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home : columns : dear harriette October 26, 2020

Forced COVID isolation wearing on reader
COVID has changed a lot for the education system. I just started my freshman year in college, and although I knew things were going to be different than expected, living in a dorm seems pointless. Some schools even deliver your meals. Luckily, at mine, I get to go pick it up and bring it back to my dorm. But there is literally nothing to do here. There are no sports, no gym, no clubs, no events, no parties. You cannot be around friends in computer labs or libraries or common rooms just to watch TV. We are forced into isolation and it is beginning to wear on me.
Saturday, October 24, 2020

Neighbor worries about unsupervised child
I live in a nice gated community area. The neighbors are always friendly, families go on walks and kids play together nicely. I love it here. Recently, there have been a lot of families moving in and out of the neighborhood. I've noticed a little boy that I've never seen before that walks back and forth on my street each day and then heads to the playground. I can see from my backyard. He plays for an hour or so, then leaves. Since the school year has started, this happens every day around noon. He might be only 5 or 6 years old. I have never seen him with an adult. Sometimes there are other kids and adults at the playground, but when there are not, he plays alone, and I see him walk there and back alone.
Friday, October 23, 2020

Mom wants to withhold information from adopted son
I adopted my son as a baby. When he was still young, we explained to him how we were brought together as a family, and he understood. Now he is in college. Through the years, he has asked about his birth parents but never expressed any interest in meeting them. He says nothing will change who his family is.
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Dreams pull couple in opposite directions
My boyfriend and I will be graduating from college soon. I am an actress, and he wants to go to medical school. We both have dreams for our careers, but they lead us in different directions. I want to move to New York City to pursue performing on Broadway, and he has a dream to open a small practice in his hometown, where he also wants to go to medical school. I've tried to convince him to come with me to New York and apply to schools near there, but he is looking at his endgame of opening a practice and thinks it will be harder to do in New York. I simply can't pursue a Broadway career anywhere but Broadway.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Loving two men forces tough decision
I am in love with two men at the same time. One is my long-term boyfriend. We met at work, started dating and eventually moved in together. The other man is a childhood friend that I have known my whole life. He has always been there for me. Both of our families are so close, it's like we are one big family. My friend is also dating someone else. This is the first time both of us have been in relationships at the same time. So seeing both of us with other people makes me feel like we are living a fairy tale.
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Mom concerned about candy-sneaking kid
My daughter is only 4 years old. She's pretty smart and knows how to read people and sense their emotions. She knows that when I am happy, she can ask for something she wants. If I am not happy, she tends to not bother me, and she plays and entertains herself on her own. I feel like I have a 16-year-old.
Monday, October 19, 2020

Homebody boyfriend may have trust issues
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I live together. He doesn't like to party or go out, but I do. I like to be with my girlfriends and have fun. All of my girlfriends are in relationships, too. Anytime I tell him that my girls want to go away on a trip, he tells me to go enjoy myself. When the day gets closer, he starts to tell me he doesn't want me to go because he doesn't know what my friends and I will be doing and he's not comfortable with it. I know if I still go, he will just constantly call and text me and I won't enjoy myself.
Friday, October 16, 2020

Estranged daughter receives mystery mail
My father and I haven't spoken in about two years. I had a baby out of wedlock, and he disowned me the moment he found out. I lost my dad, mom and sisters and was estranged from the family on his orders. He doesn't allow anyone in the family to communicate with me. The last time I spoke to them was the day he told me to collect my belongings and I had to move in with my boyfriend's family. They don't even know my child's name or gender.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Business owner hesitant to hire help
I am an entrepreneur with a small business. For several years now, I have worked without an assistant because I just couldn't afford to have help. Recently, I hired one full-time helper, but I realize I need more help. There is just too much work for this one person to handle. Amazingly, during this period of quarantine, my business is growing. We have been working around the clock, it seems, to respond to calls and to handle new business.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Debate participants make poor role models
My kids and I just watched the first presidential debate, and everybody is so upset. My kids are in middle school, and all they kept saying is that the candidates were acting like they were misbehaving schoolchildren. One of my kids said the two men were acting like they were in kindergarten
Monday, October 12, 2020

