Annie Lane: Time to chime up

Published 6:30 am Saturday, October 24, 2020

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Dear Annie: My neighbor put up wind chimes a few months ago. They are three-foot-long pipes that make a terrible clanging noise with every sweet little breeze. I find this irritating, rude and unacceptable. I feel like it is the same concept as playing music outside all day long, which of course no one would do, especially at 3 a.m.

I cannot sit outside and enjoy my space without constantly hearing it. I hear it at night when I am trying to sleep, also if I wake up during the night, also first thing in the morning. I have resorted to wearing earplugs when I sleep because the clanging was keeping me awake. We do not even live next door, so I cannot imagine what their next-door neighbors must be experiencing.

Please don’t suggest I tell them. I was on my way over the first time I heard the terrible noise, but my husband stopped me and said they have the right to hang whatever they want. (So, do they have the right to play outside music all day and night?)

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I would also like to mention that they are lovely people.

I am hoping you print this so that I can send it to them anonymously. Do you have any other suggestions besides cutting it down or taping it together at 2 a.m.?

— Irritated

Dear Irritated: Some people love the sound of wind chimes and find them serene. For others, they’re just noise pollution. Your neighbors fall into the former camp, and it probably didn’t occur to them that there’s anyone in the latter. It’s time to chime up. Go talk to them and let them know that you’ve been finding it hard to sleep at night. Your husband may be correct that they have the “right” to hang whatever they’d like in their yard, but if they are lovely people as you say, they will find a solution, whether that is taking the chimes down altogether, taking them down at night, or something else.

• • •

Dear Annie: My parents are up in age 81 and 86. My younger sister and I are their only children. I take my mom and dad to doctor appointments and call them every day to check on them. I live an hour and fifteen minutes away. My sister lives 20 minutes away and never calls them or sees them. My dad says she’s busy, she works or that she has a house to take care of. I’m not healthy and am on disability. On top of all this, my dad made her executor of the trust.

I’ve always been treated like I know nothing, even though I’ve had more schooling than her. And my sister always has something to say about my weight, and it’s never nice. My ringtone on her phone is a pig oinking.

She’s my only sister; it’s just us. But I feel like the only mistreated child. I’ve reached out numerous times to her to discuss this, but it never goes anywhere. It does not like we are family. What should I do? I’m tired of crying.

— Sidelined Sister

Dear Sidelined: Your sister’s calling you a pig says nothing about you, and it speaks volumes about her. But to dwell on her cruelty and the unfairness of the situation is to inflict further pain upon yourself. As Malachy McCourt wrote, “Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Set boundaries in line with self-respect, such as calmly ending conversations when your sister begins hurling insults. Know that you are a generous, loving person, and it’s wonderful that you help to care for your parents.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to