Dear Annie: I am a 14-year-old boy. I'm on the swim team, and I take tap dancing lessons. But when I told my mom that I'd like to continue with both, she told me tap was a waste of time and that I would never go anywhere with it.
Only when one of my dance friends offered to take me to class after school did she agree that I could go. She still does not believe in my talent, even after being told multiple times that my instructors think I have plenty. She even missed some of my most important solos.
It's like she has drifted away from me. She used to love seeing me tap dance, and now she rarely does. What should I do about her? — Gotta Dance
Dear Dance: You can be patient and hope she comes around. There could be many reasons why your mother suddenly doesn't want to encourage you to dance, and it might help to ask her directly. But as long as she is willing to let you continue, and you enjoy it, we hope you will keep it up. Not every activity turns into a career, nor should it. Dancing, whether you are talented or not, keeps you in good physical condition and is fun to do.
Dear Annie: My dad has smoked for the past 40 years. He used to smoke in the house, but after I had issues with bronchitis as a baby, he started going outside. The problem is, when he comes in after having a cigarette, he still reeks of smoke. He stinks up the house, and when he pets the family cat, she smells like smoke, too. In addition, he smokes in his truck, so that often has a smoky odor, too.
My mother and I have told him that even though he actually lights up outside, bringing all that smoke back into the house is still dangerous to our health (and our cat's). He doesn't believe we are exposed to anything harmful, because the odor and smokiness aren't coming directly from a lit cigarette.
Isn't this considered third-hand smoke? I don't expect your answer to make him stop smoking, but maybe for our sake he will at least stay outside a little longer. — Miffed in the Midwest
Dear Miffed: According to the Mayo Clinic, studies show that third-hand smoke clings to hair, skin, clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, vehicles and other surfaces, and builds up over time. Infants, children and nonsmoking adults may be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, ingest or touch substances containing third-hand smoke, although the effects are still being studied.
Your father is unlikely to stay outside very long in cold weather, and even if he did, it wouldn't solve the problem, because the smoke clings to his hair and clothes when he returns inside. Some people recommend electronic cigarettes, not because they reduce cancer risk, but because they appear to lessen the impact of third-hand smoke.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from Traveling Man, whose retired husband has developed a phobia when it comes to car travel.
I was widowed when I met my twice-married husband 14 years ago. I had fully intended to live independently, but we fell in love, tossed caution to the wind and got married. We are still crazy in love. And we enjoy our own company.
On our honeymoon, he went deep-sea fishing, and I chose to go kayaking. I am 58 and have never been happier. Everyone advised me not to rush into a relationship, especially since he had custody of two teenagers. It wasn't easy at times, but I am so grateful that the kids are a big part of my life.
So why am I writing this? Because you just never know. I did everything "wrong" and still ended up lucky in love. — Good Instincts
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.