DEAR HARRIETTE: A good friend is coming to stay with me for a week. He is allergic to pretty much everything: dairy, shellfish, nuts, etc. I'm nervous, because I cook with a lot of these foods, and if he even gets in contact with them, his eyes puff up and his throat closes.
I don't want to eat out every night, but how can I work around his allergies? What should I do to prepare for his arrival? -- Nervous Host, New Orleans
DEAR NERVOUS HOST: Talk to your friend. Tell him your concerns, and ask him how you can best ensure that he is safe and well-fed.
Ask him exactly which foods he must avoid and whether there is anything you should remove from your home. Ask if he would like to bring particular foods with him. If he participates in the planning, you should be fine.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My siblings have left for college, and I am the last kid at home. My parents, however, seem to think they are the only ones here, because I have heard them having sex quite frequently and loudly. This often occurs when I come home from soccer practice or even when I'm sleeping.
It's great that they love each other and share that, but I don't want to hear it all the time. They have not only woken me up several times at night, but now I can't hang out in the kitchen with my friends after practice, because their room is right above the kitchen, and it is obvious from the sounds what is going on. I'm embarrassed for my friends and frustrated with my parents.
How do I go about asking them to keep it down? -- Need a Muffler, Jacksonville, Fla.
DEAR NEED A MUFFLER: I bet your parents are completely oblivious to how noisy they are. You are right that it's nice to know they are still into each other; however, their noisiness definitely needs to be curbed.
You are going to have to muster the courage to say something to them. I vote for speaking to them when they are together. You can broach the situation in a lighthearted way: "Mom and Dad, I'm so glad you two are in love, but I need you to keep it down. You keep waking me up at night, and I can't invite my friends over anymore because I'm afraid they will hear you having sex."
It's likely they will be mortified. I can't imagine that they want you to hear them having this kind of fun.
After you tell them, you will probably get some relief from their noise. But if they still make a ruckus, knock on their door, blast some music or make another loud noise that can alert them that they are getting too loud again.