Life Advice



Apartment Dweller Suffers Peeping Tom Incident

Harriette Cole on

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live on the ground floor of an apartment complex. It is in the city, but it is surrounded by a small garden and fence. The other morning, I felt something weird and opened my eyes. Standing outside my window was a random man staring in at me. My bedroom is small. While there was a window between us, he was literally only about 10 feet away from me. I screamed, and he ran off. My sons went out to track him down as I called the police. My sons found him and showed the police where he was. The police talked to him and released him. I asked them to arrest him, but they said they hadn't caught him doing anything, so they couldn't. I am so worried about this. It was horrible waking up to him looking in on me. The police don't seem to be much help. What can I do? -- Peeping Tom

DEAR PEEPING TOM: I'm sorry this happened to you. It is frightening for something like that to occur when you are most vulnerable. Is there a neighborhood watch for your building or community? You can talk to them about community policing. If there isn't one, maybe you can start a group of people who will patrol your building and look out for each other. You can install a motion-activated video recording system, like Ring, to capture images of anyone who passes your window. Some of these devices also have lights that turn on automatically. That can help deter onlookers. You may want to install a safety grille over your window and invest in blackout curtains to protect your privacy. Also, keep the police informed if this happens again.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My immediate family just learned that our mother is the oldest living relative in our extended family where she is from. There is going to be a family reunion that we just learned about. I cannot go. I would need to travel to be there, and there's not enough lead time. I already have that day and weekend scheduled. I feel bad, but my sister will take my mother. I am going to ask if they will FaceTime with me during the event so that I can see some of it. Do you think that's too much to ask of my sister, who will be managing everything, including our elderly mom? -- Family Celebration

DEAR FAMILY CELEBRATION: I bet your sister will be happy to include you in the celebration in whatever ways possible. Plan ahead, though, to make it as easeful as possible. Talk to her about your situation so she understands why you cannot attend. Let her know your window of availability. Make it as broad as possible so she has flexibility. Find out the agenda for the event -- if there is one. Then coordinate with her on when it may work best to call in. Ask her if it will help her for you to place the call as she will be doing many things. If so, know that you may have to try a few times before it's the right time to check in on the festivities.



(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Copyright 2023, Harriette Cole

COPYRIGHT 2023 Andrews McMeel Syndication. This feature may not be reproduced or distributed electronically, in print or otherwise without the written permission of Andrews McMeel Syndication.




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