:Dear Abby: I’m 15 and my brother is 19. He still lives at home and recently acquired a water cooler — the kind you see in doctors’ offices. He has it sitting in the dining room and, frankly, I hate it! It’s unsightly and unnecessary.
My parents allow it to stay there. They have never cared much about how their house looks. I do most of the cleaning. Is there any way I can convince them to remove the water cooler? It’s not the kind you see in home magazines.
:Wants A Normal House
:Dear Wants A Normal House: Ideally, a water cooler would be placed in a kitchen. However, if there isn’t room for it in your parents’ kitchen, and meals are shared in the dining room, that’s the logical place for it. I can’t see why the water cooler would embarrass you. Most people’s homes don’t resemble the layouts you see in magazines. They are an “ideal” folks aim for until reality compels them to organize their living space in a way that conforms to their needs and budgets, rather than their desires.
Dear Abby: I have been dating my boyfriend for three years. We get along well, but he has the most annoying habit of gnawing his fingernails. It is constant, and he hardly has any left. I find it repulsive and embarrassing when we’re out in public.
I have asked him repeatedly to stop. He says he has done it all his life and I should stop nagging. If it were the other way around and I knew something I did bothered him, I’d try my best not to do it because I loved him. I know most people have habits, and this is more of an addiction. What can I say to make him stop?