Dear Ann Cannon • My housemate is obsessed with organizing everything and insists I help (because I live here, too) when I really want to be reading or watching TV. How do I deal with this? Without getting arrested? I would appreciate your help.
— Your Faithful Reader
Dear Faithful Reader • Ugh. Housework.
You know, when this whole pandemic thing forced me to stay at home, I decided to go in for some major deep cleaning — especially in my kitchen, where I pretty much discovered that if I were a restaurant, I would have been shut down years ago. This well-intentioned deep-cleaning phase lasted for about two weeks. After that, I opted for (in the words of my friend Lindsey Leavitt Brown) some shallow cleaning, a phase that lasted another two weeks.
And now? Well, now I’m just sitting around La Casa de Cannon, binge-watching “The Good Place,” while eating cookies I made from the chocolate chips I found at the back of my pantry when I did that afore-mentioned deep cleaning. I only mention all this because a) I want to know if other people are experiencing the same general lack of motivation I’m feeling, and b) to let you know that I may not be the best person to answer your question. But here goes!
You and your housemate need to have a frank discussion about what your bottom lines are. Can your housemate let a few things slide as long as the bathroom (or whatever matters most to her) is clean? Can you put down your book long enough to honor a few of your housemate’s requests while letting him/her know that you’d like to get back to your book as soon as you’ve done your part? In other words, can the two of you have a productive conversation that allows you both to acknowledge what you want and then find a way to accommodate one another?
I KNOW! This is sooooo much easier said than done. That’s the nature of advice. But give things a try and see what happens. Engaging in a little thoughtful give-and-take is preferable (generally speaking) to getting arrested. Good luck!
Meanwhile, I received this e-mail from a reader, notable for its thoughtful acknowledgement about her own dogs’ behavior.
Dear Ann Cannon • Thank you so much for printing the letter from the woman whose dog was attacked by the off-leash golden retriever. I do not understand why people think that they can allow their dogs to run free. Leash laws are there to protect everyone concerned.
I have two dachshunds who are NEVER allowed out of the fenced backyard unless they are on 6-foot leashes. They have short man syndrome! They think they can take on any dog or cat, no matter how big. When we go for a walk and another dog charges them, I am able to either pull them back to me and get between them and the charging dog or scoop them up into my arms. Invariably, the owner of the loose dog says, “He won’t bite anyone,” and I say, “Mine will!” because they are defending themselves.
Please, all dog owners, keep your dogs on leashes. No matter how well-trained you think your dog is, voice commands are not enough to control a charging dog.