DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My spouse recently has formed a habit of storing food in his cheek as he talks. It reminds me of a cow chewing its cud or a squirrel storing nuts for later. Should I point this out to him, or are there bigger issues to worry about?
DEAR CONCERNED: Honey, this is a big issue. It sounds like you are referring to a wad of mashed potatoes and steak. Saving for a rainy day is prudent but not in your cheek. Post some signs around the kitchen that say, "Don't talk with your mouth full." Definitely tell your mate to slow down, take smaller bites, chew, swallow and then talk. If the stasher feels the only way to get a word in at the dinner table is to store food in the side of his mouth, he needs to switch to soup or eat when the conversation is less frenzied.
This gross habit should stop with some joking and reminding of just how disgusting the pouch in the cheek looks to others. Some people can eat, drink and carry on a conversation at the same time. Unfortunately, your spouse is not one of them.
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DEAR STEEL ADVICE: A couple of years ago I would not stop complaining about the dog across the street and his constant barking, even to the point of calling or knocking on the sweet neighbor's door. We now have a new pup who is louder than our older one. I feel like a hypocrite. The neighbors know how I felt about things before. We try to keep the dogs inside but what to do?
-- PUPPY OWNER
DEAR PUPPY OWNER: Eat a piece of homemade humble pie. Next square your shoulders and deliver an apple or pumpkin pie to your neighbor as a peace offering. Attach a note that explains you now understand the complexity of trying to train a noisy puppy and that you hope your dog's barking phase will be a short one. If this does not ease the neighborhood tension, try another tactic and this time deliver warm chocolate chip cookies without a note. Use the barking puppy incident as a reminder to yourself not to be cocky or nasty in the future when other people's animals, kids or habits annoy you. Change your attitude so you do not become a bakery delivery service or a humble pie factory.
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