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, 28 Sep 2020 19:22:15 -0700 Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate 07f76d3d440f2d546efd9d17367951ac September 28, 2020 for 09/28/2020 Mon, 28 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Recently, new neighbors moved in next door. They seem nice. The problem is, the husband smokes on their porch, which is on the side of their house and only a few yards from ours. It is close enough that we can smell cigarette smoke in our bedrooms, which are all on that side of the house. </p> <p>My husband is highly allergic to cigarette smoke. While we respect the neighbor's right to smoke on his property, we don't appreciate the secondhand smoke in our home. We do not use air conditioning and often leave our windows open. Since the husband comes home late and smokes after we are asleep, we have been closing our windows as soon as we go to bed, which makes for unpleasant nights. We also have to close the windows on weekends when he lights up. </p> <p>We don't want to create tension with the new neighbors, but we would like to be able to sleep with our windows open. Do we have a right to bring this up? And how can we handle it tactfully? &#8212; Stuffy in the Suburbs <p>Updated: Mon Sep 28, 2020</p> ec0842b0c0ab2994a8f1d746f1aac829 September 27, 2020 for 09/27/2020 Sun, 27 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a divorced dad and my 20-something son, "Adam," is deeply troubled. He lacks drive and ambition, and he also drinks and uses drugs. Worse, he is a chronic liar. </p> <p>I reached the end of my rope and arranged to send him to a rehab facility. Adam then approached my siblings and told abssurd tales that I was abusing him. My siblings, who all live on the opposite coast, did not know the true circumstances. They got the idea to stage an intervention, and invited Adam to stay with them. Nobody discussed any of this with me. Rather, they chose to believe his lies and take action based on misinformation. Needless to say, once he moved in, they found out just who he is and the whole thing turned into a disaster. Meanwhile, Adam has gone back to his old habits while he lives with my ex, who enables this behavior.</p> <p>I am furious that none of my siblings bothered to talk with me about this. After all, he's my son and their contact with him has always been minimal. I would never dream of interfering with their children in this manner, and I feel betrayed and extremely angry. I would like to confront them. What do you suggest? &#8212; Frustrated LA Dad <p>Updated: Sun Sep 27, 2020</p> 85c08935438fd097dc35dcaa1aaa1bf9 September 26, 2020 for 09/26/2020 Sat, 26 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My brother and I are both in our 60s, and we phone each other regularly. </p> <p>My problem is, over the years, I have been fortunate and, though not wealthy, am pretty well-off. My brother, however, has barely eked out a living for himself and his wife.</p> <p>When he called the other day to see what I was up to, I didn't want to say that I had been buying a rental property. I don't know how to discuss this with him without seeming as though I'm bragging or putting him down for not being as successful. Any hints? &#8212; Lucky Brother <p>Updated: Sat Sep 26, 2020</p> ba22aa427888bd9b13f8357e538d85e8 September 25, 2020 for 09/25/2020 Fri, 25 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: After five years of dating, my fiance and I have purchased a house and are in the process of moving in together. Everything is going well, except for one thing: "Walter" does not want me to bring any of the furniture my mother gave me. </p> <p>My mother has kept several couches, rugs and other household items in storage for me, and I love these pieces. Walter has expressed the desire to simply buy new items rather than use what was left to me, which I find disrespectful, not only to me, but to my family. I tried to compromise by donating many of these items and only keeping a handful, but he wants all of it gone. </p> <p>Annie, this is causing a major rift. I refuse to give away items my mother left me simply because he is being stubborn. Walter thinks I am being difficult and that dumping these things is no big deal. His cavalier attitude makes me even more upset. I would never ask him to donate an entire storage locker of items from his family because I disliked the style or wished for new things. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 25, 2020</p> bcdc1c3a437e0c47ec654f66adef7195 September 24, 2020 for 09/24/2020 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I was severely abused, physically and emotionally, when I was growing up, mostly by my mother and older sister. After many years of therapy, I have turned my life around and finally am able to feel like a worthwhile person. </p> <p>The trouble is, my older sister continues to be verbally abusive every time we get together, which, fortunately, is not too often. I recently bit the bullet and tried again, getting together with her and my two other sisters. Sure enough, "Betty" took the opportunity to taunt and yell aat me, and ended up swinging her fists at me. This resulted in a PTSD episode for me. </p> <p>I've finally decided to have nothing further to do with Betty, but it leaves me with feelings of guilt, since she is my sister. Am I justified in cutting off our relationship? &#8212; Tired of Being Abused <p>Updated: Thu Sep 24, 2020</p> 192b2a3ab31280085131b901a23c27ac September 23, 2020 for 09/23/2020 Wed, 23 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I took early retirement and moved in with my son and daughter-in-law in order to help care for my five grandkids. At the time, my daughter-in-law was attending college and my son asked me to move in. I help pay the household expenses and also do the daily work around the house.