Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Thu, 29 Sep 2016 04:51:00 -0700 Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate c887abc8775297e00e4876bd7d59a42e Where There's Smoke for 09/29/2016 Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My daughter just learned that a registered sex offender is living next door to her and her family. She has a young son and daughter. We also have a pre-teen granddaughter living a block away. This offender has served a long prison sentence on multiple charges, at least one of which involved a minor.</p> <p>This is extremely distressing to all of us. My daughter's kids are prisoners in their home. She can't let the children play in the fenced backyard unless an adult is out there with them all of the time. She can't even sell their house. The law requires full disclosure, so the sellers can't keep it a secret. Who will want to buy it? </p> <p>Everything we have read on the subject indicates that sex offenders can't change. What can be done? Aren't there supervised living facilities for these people? We know they have rights, too, but what about the rights of the greater majority?<p>Updated: Thu Sep 29, 2016</p> 61c3f19bc00227ab71306325b28b39b3 Potty Problems for 09/28/2016 Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I would like to respond to "Open to Suggestions in California." I am a teacher who also has experienced the "pee" problem and the domino effect. </p> <p>I now allow my students to go to the restroom as soon as they enter my class. With the exception of special circumstances (I have a diabetic student), I do not allow students out of class once the lesson has begun. </p> <p>Our students have only three minutes between classes, and I realize this is not enough time to hit the lockers as well as the restrooms. I would much rather spend a couple of extra minutes in the hall monitoring my students than be constantly interrupted in the classroom. I use the time to take the roll, sign excuses and other beginning-of-class business. I also allow the students who ride the bus home to go to the restroom the last five minutes of our last class. Everything flows much better now. &#8212; Theresa in Louisiana<p>Updated: Wed Sep 28, 2016</p> c67f5e7dba57c5dbfc1b09ab65b460fb Aching Back, Aching Heart for 09/27/2016 Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My sister, "Shania," has been married for six years to "Al" (a second marriage for both, no children). During the entire duration of their marriage, Shania has complained about the lack of affection and sex. </p> <p>Recently, Shania was diagnosed with a serious back problem that required three operations. As a result, she is permanently restricted, which is difficult for her, because she always has been a very active person. Due to the medication she takes, our entire family is concerned about Shania's decision-making abilities, and we also are concerned that Al is taking advantage of the situation. </p> <p>When they married, Al had some financial troubles, but Shania was financially well-off and paid for the wedding. After that, Al struggled at the company where he worked and Shania helped him start his own business. Since then, Al has purchased expensive cars, computers, furniture and other electronic equipment for his company. <p>Updated: Tue Sep 27, 2016</p> 32fcc52aa98ca5d7a414c00ea958d24d When You've Had Too Much to Think for 09/26/2016 Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I'm writing to urge women to take advantage of National Depression Screening Day on Oct. 6, when free mental health screenings will be available across the nation. I believe it is one step that can save women from struggling endlessly with a serious illness that only in recent years has begun to receive much-needed attention &#8212; postpartum mood disorders.</p> <p>I suffered from a postpartum disorder that left me sad, irritable, obsessive and unable to sleep or eat. I had fleeting thoughts about hurting my newborn son. I loved him dearly, but I'd find myself thinking about smothering him or dropping him down the stairs. I had no idea where these thoughts came from. I was confused, and sank deeper and deeper into misery and fear. I thought if I told anyone, they would lock me away forever. But they didn't. They told me my illness had a name and that it would go away. This was a tremendous relief.</p> <p>People often look at postpartum depression and think it is a woman's problem. But it is a family's problem. It affects husbands, partners and, most of all, our babies.<p>Updated: Mon Sep 26, 2016</p> 5c79e7f8b27f836e0aa8910b81bc38ea Open Invite to Church for 09/24/2016 Sat, 24 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband, children and I are caring for my widowed father, who is in the late stages of dementia. I consider it a privilege and a responsibility to care for him at home, and am happy to do so for as long as I am able. I attend support groups, and my family and friends ensure that I "escape" from time to time.