DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom is in her 60s and has compromised lungs. For the past few months, my sister and I have been taking her groceries and having what she needs delivered to her house.
Growing up, we had a constant flow of lost souls going in and out of our house. We never knew who was going to be camped out on our driveway or sleeping on our couch for weeks at a time.
We have really high rates of COVID in our state, and my mom has a casual friend camping on her driveway who is not practicing social distancing.
The last time my kids were at my mom’s house, this person yelled at them for doing something wrong (she was incorrect). She also made them roll in the gravel after they had her dog do a trick in the gravel.
My kids are middle and late elementary school-aged and are good kids. When I approached my mom about this, she got defensive and made excuses for the friend’s behavior.
We don’t feel comfortable going to her house with this person there, and my sister is on the same page and has the same concerns.
Do you have any suggestions on how to go forward? My sister and I are both going to keep delivering groceries, but it has put a big wrench in our relationship. My oldest son tried talking with his grandma and came away frustrated and hurt.
DEAR FAMILY DRAMA: Given that your mother has always welcomed lost souls to her home, you are not likely to get her to ask this person to leave. What you can do is draw the line for yourself and your family.
Let her know that you will continue to have food delivered to her home, but that you and her grandchildren will no longer come by. Explain that you are concerned about being exposed to COVID-19. Since the person is not practicing social distancing and has exhibited untoward behavior, you want to protect your family from them.
Suggest that your mother reconsider who she allows to be near her, given her condition. In the end, you have to put your foot down to protect yourself and your children.
DEAR HARRIETTE: In regard to the person who has only a fan during videoconference calls and wants to stay cool, I have a couple of suggestions for how to keep cool from personal experience.
One thing to try is to put a tub of water and ice in front of the fan so the fan blows over the tub of water and you get the cool air. Put damp towels in the fridge overnight, and place them on your body where they can’t be seen during the call, like your thighs and stomach, while the fan is blowing.
Also, take a quick, cool shower before meetings. Keep a wet towel nearby, and wet your arms, legs, chest and stomach so when the fan blows on you, it cools you off. Repeat as needed. Hope this helps!
DEAR STAY COOL: Thank you for these practical tips. Another reader suggested putting your feet in a small tub of ice water — again, out of the eye of the camera — to help you stay cool during these super-hot days.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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Author: Harriette Cole