</p> <p>All my son and his wife do is fight and makeup repeatedly. Their constant battles make the kids nervous. It has been horrible. Sometimes, it turns violent and someone gets hurt. My son constantly bullies the kids, his wife and me. I stand up to him, but my grandchildren are too young to do the same. </p> <p>My son came home drunk one evening and told me to get out of his house. He has no appreciation for how much I contribute both financially and physically to the care of his home and his children. I love my grandchildren and fear that without my presence, permanent damage will occur. I can find another place to live, but I am concerned about the grandkids. &#8212; Out of Options <p>Updated: Wed Sep 23, 2020</p> 79c95ea2cf5eed30111dc9421a8289c1 September 22, 2020 for 09/22/2020 Tue, 22 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My 31-year-old daughter, her boyfriend and my 13-year-old granddaughter have lived with my husband and me for the past 10 years. I never thought they would stay this long. </p> <p>My daughter, "Tina," asked whether her boyfriend could live with us for two weeks until his car was fixed after a hit-and-run accident. We said OK. Big mistake. When the car was repaired, we heard all kinds of excuses why he couldn't leave. We didn't make a big effort to push him out because he was polite and he loved Tina and her child (by someone else who was not in the child's life). He became a surrogate father. </p> <p>Everything worked well until Tina started to pick on me and point out my faults. Slowly our relationship began to erode. Tina doesn't have a job, so she stays at home to care for her child. I have leukemia and cannot work. So we are both at home all day. <p>Updated: Tue Sep 22, 2020</p> 4cf2bee609e436dd1c1f6527bcb4fdff September 21, 2020 for 09/21/2020 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Our daughter and her husband are major hoarders. They have two teenage children who have to climb over things to get into their beds. Every room has piles of junk. They will not get rid of anything because "one day, it may be valuable." They never invite anyone into their home, which is a disaster and in major disrepair. </p> <p>We are concerned for their health, but we're afraid that if we challenge them, we will be cut off. We are also concerned that their home is a fire risk. There is so much flammable stuff, and so few clear pathways, that were ever a fire, they would all likely die. How can we approach this without disastrous results? &#8212; Worried Mother </p> <p>Dear Mother: These types of problems are heartbreaking, because sometimes, there is little you can do. A great deal of hoarding consists of simply collecting too much (of anything), having difficulty getting rid of things and problems with organization. Many hoarders won't admit that anything is amiss.<p>Updated: Mon Sep 21, 2020</p> 70709cf7315b45fad2ec982c74bfbaf7 September 20, 2020 for 09/20/2020 Sun, 20 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>September 20, 2020</p> <p></p> <p>Dear Annie: When my older sister and I were children, we were sexually abused by our stepfather. We are both now in our 50s. We have three younger half-sisters who did not experience this abuse from their father. They loved and adored him until he died four years ago. Before he died, he apologized to us for the abuse. <p>Updated: Sun Sep 20, 2020</p> 274597e10df30ec79e7b8ea7666338a9 September 19, 2020 for 09/19/2020 Sat, 19 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I live in a very desirable area and are happy to have guests often. The problem is, a male friend of mine wants to visit, but my husband doesn't want to have a single man in the house while he's at work. He claims it would make him uncomfortable knowing that I was playing tour guide and sharing wonderful memories in his absence with someone he doesn't know well. My husband is aware that I am not, nor would I ever be attracted to this person. He says he would feel this way regardless of who the guy was. </p> <p>We really don't have trust issues, so this is perplexing and embarrassing to explain to my friend. He cannot afford a hotel in our town, and was hoping to stay with us to save a few bucks. How should I tell him? &#8212; Not His Girlfriend</p> <p>Dear Not: Tell him the truth &#8212; that you are so sorry, but your husband is uncomfortable having a single male staying in the house when he isn't home. If you have a friend who would put him up, that would be a kindness. You also can ask your husband about having the friend out of the house during working hours. Send him to the beach, the museum or the local attractions. Otherwise, whether or not to visit under these restrictions is up to your friend.