Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 06 Dec 2019 03:36:11 -0800 Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate 23ce227fda82e0e060e1baf4bc7010fb December 6, 2019 for 12/06/2019 Fri, 06 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: You gave great advice to "Too Small," the teenage boy who is worried that his short stature means he will never have a girlfriend. </p> <p>I recommend he check his hygiene, making sure it's impeccable. He also should make sure his clothes are neat, clean and pressed and learn some communication skills so he's an excellent conversationalist and a great listener. I'd suggest he develop some varied interests and make education a priority. It's personally appealing and something you do for yourself that no one can take away from you. Self-confidence is extremely sexy! Last but not least, he should learn to dance. Yes, really! Girls of all ages love to dance. The guy who can dance is the hit of every gathering. The grumps are sitting on the sidelines. Ultimately, a well-rounded person is a woman's dream date. &#8212; B.</p> <p>Dear B.: We were surprised by the number of readers who suggested he learn to dance as a way to be irresistible to women. Read on for more encouragement:<p>Updated: Fri Dec 06, 2019</p> f699c7dda399addfc86c4ff8534b6a2c December 5, 2019 for 12/05/2019 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am a middle school student, and one of my friends is depressed. She and her family are atheists, and they have been repeatedly harassed about it to the point that her worst fear is dying and going to hell. </p> <p>I'm really scared for my friend. When we found out she was thinking about suicide the first time, we got her to go to the school counselor, who, instead of telling her that she was depressed and needed psychological help, told her she had made mistakes and needed to be more careful. This only decreased her already low self-esteem. Now she thinks she's a coward. My friend is also painfully lonely and convinced that everyone hates her. </p> <p>I do not trust the school to help, and neither does she. Everyone says she's just being dramatic. I have no idea what I am supposed to do. &#8212; Powerless <p>Updated: Thu Dec 05, 2019</p> 11a802ee2db592298b5ce49af2817a42 December 4, 2019 for 12/04/2019 Wed, 04 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I have been married for 28 years to a hardworking man. We have one teenage daughter. "Kara" is very smart, and my husband spoils her rotten. Kara has her own car, and my husband gives her money whenever she asks for it. We have some money saved in a college account for her, but she wants to attend an elite school that is more than we can afford. We won't qualify for financial aid. </p> <p>I think Kara needs to take the money we have saved and figure the rest out, but my opinion doesn't matter. My husband will now delay retirement in order to pay for her to go to the school of her dreams. I think this is wrong, and it's causing much tension in our household. What is your opinion? &#8212; Annoyed Mom</p> <p>Dear Annoyed: Your husband is willing to do whatever he can to give Kara what she wants. You don't think an expensive school is worth it (probably isn't), and you were looking forward to his retirement. We also suspect you harbor some resentment toward your husband, as well as Kara, for his indulgence of her.<p>Updated: Wed Dec 04, 2019</p> 1c401163e6b1da42da269b0247760643 December 3, 2019 for 12/03/2019 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am a 23-year-old man. I served in the army and deployed to Afghanistan. I was medically discharged for PTSD about two years ago. </p> <p>I'm currently going to school to be a firefighter, but I'm afraid I've picked this field not because it interests me, but because I cannot go back into the military.</p> <p>I'm working in an office now, and I hate my job. Before this, I worked at a department store and as a machinist. But, Annie, I can't see myself anywhere but with the military. What should I do? &#8212; Lost Soldier<p>Updated: Tue Dec 03, 2019</p> a4b4a5469fb662ecaf5f2afdd48b6ece December 2, 2019 for 12/02/2019 Mon, 02 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Five years ago, my husband's best friend, "Cary," was in financial trouble and asked my husband for a loan, which he sent. I only found out about it when the bank sent a receipt to our house. It was for $25,000. I nearly fell over.</p> <p>I questioned my husband, and he said our loan kept Cary out of bankruptcy, so I dropped the subject. Last year, Cary told my husband he still wasn't able to pay back any of the money, and my generous husband said he'd forgive the loan altogether. I found out about this when we planned a trip to Cary's area. I told my husband I didn't want to visit Cary because he'd made no attempt to pay back any of the loan, and that's when my husband dropped the bombshell. </p> <p>I am angry that my husband didn't discuss either of these decisions with me. He has worked hard for his money, and we've had many ups and downs financially. We don't take extravagant vacations, my car is eight years old, and we are paying three college tuitions. My sister is struggling, too, and I would love to help her, but wouldn't even consider it without talking it over with my husband. I don't understand how anyone could borrow money with no intention of paying it back. How can Cary sleep at night? Should I call Cary and express my disappointment that he's taken advantage of his best friend? &#8212; Loser Friends<p>Updated: Mon Dec 02, 2019</p> bb2d2a6ebacf2130f4f56bb0998fc8cf December 1, 2019 for 12/01/2019 Sun, 01 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: When my son was a teenager, he attempted suicide three times. My daughter has attempted suicide twice. Her 16-year-old son left a note, but she discovered it and took him to a hospital.