Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 19 Apr 2021 00:43:02 -0700 Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate 722941b7faa641496a1fa11eed9cd5a4 April 19, 2021 for 04/19/2021 Mon, 19 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have a different problem with people taking off their shoes. I work in a small office where we have outside visitors on a daily basis. One woman who works here likes to take off her shoes and walk around barefoot. No socks, no slippers, nothing. I think this is totally disgusting, as well as unprofessional. </p> <p>The managers in the office see this, but must not mind because nothing is said. I have been trying to ignore it, but it's such odd behavior that I'm simply baffled. Although I'm new to this particular office, I've worked in other offices for 15 years, and this is a first. Any advice on what to do? &#8212; Save Your Feet for the Beach</p> <p>Dear Beach: Perhaps your co-worker finds shoes confining and uncomfortable, or she has problems with her feet. Nonetheless, it is inappropriate to walk around this way in an office where outside visitors stop by regularly. <p>Updated: Mon Apr 19, 2021</p> fab5da98c3df492cf9ebc448d5346ee2 April 18, 2021 for 04/18/2021 Sun, 18 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: In the past year, we have been told that two members of our family are gay. One of them is transgender. At the time we were told, most of us were speechless. I did say, "I wish you happy, lovely days ahead." But how would everyone want us to respond? What would someone who recently came out as gay or transgender like to hear? We love them, and wish we had the right words. </p> <p>Can one of your readers help us out? We don't want to say anything inappropriate. &#8212; Sincerely Want to Know in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania</p> <p>Dear Wilkes-Barre: We think you handled this exactly right. Your response was supportive without being intrusive. But we also assume that, like anyone else, LGBT people have individual preferences for how others respond to the news. And we are certain they will let us know whether they have any additional suggestions.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 18, 2021</p> 3243b98233a09ed376cd634cc575df39 April 17, 2021 for 04/17/2021 Sat, 17 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am the stepgrandma of a 2-year-old boy. "Danny" lives with his parents and an older sibling. I have never been blessed with children of my own, but I taught elementary school for many years.</p> <p>Danny's behavior seems unusual to me. If he is at my house for three hours, every minute of that time involves him running through the house nonstop, yelling, screaming and sometimes laughing. If I give him a toy, he throws it like a major league pitcher. He hits everyone in the face. (His parents say this is a sign of affection.) The last time Danny visited, he pulled my cat's tail. When I told him he was not allowed to do that, his father became annoyed with me. </p> <p>Danny is like this in my home, his own home and everyone else's. To me, his behavior is over the top, but I have never raised a boy and don't know for certain. But friends who have raised boys say his behavior is excessive. <p>Updated: Sat Apr 17, 2021</p> b0754904963e4ada297a53ff6607cfd0 April 16, 2021 for 04/16/2021 Fri, 16 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: "Clean Shoes in Wisconsin" objected to his sister-in-law asking him to remove his shoes in her house. Yikes. Outdoor shoes in the house? The University of Houston did a study and found that 39% of shoes contained the bacteria C. diff. In Japan, as well as in many Asian and Scandinavian countries, shoes are removed. It would be a kindness, as you suggested, to provide slippers at the door. Guests could also bring their own. &#8212; Maria in New Mexico</p> <p>Dear Maria: We had a mountain of responses to this letter. Several readers directed us to the study you mention, and another by the University of Arizona. Both tested people's shoes and discovered nine different species of bacteria, many of which can cause infections in our stomachs, eyes and lungs. The studies found that bacteria live longer on our shoes than on anything else, and in most cases, the bacteria was transferred to both tile floors and especially carpeting. There are more bacteria on shoes than on toilet seats, including E coli. This is especially dangerous for children under the age of 2, because they play on the floor and frequently put their hands in their mouths. Here's more:</p> <p>Dear Annie: The host is responsible for making guests feel welcome and comfortable. Many people have health conditions that make walking in stockings or soft-soled slippers unsafe. Such things as diabetes, neuropathy, planter fasciitis and balance issues require that shoes be worn at all times. If the hosts care more about their floors than their guests, they should not entertain in their homes. &#8212; J.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 16, 2021</p> 14f60adad8f0b3682dde493be968af1a April 15, 2021 for 04/15/2021 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for five years and we have two children. In the past year, she has been exceptionally critical and unloving. </p> <p>I work full time. I also cook every meal, do all of the laundry, clean the house, do the grocery shopping and help with the children. My wife works from home as a private tutor. She pays the bills and handles most of the financial stuff. Right now, her job pays better than mine, so I feel obligated to do more around the house despite being gone for much of the day. </p> <p>It seems as though 90% of our conversations are about how disappointed she is in me. She says that I am burdening her with carrying the family because "she has to have a job for us to make it." I already feel terrible about this without her emphasizing it, but I am clueless as to how to change the situation.