<p>Updated: Sat Sep 19, 2020</p> 4e76bb8e72c66ac1020407778635938f September 18, 2020 for 09/18/2020 Fri, 18 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My wife gave her ex (her son's father) a key to our home without telling me. I found out when I got home and he was sitting in our living room surfing the Web on my laptop. </p> <p>My wife says she gave him the key so he can let himself in on the three nights a month he's scheduled to pick up their son for dinner as part of the custody agreement. But he has been making a lot of unscheduled stops at our house &#8212; to use the bathroom, have a snack, etc. I told my wife I don't like this, but she said, "Don't be selfish. It's my home, too!" I spoke to this man politely and told him I don't want him letting himself in, but he replied, "She says I can come over whenever I like." </p> <p>Am I being unreasonable about this arrangement? I thought married people are supposed to agree on things like this. It's almost as though I have to share my home with this man, and he's not even a helpful guest. He'll eat a generous amount of food out of the fridge and leave dirty dishes in the sink. Last week, he bought his son a videogame console and violent videogames, which my wife and I had previously agreed would not be allowed in our home. Father and son will spend time playing games in his room when the boy is supposed to be doing his homework, sometimes late at night. I know the guy needs time with his kid, but there's no reason why he can't take the boy out to eat, to a movie or to a museum. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 18, 2020</p> df23510d1e0e98c8e223ab9b67146749 September 17, 2020 for 09/17/2020 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have been seeing my boyfriend, "John," for more than a year and love him very much. We are in our mid-20s, and while there are no plans to move in together or settle down soon, I see a future with him. </p> <p>The issue is that John currently lives with his older brother "Zack." Zack has no full-time job, no prospects and no friends outside of those provided by John. Zack is shy in social situations, and covers this by being snide and sarcastic, which leads him to be girlfriend-less. My friends no longer like hanging out with John, as Zack is almost always involved.</p> <p>Also, John pays for everything for Zack &#8212; rent, food, entertainment or any event we go to. I feel like John's second girlfriend. When we go out with other friends for dinner, John will pay for Zack, but not me. And if the three of us go out, John and I split the bill 50/50. I don't mind this occasionally, but my finances are tight and I don't care to pay for Zack. I resent that Zack gets treated to these dinners, but I don't. Even our romantic dates usually involve Zack, and of course, he would come on any vacation. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 17, 2020</p> 178b6ee7f39bfb7e3a6150f2e0bc2683 September 16, 2020 for 09/16/2020 Wed, 16 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am writing to you because of a friend's problem. "Lena" is a divorced woman who lives with her 24-year-old son. Her ex's gambling problem destroyed the marriage. Her son was 10 years old at the time of his parents' divorce, and he was already unruly, uncontrollable and slacking off at school. Immediately after the divorce, the father remarried and does not keep in contact.</p> <p>Lena decided to send her son to a prestigious school in her home country. She believed that her family, who lived there, could better take care of him and help him do well in school. She had to work overtime every single day to afford the tuition. He graduated as valedictorian and went to college in Australia. Again, Lena worked very hard to pay the full tuition. </p> <p>When he was a junior, her son returned to the U.S. and said he was taking a break from college. After several months, he decided to "get a job" instead of returning to school. But a year has passed, and he hasn't earned a dime.<p>Updated: Wed Sep 16, 2020</p> 245bc1a6f70cc8f16cfb801c6da07254 September 15, 2020 for 09/15/2020 Tue, 15 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Last summer, our family spent all of our time helping my newly widowed mother-in-law fix up her large home, which had become run down during her husband's long illness. </p> <p>During one of the days I took off to help, she backed into the side of our car, causing damage. The repair estimate was $1,000, but she didn't want to claim it on her insurance for fear her rates would go up. My husband didn't want to ask her to pay, so we simply drove around with a giant dent in our car. Last week, we were in an accident and our car was totaled. The value we received was reduced due to the prior damage. </p> <p>My husband and I work public service jobs with low wages, and my mother-in-law often talks about how she's investing her half-million dollars. Am I wrong to think she should pay for the damage she caused to our car while we were fixing her home to save her money? &#8212; Trying Not to be Resentful <p>Updated: Tue Sep 15, 2020</p> a3e082f9e1d50d771a1524067a6c2bf1 September 14, 2020 for 09/14/2020 Mon, 14 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I was divorced many years ago and raised my daughter primarily on my own because my ex-husband was an alcoholic. When I left him, I was financially responsible for my daughter. I always told her that as long as she did well in school, she could have a great deal of freedom, yet it was a crime if I asked her to pick up milk on her way home. When she went off to college, I paid her tuition and all expenses for the first three years. </p> <p>She now has a good job, is a hard worker and is kind to her boyfriend and friends. But to me, she loses her patience, gets snotty and rarely takes time to see me. We live two hours apart, and she is always too busy when I'm in her area. She never invites me to stay with her. When she comes here, she spends her time visiting other people. I'm just her hotel. For Mother's Day, I got the free gift that came from a purchase she made for herself. </p> <p>I have tried to talk to her about these things and she says it's the "same old sob story" and doesn't have time to listen. Now her job is relocating her to Florida, and I'm having a hard time wanting to help her move. She's asked if it's OK with me that she goes, but I told her it doesn't really affect me. There's always a telephone if she wants to talk, and that's the only communication we have had for a while. She blocked me on Facebook several years ago. She has maligned me to family and friends and convinced them that I was a bad parent.