Dear Annie: I've never written to one of these columns before, but I do read them. My family recently bought a home in a large development in the South. We don't own a dog at this time but have in the past. The neighborhood is full of dog owners who walk their dogs and let them do their business on the neighbors' lawns, sometimes way up the lawn and next to the house. Yes, most clean up after their dogs, but I still find it very disgusting, not to mention rude. I think they should go to unoccupied green space or have their dogs do their business in their own yards. Am I wrong for thinking that? Even though they clean it up, they can't get it all. Thank you for your time. I'll be eagerly waiting for your answer. — Can't Go Barefoot on My Own Lawn
Dear Can't Go Barefoot: You could purchase a "Keep Off Grass" sign. There are ones for sale online that would get your point across, with pictures of dogs doing their business.
Be careful not to be too much of a stickler about the issue, as long as everyone is cleaning up afterward. I know that stepping in waste residue is an unpleasant thought, but here's an even less pleasant thought: being known as the cranky new neighbor.
Dear Annie: I just read the letter from "Still Daddy's Little Girl." I was so moved by her story and the devastating loss her father is feeling. Your advice was good, but I have my own ideas to add.
This father is clearly a very skilled man. He not only has the abilities honed from a lifetime of work but also is able to focus on things that are important — his family, for example. Of course, I don't know this for certain, but I imagine he was usually on time and rarely took days off. I also imagine he managed his money well and was able to make wise decisions and keep his priorities clear, at least most of the time.
If I'm not far off the mark in the picture I've painted of this dad, he has what it takes to start his own business. Increasingly, there are people who need help with all kinds of odd jobs. A friend of mine in his late 60s who started out as a car mechanic and later became the facilities manager at a local engineering school now has his own practice responding to the needs of a real estate company that has a number of rental units. He is a jack-of-all-trades. Because he is hardworking, inventive and pleasant, he is as busy as he wants to be. Older people and others frequently are in need of temporary help with tasks they are unable to do themselves. I'm guessing a "I can do what stymies you" kind of ad in the local paper might bring this dad some needed cash. He should know that being laid off is not the same as being permanently put to pasture.
And one more thought: Volunteering with local groups that help poor people restore or maintain their homes would be a win-win. He would help others and bring a sense of purpose, and it would open up new networks. — Helen
Dear Helen: All helpful, practical ideas. Thank you for writing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]