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 15, 2021</p> f7bf6d1742c47625cb7eb7ad482ed181 April 14, 2021 for 04/14/2021 Wed, 14 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a middle school student, and I signed up for drama at the beginning of the semester. I've been working really hard at it. </p> <p>The problem is, I failed one of my classes (out of seven). Because of that, I am not allowed to participate in drama. I have a speaking role with 17 lines and I don't think they can replace me in such a short time. </p> <p>This really upsets me, especially because in the high school I'll be attending, you only need to pass four classes to participate in drama. What's worse is that they didn't give me or my parents any warning about how close I was to failing. I did know that I wasn't doing well in that class, and I was trying to bring up my grade. But I have anxiety issues and get panic attacks when I try to talk to teachers or people of authority (even my mom).<p>Updated: Wed Apr 14, 2021</p> a0c417a9d4452cb12d6fda7542046cdc April 13, 2021 for 04/13/2021 Tue, 13 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I just heard about your contest to write a poem for July 4 that is more balanced, and that mentions women, as well as men. Why would you print something like that in August, when school is out and kids can't participate? It would have been an excellent project for my classroom.</p> <p>Could you please rerun the original request and extend the deadline? Maybe a few of my middle school kids could write something special that merits being printed in your column. Thanks. &#8212; Teacher in Florida</p> <p>Dear Teacher: It didn't occur to us at the time that the contest request would run during summer break. You are right that it is perfect for the classroom, as well as would-be poets, so we will extend our deadline until June 1. (That's absolutely the latest, folks.) Here is the original letter: <p>Updated: Tue Apr 13, 2021</p> b822c09c56e8dfb741c92a13b8e6c63c April 12, 2021 for 04/12/2021 Mon, 12 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I spent two hours on the phone yesterday with a friend who can talk nonstop and rarely requires a response. I have another friend like this, and it's exhausting. </p> <p>I've seen letters in your column from other readers complaining about this, and you often suggest that the talkers might have a hearing problem. I disagree. These people joke about their "loud mouths," have never complained of any hearing difficulties and seem to hear when they want to. </p> <p>One friend mentioned that she no longer has much of a social life, but I didn't bother to tell her why. "Sally" pretends to be interested in me and my kids and will ask questions, but if my answer is longer than 15 seconds, she interrupts. And I have to yell over her to finish a sentence.<p>Updated: Mon Apr 12, 2021</p> f31aae78ba1cb30dcdaf588b3786a466 April 11, 2021 for 04/11/2021 Sun, 11 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My ex-husband, the father of my kids, decided to date my younger sister, who is in the early stages of recovery from heroin addiction. When she wants to see her four children, she has to have a supervisor present for visitation. </p> <p>My mother and stepfather support this relationship and think it will be good for her. My older sister and I do not approve. Because of this, my mother decided to disown me and my sister. We have not spoken for six months.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">What I don't understand is that my mother mentioned this whole dating thing about four years ago. </span>She asked whether I would be OK with them seeing each other and I strongly replied that I would NOT, and that it was unethical for the two of them to even think about it. Now it's happening. <p>Updated: Sun Apr 11, 2021</p> 4eed39db45e493ce0bf96e2142026e61 April 10, 2021 for 04/10/2021 Sat, 10 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a young lady in my 20s, and I think I've found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I want to start a family and build a life with him, but I don't know how that's going to happen. </p> <p>"Jonathan" takes care of his mother and father. They are on disability, even though they aren't truly disabled. They don't drive, but can do anything other people do. It's just hard for them. His parents are wonderful people and I love them to death, but Jonathan drops everything to tend to them, whether it's going to the grocery store or lending them money. It's hard for me to think we could have a family of our own when he already has one, and it's a big responsibility. </p> <p>Jonathan works hard every day and can never say no to his parents, and his father would give him plenty of attitude if he did. I would do anything for my parents, but when is it too much? &#8212; The Young Lady<p>Updated: Sat Apr 10, 2021</p> 245064c251f08365412fd949c09704da April 9, 2021 for 04/09/2021 Fri, 09 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: "Your Opinion Please" said he originally