DEAR ABBY: I'm 15 and my brother is 19. He still lives at home and recently acquired a water cooler -- the kind you see in doctors' offices. He has it sitting in the dining room and, frankly, I hate it! It's unsightly and unnecessary.
My parents allow it to stay there. They have never cared much about how their house looks. I do most of the cleaning. Is there any way I can convince them to remove the water cooler? It's not the kind you see in home magazines. -- WANTS A NORMAL HOUSE
DEAR WANTS A NORMAL HOUSE: Ideally, a water cooler would be placed in a kitchen. However, if there isn't room for it in your parents' kitchen, and meals are shared in the dining room, that's the logical place for it. I can't see why the water cooler would embarrass you. Most people's homes don't resemble the layouts you see in magazines. They are an "ideal" folks aim for until reality compels them to organize their living space in a way that conforms to their needs and budgets, rather than their desires.