Fence­less neigh­bours bare it all

Cape Breton Post - - ADVICE / PROVINCE - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear An­nie: My wife and I are lucky to live near the friendli­est, most help­ful neigh­bours we could ask for. They are a mid­dleaged Euro­pean cou­ple who moved to the States two years ago.

Here's the prob­lem. They have a swimming pool in their backyard, and when they use it, they do not wear swim­suits. I as­sume they are just do­ing what is nor­mal in their na­tive coun­try.

When I am out­side, I sim­ply try to look the other way and ig­nore them. How­ever, when they see me or my wife, they al­most al­ways call out to say hello and start a con­ver­sa­tion. My wife is not both­ered by it, and will go over and talk with them. How­ever, I'm not so com­fort­able. Gen­er­ally, I wave and go back into the house un­til they are out of the pool.

My wife says I am over­re­act­ing, but I don't think I should be un­com­fort­able in my own yard. She does not want to put up a fence, as she thinks it would be un­sightly and un­wel­com­ing. Can you help? — Neigh­bors of Lord and Lady Go­diva

Dear Neigh­bors: You can­not stop the folks next door from sun­bathing nude un­less there are re­stric­tions in your town. You also should not be re­luc­tant to use your own yard when the neigh­bors are out. The so­lu­tion truly is a fence or per­haps shrub­bery that would al­low each of you to have more pri­vacy. There is noth­ing un­wel­com­ing or un­sightly about nice bushes, plants or flow­ers. Un­less, of course, your wife likes to look more than she is will­ing to ad­mit.

Dear An­nie: Why do some peo­ple in­sist on ar­riv­ing late for fam­ily din­ners? My hus­band and I are great-grand­par­ents with the only home large enough to host the en­tire fam­ily. We wake up early enough to set up and cook, and I set the time that seems most con­ve­nient for our fam­ily mem­bers.

When there is a football game in the evening, I set the din­ner for noon. When there is early morn­ing rain, I set the time for late af­ter­noon. When asked if we can set a spe­cific hour, I al­ways agree. On Me­mo­rial Day, I told ev­ery­one to be here at 1 p.m. Ten peo­ple were here wait­ing, and the last two came in 45 min­utes later. We didn't sit down to eat un­til af­ter 2. This is awk­ward for ev­ery­one, but es­pe­cially for young chil­dren who are hun­gry, se­niors who haven't eaten since early morn­ing, and one fam­ily mem­ber who is di­a­betic and needs to time her in­sulin.

Why is it no longer po­lite to be punc­tual? — Late Ar­rivals

Dear Late: It is still po­lite to be punc­tual, but some folks are sim­ply in­con­sid­er­ate. If there is only one cou­ple that does this regularly, feel free to tell them that the fes­tiv­i­ties start an hour ear­lier than you tell ev­ery­one else. Oth­er­wise, here's how it works for chron­i­cally late fam­ily mem­bers: Set the time, and when that time ar­rives, sit down and start eat­ing. Those who show up late can be told to find leftovers in the kitchen or join you for dessert. They will ei­ther ac­com­mo­date them­selves or make a greater ef­fort to show up on time at the next fam­ily event. Ei­ther way, the rest of you should not be held hostage wait­ing for them. An­nie's Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please

email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­ators.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. To find out more about An­nie's Mail­box and read fea­tures by other Cre­ators Syn­di­cate writ­ers and car­toon­ists, visit the Cre­ators Syndi

cate Web page at www.cre­ators.com.

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