Posted: Friday, August 13, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I am going to be in college soon, and I have two problems, both centered around my love life.
While acting as a service volunteer in a foreign country, I met “Anna” and became close to her and her family. Anna has kept in contact, writing me every day. But twice she has gotten upset when she thought I had a girlfriend. (I did not then and don’t now.) I am not trying to lead her on. I never made any promises. I do have feelings for her, but I don’t know that I can do anything about bringing her to the States.
Then there is “Mia,” a close friend from high school. After I returned from my volunteer service, we met up again. I care for her a lot, but she seems stuck in a rut with school and with a previous boyfriend who keeps her dangling and makes her unhappy. Mia knows how I feel and is OK dating and spending time with me, but there’s no commitment. I want to help her find herself. If she chooses to be with me, great. If not, at least she’ll be happier than she is now.
So what can I do to help without hurting either of these two girls or causing their lives to be needlessly complicated? They deserve the best. — Concerned Admirer
Dear Prince Charming: You seem to think it is your responsibility to protect these women from themselves. It is not. Instead of being their hero, they treat you as a convenient way to get what they need. Tell Anna you cherish your friendship with her, but the distance makes any closer relationship impossible. Then wish Mia the best, and let her know you’ll be available if she ever gets over her old boyfriend. Please stop being the consolation prize. You can do better.
Dear Annie: Our home is five feet away from our neighbor’s fence. They have two dogs that use the cement pavement as their bathroom. There is a strong smell of urine coming from their property.
Is there a tactful way of asking them to hose off the cement walkway so that we do not have to smell these unpleasant odors? — Bothered in California
Dear California: First try talking to your neighbors. Say nicely, “I’m sure you don’t realize that the pungent odor from your dogs penetrates my entire home. Would it be possible for you to hose down the walkway after they use it?” If they are considerate neighbors, they will be happy to do this. You also could check to see whether your county or state has a community mediation or dispute resolution center that handles such disagreements between neighbors.
Dear Annie: I was quite amused by the letter from “Dirty Dishes Not Dirty Hands,” who objected to a friend washing up in his kitchen sink after playing golf.
I am curious: Before this family prepares food, do they go to the bathroom to wash their hands? After they prepare the hamburger patties for grilling, do they go back to the bathroom to clean up? And after they rinse off the raw chicken, do they go back to the bathroom to wash their hands? After they clean the counter to prepare the salad, do they go into the bathroom to rinse the cleanser off their fingers?
Do you see where I’m going with this? Raw chicken residue and the miniscule bits of food left around the kitchen drain harbor as many if not more bacteria than grubby golf hands. And don’t even get me started on the germs one might find in a garbage disposal.
If one is really worried about a clean preparation area, I suggest using an antibacterial cleanser or some good old-fashioned bleach. — Clean Hands
Dear Clean: How you choose to wash up in your own house is your business. But one needs to be cautious about germs, particularly those tracked in from outdoors, in areas where food is prepared. Enough said.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 8.13.10