Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: What do I do about a neighbor who complains about my having my lawn mowed because she is allergic to the lawn clippings? My lawn mower is not working right now, so I am having a professional landscaping company mow my lawn twice monthly. My mower had a bag on it, and the person mowing my lawn does not. My neighbor is complaining that, because of her allergies, she can no longer go outside and garden when I get the lawn done. She insists that I fire the gentleman who does my lawn because he can only do it on the weekends when she is home and I should get someone else to do it during the week while she works. She even indicated that her husband could do my lawn. (Of course, I do not want her or her husband on my property.) The neighbor on the other side of my house has had her lawn mowed by the same gentlemen for years. The allergic neighbor has not complained until he started to do mine. She complained about it last year, and now that the mowing season is here, she is starting again. I don't want to go through it again this year and am at my wits' end! Please advise.
-- Mowed Over
DEAR MOWED: First, thank your lucky stars that you don't have bad allergies and an unhelpful neighbor.
Have you asked the professional landscaper if he could possibly use a bag on his mower when he mows your lawn? Have you asked if he could do the mowing when it wouldn't cause your neighbor's allergies to flare so badly? Have you looked into repairing your mower? These are simple questions that would involve a minimum of effort. What you would gain by asking these questions is the knowledge that you are being a decent person and a good neighbor.
If you ask these questions and make the tiniest bit of effort but still cannot accommodate your neighbor, you should at least be kind to (and about) her when you decline.