Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:35:11 -0800 Dear AnnieĀ® from Creators Syndicate 1a9c6e57a6e0f74f3c09169cefaf249f Rethinking Sleepovers for 01/16/2018 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have a situation at my home that I really don't know how to deal with.</p> <p>We have a blended family, with an 18-year-old daughter and two boys.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 16, 2018</p> 2046fe6d598174ce30b64776232f60be A Grandma Shut Out for 01/15/2018 Mon, 15 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am a 68-year-old widow with two grown children, both married, both living nearby. I dearly love babies and baby-sit as much as possible. My son and wife had my first grandson over the summer. My son called me the morning after to invite me to see him, so I did for a few minutes. Then, a few weeks later and a few weeks after that, my son invited me to their home to see the baby again. So I went. When I didn't see the baby for several weeks, I texted my daughter-in-law to ask whether I could see the baby but got no response. I knew she would be going back to work soon, so I asked again. No response. The next thing I knew, my son told me to leave them alone &#8212; that they wanted their privacy. I cried and cried but don't know what happened. He told me to not text or call.</p> <p>This happened around Thanksgiving, when, for the time ever, we didn't spend the holiday together. Tonight I texted him and asked him to pick up three gifts my friends sent. He was so ticked off that I wasn't giving them the "space" they need that I think I will either mail him the gifts before the baby outgrows them or return them to my friends.<p>Updated: Mon Jan 15, 2018</p> c4c08e44a7e26b6acf54cc969120307e Takeout Tipping for 01/14/2018 Sun, 14 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I was picking up food at a restaurant for lunch the other day, and I found my pen hovering over the "tip" line on the receipt for an awkward few moments. I'm never sure how much to leave when I get takeout. What's the standard tipping etiquette? And while we're on the subject, how much should you tip the pizza guy? I don't want to be cheap, but I don't want to leave more than is necessary. &#8212; Too Much or Not Enough?</p> <p>Dear Too Much or Not Enough?: In a 2014 CNBC poll, only 13 percent of over 40,000 respondents said they tip for takeout. So it's certainly socially permissible not to tip in this situation. The flip side of that is that if you do tip, the restaurant workers will especially appreciate it.<p>Updated: Sun Jan 14, 2018</p> 700a9dafae393198f002b3b0cdbb153c English Pet Peeves for 01/13/2018 Sat, 13 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I considered myself an average student after graduating high school in 1970, and I have been very successful in my 36-year career as an insurance investigator. I have dealt with a wide range of cultures. I feel I'm of average intelligence and probably below average in my English and grammar skills &#8212; yet I find it amazing how most destroy the English language in everyday conversation. For instance, the use of the word "everybody." I usually dismiss any statement beginning with "Everybody," because about the only time that would apply is when saying that everybody has to breathe to live. At least 99 percent of the time, the mention of "everybody" or "everyone" is wrong.</p> <p>I also have a problem with the phrases "I'll be honest with you" and "to tell you the truth." When a person is talking with you and all of a sudden he says "well, to be honest," it is like, what has he been doing all this time, lying? Also, I can't stand it when I ask someone whether she would mind my doing something and she says "yes" when she really means she would not mind.<p>Updated: Sat Jan 13, 2018</p> bf07c49b6dc31f453092758eb52e1474 Long-Lost Daughter Brings Problems for 01/12/2018 Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My husband and a daughter he fathered 50 years ago recently found each other via an internet post from the two children we have together. Since they met, he has been hiding in a locked room and calling her several times a day. When I asked him to stop sneaking, she sent him a phone to use just to call her.</p> <p>We live in Florida, and she has come here twice in the past six months and picked him up from several doors down the street. Now I find she has been sending him cards and asking him to hide them from me. I might also add that the first time she came here a year ago, he did not want any of us to interact with her, going so far as to throw our daughter out of the house when she was there with her daughter making a Mother's Day gift.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 12, 2018</p> f182e33ed08fa3449a30a46d4bf27f7c A Poem for New Drivers for 01/11/2018 Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Dear Annie: Your predecessor Ann Landers published a poem called "Dead at Seventeen" to get the attention of new drivers and impress upon them the dangers and responsibilities of driving a car. Might you have that on file somewhere? I have a 17-year-old granddaughter with a new driver's license, whom I'd like to see it. &#8212; Shirley in Indiana</p> <p>Dear Shirley: This poem has been making an impression on teens for decades now and is as relevant as ever. Here it is.