Dear Annie: I have been married for 12 years to a man who can’t seem to keep a job. No matter where he works, Ted always finds a reason to quit.
We have three boys. I’ve told Ted we both need to set a good example for the kids, to teach them to become responsible and hardworking. Not to mention, it takes money to raise three kids. But all he says is, “I want a job that pays good money.”
Frankly, if I have to support my children on my own anyway, I may as well do it without Ted. Any suggestions? – Might As Well Be Single
Dear Single: Someone needs to inform Ted that “good money” is whatever someone is willing to pay you, and refusing to hold onto a job is “no money.”
It’s possible Ted has ADHD or some type of psychological disorder that makes it difficult to stay employed. Please suggest he talk to his doctor about the possibility and, if necessary, seek counselling.
Dear Annie: Your advice for “Puffed Out” was good. Wood smoke drift can be a real nuisance and health hazard. Can I add a few suggestions?
1. Instead of plastic, put tape or putty around all the corners of their windows. It will do a better job of keeping out the smoke.
2. They may need a different type of air purifier. A good one might cost $1,000, but it will truly scrub the air in your house. I know it’s not fair that they have to spend that kind of money, but as long as they’re stuck in this situation, it could help keep them healthy. As a bonus, it will also take care of pollen, viruses, pet dander, mold and bacteria. – Mike
Dear Mike: Thanks for your suggestions. Dozens of readers wrote in with other ideas, and we are grateful. Read on:
Dear Annie: EPA-rated wood stoves are being promoted by the U.S. government. A new one should not put out an excessive amount of smoke.
“Puffed Out” should also look into the tax deduction this year for insulation and new windows because smoke should not be able to get into a properly insulated home. If the neighbour got an EPA-rated stove and “Puffed Out” tightened up his own house, maybe both could live in peace.
Pennsylvania: I also had the problem, so I asked my neighbor to put another section of pipe on the wood burner, and it took the smoke over the house.
Wyoming: I’m surprised you didn’t suggest “Puffed Out” hire a heating and air-conditioning contractor to look at his own house. He needs to quit complaining and look into fixing his home. Wood and coal are efficient and money-saving ways to heat homes. A blizzard downed power lines in our area for more than 17 hours, and our wood-burning stove was the only thing keeping us warm.
Air Pollution Control Engineer: You were correct in labelling the invasive smoke problem a nuisance, which is a violation of the basic local air pollution control regulation of nuisance. “Puffed Out” should contact the county air pollution control district, the regional air quality management district or the state environmental agency, depending on which has jurisdiction. Air pollution control laws exist to protect public health.
Michigan: The cap on our neighbour’s chimney was too wide so he replaced it with a narrower one. Now his fireplace smoke rises faster than it spreads. Also, there was a tree between our properties that was trapping the smoke and channeling it into our roof vents. Tree removed. Problem solved.
Quebec: It is not the wood stove that’s the problem – it’s what they’re burning in it. Use firewood – not building wood, paneling or pieces of furniture. And only newspapers, not the shiny stuff used for store flyers. These things are full of ink, glue and other chemicals that make smelly fumes and pollute the environment. We caught our tightwad neighbour burning old car tires in his basement.
We informed him we would get the EPA after him if he didn’t stop. That did the trick.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.