Dear Annie: Because the cost of living is so high around here, I now rent bedrooms in my home to a couple of young adults in their 20s. It's almost impossible for them to go out on their own.
Everything is fine about this arrangement, except my renters do not clean their rooms. They throw all of their things on the floor, including dirty dishes, and the mess collects for weeks. They do keep their doors closed, so I don't have to see it every time I pass by, but just knowing that their rooms are such a mess bothers me a great deal. To their credit, they do clean up after themselves when using the kitchen.
Would it be out of line for me to ask them to keep their rooms cleaned, or is it none of my business since they are renters? Am I overstepping my boundaries? My friends know I'm a bit OCD about things like this. -- M.
Dear M.: What they do with their clothes or bedding is their responsibility. Closing the door is a good solution to this. However, leaving bits of food on dirty plates (or pizza boxes and takeout cartons) can attract vermin, and this becomes your business since it affects the common areas of the house.
Inform your tenants that this is a health risk and that food or anything containing food needs to be disposed of properly on a daily basis. Ask them to bring their dirty dishes to the kitchen sink, and to put their food-related garbage in the proper place. If you wish, you can also offer to do some housekeeping for an additional fee. This could make all of you happy.
Dear Annie: I am "Louisville Uncle." I wrote to you several years ago concerning my then-13-year-old nephew, "Hayden," and the attempt he made to seduce me into sexual activity during a sleepover. You reran my original letter a few weeks ago, and I thought your readers might be interested in an update.
Hayden is now 20 years old and thriving in college. He is in a relationship with a male student that he met on campus. They are engaged and plan to marry after graduation. Everything is great, but it took a while to get to this point.
The hardest part was separating Hayden from the "relationship" he was in with the older neighbor boy. This boy seduced my nephew the same way Hayden tried to seduce me. Apparently, this neighbor often forced himself on Hayden and convinced him that this was normal, acceptable and enjoyable. Through many prayers and discussions, I was able to show Hayden that any sexual activity without mutual consent is an assault and always wrong.
At the age of 14, and on his own initiative, Hayden finally ended the relationship with the neighbor boy. He didn't want to press charges, and the boy and his family eventually moved away. I did not break my promise not to tell Hayden's mother about that sleepover, but together, we told Hayden's mother that he is gay. She was accepting and supportive, and later said she had suspected this since he was 11 years old. I am happy to report that Hayden and I are still close. -- Louisville Uncle
Dear Uncle: Thanks so much for the update regarding Hayden. We are delighted to know that his life is working out so well. He's fortunate to have such a caring uncle.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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