</p> <p>I have moments of complete sadness, but I have never tried to kill myself. Does this suicidal tendency run in families? Is there a "suicide gene"? &#8212; Granny to Eleven </p> <p>Dear Granny: We contacted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and here is what they said:<p>Updated: Sun Dec 01, 2019</p> 3b89f613126de02e259c0480c10c5363 November 30, 2019 for 11/30/2019 Sat, 30 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I've been married to my husband for a year, and we moved into our first house roughly six months ago. I love our home, and I know we're very fortunate. </p> <p>Here's the problem: His parents live two hours from us. My husband has a younger sister who plays in the local youth symphony. As a result, she is frequently in town for music lessons and concerts, and her parents must drive her to these events. Naturally, my in-laws asked whether they could spend the night at our place a few times. At first, I was only too happy to have them. I understand how difficult high school can be for a talented girl, and the lessons make her incredibly happy. But now it feels as though they are staying with us every weekend, and the constant company is starting to wear me out.</p> <p>I love my husband's family &#8212; after all, they raised the man I married. How could I not appreciate all they have done? But I miss being alone with my husband on the weekends. I've spoken with him about this, and he understands, but neither of us knows how to solve the problem. His parents have made it clear that if we didn't house them on the weekends, they wouldn't be able to afford the music lessons for his sister. What should we do? &#8212; Spending Too Much Time with the In-Laws <p>Updated: Sat Nov 30, 2019</p> b5dea2d69c48c70d9eed5bf72023a171 November 29, 2019 for 11/29/2019 Fri, 29 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I have been caring for my grandmother for the past eight years. We both have full-time jobs and two young children. Grandma has dementia, and her health and cognition have been declining significantly in the past six months, with multiple hospitalizations for dehydration and infections. It has taken a toll on my husband and me to manage her care at home, and after this last hospitalization, our family decided to place her in a nursing home.</p> <p>The problem is, Grandma has a longtime neighbor friend who is interfering with our decision to place her in a care home. In spite of knowing my grandmother for 40 years, she knows her only superficially. Now that Grandma is in a care facility, this neighbor and her daughter have become very intrusive and are demanding that Grandma return home under our care. We have tried to provide home care, but it's too difficult at this point. The two of them also have tried to get sensitive health care information and have given the care home operator a lot of trouble. </p> <p>We have told these neighbors to stop visiting Grandma and riling her up and to leave the care home operator alone since they cannot follow our request to respect my grandmother's privacy. They think Grandma is fine because she tells them she is, but they don't realize the extent of her dementia. What is the best way to handle this situation? &#8212; Stressed Caregiver in Hawaii <p>Updated: Fri Nov 29, 2019</p> 3e07f8e8e239d2ca0ee65c50b8d38935 November 28, 2019 for 11/28/2019 Thu, 28 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Readers: Today is Thanksgiving. If you know someone who is alone today, please invite him or her to share your Thanksgiving dinner and help make the occasion truly special. </p> <p>Today we'd like to run a piece that has appeared in this space several times. It was written by Judy Vekasy, a registered nurse and director of activities in a nursing home in Savannah, Tenn. Here it is:</p> <p>In this season of thanksgiving and just plain giving, I have some suggestions for those who need something to be thankful for or those who need someone to allow them to give. Nursing homes are full of opportunities.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 28, 2019</p> 4f7bf4ff6428560af6fdd513f97890aa November 27, 2019 for 11/27/2019 Wed, 27 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I have had a best friend for nearly 20 years. However, in the past six or seven years, "Gloria" has become very self-absorbed and selfish. She refuses to show any reciprocity for favors or kindnesses. She seems to have time only for doctors, workouts and different physical therapies. She says she wants others to take care of her and threatens to hurt herself if she doesn't get enough attention.