<p>Updated: Mon Sep 14, 2020</p> a8eb45f47b0c71d56aa4496d51aa6536 September 13, 2020 for 09/13/2020 Sun, 13 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: We have adorable, healthy twin grandchildren who are 2 years old. Unfortunately, they don't live near us, but we are able visit them every few months. We can see that our daughter and son-in-law, both of whom work full-time, are good parents and, in most things, they show excellent judgment. </p> <p>Our daughter and son-in-law waent the twins to attend a Montessori preschool this fall, three or four days a week. My husband went nuts when he heard this. He insists the twins are too young. He thinks a day or two each week would be OK, but more than that is too much. I agree, but I also say that, having expressed our opinion, we should now stay out of it. My husband insists we owe it to our grandchildren to "stick to our guns." He says that if our daughter and son-in-law do not change their minds, he will stop sending them the money we have been giving to help with child-care expenses. </p> <p>I am not sure why he is so worked up about this, but he is and he doesn't change his mind easily. I am afraid we are headed for some big family trouble. What should we do? &#8212; Grandmother <p>Updated: Sun Sep 13, 2020</p> bf5a92bc6a217fdc60da67e3921daea0 September 12, 2020 for 09/12/2020 Sat, 12 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I live in a single-story condo that is adjacent to another condo. We have been dealing with a horrible neighbor for seven months.</p> <p>When I moved here three years ago, the neighbor's son was taking care of her condo, since she traveled a great deal for work. Now she has decided to work at home, and she is a tyrant. She is constantly complaining that she hears our garage door, that our vacuum is too loud and that we run our dishwasher too often. She has harassed us about going up and down our steps to the basement. She has even called the police on us for "door slamming." We don't slam our door, but it does make a normal sound when it closes. </p> <p>This woman never leaves her home, not even on weekends, so playing a radio is out of the question. I had three contractors look at the walls, and they told her that there are about two inches between our units.<p>Updated: Sat Sep 12, 2020</p> 02519b9ec0c3e11648b4516b496a6738 September 11, 2020 for 09/11/2020 Fri, 11 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a widow in my 80s. I recently was introduced to a widower who seemed friendly and had a good sense of humor. He asked me out for dinner and the conversation went well. But when he took me home, he kissed me and grabbed my breast. I was absolutely not expecting this from a supposedly "nice" guy, and especially not on a first date. What on earth would he expect on a second date? </p> <p>At my age, I am not looking for a romantic or physical relationship. I should have slapped his face for being so forward, or at least let him know it was not appropriate.</p> <p>This man has called several times since then, but I will not answer the phone because I don't know how to tell him that I don't want to accompany him anywhere ever again. I have many widowed lady friends, and we get together often for lunches, movies, etc., and I am perfectly happy with that. I don't need to feel uncomfortable in the presence of a man who can't keep his hands to himself. How can I get him to stop calling me? &#8212; Lonely, Not Lusting <p>Updated: Fri Sep 11, 2020</p> 730880dab63371a78f1ebf9e11e7790d September 10, 2020 for 09/10/2020 Thu, 10 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband has decided to plan a trip to a major theme park. It was supposed to include the two of us, plus his three adult children and their families. </p> <p>Here's the problem: When I could not take the time off from work, his children invited their recently widowed mother. Although we have a civil relationship with her, I do not feel this is appropriate. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't share my concerns and is planning to book the trip anyway.</p> <p>I considered giving him some sort of ultimatum, but I doubt it would change his mind. My main concerns are his ex's ability to twist the truth and what others may think about the "arrangement." Any advice? &#8212; Left Behind in Pennsylvania<p>Updated: Thu Sep 10, 2020</p> 6e9473553c99cc9458f1c361ed52001f September 9, 2020 for 09/09/2020 Wed, 09 Sep 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I see many parents teach their children, from a young age, to kiss on the lips. Do you feel this is correct? </p> <p>For some reason, I am uncomfortable with this. I was raised in a family where you always kissed on the cheek, whether it was your brother, sister or parents. </p> <p>I would be interested in what your readers have to say. &#8212; Maine <p>Updated: Wed Sep 09, 2020</p>