Caution is key when resuming exercise after COVID-19
I'm a 38-year-old man, very athletic, and I got really sick with the coronavirus. I didn't land in the hospital, but it's been a month and I'm still not 100%. I want to get back to running and lifting weights. Is it safe to exercise after COVID-19?
Monday, October 12, 2020

Reader uncertain about involvement in father's health decisions
My father is in a nursing home, and he recently fell. He needs more care than this place has to offer. My sister, who lives in the area, has been handling things, but now we have to make tough decisions. She has been asking me and my brother to weigh in so that she doesn't have to do everything herself. I feel weird about that.
Saturday, October 10, 2020

Teen can learn guitar without private lessons
My son is in high school and wants to start taking guitar lessons. I want to give my son the best opportunity to succeed, but the truth is I can't afford any private lessons right now. I have taken the steps to learn how to read sheet music so that I can teach him and we can learn together. But I'm not sure I can go as far as learning how to play the guitar from YouTube videos. I have tried to get him interested in other things that I can afford, but ever since he was a young boy, I have never seen him this passionate about wanting to start something new. How do I let him down easy and break it to him that the lessons are just out of reach for us right now?
Friday, October 9, 2020

Temporary roommate needs cleaner environment
I am having some work done on my house. I can't stay there, so I am staying with a friend to save some money toward my home repairs. I appreciate my friend taking me in for a few weeks and not charging me rent for a room. I am trying to remain humble and thankful, but my friend's home living conditions are outrageous. She constantly blasts music throughout the day and night. She has a ton of old food in her fridge and leaves it out on the counter. She doesn't take out her garbage regularly in the bathrooms or kitchen, and the dishes are dirty and piled up. I have been cleaning up often to help her out and after myself, of course, but after a few days of her not cleaning up, it's a mess all over again. I do not know how she gets by when I am not there to clean up for her.
Thursday, October 8, 2020

Gym member sees room for improvement
Gyms have just reopened, and I have returned to my regular schedule of working out every morning and late evening. I am typically the first one in and the last one out most days. Often when I am there, I notice an older gentleman at the gym who uses the machines and never cleans them. Even before COVID, gym etiquette said you clean a machine before and after each use. I've told management about this individual not cleaning the machines, but I'm not sure they have really done anything about it. They don't even instruct staff to clean the machines, either.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Business owner wants to buy out partner
I have a business partner whom I want to buy out of our business. We integrated our two businesses because they went together hand in hand, and we were both able to offer the other a benefit. My business has been thriving since the partnership, but her business and programs have been plummeting. Enrollment is down, and I believe her increase in prices could be the cause of this. We have had meetings to plan ways to fix the drop in business, but she shoots down all of our ideas and suggestions.
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Controlling person just needs the right help
How can I balance being independent and self-sufficient and still accept help when I need it? I am used to doing things on my own, by myself, and not really ever asking for help. I am the type of person who most often likes to figure things out at my own pace.
Monday, October 5, 2020

Harriette shares reader response to overweight woman's plight
Many of you responded about the mature woman who felt like giving up because she was overweight. This particular letter has details that may inspire those of you who need a little push.
Saturday, October 3, 2020

Overnight gathering seems unwise
My friend will be visiting from California for a family funeral and asked if I and another friend wanted to get together overnight at a friend's cabin. I agreed, as I have been watching social media and have noticed how they are responding to mask-wearing. I thought maybe the plane ride home would be a high-risk situation for my friends; however, airlines are ensuring people wear masks.
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Boyfriend hits gym -- with his ex
I went through my boyfriend's phone when he was asleep because I felt like he was acting suspicious. I know my boyfriend, and this day he just wasn't being himself. He would lean away from me with his phone and kept it out of sight from me as much as he could. He's never done that before. So when I had a chance, I looked, expecting to see him doing something like buying expensive sneakers he didn't want me to know about.
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Reader shares 9/11 experience
Thank you for your thoughtful message about 9/11, calling for harmony, peace and justice that is inclusive for all.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Readers respond to colonoscopy fears
Many of you wrote in about the man who was afraid to get a colonoscopy. I am sharing a few of your comments here. Thank you all for your caring and thoughtful comments.
Monday, September 28, 2020

