What is he looking for? Be curious about his research. If you firmly believe he is trying to keep water off your lawn, ask him if that is the case. Let him know that it would not offend you if some of his water touched your grass even as you point out what system you already have in place.

Know that he may not tell you what he has in mind for his lawn, and that's his prerogative. Ultimately, you may have to ignore his research efforts. As long as he does nothing to harm your lawn or your property, you may have to shrug this off as him just being an obsessive neighbor.
cereta: "Candid" shot from Barbie Princess Charm school of goofy faces. (Barbie is goofy)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is convinced that bleaching her hair after a bad breakup is the only way to get over her ex. Clearly, this isn't true and will completely ruin her hair for years to come. I don't think the damage is worth it and have never even dyed my hair, yet I've gotten over breakups just fine.

I already told her this would be like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die, but she is not having it. Have I done enough as a friend to stop her? I don't want to be the soundboard to her complaints after she goes through with this. -- Bleach Blonde, Las Vegas

DEAR BLEACH BLONDE: People find all kinds of unusual ways to say goodbye to bad relationships. While bleaching absolutely does damage your hair, for most people, the hair will grow back, and you can cut the dry, bleach-burned hair off. In other words, your best friend's way of exorcising her grief may not be the worst choice she could have made.

As far as you having to listen to her lament the state of her hair sometime down the line, it will be up to you what you do when she starts the complaints. You can foreshadow your intended reaction by telling her now that when her hair starts falling out, she shouldn't come to you for sympathy. But in the moment, you will have to speak up and tell her you are unwilling to hear to her sob story because you really did predict that it would happen. Good luck with that!
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend in her mid-40s who has naturally dark hair she keeps cut short. It looked fine.

A few months ago, she bleached her hair platinum blond. She said she was going for a look that will include dark roots, but she has kept the roots platinum, so now her hair just looks white -- especially in pictures. She posted photos of herself with her boyfriend on Facebook, and while I was scrolling down, my initial reaction was, "Who is that elderly woman he's sitting with?"

A mutual friend commented to me how bad my friend's hair looks and how aging it is. Should I mention to her that her hair color makes her look 20 years older? Telling someone her hair doesn't look good can be hurtful, but if it were me, I'd want to know. -- HELPFUL IN HAWAII

DEAR HELPFUL: Be diplomatic, but tell her. A tactful way to lead in would be to say you saw the pictures she posted on Facebook and the platinum hair makes her look "older." However, unless she asks how much older, don't volunteer, because if you say it's two decades, she may take offense.
cereta: Barbie as SuperSparkle (Barbie doubts your commitment to Sparkle)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: I've been with my husband for five years, but we've been married only for a year. He told me a few months ago that his ex-girlfriend said he is the father of her child. We did a home DNA test and it showed he is not the father. In spite of that, my husband insists he still wants to take care of the child. I don't know what to do. Please help. -- THROWN IN NEW YORK

DEAR THROWN: It appears that what your husband wants is to maintain a close tie to the child's mother, because that is what will happen if he takes financial responsibility for her child. Tell your husband you want to discuss this with the help of a professional mediator, preferably a marriage counselor. If he refuses, talk to an attorney because you may be needing one.
cereta: The Turtle, whose thought is slow but always kind (Tower 1)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: Can an atheist be a godparent? -- WONDERING IN WISCONSIN

DEAR WONDERING: Yes. Today, the word "godparent" does not always have explicitly religious overtones. A godparent can be anyone the parents trust to take care of their child in the event of the parents' deaths. However, the potential godparents and the child's parents should discuss this in detail before any decision is made about conferring such an honor and responsibility.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR ABBY: As parents of an adopted child, we were concerned about when we would have "the conversation." Then a neighbor told us about how they would celebrate "Gotcha Day" with their adopted daughter each year.

Gotcha Day is a day to celebrate because it's the day we became a family. We "adopted" their idea and have been doing something special on this day since before our child could even say the word "gotcha."

Early on, she had no idea what we were celebrating; she just knew it was a special day for us. Through the years, she was able to process exactly what it meant at her own pace, which relieved the need to ever have that dreaded conversation. Recently our daughter told us she loves this day more than her actual birthday!

