DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My wife is giving a new meaning to the phrase “lost weekend.” Now that technology has made it possible to watch an entire season or more of a TV series in one sitting, my wife has decided to do just that. Repeatedly, during the work week one of my wife’s friends or co-workers will tell her about a “must watch” TV show, and my wife will then spend all weekend watching the entire series or as much of it as she can fit into her waking hours. We used to do stuff together on weekends, and although I enjoy watching TV as much as the next guy, so far all of these shows have been what I consider of the melodramatic variety, which I can’t stand watching. I am too old to join the National Guard. Any suggestions?
— VICTIM OF THE LOST WEEKEND
DEAR VICTIM OF THE LOST WEEKEND: Your wife is binge watching. Being consumed by these shows is symptomatic of a bored woman who is satisfying her own interests even though she knows they exclude you. She is addicted. You should be able to resume your weekend activities as a couple once your wife’s voracious appetite has been quenched. Do not brood. Moody behavior will reinforce your annoyance and will generate bad feelings. Plan some weekend diversions that you both enjoy and tell your wife how much you love her company. Your flattery and attention will help her detox from bingeing in the fantasy world. She may not want to go cold turkey, but with your encouragement she should be comfortable tapering the amount of time she spends streaming soaps.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: One of my neighbor’s sons while home from college this summer has offered to do various handyman type odd jobs for cash. He has done some work for a couple neighbors already. Would I be potentially violating any labor laws or putting myself in a homeowner’s liability situation by hiring him on “under the table” terms?
— HIRING A HANDYMAN
DEAR HIRING A HANDYMAN: As an independent contractor it is this young man’s responsibility to report his income, not your responsibility. You would not be violating labor laws by paying him in cash. You are always liable, however, if someone is hurt on your property due to your negligence. Contact your insurance agent and ask his or her advice about your potential liability if a mishap or accident occurs while this neighbor is working for you. Today it is difficult to find a responsible person to tackle odd jobs. So if your insurance agent is in agreement that you have adequate coverage, take advantage of the opportunity to shorten your to-do list and hire the college student.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice.