Dear Annie: Last April, I moved into an apartment with one of my best friends. We get along great except for one thing: her cats.
"Renee" was born with no sense of smell. She's normally very organized except when it comes to the animals. She forgets to clean the litterbox because she can't smell it, so I have to remind her constantly. The odor can become so unbearable that I no longer allow my friends inside. Also, her cats play with their food trays and water dishes and knock everything onto the floor. She never cleans it up. I had to confront her about this because it was attracting bugs. And when the cats throw up, I'm the one who ends up cleaning it because I know she won't do it. It is absolutely disgusting.
I don't like being confrontational, and Renee is very argumentative. Anytime I've tried to address this, it falls on deaf ears. I've managed to survive this long as her roommate, so right now I am simply biding my time until I can move out. However, Renee recently commented that she doesn't want me to leave when our lease is up. I wouldn't mind living with her again if she would give up her cats, but I know that isn't going to happen, and I'd feel guilty asking her.
Renee and I have the same circle of friends, so if I ask around about a new roommate, she'll hear, and it would hurt her feelings. I don't want to ruin our friendship, because she truly is a good person and an amazing friend. I just want out of kitty hell. — Always Holding My Nose
Dear Nose: You have nothing to lose by telling Renee that she must take better care of the cats or you are moving out. She can clean the litterbox at regular intervals, whether she smells it or not. And anything that lands on the floor is visible to both of you. She may be an "amazing" friend, but she is a lousy roommate.
Dear Annie: How can I get my husband and his sister to stop scratching and picking at their heads and ears? It's disgusting and looks terrible. They do it at work, too, and it's so unprofessional. — Tired of Picking
Dear Tired: First ask your husband to see his doctor or dermatologist to find out whether he has a scalp condition. If so, there is likely treatment that will alleviate the problem, and it also might help your sister-in-law. Otherwise, it would seem to be an ingrained family habit. That means it will be hard to shake, especially if one is unwilling to address it.
You have no say over his sister's bad habits, but explain to your husband how off-putting this is, and ask whether he'd be willing to work on it. Because he is undoubtedly unaware that he's scratching and picking, your job will be to point it out, nicely, every single time you catch him.
Dear Annie: I didn't care for your tolerant response to "Sad Mom," who paid her son, "Mark," $400 to essentially destroy their bathroom. She said he is stubborn and immature and refuses to take advice from anyone. She has reached out to him for more than two years with no response.
A good, long shunning should do the trick. If he never comes around, it's his loss. If his sister wants to be with her brother so badly, she should call him up and invite him to her place.
My husband and I are the parents of a son who means everything to us, but we did not raise him to think the world owes him a living. "Mark" is ungrateful, and his siblings need to support their parents. — Tired of Nasty Children in Wyoming
Dear Wyoming: Difficult children are just that and do not always respond in a logical way. Parents must deal with them carefully if they want to maintain any kind of relationship.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.