Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I would like your advice about my parents, who are in their 70s. Mom and Dad survive off a small amount of Social Security. Unfortunately, they are addicted to buying lottery tickets. I’ve seen stacks of $10 tickets, many of which are mailed in for second-chance drawings. I believe they are using their credit cards to finance this addiction.
My parents win a few hundred dollars from time to time, which only fuels the fire, but there’s no way they win enough to pay for all these tickets. I realize it’s none of my business, but I worry because they seem to run low on basic necessities such as food and heating oil.
I try to help out and they are appreciative. I replaced some major appliances for them when we upgraded ours, although my siblings keep expecting me to do more and their comments are getting to me. I’m not sure how to make my parents stop spending so much on lottery tickets, and I resent my siblings’ attacks. I am a very patient and understanding person, but have about had it. — Belittled
Dear Belittled: Call a sibling meeting to discuss what is going on with your parents and what each of you can do to help financially and physically. This is not a competition. You need to work together for the greater good.
Once you have reached an agreement, bring your parents into the discussion. Explain that the excessive number of lottery tickets is disturbing, especially since they are having trouble making ends meet. Pay attention to their reasoning and comprehension to determine whether they need an evaluation by their doctor, and check if they are taking medications that might contribute to addictive behaviors. From this point forward, you and your siblings should talk to each other openly about what is going on and how best to handle it. There is strength in numbers.
Dear Annie: Have women lost all common sense? I am talking about the current trend of pregnant women who insist on wearing such tight clothing that every outline and bellybutton shows — short tops and low pants so their bulging bellies are exposed to the public. As a senior citizen, I remember modest maternity clothes. I might be interested in a picture of the child after it is born, but I don’t care to see your swollen figure before then. I can’t help but shake my head to see our society sliding downhill. — Remember Back When in Warren, Ohio
Dear Warren: If you go back far enough, there was a time when pregnant women weren’t allowed out in public altogether. The pregnant body is nothing to be ashamed of or hidden. We agree that tight maternity fashions are not particularly flattering, but that is beside the point. And all fashion changes over time, so please try to find something else to be aggravated about.
Dear Annie: I am a 57-year-old male and feel compelled to respond to “Worried,” whose boyfriend says she asks too many stupid questions. She is right to be concerned. I have been there, done that and have the T-shirt. “Dennis” does not love her as a partner should. He may have at one time, but no longer. He hasn’t the courage to be honest, so he tries to tolerate her, but every little quirk of her personality grates on his last nerve.
I hope “Worried” listens because it will get worse, and one day he will have enough nerve to say how he really feels, or he will do other, more obnoxious things to turn her away. This is not her fault. She should be thankful for the good times they had and the education she received in this relationship. A person cannot get these life lessons out of a book. It will hurt, but she will be better off. — I Know
Dear Know: We agree that this is not a healthy relationship, and if it doesn’t change, she is indeed better off without him.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 2.11.09