Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My 85-year-old uncle, a widower, spends several days a week at casinos. This is no penny-ante stuff. He gambled away everything he ever owned and had to move into subsidized housing.
He is somewhat fatalistic at this point, figuring he won’t live much longer and so he wants to have fun. While we recognize his right to spend his money as he pleases, bank statements indicate he is now using credit cards at the casinos. He has run up debt on at least three cards, making only the minimum payments to keep them active. He has no “estate” left to hold responsible for debts after his death and figures everything will be written off. He sees nothing ethically wrong with this.
So, who will get stuck paying for the $20,000 in credit card debt when he dies? Who pays for the selfishness of his addiction? Why do credit card companies continue to raise credit limits for people his age, and how do they not notice that his charges are almost exclusively coming from gambling institutions? The casinos are no help getting him to stop. They send buses to pick him up. Is there anything I can do? — Wish He Knew When To Fold ’Em
Dear Wish: If your uncle has no assets at the time of his death, the debt would likely be written off. He could arrange to have himself barred from entering casinos, but he obviously doesn’t want to be rescued from his addiction. Credit card companies are in the business of extending credit, and casinos are in the business of getting people to gamble. They aren’t going to be of assistance.
You can contact Gam-Anon (gam-anon.org) for support, but understand that this becomes your problem only if your uncle gambles himself into destitution earlier than expected and you end up taking care of him. There’s no point to being angry and frustrated. You don’t have to admire your uncle, but you can learn to accept him as he is.
Dear Annie: My 2-year-old daughter still sleeps with my husband and me in our bed, and this obviously is putting a damper on our sex life.
We have placed a “big girl bed” in our bedroom, but she won’t use it. So we let her fall asleep in our bed and then transfer her to her own. However, most of the time, it’s so late that we fall asleep without moving her. Or, she wakes up in the middle of the night, and my husband puts her back in our bed. Any suggestions? — Want My Privacy
Dear Want: Your daughter has learned that she is entitled to sleep with Mommy and Daddy. If you want a different result, you will need to work at it. You cannot simply fall asleep because you’re tired, or let her sleep with you because it’s easier than training her to sleep in her own bed (preferably in her own room).
This is simple behavior modification. You will need to place her in her bed repeatedly. She’s going to cry repeatedly. Be firm and insistent, but not angry. It will take a long time to get her to change her sleep habits, and every time you give in, you’ll be starting over from scratch. Talk to your pediatrician about it, and make sure your husband is on board.
Dear Annie: “Frazzled” said her husband had an affair 30 years ago and now has a 17-year-old daughter from that union. Forget the morality of it. The scientific aspect is amazing! The fact that his sperm laid dormant for nearly 13 years is what’s really important. Find out how he did that, and you will be able to replace cryogenics and make a fortune. — Curious Dave
Dear Dave: Very funny. For the math obsessed, “Frazzled” said her husband had a “long-term affair” with a 16-year-old girl that began 30 years ago. If the affair lasted 13 years and he broke things off when she became pregnant, the daughter could easily be 17 now.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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 4.19.12