Fenceless neighbours bare it all
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
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