</p> <p>The difficulty is with my sister and her three children, who live many states away, and who use their distance, their busy lives and their dysfunction as reasons to ignore Dad. Because phone calls are difficult for him, I have asked Sis several times to send a letter, postcard or e-mail with her picture attached, but she won't. Dad lives to go to the mailbox. Getting a personal letter makes his day, and he happily reads it over and over. Reading also is good stimulation for his brain. </p> <p>Please don't suggest I "create" letters and pretend they are from her. I also will not give my sister care packages of stamps and pre-addressed envelopes to make it easier. I am a full-time caregiver and have enough on my plate. <p>Updated: Sat Sep 24, 2016</p> a5ce692f7533e0332bbdb735152b5dfd The Blurry Line of Morality for 09/23/2016 Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My fiance, "Bob," and I have been together nearly two years, and we are going through a rough patch. My father and Bob have not been getting along for the past few months. Now, Bob refuses to go to any event that includes my family. Honestly, my father is ready to put it all behind him and work on a healthier relationship, but Bob is too stubborn to back down. </p> <p>It hurts me that Bob cannot be friendly with my family. My aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents absolutely love the guy, but now he won't see them. Worse, our wedding is less than two months away, and Bob just informed me that he isn't ready to be married. We are still engaged, but the wedding is postponed and no future date has been set. </p> <p>Annie, I love Bob very much. We are both young (in our very early 20s), but we've invested a lot in this relationship, and this is the first major rough spot we've hit. I've accepted Bob's decision to wait, but I am still hurt and confused. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. &#8212; Heartbroken in the Heart of Kansas <p>Updated: Fri Sep 23, 2016</p> 8761e98e820dbf969862dc608ca73c4a Grown Children for 09/22/2016 Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 35 years. We have two adult children who have been a wonderful part of our lives.</p> <p>My daughter, 33, moved out after high school. She did not complete her college degree and moved back home. She is working a three-hour-a-day job that takes care of her bills and personal expenses. </p> <p>Our 30-year-old son, "Perry," is kind and loving. He was a star athlete in high school but has since been in trouble with drugs, in jail twice, fathered a beautiful baby (the mother is in prison for another 10 months), did a year at a sober living residence (we raised the child) and now he's back home &#8212; and messing up again. He's lazy, drinking and not attending court-assigned DUI classes. He is, however, a loving father to his 2-year-old son.<p>Updated: Thu Sep 22, 2016</p> 00ed2daa127568d16142fe494179ceca High School Sweethearts Reunited for 09/21/2016 Wed, 21 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: When I started my job 10 years ago, my boss was married to the office manager. Everything was great, and we were like a big family. However, four years ago, my boss's wife was caught embezzling. She is currently serving time in a federal prison, and they have since divorced. </p> <p>Here's my problem. My boss recently remarried, and his new wife doesn't like me. She even has phoned the office and told me not to call my boss at home for any reason. When she calls in and I answer, she is very rude and obnoxious to me &#8212; but not to the other girls. </p> <p>I think the new wife is pressuring my boss to fire me. She is very strong-willed, and he is not. He would never stand up to anyone, and especially not her. I have made repeated attempts to be nice to this woman, but nothing is working. I think the only reason I haven't been fired yet is because my boss is afraid of my significant other. Should I start looking for another job? &#8212; Other Shoe<p>Updated: Wed Sep 21, 2016</p> df7b5345352ba180bf61228ee58d40a6 Look What the Cat Dragged in for 09/20/2016 Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I read your column every day and finally decided it was time to ask for advice. Last weekend, my husband of nine years did the unthinkable. He hit me in front of our two children. He had been drinking excessively, and apparently, I pushed the wrong buttons. A few choice words were exchanged, and I told him to get out of our house. He wouldn't leave, so I took the children to my parents' home. </p> <p>I returned the next day, and he said he was sorry and promised to quit drinking. I felt confident that we could work through this. Now, he is saying that because I took the kids to my parents, he cannot be around my family ever again. </p> <p>I keep reminding him that he is the one who did this. It seems like he is trying to punish me for standing up for myself. If he were to just go on like nothing ever happened, we could start to heal and rebuild, but by refusing to be with my family, it is a constant reminder of what happened that awful night. <p>Updated: Tue Sep 20, 2016</p> 0e0ae0322fee83af846eef7367b1a5f4 I Do and a Dowry for 09/19/2016 Mon, 19 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My 30-year-old son is engaged to be married to a young lady from Kenya. They have known each other a year, and he is head over heels in love. She claims to love our son, but she also honors the way of her culture, which we think is fine &#8212; to a point. </p> <p>Her family insists that we pay a dowry. In Kenya, that is their way. However, this is the United States, and since she becomes a U.S. citizen when she marries, I feel that is dowry enough. We have spoken to her family, but they won't budge. </p> <p>If our son's fiancee doesn't marry him within the year, she will be deported. We love our son and want what's best for him, but giving money for a bride rubs us the wrong way. We don't want to offend anyone, but what do you think?