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Ask Lisi: Amazing uncle needs help to get a bit of down time

Taking care of nephew during the school year is a big responsibility. See if someone else can take him for one week in summer
Advice columnist Lisi Tesher

Dear Lisi: I’m a single dad with two kids and my nephew lives with me during the school year. It’s a busy life with all three in two different schools and focuses in three different competitive sports. I am dependant on the help of carpools and other parents; my sister is also helpful, especially with our nephew; and the neighbourhood has taken us under their wing.

But by the time June rolls around, I am exhausted and in desperate need of a break. My nephew leaves for the summer (it’s a long and complicated story) and my own two children also go away for several weeks of the summer. I’m so tired that I don’t even have the energy to miss them.

I spend the first week cleaning up from the chaos of the end of the school year. I spend the second week catching up on sleep and simple relaxation. The third week is my week to let loose, and I look forward to it from the minute it’s over.

This summer, my nephew needs to come back for one week, and it’s during the third week. I NEED that week to myself for my sanity. What can I do?

Me time

Not to state the obvious, but can you just say no? You haven’t explained the whole back story to the nephew, but if he lives with you during the school year, I think you have every right to say no during the summer.

If, however, the reason he needs to return is legit, could you ask your sister, whom you mentioned earlier, to step up and take him for that week? Could your parents help? Or the boy’s other grandparents? Is there a friend he can stay with?

If none of that is possible and the boy needs you, then you’ll just have to squish your three weeks of me time into two. Take four days to clean up and four to relax, and then let loose those last six days.

Whatever the reason behind your responsibility for your nephew, he needs you and you are an amazing uncle for taking him on.

Dear Lisi: I’m having a problem with my boyfriend. We are both mid-20s and South American. We are both dark-skinned and hairy. I strongly believe in manscaping, for personal hygiene and appearance. I wax my whole body – my chest, arms, legs, nether regions. I leave my underarms and my facial scruff. My boyfriend LOVES everything.

He’s not as hairy as I am, so doesn’t remove the hair from his arms, legs or chest, and I’m OK with that. But I’m not OK with the lack of manscaping down below. He’s very sporty and active and the odour gets trapped in his pubic hairs. Even after a shower and good scrub, as soon as we get intimate, and start to emanate heat from our bodies, out comes this pungent odour that is completely repulsive.

How do I get my man to clean up his act?

Hairy Harry

You don’t seem to have a problem with words, so just tell him how you feel. But approach it from your perspective rather than simply stating, “you smell.” Tell him you really want to be intimate with him, but you’re having an issue and you need his help to get past it. I’m pretty sure that, since it will benefit him, too, he’ll get right on it.

FEEDBACK Responding to nasty emails (June 4):

Reader – “I love your column and your sound advice. As for the negativity, it appears that this particular troll is envious of the wonderful and visible relationship you share with your Mom. My own dear mom passed away 25 years ago and I miss her every day. Enjoy your loving bond with your mother.”

FEEDBACK Regarding the long ago slight (June 4):

Reader #1 – “I agree with you 100 per cent that the daughter-in-law should not get involved. It’s not her place and yes, she should support her brother-in-law.

“My question is: where is the daughter on this? It is her place to stand up to her mother and demand respect for her husband. If a spouse does not have your back in these family issues, when will they?”

Reader #2 – “I totally agree for the letter writer to stay out of this conflict. There very well may be something else going on.

“But I am totally surprised that the sister-in-law (her daughter) permits this to continue. Why has she not stepped in? It’s HER husband and HER mother and she KNOWS the full true story.”

Lisi Tesher is an advice columnist based in Toronto. Email questions to [email protected].