DEAR AMY: My wife and I recently bought a house and we have decided on a few rules to keep the place as clean as possible. I invited my sister and her three kids to stay with us for the next two weeks, and while we already explained the house rules several times, the youngest child (he's 3), always manages to create a mess. I don't blame him (after all, he is a child), but my wife gets really irritated and takes it out on me. I offered to clean the mess, if my wife would let me know. But every time this occurs, we have an argument. I think my wife feels she's making all the sacrifices for me and my family. When we visit her family, I always try to be open and understanding (they are from another country), and I actually love it. Today my wife snapped in front of the kids. At first, she was so excited about this visit, but today she told me that the next time I have someone over, she will go to visit her family because she doesn't want to sacrifice anymore. This is hurtful to me since my family has always been gracious and generous toward her.
DEAR HUSBAND: Three-year-olds are human tornadoes. I'm assuming that you don't have children (yet), but experienced parents who are hosting children anticipate a period of upheaval and do their best to keep up, while understanding that — where toddlers go, messes happen.
You have asked your wife to "let you know" if there was a mess she felt needed to be cleaned up. But you (and your sister) should take this on without prompting.
At the end of every (long) day, before the kids go to bed, you should lead them around the house for a clean sweep. Set a timer, make a game of it, and lead them on a little inspection parade when you're done, so everyone can see you've worked as a team.
You should encourage your wife to get enough alone-time away from the household, if that will help with her stress, but she should also work harder to be more tolerant. If she truly believed that you were stepping up, she might be able to step back.
DEAR AMY: My extended family recently had a small get-together in a park. One of my young cousins found out later that day that she might have been exposed to the coronavirus at work. Her mother, "Shelly," didn't reach out to any of my family members to inform us what was happening concerning her daughter's status. A member of the family reached out, and her only response was that she was being tested. She never let us know the results. (They have both had time to post pictures of themselves enjoying various activities.) I am angry that they didn't have the courtesy to inform us about what was going on. A simple text with a quick update would have sufficed. Everyone in attendance that day could have been exposed to the virus. How should we handle this situation?
In The Dark
DEAR IN THE DARK: I agree that "Shelly" (or her daughter) should keep everyone who attended the gathering that day informed of her test status. However, due to the incubation period of the COVID virus, testing immediately after a possible exposure might not necessarily be accurate.
Contact your doctor to ask if testing would be recommended. Monitor your temperature each day (you'll be asked about this at the testing site). If testing is widely available where you live, after you do your research, you might rest easier if you go through the testing process. Remember — the test detects traces of the virus in your body on the day you are tested. It is not predictive.
Out of an abundance of caution, you should limit your out-of-the-home activities as much as possible for the next couple of weeks.
DEAR AMY: Can you please alert runners, bikers and walkers to the dangers of wearing earbuds while on roadways. On many occasions I have witnessed earbud users wander, drift and dart into roadways, unaware that there are cars alongside them. Cars at times have to swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid their sudden presence. Yes, I know they have the right to be there, but they also must have an awareness of the vehicle traffic.
DEAR MIKE: Earbuds that completely block out ambient noise also create other safety issues. Thank you for the cautionary advice.