planned to split his estate 60/40 in favor of his son (successful) and daughter (who had mental health issues, including drug abuse). You made valid points about not punishing the daughter for past mistakes. You did miss one:</p> <p>If their daughter had suffered from a more traditional medical problem like cancer, I seriously doubt they would be dividing up the estate unequally. I have several chronic illnesses and potentially deadly allergies. I know my parents spent more money on my health care than my sister's. Still, they divided everything 50/50, and my sister was fine with that. If a lump sum of money would endanger the daughter's recovery, then a trust is appropriate. &#8212; Be Fair </p> <p>Dear Fair: Many readers weighed in on this with opinions of their own:<p>Updated: Fri Apr 09, 2021</p> 9053a32a2568272d52a08e57f8167549 April 8, 2021 for 04/08/2021 Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Our 46-year-old son is bright, caring and an all-around good guy. Here's the problem: "Munro" has never gotten much of an education, even though he's had multiple chances and we have encouraged him to do so. If we say anything about it, he gets nasty and rude and tells us it's none of our business. </p> <p>He is absolutely right &#8212; until he and his family hit us up for money. Munro has a wife and three children. The oldest, age 20, still lives at home and does not work or contribute to the household. Our daughter-in-law refuses to work more than part-time, and then only temporarily. The entire household lives hand-to-mouth. We have loaned them a lot of money over the years, not to mention the many "extras" we've done for the kids. We made a decision to close the bank, at least until his wife and adult son contribute more to the household. </p> <p>The problem now is that Munro was in a serious, life-altering accident and is lucky to be alive. He won't be able to work for some time. Of course, they can't pay their bills. I spoke to my husband about helping again because of these extenuating circumstances, but he replied that now is a good time for his wife and son to step up and get jobs. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 08, 2021</p> 9cb64326288a81a22cbc5974b3688d93 April 7, 2021 for 04/07/2021 Wed, 07 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: While my leashed dog and I are bonding and enjoying our time together, people will virtually block our way and &#8212; without asking me &#8212; begin to vigorously pet my dog and interact directly with her. My dog is small and fluffy, and strangers, particularly kids, feel free to approach and play with her.</p> <p>These encounters are often not welcome or convenient for me. Sometimes I only have enough time to walk the dog before I have to be elsewhere, and other times, frankly, I'm just not in the mood. My dog doesn't care one way or the other about the attention, but her long hair gets sticky, smelly and dirty when it's stroked by unclean hands continually.</p> <p>I know other pet owners experience similar problems, but feel too guilty to deprive dog lovers of their fun. Are there any tactful and effective ways for me to keep people's hands off my dog without sounding hostile? &#8212; Need to Get Moving<p>Updated: Wed Apr 07, 2021</p> 8c29b320f4af7a83498d54e2cbc482bf April 6, 2021 for 04/06/2021 Tue, 06 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: We're in a pickle. We've spent the past winter in a wonderful retirement area. We've gone out to dinner with some neighbors and had a nice time. Now that it's time to head home, two couples talk constantly about traveling our way this summer, staying with us while they see the sights of our city.</p> <p>Annie, we like these couples, but our lives are very different. For starters, we are vegans and they are not. Just having them for meals in our house would be difficult. We have hinted that we have a lot to do when we get home and are not sure when we would be available, but it hasn't stopped them from assuming they are welcome.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Whatever happened to waiting to be invited? Is it because these retired couples have no set schedule and love to visit people? Why do they expect a big welcome mat to be thrown out for them?</span> <p>Updated: Tue Apr 06, 2021</p> a893bb5265b57ecc9600048329907fc9 April 5, 2021 for 04/05/2021 Mon, 05 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I always had an exaggerated response to alcohol and could never have just one drink. The first time I ever tried drinking was when I was 14 years old, and I got drunk. I wasn't a heavy drinker right away, though. I would drink on weekends and otherwise led a "normal" life through my teens and 20s.</p> <p>However, when I was in my early 30s, I found myself in a high-pressure professional job, living alone in a big city. My life appeared to be great, but I was completely miserable. On weekends, I would start drinking at 4 p.m. and would continue until I passed out or fell asleep. I also started abusing pills and found that as long as I was passed out, I could avoid the pain that had become my life.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Finally, I decided to end my life. Fortunately, my suicide attempt did not pan out and I went for help. </span>I was sent to a state psychiatric facility for six months. While there, I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem with alcohol. For years, I thought that once I got my mental health issues straightened out, I could drink alcohol safely. But I learned that alcohol was also causing a lot of my problems.