</p> <p>"Dead at Seventeen," by John Berrio<p>Updated: Thu Jan 11, 2018</p> 99189922a967a95f381ef9f36709d2ec Does Mother Know Best? for 01/10/2018 Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: A few months ago, my mom came to visit from out of state. We've always had a strained relationship and never seen eye to eye. While she was here, she made a big deal about the fact that I wash my dishes with bristled brushes and not dishcloths. I explained that dishcloths harbor bacteria and that bristled brushes are more environmentally friendly than cloths and sponges (in my own opinion). She offered to go to the store to buy me some dishcloths. I explained that my limited supply was because of my personal wishes and not monetary reasons and that I would not use them if she bought them. So she didn't.</p> <p>Fast-forward five months and my Christmas present in the mail includes dishcloths. I am very annoyed, as I feel she couldn't care less about my feelings and thinks she is right no matter what. It also feels like a jab. Should I let her know my feelings on the subject or let it slide? &#8212; Mother Doesn't Always Know Best<p>Updated: Wed Jan 10, 2018</p> 4068f943d4b2cfe26a9a9b90b1149d8c Needed: An Accessible Shower for 01/09/2018 Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My wife and I are both in our 80s, and though we do not travel as much as we once did, we are still able to get around a bit. I am in fairly good physical condition, but my wife must use either a cane or a walker. The problem is this:</p> <p>When we stop at a hotel or motel for the night, it is almost impossible to get a room with a walk-in shower. Even if we get a "handicapped" room, it will usually have a tub with a shower and possibly rails. It is impossible for my wife to get into a tub, and I cringe at the thought of having to stand in a tub while showering. I can't help but wonder just how many people traveling take a bath in a tub of water as opposed to using the shower.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 09, 2018</p> 216473437ccf23ff78da16ed03aa39e7 Shunned by Siblings for 01/08/2018 Mon, 08 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am a middle child with two elder brothers, a younger sister and a younger brother. They all get together and have dinner and movie dates or hang out with one another. I am always excluded. No phone call or text. They have been rude and unwelcoming for more than 15 years now. No idea why. I have finally told them that I think they have treated me poorly and I don't consider them brothers. My parents are flabbergasted, as well. It has truly broken my heart. How do I let go? &#8212; Pushed Away</p> <p>Dear Pushed Away: Before you let go, let out your feelings. I know you mentioned that you told them what you think &#8212; but was it in an angry and hurt way or in an honest and gentle way? <span class="column--highlighted-text">You don't get to choose your family, but you only get one, so I am all for trying to work out your differences.</span> Feeling excluded never feels good. The fact that your parents are flabbergasted leads me to believe that there is some serious communication issue at play here. Seek out the help of a professional family therapist who can resolve this sibling misunderstanding.<p>Updated: Mon Jan 08, 2018</p> e98f2548dbd833510033665a0934f400 Your Will Is Others' Command for 01/07/2018 Sun, 07 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have a will that I made out several years ago but needs revising. Seeing as I have no children, I directed that my assets be split evenly among my siblings &#8212; or to their descendants, should I outlive one or more sibling. Over the years, I have realized that my nieces and nephews are not all the same. I would like to change things but don't want to create problems for those remaining, especially the executor.</p> <p>The majority of the nieces and nephews have worked hard and made nice lives for themselves, although one has a child with medical issues that have been a financial burden to his family. One nephew bounces from one entry-level job to another. Several times a year, he has a setback and asks his parents for money, which they can ill afford to give. If he ever had "extra" money, he'd most likely spend it on something extravagant rather than save it for a rainy day.<p>Updated: Sun Jan 07, 2018</p> ba4b614c846f987caa04f389ea3d0418 Power of Attorney Turns Ugly for 01/06/2018 Sat, 06 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I've been estranged from my twin brother for two years, since our sister died after her short battle with a terminal illness. When she was diagnosed, her family gave him power of attorney rights (property and health) during her remaining time. My brother managed her personal affairs and health care well, but unfortunately, he took his position of authority too seriously. Although our sister was in constant pain and requiring considerable medication, she was still able to listen, think and speak well enough to convey what she wanted. Her wishes did not agree with what our brother wanted her to do, and he expected the family and friends to support him. The rest of us felt that our sister's dying requests took precedence and that we would side with her. Needless to say, this caused a lot of arguments. However, we swallowed our pride and did the best we could to appease him. When she passed and the funeral services were over, we were all relieved, but the quarreling had caused significant damage to our relationships.