DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: After spending day after day listening to our neighbour's dogs, we need advice on how to tell her nicely that the barking is annoying, without damaging our friendship. It's not bad in winter because we are not outside now, but when it's nice we have to listen to her dogs constantly and we are totally disgusted. Our problem is we live in a rural area and need advice quickly or we will have a terrible summer again. -- Annoyed By Dogs Barking
Dear Annoyed: It sounds like you haven't told her even once. Grumbling behind her back is not fair. Give your neighbour a chance to rectify the situation by telling her this: "Maybe we're not used to the sound like you are, and you may not even notice this, but the dogs are barking a lot and making it uncomfortable for us to be outside." She may feel badly, and that may be the end of it. She may keep the dogs in more, especially when she's not at home, and they are lonely or hungry or uncomfortable with the temperature in their enclosure. If she doesn't respond to that first communication, tell her more firmly. Then you start calling the authorities about the noise. At that point, she has to know she has caused the problem because she's had two warnings already. Most city neighbours would just put in the call.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I am hot and unhappy in bed. My husband sleeps on one side and I sleep on the other and the two little kids sleep in the middle, and sweat up a storm. We agreed to have a big communal family bed, on principle (my idea) when we started this family-raising project. Now I know I was dead wrong. I want those hot little bodies out and in their own beds. My husband doesn't agree. We haven't had sex, except awkwardly in the shower every couple of weeks, for five months. My husband doesn't care. I think I have become nothing more than Big Cranky Momma and maybe he's getting "it" elsewhere. Please help. -- B.C. Momma, North End
Dear Momma: There's nothing wrong with changing your mind when things are going wrong. Just get the "big kids bed" project underway and change things over yourself. Your husband won't howl -- why should he -- though he may not want to help with the transition. So what! You may be saving your marriage.
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