<p>Updated: Mon Apr 05, 2021</p> b6d46362ef857bcee4c0c7043c114074 April 4, 2021 for 04/04/2021 Sun, 04 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a 12-year-old boy, and I hate my life. I am the youngest of five, but there is a huge age difference. My siblings are aged 29 to 35. My parents are in their mid-50s.</p> <p>My parents didn't plan me and I'm tired of being constantly told that I am the family "mistake." It's like a big joke to them. People always think I am my parent's grandson. My mom seems happy to tell them, "No, he's our son and obviously he was a mistake." It makes me feel small and embarrassed. </p> <p>I think I'm a good kid. I get straight A's and I always help around the house. I have told my parents that it hurts my feelings, but they laugh it off and say it's just an expression and I am too sensitive. Most of my siblings are worse. They like to bully and make fun of me. My oldest sister blames me whenever Mom or Dad have a health issue, saying it's hard on them to deal with a young child at their age. <p>Updated: Sun Apr 04, 2021</p> e3e8c06a2cb3637c46e439aa15e4248c April 3, 2021 for 04/03/2021 Sat, 03 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My younger sister and I are young adults currently living with our grandparents to ease the commute to school and work. We spent most of our elementary and middle school years at our grandparents' house after school, over the summer or when we were sick. Our mother works near their house as well, and she stops by every couple of weeks to check up on them. </p> <p>The problem is Grandma's outlook. We try our best, but she always finds something wrong with us. If we clean the bathroom, we didn't do it right. We either don't eat her food or we eat too much of it. She has become less pleasant to be around and we don't know how to tell her that her yelling and complaints are the reason. </p> <p>Our grandfather prefers to stay out of Grandma's way when she berates us, unless he thinks we are being disrespectful and talking back. What's the most hurtful is that she blames our mistakes on Mother, saying that it is her poor parenting that has resulted in the electric bill going up $20 and the dryer breaking. <p>Updated: Sat Apr 03, 2021</p> c46998f9d1008a63a42d2a08de8b0b25 April 2, 2021 for 04/02/2021 Fri, 02 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Too Little, Too Late," whose Vietnam vet husband is robotic and unaffectionate. This sounds like my husband. </p> <p>There was never an acknowledgement for the things I did, nor did I get a kiss, compliment or sign of affection. He believed because we had a home and enough money to live comfortably, it made him a good husband and father. He made me think everything was my fault &#8212; if I were prettier, smarter or kinder, then things would change. After 30 years of marriage, I was ready to divorce him. Instead, he was diagnosed with a disease that has robbed him of his ability to take care of himself. I recently had to place him in a care center. I'm there every day for hours because he wants me there all the time.</p> <p>I'm in my mid-60s. The sorrow I feel at never having been loved is indescribable. The despair makes me physically ill. My advice is to run, not walk, to the nearest divorce attorney. &#8212; Also Too Little Too Late<p>Updated: Fri Apr 02, 2021</p> 2da0209fde27e27660b97bddf70a7358 April 1, 2021 for 04/01/2021 Thu, 01 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My sister-in-law is going through dialysis. She is able to do it in the comfort of her home with help of a nurse, so she can be close to her young kids. Her husband dotes on her. She isn't able to get out much, but she tries to see my in-laws for supper or coffee whenever possible. My husband and I make an effort to come over to say hi and be supportive, plus our kids love seeing their cousins. </p> <p>The problem is, whenever I ask her how she is doing, she says something dark like, "I'm still alive, but why would any of you care?" Last week, she said she is going to get a motorcycle because she's going to die anyway. If you try to steer the conversation to something lighter, she drives it right back to her illness. I offered to help with her cleaning, and to read her a book while she is getting treatment and give her a foot massage. She told my mother-in-law that I was "showing off" and stopped speaking to me. My husband calls her an emotional vampire.</p> <p>Annie, I have suffered from depression for years. I go to regular meetings with a peer group, take a good medication and have the full support of my husband. When I am around my sister-in-law, my own dark feelings go to a place that I don't like, and I once came home from seeing her and contemplated suicide. I also don't want my 12-year-old, who already shows signs of depression, to be near my sister-in-law. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 01, 2021</p> 294a9510dae85ad6b74fb83d459db517 March 31, 2021 for 03/31/2021 Wed, 31 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I come from a large family. We haven't had any truly rough times, but our sister-in-law is proving to be a problem for me.</p> <p>"Jennifer" has never liked me. At her wedding, my other siblings were attendants, but not me. She often invites my siblings for dinner, but never me.</p> <p>I could live with that, but I am bothered by the way she treats my mother. <p>Updated: Wed Mar 31, 2021</p>