Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Feeling Fine After Mother's Death

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my windows is placed directly above a radiator, making it hard to get curtains of a proper length that wouldn't be a fire hazard. Coincidentally, this window faces my next-door neighbor’s home. My neighbors leave their driveway floodlight on all day and night. It interrupts my sleep, and cannot be great on their electricity bill. Could I ask them to turn it off? I would never put my neighbors in a position like this. -- Conserve Energy and Sleep, Pikesville, Maryland

DEAR CONSERVE ENERGY AND SLEEP: This challenge calls for a two-pronged approach. Invest in a shade for your window. A shade will block more light than a curtain, and it will not hang below the windowsill. Many ready-made shades fit standard-size windows. Measure yours before you go shopping to be sure you purchase the right size. You can also have a shade made specifically to fit your window, though that’s likely not necessary. Make sure you have done your part in your home before you move to step two.

Now, you can ask your neighbors if they would consider turning their floodlight off at night. Explain that it is bringing light into your home and causing you discomfort. Point out that you have already invested in window coverings to try to block the light, but you need their help as well. Suggest that they put the light on a timer so it doesn’t become a hassle for them.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)