</p> <p>He's still blaming us for the problems we caused him. His behavior then and now exhibits traits of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and I feel that his immediate family should be aware of this and have him seek professional help. However, my family and friends say to just let it go and forget about it. What are your thoughts? &#8212; In a Quandary in Illinois<p>Updated: Sat Jan 06, 2018</p> 21611cd8cb5ad9a6bfaa0b3e767f4f49 New Friend's Annoying Social Habits for 01/05/2018 Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Over the past six months, a wonderful friendship has been developing with a potential friend who enjoys the cultural and outdoor activities that I do. We are both exchanging viewpoints, backgrounds, likes and dislikes freely. However, I have two problems: When I share my experience about a difficult health situation or maybe a familial situation, she has to top it or go one better with her own personal experiences. I don't ever feel as if she's really listening in a compassionate way. And sometimes her response doesn't even relate to the actual topic at hand. The other difficulty is that she repeats and repeats her own stories. I respond &#8212; kindly, I hope &#8212; with "Yes, I remember you telling me about that." How can I bring about changes without hurting feelings or losing the friendship? &#8212; One-Upped</p> <p>Dear One-Upped: <span class="column--highlighted-text">Though relating to a friend is nice, listening is even better.</span> That's something your new friend doesn't seem to understand.<p>Updated: Fri Jan 05, 2018</p> 3b0e3874e93a22edd8fb5229f96b8ad0 Not Wanting to Hover for 01/04/2018 Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have a somewhat uncomfortable question. Recently, I moved from California to Texas for my job, and I love it here. Though there are a lot of differences between the states, one has stood out to me more than any other: There are no paper toilet seat covers offered in public restrooms. When I first moved, I thought it was simply that I was going to the types of restaurants and businesses that don't offer them. However, I've been asking Texas natives about it, and rarely does anyone here use a toilet seat cover or make one from toilet paper. Some people are hoverers, depending on the state of the toilet, but the majority of people I've polled seem to be fine sitting right on the seat. Is this normal? Are toilet seat covers really a facade? Have I been wasting precious seconds carefully laying down covers and paper all these years?! &#8212; Cover, Hover or Quit</p> <p>Dear Cover, Hover or Quit: In a word, yes. As University of Arizona public health researcher Kelly Reynolds explained in an interview with USA Today earlier this year, bacteria and viruses are tiny and easily able to pass through paper seat covers &#8212; an unpleasant thought but not reason to worry. Unless you have an open cut that would be making contact with the seat, the risk of germ transmission from a toilet is incredibly low. So <span class="column--highlighted-text">you'd be better off saving the paper and sitting down plainly</span>. If that sounds gross, consider that most cellphones carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Now go clean your phone and wash your hands.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 04, 2018</p> 91a6f80620c93588c0d1feb314991360 Pipe Down for 01/03/2018 Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I have a friend who talks very loudly. It's quite annoying and irritating. She's so loud that it sounds as though she's angry or upset. Friends and family members have asked me numerous times why she talks so loudly. I have asked her nicely a million times to lower her voice. Soon after telling her, the volume goes back up, even when she is sitting right next to me. What is surprising is that she does not realize how loudly she talks. This person had her hearing tested about a year ago as part of a routine medical checkup, and her hearing was considered normal for her age. She tells me that she has been talking loudly all her life and gets annoyed when asked to lower the volume. Why is it that she cannot lower her voice even when she's been asked politely? Can such a nasty habit be changed? Would a speech therapist help? Do breathing exercises exist that could help her lower her voice? Could it be that she has some unknown medical problem? It's come to the point that I cannot stand it anymore and this bad habit is hurting our friendship. &#8212; Loudness Sufferer</p> <p>Dear Loudness Sufferer: Perhaps she was born with large vocal cords or is suffering a subtler form of hearing loss not detected in basic tests. (You might encourage her to see a specialist to rule that out.) Whatever the reason for her loud talking, her worse habit is refusing to hear her friends. Before it totally ruins the friendship, let her know how it hurts your feelings when she disregards your pleas.<p>Updated: Wed Jan 03, 2018</p> 4490cb106992cfa1b127aebaabf9c17c The Fight for One Man's Attention for 01/02/2018 Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: My 36-year-old stepson, "Greg," acts as if he's married to my husband. It's like a constant battle to outdo me. When my husband and I go on vacation, Greg whines to Daddy that he never takes him anywhere. On Wednesday, which is Greg's day off, he will plan something for lunchtime so my husband will be gone while I'm home. I work second shift. Greg has been horribly spoiled by his mother and father and thinks he's entitled to everything. I have quite a few grandkids, and Greg doesn't like that his dad spends time with them, so he calls his dog his dad's grandchild and expects him to buy her birthday and Christmas gifts and gifts at different times throughout the year.