Reader worried about having to choose dog over relationship
My boyfriend and I just moved in together about three months ago with each of our dogs. We have brought our dogs together for playdates before, and they were always playful. Since we have moved in, and they are together all the time, they are fighting and terrorizing our household. We have tried to keep them separate, but it's becoming an inconvenient task to make sure they never see or hear each other, which is quite impossible. They bark and go after each other every chance they get. My boyfriend seems to think we have to get rid of one of the dogs, but how do we begin to even make that decision? I know I do not want to give away my dog and I couldn't expect him to either. Where do we go from here?
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Upper-classman considers changing majors
I am entering my junior year in college and am having second thoughts of changing my major. I currently major in physical education to become a gym teacher, but I've become worried that it is too specific and maybe I should focus on children's education in general and major in early childhood education. Switching majors means losing time and credits that I have already done, and I'll need to spend more time and money to get caught up in the new major. I am worried about being set back in school and having to spend more money to make up the different classes I will need. Is it worth it to start over in my junior year, or should I keep working on the degree I am near done with?
Friday, September 25, 2020

Girlfriend becomes web model to pay the bills
My boyfriend and I have begun to struggle with our bills after unemployment was cut back. My job is still closed, and my boyfriend is unemployed. To bring in extra money, I decided to create a private fan page where I share exclusive photos and videos of myself. My boyfriend knows about it and is not happy. He wants me to stop. I have a huge and still-growing following on my page, and it is bringing in a lot more money. I am finally, for once, getting ahead in my bills and able to get more things done. My boyfriend wants me to shut it down. I do not want to. He is threatening to leave me. Should I close my biggest moneymaker app or let him go?
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Husband hasn't been to the doctor for years
I just learned that an old family friend has come down with prostate cancer. He said he has to have surgery and probably chemotherapy and radiation. He didn't look very good and he was definitely upset when he told me. I learned from his wife that he hadn't gone to the doctor for a long time after he was feeling poorly. She was furious with him. I totally understand how frustrating it sounded, and I am in the same boat in a way. My husband doesn't believe in going to the doctor. He takes herbs and vitamins and exercises a lot, but he is of a certain age and hasn't had a physical in years. Recently, he has had some urinary problems, and I need him to get checked out. I don't want him to wait and then if he does have a problem it's too late to deal with it. How can I get him to get a checkup?
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Woman chooses to insert herself in couple's lives
I have a "friend" who watches everything that's going on. I noticed how she was checking me and my husband out all summer. When we would have an argument, she was there, generally being supportive of us, but it was a little weird. She began to anticipate what our issues were and to say things about us, never to criticize us, but it did feel a little creepy because she just seemed to be paying too close of attention to us. We were around each other a lot, because we live in the same area during the summer. I'm not quite sure what to make of her behavior. She is single, but still, why was she checking us out so hard? Should I ask her?
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Voter intends to motivate friends and neighbors
I have gotten into serious arguments with my neighbors and friends about the upcoming election. It has gotten so bad that I wonder if we can survive it. My thing is I am not trying to make you vote the way I plan to vote -- although, of course, I would like that. My thing is I want everybody to register to vote and then to make it their business to vote on Election Day. It seems like such a fundamental thing, and yet there are so many apathetic people out there. I just don't understand it. Here is the one thing that all of us can do to have a personal impact on the future of our country. Why would anyone want to throw that away? My friends say it doesn't matter and their vote isn't going to make a difference anyway. How can I get them to understand that that is not true?
Monday, September 21, 2020

Blind date ends in missing phone
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went on a date with a guy that a mutual friend of ours had set me up with. We had a good time. Everything went as planned until I got home and realized that I had left my cellphone in the Uber with him. I was dropped off first, so I tried calling my phone to see if the driver would circle back after dropping off my date. My cellphone was never answered, so I contacted Uber and met up with the driver, but the phone was nowhere to be found. By that point, I had traced it to an address across town. The driver confirmed that is where he had dropped off the guy I was with. I went there and tried to ring my phone, and it was then shut off.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Grandmother tries to take grandson from his mom
DEAR HARRIETTE: My parents are divorced, and I have not had an in-person relationship with my mother for five years. My son is now 7 years old. My mother and I still had each other on social media, and she has been trolling and feuding with me about many different things that I post -- things that pertain to my son and being a mother. It's no surprise that she disagrees with all my choices and everything I do with my son.
Friday, September 18, 2020