<p>Updated: Mon Sep 19, 2016</p> bd73b8e3453f9a7216a40a1461c92ffe Stay at Home Dad for 09/18/2016 Sun, 18 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have started dating a divorced Jewish man with a teenage daughter. I, too, am Jewish. "Simon" has been divorced for many years, and has continued to celebrate the important high holidays in the company of his daughter and his ex-wife (who has not remarried).</p> <p>Simon and I have a lot in common, and everything is going so well between us that I seriously would like to cultivate this relationship into something long-term. But what happens to me when the high holidays come around? Do I tag along to temple services with his family? Do I bow out and attend services elsewhere? Is it fair to expect him to change his family arrangement?</p> <p>Maybe I should just look elsewhere for a serious relationship before this one gets any more involved. Truthfully, none of these options makes me happy. Please advise. &#8212; Odd Woman Out <p>Updated: Sun Sep 18, 2016</p> 59527c4e1d9997262f1475c277ad090c All in the Family for 09/17/2016 Sat, 17 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and his brother, "Sam," are both in their 50s. My mother-in-law thinks Sam is "the golden child." He and his wife receive the best gifts, and we get whatever trash she can put her hands on. She gives my sister-in-law all the best jewelry, and I get cheap junk. She recently told me that for my birthday, she was sending a blouse that she bought for herself, wore a few times and now doesn't care for. </p> <p>I don't know what to say to her when she does these things. My main concern is how it makes my husband feel. When he tries to visit, she tells him not to bother, that she doesn't need to see him. But when Sam visits, she runs out and gets her hair and nails done and stocks the house with all of his favorite things. </p> <p>My husband deals with it by lowering his expectations, but I find it more difficult to handle. We will no longer spend holidays with his family, because our last Christmas was so painful. My sister-in-law received enough sapphires and diamonds for a ring, bracelet and earrings. I got a used mood ring. She gave each of her sons a family memento, but she told my husband he could only look at his and then needed to give it to his brother. <p>Updated: Sat Sep 17, 2016</p> 49b77c2e60267e7b1e511c1084ed596e Depression, Dementia and Drama, Oh, My! for 09/16/2016 Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am having an argument with my husband and need an impartial opinion. </p> <p>My daughter, 19, has been dating "Thad," 21, for four years. Thad recently admitted that he cheated on her, and now she is breaking up with him. She discussed it with me and then sent him a text message that it was over. He texted her multiple times, but she didn't respond. He wants to get back together and keeps calling her, sometimes keeping her up at night arguing about it.</p> <p>Thad walked over to our house, and when my daughter said she didn't want to see him, my husband sent him away. My husband then immediately blocked Thad's phone numbers from all of our cellphones, and the next day, he blocked the boy's mother's phone number, as well. He told my younger children to call the police if Thad comes over.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 16, 2016</p> 762024a7f996e47ddef1b60014af4940 Addicted to Chaos for 09/15/2016 Thu, 15 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My sister, "Ruth," has struggled with addiction to prescription medication since high school. My parents have been incredibly supportive for the past eight years. They helped her get into rehabilitation programs, paid for lawyers, car insurance, health insurance and food, and they allow her to live rent-free in their home. </p> <p>This past spring, Ruth finally finished vocational school, but instead of looking for a job, she spends every day in her room playing video games. She doesn't contribute financially, nor does she help with basic household chores. Recently, she relapsed and ended up back in an outpatient rehab program. </p> <p>My parents are terrified to throw her out for fear she would (once again) attempt suicide. They have tried giving her deadlines to finish school, get a job and move out, but she always manages to manipulate my parents, and the deadlines pass and life goes on unchanged. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 15, 2016</p> 44aaf739ee7c63e8aa6ff5795948c281 Facebook Family for 09/14/2016 Wed, 14 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: A while back, I signed up for Facebook in order to stay in touch with friends and renew old acquaintances.</p> <p>Several weeks ago, my husband's 35-year-old daughter, "Sheila," sent me a friend request. She has not been in touch with us since she turned 18, when my husband no longer had to pay child support. Obviously, they were never close. The only time we heard from her was when she wanted money. </p> <p>I told my husband about the request, and he said to ignore it. But Sheila is now married with a child, and I'd like to think she has since matured and wants to reconnect with her father. Of course, his impression is that she wants something from us. Out of respect for my husband's wishes, I did not respond to Sheila's request. