Family as Roomies, Kindness in the Express Line

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: I would like some opinions, including yours, of what a parent should expect an adult child to pay for room and board if they have moved in to help out with your well-being, performing tasks such as laundry, house cleaning, errands, etc., that you are no longer able to do. Should they contribute any money toward living expenses such as food, utilities, maintenance, etc.? — No name, Lisbon Falls.

ANSWER: This is one big topic. Because I have personally experienced this type of living arrangement in the past and you did ask for my opinion, I can offer my 10 cents and also invite others to do the same. I think it depends a lot on how much work your offspring is doing for you. I would hope that the arrangement can be brought to a mutually satisfying agreement.

You may want to seek the assistance of a trained social worker or even a mediator for professional advice, especially if things are getting stickier than you want them to be. There is a fine line between supporting and enabling. For example, I believe your housemate should be supplying his/her own special snacks and beverages above and beyond regular meals and his/her own gas for his personal jaunts. Perhaps it would be fair to compensate your housemate for all the chores and errands by having him/her pay a quarter or a third of the rent and other household expenses, including groceries, rather than half, which is what I would recommend if he/she was just living with you and not helping you out so much.

Sitting down together and making a list of expectations on both sides could get a good conversation going. No one wants to feel like they are being put upon. OK, readers, please join the discussion with your respectful, helpful opinions.

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: Recently I needed five items at Hannaford. I got them and was waiting in the express line. For a Sunday morning, there were many people waiting in any line. A man in the next express line over had only two items so I let him go in front of me. After the cashier totaled my order, the register said $18, but she said, “That will be $16.” When I told her the register said $18, she said, “The gentleman before you said, ‘Give her my change!’”

I couldn’t believe it! Thank you, sir. You are a very kind, caring man and I appreciate it. I’ll return this favor to another customer. There are good people in our midst. — Connie, Auburn

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