Boyfriend drags feet on introductions
I have been dating my boyfriend for over a year now, and I have not met any of his friends, or any family either. To be fair, he has not met my parents because I am very strategic about who meets my parents, and he knows that. However, he has met my closest friends.
Thursday, September 17, 2020

Teen son hangs out with older crowd
My son has been eager to get back outside with his friends for the remainder of the summer. We haven't figured out whether school will be physically in session or not. He's expressed missing his friends and feeling locked up and not having anything to look forward to. So with all the right precautions, I let him go down to our local park to play basketball and exercise.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Telecommuter considers giving up expensive apartment
I just learned that my job is not going to go back to being in the office until at least mid-2021. I have been living at home with my parents for months now. While I don't want to keep living with them, I think I should give up my expensive apartment and find something much more affordable. One of my friends just moved back to her hometown and got a nice, affordable apartment. I'm thinking of doing that. I know that it might be hard getting a new place sometime next year, but I think I would be smart to save some money. Do you think this is a good idea?
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Colon screenings are necessary for those over 50
After hearing about "Black Panther" Chadwick Boseman's untimely death due to colon cancer -- at such a young age -- I'm kind of freaked out. I'm in my 50s, and I have never had a colonoscopy. I was afraid of the test since you have to be anesthetized. Plus, I don't think my insurance covers it. I'm a pretty healthy guy, so I didn't think much of it -- until now. If somebody who looks so healthy could succumb to this disease, I think I need to get tested. But part of me is too scared to do it. What if I am sick? I am a single dude. I don't have the support system to deal with an illness. Maybe I should just leave well enough alone.
Monday, September 14, 2020

Scatterbrained boss won't accept fault
I am an assistant, and my boss is a mess. He always tries to do everything and multitask; meanwhile, he mixes up details and is forgetful. He hired me to help him keep his business in order, but he makes that difficult for me. He will give me tasks to complete, but if there are any approvals I need, he takes a long time to give them.
Saturday, September 12, 2020

Harriette reflects on the losses of 9/11
It has been 19 years since that fateful day when the world as we know it changed. We all remember where we were and what we were doing when we got wind of the planes flying into the World Trade Center and subsequently other buildings. Many of us lost family members and loved ones. The pain of loss remains alive within us.
Friday, September 11, 2020

Girlfriend finds old social media private messages
I just settled down in a serious relationship. This is the first woman I have ever felt this way about, and we are talking about marriage. Last week while using my social media, she found some old messages of me flirting with other women back when we first started dating. I tried to explain to her that that was the past and I didn't feel the way that I feel now. I swore that I would never do that ever again and that I was serious about our future. She has not been returning my calls, and I am not prepared for our relationship to be over. What can I do to prove to her that I am committed to her and ready for the next step in our relationship?
Thursday, September 10, 2020

After theft, friend doesn't trust woman
A small group of my friends and I recently got together for one of their birthdays at her apartment. I knew almost everyone there besides a few significant others who attended.

I kept my personal belongings in my friend's bedroom during the party. When I gathered my things to leave, I noticed my purse kept popping open and wouldn't close, but I paid it no mind. When I returned home and went through my purse, I realized that my wallet was sitting in my purse upside down. When I opened it, all of my cash was gone.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Reader creeped out by social media acquaintance
There is a creepy guy who follows me on social media. I have known him since before there even was this way of communicating, but I haven't spoken to him in years. Then out of nowhere he started commenting on my posts. After that, he began to send me long, mostly nonsensical emails. I'm not quite sure what to do. He writes to me as if my postings on social media were written directly to him. He expects me to answer him and is very insistent. But I swear I haven't talked to him in years, and we were never close anyway. How can I get him to back off?
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Reader concerned with friend's party plans
I have been enjoying a bit of socializing this summer -- at a distance -- with people in my beach community. We have had two couples over for dinner, and we all made sure that we were never too close to each other, especially when we were eating, since we had our masks off.
Monday, September 7, 2020

