Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Italian Family Might Not Get To Visit This Year

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I seem to be having a standoff in the kitchen. Our agreement years ago was that if I cooked, he would clean the kitchen. We both work. I often work long hours, even now when we are at home. But he leaves the dishes in the sink overnight pretty consistently, then washes them in the morning. That means we get roaches sometimes because we live in an apartment building. You can’t leave food out and expect no repercussions. When I try to bring this up to him, he just blows me off and says, “I washed them, didn’t I? What’s your problem?” He doesn’t get it at all. But I don’t want to have to do every single thing in the house. How can I get him to participate more fully? It’s not my house; it’s our house. -- Need His Help

DEAR NEED HIS HELP: Revisit your household chores agreement when you aren’t upset. Tell your husband that you want to refresh how you two handle your duties. Point out that there’s a lot to do, and you are inviting him to work with you to improve on the upkeep of your home. Do an inventory of chores with him, including the kitchen -- but not singularly the kitchen. Ask for his input. What does he think needs to be done to maintain the home? Be sure to mention eliminating roaches and possible vermin. Ask him to recommit to cleaning the kitchen in a timely manner. You may consider spending time with him in the kitchen. Can you two talk and clean at the same time? Fostering togetherness might help inspire him to take action.

(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.)