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 14, 2016</p> 4977223561b9935059ef051947f8d032 Gender Stereotypes Reversed for 09/13/2016 Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My son has been married to "Josie" for 11 years. I admit I never cared for her. She has a volatile temper and creates destructive scenes. Once they married, I did my best to be friendly, hoping she would mellow with time. She has not. </p> <p>In the past three years, Josie's violent behavior has escalated. She used to put holes in the walls and destroy dishes and furniture. Now she hits my son. If he defends himself, she calls the police and has him arrested. This has become a regular routine. </p> <p>She recently held a loaded gun in his face. I'm scared to death that she is going to kill him. On top of that, their children are frequent witnesses to this madness. They have seen their father hauled off to jail numerous times, even though he is never the aggressor. Josie has actually hit herself in the face to create the impression that she'd been beaten. She once admitted to me that she smashed a bottle on her head so there would be blood.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 13, 2016</p> 8661be803fd860b760d3c5855c628211 Tip Karma for 09/12/2016 Mon, 12 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have been a single mother for 20 years. Four months ago, I was talked into letting one of my daughter's friends stay with us while her parents searched for a new home in another state. They agreed to pay me a monthly stipend for their daughter's expenses. This has not happened. I received one check, and that was it. This girl's father makes plenty of money, and I am barely getting by. </p> <p>I also discovered that the girl has a significant drug and alcohol problem, and it is influencing my daughter. Sad to say, I believe my child is following this girl down the same path. When my daughter decided my house rules were too strict, she packed her things, and she and her friend went to live with my ex-husband. </p> <p>I don't believe my house rules are out of line. I told her no drugs, no alcohol, no profanity, and she has to keep her room clean. Of course, she has not told her father the real picture. She painted me as some kind of ogre. Should I have handled this differently? &#8212; Indiana<p>Updated: Mon Sep 12, 2016</p> af1fa3fd06029a4d4e7413867cc7c0f0 All in the Family for 09/11/2016 Sun, 11 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I'm 12 years old, and my brother is verbally and physically abusive. Sometimes it's just playing around, but other times it really hurts. When I yell out, my mom gets involved. She sends us both to our rooms without even knowing what the problem is. She doesn't want to hear it. She always says, "You'll just have to work it out on your own." </p> <p>I've tried to ignore it when my brother hits me, but it really hurts, and when he calls me names, that hurts, too. Recently, I've developed some medical problems with my head. I don't think my brother is the cause, but you never know. </p> <p>I don't really have an adult I can talk to, and my friends wouldn't know how to help. This doesn't seem like a matter for any authorities. What should I do? &#8212; Bruised in Nebraska <p>Updated: Sun Sep 11, 2016</p> a0d78c78fd17597ded521c5cb77e9266 Handshake with The Hulk for 09/10/2016 Sat, 10 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a fairly tall sophomore girl in high school. I have dated several guys, but their personalities are not like the guy I have a crush on. </p> <p>"Ravi" is a junior. He is handsome, shy, intelligent, a good artist and very muscular. The problem is, he is the shortest person in the whole school. I like him a lot, and I want him to notice me. But I would feel really awkward going up to him and starting a conversation. Please give me some tips on how to approach him. &#8212; Short-Circuited in Oregon </p> <p>Dear Oregon: First of all, it's likely Ravi already has noticed you. Some short guys are reluctant to express an interest in tall girls because they fear they will be rejected. You will have to make the first move.<p>Updated: Sat Sep 10, 2016</p> 3b91eb08c8588fc60b27ef81c5fc0d79 Carbs and Gluten and Red Meat, Oh, My! for 09/09/2016 Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our late 70s. Although we had a modest income, we managed to send all our children to college, and they now are financially comfortable. We have been retired for several years and are on a limited income. </p> <p>My children like to come home for every holiday, and we enjoy having them. The problem is the food. They all help with the preparation and clean-up, but menus and shopping have become an obstacle. </p> <p>As my children marry and have children, it is becoming increasingly difficult to prepare meals for the extended family. One eats only kosher food, another has an allergy to milk, one has high cholesterol, another is diabetic, one hates vegetables, and one is on the South Beach Diet. Some want skim milk, others want soy, and each child wants his favorite soda and favorite cereal. Some eat no breakfast, so they snack or want an early dinner, while others enjoy relaxing over a lengthy breakfast. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 09, 2016</p>