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am newly married and living in a new home, and I just had a baby. Life is fantastic. I am grateful. My best friend, however, is now the "messy auntie." She shows up at my house at all hours, never wants to help with the baby but wants to play with him. She eats and drinks all of our food and never cleans up. She has really bought into the whole idea of playing with the baby and returning it to the mommy when it cries. She says she comes to help, but she just creates an inconvenience for me when she tells me to take a break, but my break always gets interrupted.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Reader upset when roommate borrows, loses umbrella
DEAR HARRIETTE: My roommate borrowed an umbrella from me one day and never returned it. I kept asking for it back, but I was not too concerned because it had not rained, so I did not need to use it.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Child wants to help dad after relapse
My father is a recovering alcoholic; he was six months sober. Last week, I lent him my car to go to work. When he didn't arrive back home following his shift, I called his phone and learned that he had been in an accident while intoxicated. He broke his arm, and my car was totaled. I am drowning in bills and have a family to take care of. I'm so angry. I am thankful that he is safe, but he needs help and care. I want to support him through his addiction, but I can no longer risk my family situation. I want to check him into a rehabilitation facility to protect him and get him the help he needs. How can I explain this to him without upsetting him?
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Couple ready to move out of shared space
My boyfriend and I currently live with another couple in a home that we rent. We have been here for 15 months. While being quarantined the past three months, we've had a lot of overlap with the other couple. We have issues with our home; we contacted the landlord about them, but he didn't do much to fix or help with the issues during the quarantine.
Monday, August 31, 2020

Reader worried about polarizing election
This upcoming election is important for minorities like myself. I remember when Trump was elected president how scary it was to me. On my college campus, some students were happy, celebrating in the streets, and students like myself were filled with fear for our country. Those who were celebrating were screaming and yelling in the faces of those who displayed any type of discomfort or were saddened by the news. For myself and my friends, it was a traumatizing event. Some of our clubs created support groups to discuss our feelings. With November ahead, that day is the only thing that plays in my mind. How can I stay hopeful for the coming election and put aside the memories?
Saturday, August 29, 2020

Reader questions asking client for money
I have been going through my papers trying to get organized before the fall, and I noticed that one of my clients never paid me for a job I did last year. It has been several months, and I only just now realized it. With quarantine and all, I didn't notice that this invoice had gone unpaid. Is it too late to remind him of the money I am owed? I know that this has been a difficult time for businesses, but it has been hard on me, too. I did submit the invoice back in February, but I forgot to follow up. What do you think?
Friday, August 28, 2020

After ultimatum, mom still hasn't sold house
My mom and I do not get along. She was a single mom, and when I was growing up, she had a ton of rules and complained and yelled about things in the house not being a specific way. She kicked me out for multiple months at a time while I was in high school. I am now 23, and she has remarried. I do not get along with her husband either.
Thursday, August 27, 2020

Employee wants to take action for co-worker
My co-worker is in a wheelchair. During quarantine, our general manager sent a memo for all employees to use a back entrance to our store in order to do proper check-in before our shifts. This entrance is not handicap accessible. My co-worker asked to use an alternative entrance where he can get inside without help.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020

New employee struggles with anxiety
Since I was young, waking up in the morning and starting my day has always been a struggle, along with my lifelong battle with anxiety. I am starting a new job, and I face my anxiety every morning. I overthink everything that I need to do before I get out the door for my commute. I get so anxious and overwhelmed that I am regretting taking the job and am considering the possibility that I may never have a normal life. What can I do? My anxiety is ruining my life.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Landlord wants to end leases with fighting tenants
I am a landlord with two tenants in a two-family home. My tenants do not get along. They are always emailing and calling me to complain about what the other has done. I have never had so many issues with tenants before. With quarantine, I guess they became too much for each other and finally the police were involved. At this point, I no longer want to rent to either of them. They are both currently month-to-month. I have been speaking with my lawyer to figure out the best way to ask them to leave. Is there anything else that I can do beforehand? Should I have the three of us sit down and lay out some ground rules? What is the best route for this conversation?
Monday, August 24, 2020

DNA tests confirms mom's suspicions
DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex-husband was the product of an extramarital interracial relationship. Both of his parents -- the ones who raised him -- are white, and he has always denied he was biracial, despite the obvious physical characteristics that say otherwise. We have two beautiful teenage children who have been raised believing they are white.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Compulsive shopper needs to slow down
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am always shopping. Whether it is for myself or someone else, I find myself gathering items in a store that I see fit to have but may not necessarily need at that point in time. I never go to an event or friend's home empty-handed, and when it comes to birthdays, I believe that it is always polite to give a gift -- even if small -- if I am celebrating with someone.
Friday, August 21, 2020

