Posted: Monday, December 1, 2008 9:09 pm
Dear Annie: I have been in a Bunco group for several years now. We all get along great, and I really look forward to our monthly adult time together. The problem is that every time it’s “Nancy’s” turn to host, she lets her 8-year-old daughter join us. The girl is there the entire time while we eat, talk about what’s going on in our lives, etc. We really have to watch what we say in front of her. She also plays the game with us. She has even won first prize a few times.
Part of the enjoyment of getting together is leaving our kids at home and having an adult conversation. Mind you, this doesn’t happen because Nancy lacks child care. Her husband is always home when we play, but he stays in another part of the house with their other child.
Sometimes I don’t want to go when Nancy is hosting. We are all too polite to say anything to her, and I certainly don’t want to hurt her feelings. What can we do? — Charlotte, N.C.
Dear Charlotte: Nancy will continue to let her young daughter intrude on your “adult” time unless you speak up. You have two ways of doing this: Either tell Nancy directly that you’d prefer her daughter not participate in these sessions because it detracts from your enjoyment, or pretend the girl isn’t there and talk as you normally would. A few inappropriate conversations and Nancy may decide on her own that her child should play elsewhere.
Dear Annie: My 80-year-old sister, “Stella,” lives in another state. Her 59-year-old son flops at her apartment whenever he sees fit. The reason Stella is living in this apartment is because her son and grandsons, under the guise of taking care of her house, bought the place she lived in for over 50 years. They had her sign papers she didn’t fully understand, giving them $40,000 and making her pay rent to live there. Now the house is in foreclosure.
Stella’s 57-year-old daughter moved into the same apartment building but does nothing to help her mother. Stella no longer cooks and depends solely upon her kids for food, which consists of pizza, burgers and snacks. The son “borrowed” her car two years ago, yet she still makes the insurance payments and pays his tickets.
When I visit I try to help, but there is only so much I can do. I have asked Stella to come live with me, but she refuses. She is depressed and things are getting worse. How can I make those children stop taking advantage of their mother? — Frustrated in Florida
Dear Florida: Report the situation to Adult Protective Services in Stella’s state or check the National Center on Elder Abuse (ncea.aoa.gov), which has an online listing of state hotlines. You also can contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 for information and referrals. Someone needs to investigate what’s going on.
Dear Annie: Here’s a comment for “Frustrated in Indiana,” the woman who complains that her husband, son and grandson eat lunch and take naps in their greasy work clothes:
This lady needs to look on the bright side. She has a family that is working hard at honest labor and supporting themselves. She should be proud of them. Her house is their home, too, and they should be able to live in it comfortably. People are more important than furniture. Let her cover the furniture and the carpet if it makes her happy, fix them a wonderful lunch, and then give thanks for these ambitious guys. — Who Cares?
Dear Who: We’re sure she can be just as proud of her ambitious guys if they stop making a mess in the house and treating her like the family servant.
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 12.1.08