I thought I'd share this with other adoptive parents who worry about when the right time might be to explain to their child that they were prayed for, wanted, loved and adopted. -- BLESSED PARENTS IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR BLESSED PARENTS: I had never heard of anything like this, but I think it's a great concept and certainly worth sharing with my readers. Thank you!
cereta: Barbara Gordon, facepalming (babsoy)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Amy: My beloved father-in-law passed away a few months ago. Before he died, he was bedridden for several years. He received a handicap parking permit. During the years of his sickness, mom proudly displayed it whenever she parked, even though dad was not with her.

Now that he has died, she still uses it everywhere she goes, even though she is very healthy and walks 2 miles every day.

Recently, my wife and I took her out to dinner. I was very embarrassed when she pulled the permit out and told me to park in the handicap space. I offered to drop her off at the door and park in a normal spot. She would have none of it.

To avoid an argument, I parked in a handicap space. Afterward, I vowed not to do that again because it is illegal and wrong. My wife thinks that I am overreacting. She wants to appease her mother and believes the permit reminds her of dad. Please help.

— In a Quandary

Dear Quandary: A parking permit is a strange totem to attach emotional meaning to. Perhaps you should simply assume that your mother-in-law is attached to the convenience of illegally using a handicap permit.

When you are transporting people in your own car, you get to say how and where you will park. Your offer to drop off your mother-in-law at the entrance was the appropriate gesture to make. Your wife could have easily walked with her to the restaurant entrance and waited inside while you parked in a regular spot.

Because you know it was wrong of you to park in the handicap spot, you might have made your point clearly if you had told the group before the meal: "I feel terrible about taking up that spot while we are sitting here eating. I'm going to move the car now. When we leave, I'll retrieve it and pick you up at the entrance, if you don't want to walk."
cereta: Close-up of Merida from Brave, text "Fights Like a Girl" (Merida)
[personal profile] cereta
DEAR HARRIETTE: I don't want my teenage children going to the marches and protests taking place in my city. These marches are for causes I support, like women's rights, the environment and raising the minimum wage. But these marches can get dangerous and almost always have a police presence. Also, I am not sure how much of a positive impact they end up having in the long run. How can I ensure that my teenagers are in school and not out on the street with signs? -- Skipping School, New York City

DEAR SKIPPING SCHOOL: I want to encourage you to rethink your position. The fact that your teenage children want to be involved in the political process and speak up about their thoughts is a good thing. It will encourage active participation in the voting process when they come of age. Of course you want them to be safe. A different approach might be to offer to go with them, letting them know that you want to protect them from harm. You can also give them instructions on how to be in a crowd, including not pushing their way into a crush of people where it can get dangerous, even when people are well meaning. You can find out from their school if any organized or chaperoned efforts are being considered as these protests pop up.

Reality says you may not be able to prevent them from going. What you want to avoid is having them lie to you. Then you really won’t be able to protect them. I recommend that you keep the dialogue open, talk about safety and possibly even become their chaperone.
cereta: Ellen from SPN, looking disapproving (Ellen)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: Six months ago, I was fired for stealing from my job. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone, so I lied -- to my parents, my friends, everybody. I told them I quit so I could go back to school.

Then I lost my house because I didn't have the money to pay the mortgage. My parents told me that I'm almost 40 and need to stand on my own two feet. They wouldn't let me move in with them. My best friend felt sorry for me and said I could camp out in her guest room until I got back on my feet.

In that time, I've fallen in love with her husband. I couldn't help it. "Alex" is amazing -- smart, charming, kind, athletic, attractive, the total package. But it makes me uncomfortable to see him being so affectionate with his wife, always holding her hand and stroking her hair. I can't figure out why their marriage has lasted 10 years. He's outgoing, and she's shy. She's also rather plain. Alex doesn't seem to realize that he could have somebody so much better looking and smarter. He could have me.

I know his wife took me in when nobody else would, but you can't help who God tells you to love. My mother says I need therapy. I don't agree. I simply want to know how to deal with my feelings so I can be around my friend without wanting to smack that sweet smile right off her face. Any advice? -- Crazy in Love

Dear Crazy: You steal from your job, lie to your family and then try to seduce your best friend's husband. Alex is smart enough to know a good woman when he marries one. The longer you stay in that house the harder it will be for you. Get any job, maybe two of them, so you can afford another place to live, even if it means multiple roommates. Then take your mother's advice and get some counseling to understand why you keep trying to take things that don't belong to you.

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