</p> <p>I'm ready to snap. For any holiday, Greg will tell his dad where to take him to eat and say, "And don't bring her!" My husband will never stick up for me, and if I try to say something about any of this, he tells me he doesn't want to hear it. I love my husband, but I'm about done with all of this. Help, please! &#8212; Frustrated With Ungrateful Kid<p>Updated: Tue Jan 02, 2018</p> 1936945f06a5c2cf493eca6ba156ba81 The Partnerless Life for 01/01/2018 Mon, 01 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: I am 56 years old. When I was 44, my wife and I divorced after 17 years of marriage. I think we were lovely parents to two amazingly independent and strong daughters. They are now 22 and 26.</p> <p>I feel that I was married at the perfect age, 28, and my wife was 25. We had a very good run, and we did a good job of co-parenting after we divorced, when the girls were teens. We always tried to take the high road. I always tell people to try to be courteous to their ex-spouses.<p>Updated: Mon Jan 01, 2018</p> 36555f6382b568b5eebb546e94ffeefe Still Wanting to Kick It for 12/31/2017 Sun, 31 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: They say that you'll never forget your first love and that forbidden love excites the most desire, and lately I've been thinking nonstop about my first love. I'm not talking about a man. I'm talking about soccer! At 6 years old, I learned what it feels like to be completely free, present and powerful when I stepped on the field and scored my first goal for the Super Soccer Sisters. Every fall, spring and summer was spent engrossed in the sport until I went to college, at which point I stopped because of emotional instability and an eating disorder. Last year, at 25, I joined an adult league and was seriously lit up the minute I stepped back onto the field. Unfortunately, my legs aren't what they used to be, and I ended up with a minor concussion from a tackle and a torn ankle ligament.</p> <p>My mom (half-joking, half-serious) says, "You're not a teenager anymore. You're getting old." She thinks I should retire my cleats. Though I'm no spry teenager, I believe I could get back into it with proper agility training. Annie, the thought of never feeling the joy of soccer again firsthand upsets me so much. Should I keep with it and risk hurting myself more or move on and just look forward to kicking the ball around with my kids down the road? &#8212; Craving Kicks<p>Updated: Sun Dec 31, 2017</p> 36a8d7760a6ff3efe64cd54bea08964d Dueling Cleaning Methods for 12/30/2017 Sat, 30 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: Please settle an argument that has been raging in my household &#8212; more specifically, my kitchen &#8212; for years. My husband, "Steve," will use the same sponge to clean dishes, wipe counters, scrub floors and even wash the car. Who knows how many times axle grease residue has been left on my plates? Daily, I microwave our sponges or run them through the dishwasher, just in case Steve's been "cleaning" again.</p> <p>On the flip side, I use paper towels for most of my kitchen cleaning because of the "ick" factor. However, Steve thinks I'm being wasteful, economically and environmentally. I would like to reduce the number of paper towels we use as a household, but I don't know the best alternative. So, Annie, what's the best way to clean the kitchen? Paper towels? Sponges? Something else entirely? &#8212; Ick in Indiana<p>Updated: Sat Dec 30, 2017</p> 5eff226b76978f20c4e6ac660a2ab724 Cleaning Up Son's Messes for 12/29/2017 Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: A while ago, my husband and I co-signed a car loan for my son. At the time, he was very financially stable. After about 2 1/2 years into the loan, we started getting late notices, as he was in financial difficulty. He ran into a situation with his job and was brought up on charges with the law. The car was eventually totaled, but I have found out there is still a balance of about $5,500. Now the car company is looking to us for payment. He apparently was never on the loan; only my husband and I are. He has ruined our credit, to say the least, which has caused a rift in the family.</p> <p>About a year ago, he placed us in charge of our granddaughter's 529 plan. There is about $27,000 left in the account. I recently got an email stating that my granddaughter is dropping out of college and that he wants to transfer the funds to his younger daughter. He wanted me to sign over the account to his ex-wife. I definitely do not want to do this. She is a spender, so I am afraid the children would never get the money for their education. I would like to stay in charge.<p>Updated: Fri Dec 29, 2017</p> c4284284435d2c83dddb8a4899cc8cf9 Inheritance Causes Family Rift for 12/28/2017 Thu, 28 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Dear Annie: When my dad passed away several years ago, he left a certificate of deposit to me. When it matured, I went to the bank with my mom because she had a CD that matured at the same time. The CD that Dad left me was a payable-on-death CD, with me as the only beneficiary, and my dad was the individual owner of the CD.</p> <p>About a year later, I got a letter from my mom stating, "You need to split up the CD that your dad and I put in your name." I called my mom and said that the CD was directly from my dad and tried to explain to her that she had nothing to do with it. I told her to talk to the lawyer who handled the estate, because I provided the information to the lawyer about the CD. The estate paperwork shows that my dad left me the CD. My mom then accused me of swindling her and hung up on me.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 28, 2017</p>