2006-12-18 / LifeStyles


The neighbor
Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My husband and I live downstairs from a family of four adults and two toddler boys. Our upstairs neighbors are good people and we like them, but the children are incredibly noisy.

Between 6 and 7 a.m., the kids run back and forth throughout the apartment, stomping, pounding, banging and screaming. I know they’re young boys, but this drives me crazy. I’m constantly stressed out and have a migraine that never ends.

I’ve spoken casually to the mother about the noise, but she’s the ultimate Mama Bear. And frankly, she kind of scares me. I worry she may take any further requests for silence as a threat and somehow make our lives difficult. But my mental and physical health is waning. How can I curb the noise and regain my wits?

— Quickly Losing My Mind

Dear Losing My Mind: It isn’t unusual for apartment sounds to be magnified, and in fact, those children may be behaving in a perfectly reasonable fashion — which means you are not likely to get them to be quieter. Instead, work on ways to soundproof your environment. Is the upstairs apartment carpeted? Can you put in ceiling tiles that muffle the racket? Talk to your landlord about noise requirements that may already be in existence, and then discuss what improvements you can make to your apartment. If none of this helps, and you truly cannot tolerate the commotion, complain to the landlord or start looking for another place to live. Sorry.

No one should die dumping

financial burden on others

Dear Annie: My mother-in-law and I have a disagreement about what happens to her credit card bills after she dies. Mom thinks they all are automatically paid off.

My husband will be the executor of her estate when the time comes. His concern is, if her estate is not large enough to pay off all her bills, what happens? Will we be responsible to pay everything else out of our own pocket?

Mom is trying to lower her outstanding bills, as her health is not the greatest. We’re just afraid that, with no life insurance, no savings and lots of outstanding bills, it’s going to cause financial hardship for us. Don’t you think people should at least have enough life insurance to pay for a decent funeral?

— Concerned in Ohio

Dear Ohio: No one should leave this earth preferring to dump their financial burdens on their children, funeral costs included. As for your mother-inlaw’s debts, her creditors will be paid from the assets she leaves behind. Assets held only in Mom’s name, such as her house, car and bank account, cannot be transferred to heirs until all debts have been satisfied. However, if her assets are not sufficient to pay her debts, your husband has no liability to her creditors. Rest easy.

Size doesn’t count

Dear Annie: I read your column every day, and the letter from “Anxious,” whose 16-year-old daughter was barely 4 feet 11 inches tall, caught my attention.

My paternal grandmother was 4 feet 10 inches tall and a real pistol. She was the leader of her social set until her death at 92. My mother was 4 feet 11, smart, attractive, successful in the business world and loved by everyone. She led a happy and productive life.

I thank my lucky stars every day for my wonderful wife of 44 years, who is 4 feet 11, a wonderful mother and lover, bright, vivacious, and loved by our children and all their friends. Our daughter is 4 feet 11, and while she had some selfdoubting years, young men were lining up for dates in high school and college. She now has a master’s degree, a 6-foottall husband and two fabulous children.

Tell “Anxious” it’s not the size of the package that counts. Many “vertically challenged” people overcompensate and end up being very successful at life and love.

— Lover of Short Women in

Bent Mountain, Va.

Dear Bent Mountain: It sounds like your family packed quite a lot of punch in those compact packages. Thanks for the words of encouragement.

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