</p> <p>Gloria says she values my friendship, but I guess it's only when I am doing her a favor. I have decided that I've had enough and will break off all communication with her. Do I owe her an explanation, or should I simply be unavailable when she makes her once-a-month phone call? In the past, I've told her how she makes me feel, but she shrugs it off and does nothing. I don't want to be mean, and I worry that telling her off would only make me feel better. What is the right thing to do? &#8212; Soured on Her Friendship </p> <p>Dear Soured: Is Gloria well? If she spends all her time seeing doctors and getting physical therapy, it sounds as though she has medical issues. <span class="column--highlighted-text">This, of course, does not excuse her from behaving like a caring human being, but it may explain why she is so self-involved.</span> Since you are ready to terminate the friendship anyway, it would do no harm to ask Gloria about her health, and also let her know that her attitude has eroded the relationship. We hope she is willing to work on this.<p>Updated: Wed Nov 27, 2019</p> c1d6b3591cf9748ff4f34570aa2f54a9 November 26, 2019 for 11/26/2019 Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My boyfriend, "Darrin," and I have been seeing each other for five years. I love him and feel loved by him. He is affectionate and a great listener. I have grown children who are free to pop in and out of my house whenever they please. We also have many extended family get-togethers throughout the year.</p> <p>Darrin will ask me about my kids and siblings and seem interested when I talk about them. But he doesn't seem eager to make them part of his life. He says he doesn't like big groups, so he rarely goes with me to family get-togethers. He also doesn't like to come over when my kids are here and makes no effort to get to know them. When I invite him, he makes up excuses for why he can't come. </p> <p>My kids think Darrin is distant and doesn't care about them. Will he be like this if we marry and live in the same house? Is this something that can be worked through? &#8212; Wishing for More Involvement<p>Updated: Tue Nov 26, 2019</p> 8b01afc6b1467e584c48038e3fead1f5 November 25, 2019 for 11/25/2019 Mon, 25 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: In my circle of friends, there is a 23-year-old man with Asperger syndrome who drives me crazy. This guy has zero understanding of boundaries. He'll argue, interrupt conversations and answer back to everyone, and he lectures incessantly. He once spent an evening interrupting every conversation I had until finally I said, "Joe, I'm talking to someone else now. Enough." He went to interrupt someone else. </p> <p>When we went to someone's house recently, he walked in the door, asked the hostess to go to the store and buy him something he wanted and then requested that she loan him a bunch of DVDs.</p> <p>Here's the problem. We'll be going out together as a group to a concert, and afterward, I'd like to invite some friends back to my place. I only have seats for seven people, and I don't want to include Joe. I know he will ask to use my computer, make ridiculous requests, ask to borrow my stuff, go through my closets and monopolize every conversation. <p>Updated: Mon Nov 25, 2019</p> 580be7b88e805313f491d9e33611f93e November 24, 2019 for 11/24/2019 Sun, 24 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My sister-in-law and I exchange babysitting for our young children. I have three under the age of 5, and she has two. It is mutually beneficial except for one thing: If the kids break something at her house, she demands that I pay for it. Recently this included getting her couch professionally cleaned after all of the children, not just mine, drew on it with pens. I was fine with footing the bill, until something at my house was damaged, and her response was to laugh it off and say, "Well, you should have been watching them!" </p> <p>I do not appreciate the double standard. Is there some kind of rule as to who should pay for the damage? &#8212; Stuck with the Bill No Matter What in Oregon</p> <p>Dear Stuck: If one child is unusually destructive or breaks something particularly valuable, the parents should make an effort to reimburse for damages. However, if all of the children play in roughly the same way, it's simply the cost of doing business. Discuss this with your sister-in-law and agree that you either split the costs or no one pays. If necessary, put it in writing.<p>Updated: Sun Nov 24, 2019</p> f2ed9f8ce065f66233f80efff2c52f15 November 23, 2019 for 11/23/2019 Sat, 23 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Last week, I was watching a YouTube video, and suddenly a man's face appeared on my screen. He was watching me. I immediately turned off my computer. </p> <p>Apparently, through apps or hacking into computer signals, people can watch you through your computer camera lens. I shared my story with friends and co-workers, and they, too, had no idea this could happen. I now keep tape over my camera lens. You should tell people about this. &#8212; Creeped Out </p> <p>Dear Creeped: We're not certain someone's face can suddenly appear on your monitor and be watching you during a YouTube video, but it is possible for someone to watch you through your webcam. Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens. This is why you should never bring your laptop into your bedroom. The easiest way to protect yourself is to cover the camera lens. <p>Updated: Sat Nov 23, 2019</p> 0d91ab97f0b8ea9b73d39bd7bad98ada November 22, 2019 for 11/22/2019 Fri, 22 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My sister, "Ellen," bought my mother a car when Mom moved in with her. Ellen promised it would belong to Mom when she paid her back. </p> <p>Mom has made payments for three years. But she and Ellen had a fight, and not only did my sister kick Mom out of the house, but she has taken the car. Both of their names are on the title, but there is only a verbal agreement about the rest. </p> <p>Does my mother have any recourse, or should she just cut her losses and move on? &#8212; Disgusted with My Sister in Texas <p>Updated: Fri Nov 22, 2019</p> e1e8151d9cb6efd1dd3f43e50c5e46bc November 21, 2019 for 11/21/2019 Thu, 21 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Two years ago, at the age of 62, I was forced to take early retirement from my teaching job. My pension is miniscule, and despite trying to find full-time work, I have only been able to string together part-time jobs. I have been divorced for 20 years, so there is no one else in my life to depend on financially.</p> <p>My days are consumed with trying to make ends meet, and as a result, I have no time or money for a personal life. I can't afford to travel, my grown children are busy with their own lives, and my friends have spouses or grandchildren who keep them occupied. I can't even attend church, because I need to work on Sundays.</p> <p>I spend evenings, weekends and sometimes holidays alone, so I turn on the TV or radio to simulate human voices. I'm fit, intelligent and in good health. I want to know what I'm supposed to do with the rest of my life, because it appears I am going to spend it alone. How can I get out of this rut? &#8212; Indy <p>Updated: Thu Nov 21, 2019</p> c89a412f227ed624a2bf7e1b82afdb4d November 20, 2019 for 11/20/2019 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My lady and I have been together for nine years, and we have a beautiful 7-year-old daughter. </p> <p>We have had our own two-bedroom apartment for five years. A year ago, her mother fell ill. We decided to move her in with us to take care of her and drive her to her doctors' appointments. Mind you, we did this even though I know the mother doesn't like me at all. </p> <p>Like any couple, we argue, but nothing too serious. The problem is, her mother gets in the middle of it and takes her daughter's side. I can handle the fussing from my lady, but not her mother. It's none of her business. <p>Updated: Wed Nov 20, 2019</p> bfc5efda5bd207b482881a9f2b351d50 November 19, 2019 for 11/19/2019 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from a woman who asked whether her biological daughter could be a sociopath. Could you please list the characteristics of a sociopath in your column? </p> <p>Our adult daughter is involved with someone we feel is not good for her. She seems to be oblivious to what is going on and probably will not recognize the signs, but if you could raise awareness, maybe it will prevent someone else from having to go through what our family is going through now. &#8212; Learning Experience</p> <p>Dear Learning: According to material from the National Institutes of Health: Sociopathology, also known as antisocial personality disorder, is a mental health condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting or violating the rights of others. Genetic factors and environmental factors, such as child abuse, are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. People with an antisocial or alcoholic parent are at increased risk. Fire-setting and cruelty to animals during childhood are linked to the development of antisocial personality. <p>Updated: Tue Nov 19, 2019</p> cec7ba9c1d8cca7b8549d9e139f40d7f November 18, 2019 for 11/18/2019 Mon, 18 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: My son is 25 years old with a college degree and an excellent job. The sad thing is, he is depressed. He won't go for treatment. He goes to work, comes home and sits in front of his computer. </p> <p>I have spoken to professionals myself, but they all say the same thing: He is an adult and must get help on his own. But he doesn't think he is sick. Meanwhile, he complains that he can't find a girlfriend, while his friends are all in relationships or married. If we suggest he join a group, he won't leave his room. He says he'll end his life. </p> <p>We are so worried about him. He is our only child. We are totally lost and don't know what to do. Could you please help us? &#8212; Sad Mother <p>Updated: Mon Nov 18, 2019</p> b51151680f9ae295e83915e329b6b4ee November 17, 2019 for 11/17/2019 Sun, 17 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: I am the stepmother of a lovely young woman, age 29. "Daria" was 2 when her mother left, and her older brother has reported that Mom was neglectful and suffered fits of rage. She actually told the children on many occasions that she couldn't stand them. She continually took them elsewhere to be cared for. Luckily one of those places was our house. </p> <p>My husband eventually taught the children to simply accept their mother as she is and to rise above it. But the result seems to be that Daria shows very little emotion. <span class="column--highlighted-text">She is attractive and smart and makes friends easily, but all of her relationships dry up after a short while. She is cold and distant. </span>I have never seen her cry, even when her pets died. </p> <p>How can we get her to open up? &#8212; Other Mother <p>Updated: Sun Nov 17, 2019</p>