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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Miss Manners 9/10

By Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boyfriend has a horrible habit of calling out my name when we’re in public. If he’s looking for me in a store, instead of walking around a bit, he just starts yelling my name!

When we were meeting up at a store once, he was coming down an escalator and called my name out to get my attention – from across the other end of the store. He said he didn’t want to scare me by just walking up to me.

When I was trying on an outfit one time, he went to find me a smaller size. Instead of waiting until I came out (with another outfit on to show him), he started yelling my name into the dressing room. – just to tell me they didn’t have the size!

It’s embarrassing! People stare! He’s 33 years old! Am I overreacting? I’ve tried to mention it, but he just doesn’t seem to care.

GENTLE READER: Bet he would if you did the same in the men’s locker room.

But Miss Manners is not in the business of revenge. At least not the overt kind. Perhaps instead, if you had the stomach for it, you could just yell back. If he questions it, you could say, “What? I thought this was our volume now.”

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 60-year-old mother insists on keeping her cat’s litter box in the kitchen. Her cat does not cover his business, so there is naked, exposed fecal matter sitting in our kitchen.

I have a 13-month-old daughter who tries to play in the litter box every chance she gets, so I asked my mother to move it. We have a three-story house, so there are plenty of places for it.

She absolutely refuses, even though my daughter is at risk. Whenever I ask her to move it, she ignores me; when I ask her to get an enclosed cat box, she ignores me. She also refuses to move the cat food that my daughter thinks is a tasty snack.

What do I do? I feel she’s being super selfish, but she feels there’s no problem with exposed poop in the kitchen with a baby running around. This is really affecting our relationship, which is already contentious.

GENTLE READER: What is the living situation here? Miss Manners gathers that you all co-habit and that those circumstances are unavoidable?

While exposed feces is certainly not ideal, you and your baby daughter probably have some personal experience with it yourselves – which your mother might find equally unpleasant.

Miss Manners also suspects that even if the litter box were hidden on the third floor, your daughter would find it. Babies have a knack for that kind of mischievous self-sabotage.

Your best course would be to teach your daughter the dangers of sharing facilities with the cat – and, for the sake of your relationship with your mother, to find a way to move out when you are able.

Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website