Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My husband’s brother and his wife recently moved back home after living away for several years. I’m trying to be nice, but they are really getting on my nerves.
There was a family dinner a few weeks ago that was scheduled to start at 1. Instead of coming on time, they decided to put their child down for a nap and showed up two hours late. I thought that was extremely rude. Why couldn’t they just have packed her up in a baby carrier and brought her over? People carry their sleeping children around all the time.
I hate to sound selfish, but there’s more. My husband threw me a 40th birthday party last month, and my brother-in-law and his wife gave me nothing. They didn’t even offer to buy me a drink. My brother-in-law makes a lot of money and my husband and I barely get by, yet we always buy their child gifts. (We don’t have children.)
Everyone keeps telling me to ignore such inconsiderate gestures, but they really annoy me, and I know this behavior bothers my mother-in-law and father-in-law, as well. — Tongue Biter
Dear Tongue Biter: Some parents are flexible enough to drag their sleeping children around everywhere, but not all of them want to disrupt their child’s nap schedule and this is particularly true of first-time parents. We don’t recommend you criticize their decision, but we also don’t think you should hold dinner for them. Go ahead and eat.
As for gifts, it sounds like they believe their little angel deserves your attention, but it doesn’t occur to them to reciprocate to you, an adult. It’s rude, but no one is obligated to give gifts. How you deal with it is your choice, but please keep in mind that this is your husband’s family. Try to be forgiving.
Dear Annie: My friend “Cora” has been doing my hair for almost 20 years, and I am reluctant to tell her when she doesn’t do a good job. Lately, I’ve been disappointed with my hair nearly every time I see her and I have to go home and redo it. I have politely tried telling her when I am not happy, but she doesn’t take it well.
Since I get my hair done every week, I am beginning to resent paying money for a do I have to redo. But I feel guilty because I know she needs my business. How do I cut back on my appointments without hurt feelings? — Goldilocks
Dear Goldilocks: Explain to Cora, a little more forcefully and specifically, how you want your hair done. If she still refuses to do it to your liking, you should stop going to her. If that would be too hard, simply say you will be getting your hair done less frequently due to the economic situation. She should understand that.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Annoyed Friend,” who belongs to a coffee club that meets in each other’s homes.
I am one of those friends who always have something to do on the days I am to host. I love to get together with the ladies, but they all have really nice houses and I live in a single-wide trailer home. We are in the process of remodeling, so it has half-painted walls, plaster here and there, missing carpet and junk piled all over. I also have roaches, which is the most embarrassing thing of all. I have tried everything to get rid of them, with no luck.
The ladies will sometimes say things about the condition of other people’s houses, and I know if they ever come to mine, I’ll be talked about, too. So I just make up excuses to save the humiliation. — On the Other Side of the Fence in Texas
Dear Texas: Many readers told us that the condition of their homes was the reason they didn’t reciprocate. We hope you can find some neutral ground instead.
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 3.18.09