Dear Amy:

This year, my two friends and I looked on Craigslist for a fourth roommate to share rent for the year at our house and finally settled on "Jamie."

She was sweet, and said she was very academically driven and a non-partier.

Over time, it has become apparent that she must have some compulsive disorder, because she does at least four loads of laundry a week. She runs the dishwasher daily, regardless of the load.

Also, she keeps the thermostat at 78, which makes the rest of us swelter uncomfortably in our own house.

We are concerned about astronomical energy costs.

Jamie is extremely touchy, so how can we diplomatically but effectively broach the topic?

- Wondering Roomies

Dear Roomies: Pretend "Jamie" isn't touchy and approach this subject for what it is - an important issue for the whole household.

You should call a house meeting and develop some guidelines for household energy use.

Keeping your house at 78 degrees is extreme. You should all agree to keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature. Perhaps all household members should agree to pay a fee for each load of clothes you wash. This would encourage each roommate to wash clothes only if there is a full load - and the money could go toward the bill.

If your roommate has compulsions, then she's going to have to figure out how to either control them or compensate the household for the problems they cause.

Dear Amy: I must disagree with your response to "Offended Coworker," who didn't like the fact that a fellow employee stored her breast milk prominently in the refrigerator at work.

Speaking for myself, I don't want to see any substance extruded from another human in the communal fridge. By your reasoning, it would be OK to store a urine sample there because it's "not a toxic, explosive, frightening, or even very interesting substance." I say, ugh.

The solution to this problem is relatively easy. Let the mother pump her milk and keep it in the fridge, but place the bottle in a paper bag. "Ick" factor neutralized; milk preserved; problem solved.

- Also Offended

Dear Also: Why do people feel compelled to compare breast milk to urine? One is food. The other is - not food.

If the mere presence of breast milk in a container is offensive, then the most sensible solution would be for you to get over it. Problem solved.

Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is now available in bookstores.