DEAR HARRIETTE: During Hurricane Sandy, a friend moved in with me because he lives in an area that was greatly damaged. His apartment has no windows or power. He has been living with me for two weeks and will continue to stay with me until he gets his power back and windows repaired.
He is driving me crazy. I love the guy and want to help out, but I need some space. He hasn't respected my things, and his work hours are the opposite of mine, so he's always coming home late at night. He makes dinner (using my food!) and is loud and dirty. My apartment is small, and everything can be heard.
I want to be a good friend, since he doesn't have a place at the moment, but I didn't think he would be such a problem. I don't know if I can last another week with him. What do I do? -- Cramped, New York
DEAR CRAMPED: Rescuing your friend during this tragic time was a wonderful act of kindness and humanity. But being kind does not mean that you throw away house rules.
You need to have a talk with your friend about expectations in your home. Start by telling him that you have been happy to help him out, but that now you realize you need to lay out some guidelines for how you want him to act while he stays with you. Tell him that you want him to respect your things, and define what that means. If you don't want him to use certain items, say so. Tell him you expect him to contribute to the groceries. Also acknowledge that your place is small and that since your hours are different, you would appreciate him being quiet when he comes home from work so you can get your rest.
Ask how long he thinks he will be without power. You two may have to set a time limit on how long he can stay. Perhaps he can be with you a bit longer and then you can help him find another place to stay.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am trying to expand my baby-sitting business. I haven't baby-sat for some families in a while because some have hired full-time nannies, or my schedule has not coordinated with their schedule. However, I am still available to do certain times and during the weekend.
If I were to call or write a letter to the families I have baby-sat for, asking them to recommend me to other families, how would I go about that? What should I say so they know I am not abandoning them? -- Expanding My Horizons, Flint, Mich.
DER EXPANDING MY HORIZONS: Call your former employers and tell them that you have the time and want to add more baby-sitting work. Ask them if they need any help. And ask them if they would write you a letter of recommendation that you can use to solicit jobs from other families.