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home : columns : dear harriette May 13, 2021

3/15/2021 8:24:00 AM
Landlord's son won't clean up after himself

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend's mother has been nice enough to let me rent out a room in her home. I've been staying with them for a few months now, and I pay only a few hundred dollars each month for rent -- a great deal considering I live in Los Angeles.

The only issue is my friend's older brother does not clean up after himself at all. We have to share a bathroom, and he leaves it a complete mess every time he uses it. I've cleaned the bathroom by myself way too many times. I've asked him if he could at least keep the countertop clean; he promises that he will, but he never does. I can't continue to live in filth. What should I do? -- Clean It Up

DEAR CLEAN IT UP: This may be a grin-and-bear-it experience. Clearly, your roommate's mother has not required that he keep the bathroom clean. Otherwise, it would be. You can continue to ask him to do his part, but he has already demonstrated what his inclination is.

What you may consider doing is collecting his belongings and putting them in his room, including the toiletries that get strewn on the counter. But basic cleanliness may not be part of his routine, and you may not be able to get him to step up his hygienic practices. Bottom line: For the discounted rent, you may have to live with this inconvenience. Save your money so that you can move as soon as you are able.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I've been considering getting grief counseling to help me cope with the recent loss of my dog. I've had my dog since I was about 13 (I'm now 28), so this loss is hitting me hard. I feel like I've lost my best friend or a family member. I'm a little worried that it may seem a bit extreme to some people, but I know it could be helpful to me and my current mental state. I've had no experience with therapy or any type of counseling in the past, so I'm not sure what to expect or how to go about this. Do you think that grief counseling is a good idea for someone in my situation? Should I just wait it out? I've never experienced a loss quite like this before. -- Grieving

DEAR GRIEVING: Your grief is real. Treat it as such.

Start by researching a professional grief counselor who can help you through your feelings of loss. Avoid talking about your grief with friends or family members who are not compassionate. Not everyone can be there for you during this tender time. Don't make the mistake of attempting to turn an unwilling loved one into a thoughtful listener. Be intentional about how you handle your grief.

Most important is for you to allow yourself to experience whatever you are feeling. I know friends who have held funerals for their pets, and select friends attended. Others have immediately gotten another pet to help reduce the pain of loss. Still others have suffered in silence. Choose the way forward that brings you the most comfort. Grief counseling could be your perfect solution.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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