DEAR HARRIETTE: My aunt dropped off her cat for me to watch this week. The main problem is that I am severely allergic to cats that shed. This cat sheds fur everywhere, and I'm absolutely miserable, with constant sneezing and head colds. My aunt knows that I am allergic, but she dropped off the cat with no warning and then went out of the country. I feel that it's disrespectful, but I am too nice to mention anything to her about it. How can I politely explain to my aunt that what she did was inconsiderate? -- Can't Breathe, Cincinnati
DEAR CAN'T BREATHE: For your health alone, you must speak to your aunt. While you see her actions as disrespectful, I believe it's more likely that they were unconscious. Your aunt was so busy trying to get her act together to leave town that she didn't think about anybody but herself.
Of course, that is not good. Your health was compromised. Thank goodness you didn't have a worse problem. As you likely know, people with allergies like yours can suffer severe consequences, including literally not being able to breathe.
This is a serious situation. Definitely speak to your aunt and let her know that you cannot take care of her cat again.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am staying with my dad for the summer because my new job is close to his apartment. My mother and father have been separated since I was 4 years old, and I've been living with my mother essentially my whole life.
Although I see my dad on weekends and occasionally at family functions, he and I are not close. Most daughters have a great relationship with their fathers, but that is definitely not my story. I am lucky if we even get an opportunity to eat dinner together. I'm used to not spending much time with him, but there is a part of me that longs to have some sort of connection, even if it's just sitting down together for a meal. How can my dad and I become closer? -- Yearning for Dad, Queens, N.Y.
DEAR YEARNING FOR DAD: Now that you are staying temporarily with your father, you are in a perfect situation. While it may feel awkward since you don't have a history of spending time with him, do not let this moment pass.
Tell your father that you want to get to know him better. State the obvious, and make it clear to him that you want to give it a try.
Tell him that you are planning a special dinner for the two of you on a particular night. Ask him what his favorite foods are. Express your excitement about the possibility of spending this time with him.
In addition, do your best to get up when he gets up so that you can have a few minutes together in the morning. On the weekend, ask if you can go out and enjoy some quality time together.