Posted: Monday, February 16, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I’m a 40-year-old man who has moved back home with my mother to recover from a car accident. The recovery is nearly complete, but the economy is slowing my progress toward moving out of the house.
Mom is very intrusive. When I first moved back home, I was in traction and unable to protest the carefully pressed undergarments and starch in my shorts. I have quite a lot of correspondence related to the accident, which my mother rearranges regularly when I’m not in the room. I sometimes wonder whether I’m receiving all my mail. She screens my phone calls by leaving the ringer off so I don’t hear the phone, and the answering machine is in her bedroom.
The most irritating aspect is that Mom stealthily walks up behind me when I’m using the computer. I’m not surfing any questionable Web sites, but I’d like my e-mail and Facebook activities to be private. I’d be happy to show her most of this if she’d just ask.
I don’t know how to get my mother to respect my personal space. I’m hoping she’ll see this letter in print and understand. — Smothered in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Smothered: Mom isn’t going to “understand.” You need to discuss this with her directly. Don’t be confrontational. Say lovingly, “Mom, I know you care about me, but I feel suffocated when you look over my mail, screen my phone calls and check what I’m doing on the computer. If you want to know something, just ask me. I’ll be happy to tell you.” We hope you can move out soon.
Dear Annie: I have a male friend who is married. I socialize with him and his wife. I’ve known since I met “Todd” that he finds me attractive.
A few weeks ago, Todd and his wife came over to my house for a party my family was giving. Drinking was involved, and Todd and I ended up messing around, kissing and stuff. I feel so awful. I don’t know what to do.
Should I tell his wife? Should I keep away from Todd? I feel so guilty, I can’t stand it. Do you have some advice? — Sorry Now
Dear Sorry: You may socialize with the two of them, but never be anywhere alone with Todd, even if it’s just the kitchen. Say nothing now, but if he gets too friendly, tell him firmly that you are not interested and if he comes one step closer, you will tell his wife. And watch your liquor intake. It obviously impairs your judgment.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Complaining in Tennessee,” about what to do with unwanted note cards, note pads, calendars, etc.
Could you please encourage readers to donate their surplus to their local public schools? Many district budgets include a relatively small amount for teachers to spend on the surprisingly varied and overwhelming needs of their students. Teachers often spend hundreds of their own dollars to fill these needs.
Need some ideas? Some children wait outside in the cold in the mornings with no gloves, hats or proper coats. How about giving your old ones to the schools to distribute? Plastic crates, bins and small containers come in handy in the classroom. Magazines, fabric and craft goods make for creative fun. We’ll take those miscellaneous pens, pencils and markers collecting in your kitchen junk drawer. Bookcases? Yup. Your children outgrow their board games? We’ll use them. Puzzles? Legos? Even lamps and old pillows can be recycled in a classroom to create a cozy area for children to curl up with a good book.
Most of the teachers I’ve had the pleasure to work with want to do their part to nurture, encourage and challenge America’s future citizens. Your donations would be greatly appreciated. — Ready to Recycle in Rifle, Colo.
Dear Ready: This is a great idea. Interested parents can call the school or ask individual teachers if they can use what you would like to give away.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 2.16.09