Ask Amy

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 10:45pm

DEAR AMY: This year, my two friends and I looked on Craigslist for a fourth roommate to share rent for the year at our house.

We interviewed several people and finally settled on "Jamie."

She was sweet, said she was very academically driven and a non-partyer.

Over time, it has become glaringly apparent that she must have some compulsive disorder because she does at least four loads of laundry a week. She runs the dishwasher daily, regardless of the load.

Also, she keeps the thermostat at 78, which makes the rest of us swelter uncomfortably in our own house.

We are concerned about astronomical energy costs.

Jamie is extremely touchy, so how can we diplomatically but effectively broach the topic? It seems wrong to say, "Jamie, please stop cleaning our house so frequently."

— Wondering Roomies

DEAR ROOMIES: Pretend "Jamie" isn't touchy and approach this subject for what it is — an important issue for the whole household.

You should call a house meeting and develop some guidelines for household energy use.

Keeping your house at 78 degrees is extreme. You should all agree to keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature and if someone is cold, she can put on a sweater. Perhaps all household members should agree to pay a fee for each load of clothes you wash. This would encourage each roommate to wash clothes only if there is a full load — and the money could go toward the bill.

If your roommate has compulsions, then she's going to have to figure out how to either control them or compensate the household for the problems they cause.


DEAR AMY: I have a name that is frequently misspelled, mispronounced, or forgotten. People are usually upfront in asking how to say or spell my name and I gently inform them of the correct way.

I've been at my first "real" job for about six months and my boss still misspells my name every time — even on personalized gifts. Naturally, the spelling she uses is my least favorite mutation of all the ways you could spell my name. This is a very small office; my boss knows me and my name is spelled correctly on my office door, business cards, e-mails, etc.

I am to the point of making up a song (along the lines of "Bingo") to correct her on how to spell my name, but I'd like a gentler way to let her know she's been dead wrong for the last six months.

— Kelsie in Kansas City

DEAR KELSIE: Misspelling happens. But your boss can't correct this unless you inform her.

Don't be condescending and put this correction to music. This is the workplace, not summer camp.

Send her an e-mail saying, "I believe my first name must be misspelled in your address book and I wondered if you could correct it. The correct spelling is 'Kelsie.' I realize it's an unusual spelling — I'm thinking of suing my parents for causing me a lifetime of alphabetical distress."


DEAR AMY: I must disagree with your response to "Offended Co-Worker," who didn't like the fact that a fellow employee stored her freshly pumped breast milk prominently in the refrigerator at work.

Your reply didn't take into account the "ick" factor.

Speaking for myself, I don't want to see ANY substance extruded from another human in the communal fridge. By your reasoning, it would be OK to store a urine sample there because it's "not a toxic, explosive, frightening or even very interesting substance." I say, ugh.

The solution to this problem is relatively easy. Let the mother pump her milk and keep it in the fridge, but place the bottle in a paper bag. "Ick" factor neutralized; milk preserved; problem solved.

— Also Offended

DEAR ALSO: Why do people feel compelled to compare breast milk to urine? One is food. The other is ... not food.

I understand that some people don't like to watch nursing mothers breast-feed in public. But if the mere presence of breast milk in a container is also offensive, then the most sensible solution would be for you to get over it. Problem solved.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles

2 Comments on this post:

By: dustywood on 12/30/09 at 8:26

Regarding the breast milk....it is considered by most health codes to be a body fluid, and would have to have its own fridge. Those small dorm types work well. My husband used a small one to store his medication while at work. They are not that expensive. So besides someone considering this an ICK factor, breast milk should not and must not be stored in a food fridge. What the mother does at home is her business. But do not use the staff fridge for a body fluid.

By: sidneyames on 12/30/09 at 5:09

I agree with dusty; breast milk is a bodily fluid and therefore should not be stored in a public fridge.

Also, I think the comparison to "urine" is because they are both bodily fluids, as is mucus, snot and tears and sweat. None are safe to be transmitted between humans - generally speaking.