Ed Barkowitz: Boys hamper mom's cleaning efforts

Q: I am a single mother of four boys. How do I get them to pick up after them? Do you guys and boys not understand what a hamper is?

- Airing Out Dirty Laundry in Lawndale

A: I'm with you mama because I'm a clean freak. Never met a vacuum cleaner I didn't like. I didn't have much growing up as a kid but my mom and grandmom taught me to be appreciative of what I did have and to clean up after myself. It's a simple matter of self respect. Maybe your guys just assume that you'll continue to pick up after them. I'd dump all the trash from the house in their room until they got the message, but it's not cool for moms to act like that. So the next best thing would be to leave the laundry basket on their beds and tell them to take it to the basket for Charles. If that still doesn't work just leave them little reminder notes from the "Pick Up Pixie" on their pillows. Guys hate to be treated like little babies, but maybe that's the pick up they need.

Q:There was a time men would offer a woman a seat on a crowded bus. I swear. I am sure there are some gentlemen out there but I swear they aren't on my SEPTA line. Is it wrong to expect a young dude to give up his seat?

- Tired in Torresdale

A: My friend, I too am tired of seeing how respect and civility are becoming ancient history. It's not just on the bus, but everywhere. Too many people don't say please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me or will give you the time of day. What happened to opening doors for people, being patient or simply being polite? Maybe you should ask a guy if he'd give the seat up for his mama. If he says yes tell him that mama's not here but you are so give it up. Well, that's what I'd say if I were a woman. You're not wrong to expect a basic kindness from a stranger like giving up a seat. But if he doesn't there's nothing wrong with asking politely if he'd mind letting you sit down. Some people still need to be taught. If he says no I'd fall all over his sorry self on the next sudden stop and make sure I grind a knee for good measure but, again, that'd be if I were a woman.