Dear Annie: My husband and I are expecting our second child. When our first was born, my in-laws (who live out of town) visited shortly after the birth, and it was awful. They tried to separate me from our baby to have alone time with him. And instead of helping out, they created additional work, even though I was still recovering from the birth.
I don't want to shut them out, but would like the first visit to take place at least a month after the baby is born. My husband is understanding, but likes to please his family. How can I tactfully schedule a visit to preserve both my sanity and my relationship with my husband's family? — Not Looking Forward
Dear Not: Your husband must agree to support you in this request. It would be best if he could convince his parents to wait before visiting. And of course, this is not their first grandchild, so they may be perfectly agreeable. If not, we recommend you enlist the help of your pediatrician to suggest that it's better for the child to wait until he has had his first set of immunizations (usually at two months). When they press to come sooner, you can give in slowly and eventually settle on four weeks. We trust you will give the same information to your parents.
Dear Annie: My husband and I own a home on a cul-de-sac. Most of the other original owners have moved on, and several of the homes are now rentals and inhabited by multiple families. This means many, many cars. Two homes alone account for 13 automobiles. Every home has a spacious garage and driveway, but these neighbors use that space for junk. As a result, we always have multiple cars parked in front of our house, sometimes for days at a time, including giant SUVs parked between two driveways, hanging over on each side. And because it's a cul-de-sac, sometimes the cars are double-parked.
I've called the police multiple times, but they don't always show up, or by the time they arrive, the offending vehicle has been moved. A ticket or two might teach these people, but they just keep getting away with it. I'm so tired of looking out my living room window or sitting on my patio looking at other people's cars. I feel as if I live in a parking lot.
It's not fair that I should need to move out of my retirement home in order to have a decent view. I know you cannot solve this for me. I'm just venting. — Sick of Your Clunkers
Dear Sick: We get it. Do you have a neighborhood or homeowners association of any kind that could mediate this? Do you think talking to your neighbors would help? People often don't consider the possibility that their neighbors would be cooperative if they were approached in a spirit of friendship. But also ask the police whether there is anything else you can do.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Glad the Holidays are Over," whose mother-in-law hogs the conversations and constantly talks about herself.
That was me! For years, I was loud and abrasive, hogged conversations, interrupted and didn't listen, thinking instead of what I was going to say next. I thought I was the life of the party and had to keep conversations going.
I learned my lesson when I met another person like me. I heard people say how he wouldn't let anyone get a word in edgewise and that he must not care about others. What an eye-opener! Since then, I've learned to ask others questions and actually wait for the answers. It's a relief not to be responsible for all of the conversation, and it allows me to get to know people better.
Please cut this out and send it to those who feel they must keep talking to avoid odd silences. — Minot, N.D.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.