Dear Annie: Here’s my problem: 400-pound barbells dropped in my neighbor’s garage. The young couple who moved in next door describe themselves as “practicing athletes” and pursue this hobby every night for 45 minutes. Each drop of the barbells is deafening and jolts our home. I have talked to “the athletes,” and they don’t care.
Their two young daughters follow in their parents’ footsteps by running to ring our doorbell and then dashing back home. They did it so many times that we had to have the doorbell disconnected.
We have asked the police to stop the barbell noise, but they tell us people in our subdivision can make noise until 8 p.m. Waiting for this agonizing racket every night, day after day, is enough to make me sick. My nerves are in shreds.
When a homeowner receives no help from the police, what can I do? I am an 82-year-old woman, and I have tinnitus, which causes loud ringing in my head. Since my neighbors started their weight-dropping routine, it has become worse.
Do you have any suggestions other than suing them? — Going Deaf in Michigan
Dear Michigan: If the noise ordinance says they can drop weights until 8 p.m., you have no cause to sue them over that. However, if your doctor can document that your tinnitus is worse because of the noise emanating from their garage, you may have a case.
In the meantime, please do what you can to muffle these sounds. Put a fan in your room. Turn on the television or radio. Wear earplugs. Even better, get out of the house until 8 p.m. Even though it’s late, you aren’t going to be able to relax anyway. So go for a walk with your husband, a friend, a relative or another neighbor. Staying home and fuming helps no one.
Dear Annie: I’ve dealt with a family member who has been a sex addict for years. I’ve hinted that a “sex addict” is pretty much the same as a drug addict. If it’s something you hide from loved ones, it can’t be a positive way of life.
I’ve noticed the times when this family member seems to be “holding it together” or “keeping it under control.” I don’t think you can be “in control” of an addiction. It shows in the face, attitude, weight loss or gain, social life and daily living. It pains me that I can’t help. I’ve been told by several family members that “you can’t save everybody.” Well, I want to try. What can I do? — Caring Relative
Dear Caring: You can stop making assumptions about addicts and what it means for them to keep things under control. We know you mean well and want to help. Please suggest that your relative contact Sex Addicts Anonymous at saa-recovery.org. You also can look up sex addiction and see how you can be a source of support.
Dear Annie: Please tell “Ashamed” that people always look at our faces. If I have a red nose, a black eye, missing front tooth, a facial tattoo or even freckles, that is naturally going to attract their attention. How could anyone miss such things? But once that initial glance is done, people look at and speak to the person. If they see a smile or hear a friendly greeting, it is the person they see and address.
My sister had terrible acne as a teen, and her face is a mass of scars and discolorations. She is so outgoing and friendly that she is always the one who greets people and initiates conversation. Guess what? People get beyond the scars within seconds. They know they are dealing with a person. — Sheboygan, Wis.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.