DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a married wife (25 years old) with a small child and one on the way. My husband and I live in a small, three-story apartment. We know most of the people living around us, including the divorced woman (about 45) living directly below our apartment.
A few nights ago she brought home a guy. The weather was warm, and we had our windows open for the night. This lady had her bedroom windows open as well. In the middle of the night, my husband and I could hear this woman and the man having sex. It was disgusting.
This isn't the first time this has happened. While she is free to bring home whomever she wants, she should keep quiet any and all sounds between the two of them. How do I politely tell her that we can hear her and that she should close her windows for privacy? -- Sound-Proof, Lake Charles, La.
DEAR SOUND-PROOF: I believe your gripe with this woman is not just about the fact that you hear her having sex, but also that you don't approve of her having sex with whomever. I know you say you don't care, but your letter sounds as if you do.
So, for starters, I want you to let go of any judgment you have about her. Otherwise, whenever you communicate with her, you may come across as insulting. Keep your goal in mind: no more sex sounds.
It's likely your neighbor doesn't realize that she can be heard, and there's a good chance she may be embarrassed to know that you hear her. Approach her with the belief that she will be surprised and will be interested in resolving the matter.
You can speak to her privately and ask that she close her window during those personal moments. Or slip a note under her door telling her your concerns.
Now, there is a chance it won't work. She may not care. If that's the case, you can either close your window or get a white-noise machine to help dull the sounds coming from her window into yours.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Before my mother passed away from her long battle with lung cancer, she and my father renewed their wedding vows on her deathbed. It was the most amazing experience in my life, and I cried like a baby seeing my father renew his wedding vows.
My relationship with my father has not been the best over the past few years, and I would like to make it better. What are some ways I can improve the relationship? -- For the Love of Mom, Chicago
DEAR FOR THE LOVE OF MOM: Choose to spend time with your father. Ask him to tell you stories of his relationship with your mother: how they met, when they fell in love, what it was like when you were young. Get him to travel down memory lane. That should warm him up.
Tell him stories about your life. Storytelling is a great way to connect with loved ones and may become the salve that heals and strengthens your bond.