Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My 81-year-old mother died several months ago. One of her final wishes was that my older sister and I get along.
Sis inherited Mom’s house, but she lives five hours away and didn’t want it, so I purchased the house from the estate. I have a sentimental attachment to it, since my father built the place and that’s where we grew up. I go there on my days off to do maintenance and upkeep.
My sister is welcome to stay there any time. She was there for Memorial Day and July 4, and e-mailed that she plans to visit for Labor Day. I told her she is welcome, but the house costs me nearly $400 a month in utilities, taxes, etc., and she should chip in something. She replied that Mom would not want her to pay to stay at the family home. She refuses to give me anything for expenses.
It isn’t the money. It’s the principle. I think $15 a day is fair. If I happen to be at the house at the same time, I’m willing to split the cost in half. So, Annie, what do you say? — Sam in Pittsburgh
Dear Sam: This is the equivalent of your vacation home. Generally, when one invites a relative to stay, one doesn’t charge them for the hospitality. However, if Sis is using the family home as a vacation destination, meaning she invites herself and goes when you are not there, it is similar to a hotel and she should pay accordingly. Her visits undoubtedly raise the water and electric bills, so it costs you money. We think $15 a day is a terrific deal for her, and she should not complain.
Dear Annie: My sister and her fiancé have been planning their wedding for two years. One of their few requests is that the men in the wedding party wear tuxedos. Our father is the only one refusing to do so, although cost is not an issue. He also has made it clear he isn’t interested in participating in a father-of-the-bride dance, and we’re not even sure he’ll walk her down the aisle.
My sister and my father have always had a wonderful relationship, and he approved of the wedding until he realized they were getting married “so soon.” His behavior is embarrassing for our entire family. I don’t think it’s asking too much for him to wear a tux on such an important occasion. Should we just let him be his usual “easier not to” self and wear a suit? — Tuxless in Bettendorf, La.
Dear Tuxless: We’ll grant that Dad sounds like a spoiled brat, but forcing him to behave like an adult will only create ill-will on the big day. He may have some unresolved issues that make him reluctant to participate in his daughter’s wedding, so you may as well leave him alone. We hope your sister will ask a male relative or her new father-in-law to step in for a father-daughter dance and any other such charming obligations that her father cannot be bothered with.
Dear Annie: “Cautious Canadian” was worried that “Nick,” a sex offender, had keys to all the apartments in her building. Society doesn’t deal well with sex offenders. It’s difficult to find a balance between protecting others and allowing ex-offenders to live normal lives after they have served their time. Because so many re-offend, it’s hard to feel generous toward anyone who is in that category.
I don’t think Nick should lose his job as the informal super, but he should not have keys to the apartments. Having such access will tempt him to re-offend. Also, if word gets out that Nick is on probation, he might be blamed for real or imagined thefts or damages for which he isn’t responsible. I am, however, annoyed that “Canadian’s” husband wasn’t more protective. He’s either naive or is disregarding her fears, possibly leaving her in danger. — Cambridge, Mass.
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 8.25.10