Dear Nicole: How do I avoid the smoke cloud?

Dear Nicole,

My best friend and her husband smoke in her house. We live 100 miles apart, she lives in the same hometown as my parents so I visit about once a month.

I don’t want to spend time inside her house. I did it with my daughter and grandson at Christmas and we all reeked of smoke the whole ride back. None of us smoke, and I am allergic.

They are courteous enough to smoke in another room while we are there (insert sarcasm). Since then, we have invited them out for dinner (our treat). The first time they accepted. This last time they did not. We arranged to meet at other locations several times over the weekend and they declined. We would prefer to not have them in our hotel room – once again the smell. I feel bad for not visiting. We have been friends for almost 50 years. This is not an issue in the summer, she has a nice deck.

What is the winter answer? Thank you.

Fumigated in Farmington


It sounds like your friend is trying to accommodate, which is a good sign. I bet she has no idea that her efforts are not working though. You need to tell her why you are suggesting meeting elsewhere. It sounds like she is a good enough friend that you not only need to preserve this relationship but that you can have relatively important conversations like this without it blowing up in your face.

Some of my alternate ideas for you and your friend to try (once you’ve discussed) include investment in a little air purifier that can travel with you may make your hotel room more bearable.

Keep winter visits to neutral smoke free locations. Doesn’t always have to be dinner, maybe you could go to a hockey game or go to one of those places where you can play some games and eat some pizza. Think cheap, fun, and kid friendly.

After visiting your friends, go to your parents’ house for a quick clothes change/shower before the drive home. What kid (or adult for that matter) doesn’t like changing into comfies/jammies before a long drive?

Some other thing you and your friend agree on.

Good news? Sounds like you aren’t ready to end the friendship and you’re willing to find a compromise. Let’s hope she feels the same way. (Or if you are a complete conflict avoid her, only visit in the summer. That also works.)


Dear Nicole,

Our daughter, 28, is a very bright, educated, self-actualizing young woman. She has had a few relationships growing up, all apparently nurturing and healthy, none permanent. She’s been going with a man five years her senior who was married and has joint custody of a minor child (a son). Our daughter likes the little kid and she and the boy’s father are planning to marry. So far, so good.

But the guy wants her to sign a pre-nup. She doesn’t seem bothered by this (she tells us lots, but she doesn’t tell us everything.) I guess she’s going to go ahead with it. But it certainly bothers me.

Why a pre-nup? That sounds like the kind of thing a guy wants if he’s marrying for the fifth time. If it’s a question of providing for his son, couldn’t that just be in his will?

We haven’t brought this up with our daughter as it is her business, not ours. But can you tell us anything about pre-nups that will make her parents feel less icky about the whole thing. It’s just so unromantic. Where’s the love and trust?

Very Traditional in Trenton

Your daughter doesn’t mind signing the prenup because she’s marrying him for the long term anyway. Under most prenups, any assets she takes into the marriage will be protected should it dissolve and anything acquired together will be split in the event of a divorce. Is there anything bad in that reasoning?

The fiance’s first obligation is to his son, second to your daughter. Whether this prenup is to protect the son, make sure your daughter is marrying him for the right reasons, or has a placebo effect thing that just makes him feel better going into it, it doesn’t matter.

Unless the prenup has some icky clause, like she has to produce a male heir to get money or something, it shouldn’t feel icky to her to sign a little legal paperwork. It sounds like your daughter and her fiance are putting thought into this marriage by thinking about terms. Any communication leading up to a marriage, in my opinion, is a-okay… even if that communication involves a signature and a notary.

Nicole Ouellette

Nicole Ouellette

When Nicole isn't giving advice she's completely unqualified to give, she runs an Internet marketing company in Bar Harbor, where she lives with her husband Derrick and their short dog Gidget. She loves young adult novels, cooking and talking French to anyone who'll talk back. [email protected]
Nicole Ouellette

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