Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: At what hour on weekend mornings is it reasonable to start running leaf blowers and lawn mowers? We have a neighbor who begins before 8 a.m. in an otherwise quiet neighborhood. This sends my husband, who is especially sensitive to sound, out of the house seeking relief. Earplugs aren’t the answer, as both my husband and our neighbor are already wearing them. We’re not early risers and assume others are also attempting to sleep in on the weekends. We don’t want to start a war. What should we do?
DEAR NEIGHBORS: I checked the noise ordinance rules in several random locations and learned that most rules dictate quiet hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. during the week. This quiet time usually ends at 9 a.m. on weekends.
You should check your own local rules on noise. Just do an internet search for “noise ordinance” and the name of your town. Noise complaints are very common, because excessive noise is a significant (and sometimes serious) annoyance that affects the quality of life in your home.
Your assumption that you might “start a war” if you ask your neighbor to behave differently is overblown. Your first choice should be to communicate with him directly and respectfully. You simply ask him, personally, “Would you mind delaying the start of your mowing/blowing until after 9 a.m. on the weekends? We are eager to recover from a tough workweek by having some quiet on Saturday mornings. Our local noise ordinance says people should not start noisy work until after nine.”
If your neighbor does not comply, you can contact your local government to report this annoyance. Your neighbor will be notified and perhaps fined. Your last resort would be to call the police.
DEAR AMY: At the end of last winter, my daughter-in-law asked if my grown daughter and I would like to join her, my son and their children on a trip to DisneyWorld. This seemed like a great idea, so I went about purchasing tickets, making pet boarding arrangements and requesting days off from work. Now she tells me that she has invited my ex-husband (my children’s father) and his current wife to join us for dinner the first night of the trip. He lives about an hour from DisneyWorld. I can see why my grown children and the grandchildren would like to see him, but I do not wish to take time on my vacation to go to dinner with him and his wife. Is there some nice way I can get out of this without offending the others?
Irritated in the Great Lakes
Dear Irritated: This is not an offensive act on the part of your daughter-in-law. You could assume that she put this together for the benefit of other family members, including you as a courtesy.
She should not be offended if you thank her for the invitation but say that you have decided that on the first night of your vacation, you are going to skip the dinner and get a head start on your own rest and relaxation.
DEAR AMY: After reading the letter from the “Upset Father,” who was unhappy about how his daughter treated him while she was having a migraine, I got the impression that he may not truly understand what a migraine is. People who suffer from migraines describe it as the worst physical pain they have ever experienced. It hurts to think. And it feels as if there’s a disconnect in their head that limits them from daily functions like interacting with other people. A conversation can be excruciating. Sufferers also get extremely nauseated, and the smell, sight or even the thought of food is absolutely repulsive. So when he asks about food, she may be busy trying to not throw up on him. I would hope this concerned father would take some time to ask his daughter (while she is not in the midst of a migraine) to explain what that experience is like for her and how it affects her. And most important, I would hope that he would ask her what he can do to help her when she is suffering.
DEAR BEEN THERE: Like you, I thought this father was making way too much of his daughter’s “rude” responses during her (rare) migraine attacks.
The father said that his daughter was more responsive to his wife during an attack; he also said his wife also occasionally has migraines. No doubt his wife knows instinctively when and how to approach the daughter during an attack.