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am half-deaf, and because of it, I have a learning disability. I just started a new job, and the hiring manager is aware of my disability. Now that he is training me, it is clear that he is becoming frustrated as it takes me longer to learn and process new information than the average person. He doesn't bring up my disability or ask if he is going too fast, but when I ask him to slow down, he tells me that this is the job pace -- I need to be able to keep up or I will not succeed in this job and should consider something else. I am confident that I can do that work; I just need more time to learn and process everything at first. How do I professionally correct him about my disability and defend myself? -- Hear Me Out
Thursday, August 20, 2020

Younger siblings struggle with split custody
I am 28 years old, and my parents recently divorced and live separately. My parents have 50-50 custody of my 12- and 14-year-old brother and sister. I've noticed how unhappy my siblings are, going back and forth between my parents' houses. They said they can't take the fighting anymore and asked to come and live with me. I am totally fine with that if it means better living conditions for them, but I'm worried about how it will make our parents feel. Should I tell them they can't live with me, or should I talk to my parents?
Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Roommate juggling four virtual romances
My best friend and roommate has been dating a lot lately -- so much that it worries me something else is going on. During quarantine, she has been FaceTiming four different guys consistently and always tells them how she can't wait to go out on a date with them.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Pet owner regrets putting dog to sleep
I recently had to euthanize my dog. He was about 13 years old — very old for a dog. When I would get home from work, he laid in the same spot and didn’t move. He stopped eating and was soiling himself. I tried to get him to stand up, but he would nip at me and cry out in pain.
Monday, August 17, 2020

Reader worried about mother and COVID-19
My mom is in her 60s and has compromised lungs. For the past few months, my sister and I have been taking her groceries and having what she needs delivered to her house. Growing up, we had a constant flow of lost souls going in and out of our house. We never knew who was going to be camped out on our driveway or sleeping on our couch for weeks at a time.
Saturday, August 15, 2020

Ex-employee shows up at kid's day care
I am a restaurant manager. I recently had to let go of one of my servers who continuously got complaints for being rude. I had trouble with her arriving late and creating issues with other staff during work hours. It was actually a relief to have her gone.
Friday, August 14, 2020

White reader reflects on racist microaggression
When I worked at a heavily visited tourist attraction, I had a visitor interaction that ultimately ended with me escorting said visitor to a colleague (whom we will call "Annie"). I am terrible with names, and I didn't regularly work with Annie at the time. As I approached Annie's desk, I realized her name was escaping me. I suddenly thought I recalled her name, so as I dropped off the visitor with Annie, I said "OK, thanks, 'Jen' will take care of you from here."

The second it came out of my mouth, I knew it was the wrong name, which is embarrassing on its own, but much worse because I called her the name of another co-worker, and both these women are East Asian. I am white.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Readers weigh in on undeclared student's options
So many of you had ideas for the student who was undecided when it came to determining a major in college and, in turn, a career path that I am printing a few of your letters here. Thank you for such great input.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Friend won't give customer real price
A good friend of mine owns a painting company. I hired him and his workers to paint my home a new color. I signed a contract like any other customer, but when I asked for the invoice, he said to pay what I am comfortable with. He wouldn't tell me what he usually charges, and I have never had something like this done before. I don't want to underpay him, but I don't want to overpay him either. What is the best way to approach paying him and his workers?
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Toxic ex-boyfriend wants to become friends
I just got out of a relationship not too long ago that I believe was toxic for both of us. We took our time apart, but he has appeared again in my life asking to start over and be friends. He says that he is different and he wants me to get to know the "new" him; however, I am not sure what to do. Should we be friends and see if there is a relationship for us in the future, or should I just leave it alone and move on and continue healing? I need some help
Monday, August 10, 2020

