Dear Annie: When my wife and I married 20 years ago, I agreed to buy a house in the town where she worked, even though it was an hour away from my job. She promised that when she retired, we would move closer to my job, but now that it’s happened, she refuses to relocate.
We belong to nothing in this town. Her parents are deceased, although she has a few siblings nearby. However, my parents are still alive and I’d like to be closer to them, as well as my job. It will be another 10 years before I retire.
Every time I bring up the subject of moving, she finds some lame excuse. I don’t think she’s being fair, since she hasn’t stuck to her original agreement. We have no children. What can I do to get her to move? — Been Waiting Patiently
Dear Waiting: Your wife has no interest in packing up 20 years’ worth of accumulation in order to be closer to your job and your parents. There’s nothing in it for her, in spite of the agreement you had, and she will continue to drag her feet. We agree she is being selfish and it’s her turn to make the sacrifice, but you cannot force her. Your choices are to stay where you are and make the best of it, start the process of moving without her on the assumption that she will join you (or not) or go for counseling in the hope that she will see things from your point of view and work it out.
Dear Annie: A while ago, my friend “Lois” retired and moved from her house into a lovely condo. However, two months ago, I received a package in the mail. When I opened it, I found the gifts I had given her over the past few years with a note saying she no longer had need or space for them.
At first I was hurt, then angry. It has affected my feelings for Lois and that saddens me. Is this a common practice? What is the proper way to “edit” gifts you can no longer use? — A Sad Friend in Michigan
Dear Michigan: We’re going to assume Lois meant no harm. She simply was packing things up, saw these lovely gifts, realized she no longer had the space and thought you might like to get them back. In most instances, however, we recommend that such items be given to charity rather than cause hurt feelings.
Dear Annie: “Puzzled and Concerned” wrote about “Rita,” a teacher in her school who was wearing inappropriate clothing. She wanted to know how to broach the subject of improper dress with Rita. You told her to approach her as a friend.
I am a retired high school teacher of 37 years, and I think your answer was wrong. Teachers are not paid to discuss such subjects with their fellow teachers. Why should she have to compromise her friendship with this woman by talking to her about her clothing?
Confronting teachers on delicate subjects, such as this one, is what administrators get paid to do. You should have told her to go to the principal and insist something be done about it because it is causing problems among the faculty (and probably the students, too). That is what an administrator gets paid to do — administrate.
In my years as a teacher, I saw too many wishy-washy administrators who were afraid to get their hands dirty. Another teacher should not have to do the principal’s job. — Retired and Loving It
Dear Retired: We agree that the principal should address inappropriate attire directly. But this hasn’t happened, which indicates either Rita’s clothes are fine, or the principal isn’t bothered enough to do anything about it. Since it bothers “Puzzled,” however, there is nothing wrong with her speaking up, as a friend, if the principal refuses to do so.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail 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, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.7.08