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New roommate spends too much energy staying clean and warm

December 30, 2009

Dear Amy: My two friends and I looked on Craigslist for a fourth roommate to share rent for the year at our house.

We interviewed several people and settled on Jamie. Over time, it has become glaringly apparent that she must have some compulsive disorder because she does at least four loads of laundry a week. She runs the dishwasher daily, regardless of the load.

Also, she keeps the thermostat at 78. We are concerned about energy costs.

Jamie is extremely touchy, so how can we diplomatically but effectively broach the topic? It seems wrong to say, "Jamie, please stop cleaning our house so frequently."

Wondering Roomies

Dear Roomies: Pretend Jamie isn't touchy and approach this subject for what it is -- an important issue.

You should call a house meeting and develop some guidelines for energy use.

Keeping your house at 78 degrees is extreme. You should all agree to keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature and if someone is cold, she can put on a sweater. Perhaps all household members should agree to pay a fee for each load of clothes you wash. This would encourage each roommate to wash clothes only if there is a full load.

If your roommate has compulsions, she's going to have to figure out how to control them or compensate the household for the problems they cause.

::

Dear Amy: I must disagree with your response to "Offended Co-Worker," who didn't like that a fellow employee stored breast milk prominently in the refrigerator at work.

I don't want to see any substance extruded from another human in the communal fridge. By your reasoning, it would be OK to store a urine sample there because it's "not a toxic, explosive, frightening or even very interesting substance."

Let the mother pump her milk and keep it in the fridge, but place the bottle in a paper bag. Problem solved.

Also Offended

Dear Also: Why do people feel compelled to compare breast milk to urine? One is food. The other is . . . not food.

If the mere presence of breast milk in a container is also offensive, then the most sensible solution would be for you to get over it. Problem solved.

Send questions to Amy Dickinson by e-mail to askamy@tribune.com.

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