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a really great job that has good benefits. The job itself isn't what I think I would want to do forever, but I'm comfortable. Recently, there were proposals for the reduction of our benefits. Some of those proposals were passed, which resulted in the loss of those benefits. Now I worry that I could potentially lose more than what I'm willing to live with.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Cramped reader needs more space
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 25 years old, and I just finished my master's degree. I want to start my own businesses from home. I've begun an online closet, and I am studying to receive my real estate license. I still live at home with my family and pay a majority of the bills because I happen to be the biggest breadwinner. Lately, I've been feeling congested -- like I don't have my own workspace to develop.
Friday, August 7, 2020

Bride doesn't want friend to share wedding date
My friend and I got engaged in the same week and chose our 2021 wedding dates one week apart. Once we got hit with COVID, I pushed my date back one year, and my friend got married early in the courthouse. She approached me asking about my wedding date and if I intended on keeping the same date for 2022. She wanted to renew her vows with a full wedding -- no longer on the original date she had chosen, but one week earlier, on my original 2021 date. She asked me only after I told her of the one-year postponement. This began a conflict and was a problem for me. As close friends and each other's bridesmaids, I would not want us to deliberately get married on the same date, even one year apart. What should I do?
Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sweaty employee turns off computer camera
It is so hot in my house right now that I can hardly bear it. It is impossible to get on a Zoom call for work and look professional when all I'm doing is sweating all day. I feel bad about this, but it's true. I have not turned the camera on for a few days. I'm hoping that the heat wave will pass soon, but I'm not sure it will. What do you recommend that I do in this situation? My boss likes to see our faces at these meetings, but I don't think anybody wants to see me sitting there sweating
Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Today is the 217th day of 2020 and the 46th day of summer.
I've been hoping that this guy I've liked for a long time would finally wake up and see that we should be together. We are good friends and he says he loves me, but he has never made a move. Recently he called me all excited to say that he had reconnected with his ex-wife. I'm in shock. They broke up more than 20 years ago, and he used to hate her. Why would he get with her and not give me a chance? I don't get it. What am I doing wrong?
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Reader upset when friends learn about high blood pressure
I have high blood pressure, and I take medication for it. Pretty much nobody in my friend group knows about it because I just don't think it's any of their business. I'm a very private person.
Monday, August 3, 2020

Woman wonders who to call to feel safe
Saturday, August 1, 2020

Woman considers getting long-wanted nose job
I have been insecure about my nose since I was a little girl. From the beginning of my teen years, I thought about how nice it would be to get a nose job. Now that I am an established working person, I am realizing that this would be completely financially viable for me, and I'm in a position to make this choice. I know that a nose job is a big deal and could change the way my face looks pretty drastically. However, it would be nice to use my autonomy and the money I've worked for to address an insecurity I've held for a long time. Should I go through with getting plastic surgery, or should I just learn to accept the way I look?
Friday, July 31, 2020

Aspiring writer needs motivation to finish book
I had a dream of writing a book, and in 2014 I rented a house on the beach and spent five weeks writing. I made good progress and was happy with the fruits of my labor. When I got home, I did not continue. How do I make it a priority to finish it? It seems that when I am home, I put everything and everyone before finishing my book. I keep telling myself that my book must not be as important as I thought it was or as the other things that I spend my time on. Is this some kind of mental block that is causing me to procrastinate? I have a husband who likes to do everything together, and when I rented the home to be alone and write, he insisted on coming with me. He worked from the house, and I worked on my book. I would appreciate any assistance or advice you can offer
Thursday, July 30, 2020

Employer may want to move job search from social media
I have been looking to hire a part-time assistant to help me get a project off the ground. Considering how many people are out of work, I figured if I posted the position on my social media, I would get a few candidates. I did, and a few people responded, but nobody seemed eager to work hard. For example, when I wrote back to people to set up interviews, it took them days to respond. One woman sounded interesting, but she wasn't willing to work enough hours. Another man I gave a chance, but he never could show up to our morning meetings on time. I think I may need to go to one of those services that has already vetted people in order to feel confident. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned work ethic?
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Daughter loses motivation in summer school
My high school-aged daughter is taking an accelerated college class this summer. I am excited for her to stimulate her brain and get some good extra credit on her resume. I am also worried that she isn't applying herself enough. The class operates at a quick pace. She started out gung ho, but her enthusiasm has dwindled. How can I keep her motivated? This class was expensive, but besides that, it is important for her to excel.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Trinity Dodge Fixed
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