Dear Annie: Several years ago, I went to a massage parlor and paid a woman for sex. This same woman recently got a job in the office where I work. There are only nine employees.
This is an unbelievable coincidence. We get along pretty well as co-workers and are respectful toward each other. But it's awkward when we bump into each other in the narrow hallways or for the occasional elevator ride.
I have been carrying around a letter in my pocket for a long time. It is not a love letter. The woman is married, and I am not interested in her. The message in the letter is simply to reassure her that I have never gossiped about her to anyone, especially our co-workers. I want to put her mind at ease.
I'd give her this letter, but I'm afraid of her reaction. Should I just leave things alone? — Sleepless
Dear Sleepless: Yes. Please. In time, she will realize that you can be trusted not to ruin her work reputation, and she will relax. Her concerns in the meantime are not your business, and we doubt she would appreciate a reminder of your encounter. Behave around her as you would any other co-worker. Your awkwardness only adds to her discomfort.
Dear Annie: I belong to a small group of friends who gather often at one another's homes. One of our friends recently moved into a larger "dream home" and now wants gatherings at her place more often.
The trouble is they have two cats and for some odd reason have placed the litter box directly in front of the toilet. Worse, most of the time, the box is not clean. It smells and can be downright nasty. As they live a good distance from town, it's difficult for us not to use her bathroom before we leave.
We were recently invited to another gathering there. We turned it down, saying we had other plans. Should we address this head-on or ignore it and hold our breath? We can't refuse all celebrations at their home. — Not a Party Pooper
Dear Party: Here's what you say: "We love the gatherings in your lovely home, but there is a problem with the litter box being placed in front of the commode. None of us is comfortable using your bathroom. We don't want to hurt your feelings, but we thought you would want to know."
Dear Annie: I totally agree with your advice to "Omaha, Nebraska," who wants to grow old with his wife, who is 100 pounds overweight.
Three years ago, I weighed 280 pounds, was Type 2 diabetic and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I walked into an Overeaters Anonymous meeting and found loving support and people I could relate to. A month later, I joined Weight Watchers because I liked the diet, and a year after that, I added a structured exercise program. Today, I am 90 pounds lighter, my numbers for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol are all in the normal range, and I am so much happier. I still have some weight to lose, but I know that with the help of OA and the other changes I've made in my life, I will reach my goal. More importantly, I no longer hide my feelings about my weight, and I have the support I need to keep myself strong and healthy.
I hope that Omaha's wife realizes what a caring and concerned husband she has and accepts the support he offers. I also hope she finds her own way back to a healthy lifestyle. There is help out there, but she needs to seek it out. — Thankful in Florida
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.