Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 10:45 pm
Dear Annie: My husband and I have a single male friend who built a beautiful home four years ago. He’d have us over for a barbecue at his new place once or twice a year. Lately, though, it appears he has not cleaned the house since he first moved in.
“Matt” has two dogs and there is dog hair everywhere. The rugs look like they have never been vacuumed. The kitchen countertops look dirty and I don’t even want to discuss the bathrooms.
My husband and I have started making excuses not to visit and especially not to eat in his home. Matt lives in a remote area and cleaning help may be hard to find, but my husband would like to suggest he hire someone to do his housekeeping. Do you have any way to help us get this point across to Matt without hurting his feelings? — Matt’s Friends
Dear Friends: Men are generally less sensitive about issues of housekeeping than women are. Next time you visit, we don’t think Matt would be overly embarrassed if you simply said, “Matt, you ought to get someone in here to help you clean up. Dogs shed a lot.” It would be even better if you had a name to give him. Do a little online research and see if there is a cleaning service in the area. Or suggest Matt ask one of his neighbors if they know anyone. You’d be doing him a favor.
Dear Annie: I was recently diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, which is a form of herpes. It is also connected to mononucleosis. The doctor made it sound like no big deal, even though he told me there is no cure. All he could recommend was to eat healthy, exercise and rest. I figured once we found out why I was constantly exhausted, I could get treatment. I was wrong. I feel so frustrated.
Do you have any more information on this virus? I have a wonderful husband and three beautiful children who need me. — Tired of Being Tired
Dear Tired: While infectious mononucleosis tends to clear up on its own, the Epstein-Barr virus stays dormant in the system. It is actually quite common. Symptoms of infection can include a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, persistent fever and fatigue. Unfortunately, there currently is no specific treatment beyond your doctor’s recommendations. However, we suggest you contact the Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus Foundation at cebv.org for more information and the emotional support of others who suffer from the same diagnosis.
Dear Annie: I read your response to “Sad Lady,” who is breaking up with “Joe,” the boyfriend who has lived with her in her home for five years. Joe had shared the bills and helped pay for some remodeling on the house, and now he wants to be reimbursed. You agreed. I feel you were too hasty in your response. She owns the house. Joe may have invested in some repairs and improvements, but he lived there for five years. Did he pay half of the house payment, or is the home mortgage free?
Either way, he got a roof over his head for five years, and the fair market value of that should be used to offset his “investment.” Perhaps his share of the bills meets or exceeds the value he received. They need to sit down and figure that out or have someone help with the calculations. But in my mind, it is not equitable to automatically say she owes him some money. — Custer, S.D.
Dear Custer: You make some excellent points. We don’t know if “shared the bills” means he paid half the mortgage or some other form of rent. If he paid nothing for living in her house, we agree that this should be taken into consideration when working out an arrangement regarding repayment for home repairs.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 8.29.08