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Annie 4.21.11

Annie 4.21.11

Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2011 8:01 pm

Dear Annie: Nearly 20 years ago, I was convicted of drunk driving and given a year’s probation. My brother, “Joe,” immediately cut off all contact. I got treatment for my drinking problem and have been sober ever since.
I know Joe was hurt and embarrassed by what I did, and I would like to make amends. I have sent him Christmas and birthday cards wishing him well, but have never received a response. I was not invited to his wedding, and now I have a sister-in-law and two nephews I have never met.
My parents are in poor health, and I fear my next meeting with Joe will be at their funeral. Mom says I should wait for Joe to contact me, but since that has not happened, I feel I should make another effort to let him know I am sorry.
I want to bury the hatchet. Any advice? — Midwest Brother
Dear Midwest: Joe seems very unforgiving. You cannot force him to contact you, but it is OK to try periodically. We assume your parents have informed Joe that you have been sober and responsible for the past 20 years. We also hope they have encouraged him to give you another chance. Please ask them to find out what it would take for Joe to consider you his brother again.
Dear Annie: My best friend, “Kim,” and I moved into an apartment together a couple of months ago. We’ve known each other since high school and always got along wonderfully.
However, she is a control freak when it comes to our living space. From Day One, she insisted on taking charge of the decorating and deciding which one of us would do what chores and when. She goes nuts if the dishwasher isn’t emptied immediately or if the utensils are not put away in a certain order. If a throw rug is a little crooked, she complains that the place is a pigsty and blames me.
I dread spending time in the apartment. I am not a slob. I do my best to keep the place clean, but Kim is never satisfied. I work two jobs and always pay my share of the bills on time. I am tired of being treated like a maid. We have nine months left on our lease, and I’m not sure I can stand it. Please help. — Fed-Up Roommate
Dear Roommate: Some roommates are wound a little tighter than others. You can try talking to Kim, explaining calmly that you find it too difficult to adhere to her standards, and that unless things can lighten up, it may be best to part ways when the lease expires. Until then, absent yourself as much as possible, take a lot of deep breaths and hang in there.
Dear Annie: I saw the letter from “Texas Single Woman,” who read about the “pass the piggy” game in your column and recounted how her father traumatized her with the use of a pig trough to remind her of mealtime manners.
My husband and I also read about the “pass the piggy” game in your column and thought it was a great idea for our manners-challenged 5- and 3-year-old boys. The next day, we bought a cute little pink plastic pig, explained its purpose and commenced dinner. The boys competed eagerly to see who could have the worst manners and win the pig. I can’t speak about their psyches, but our dinnertime peace was battered.
The next day, we changed our approach and awarded the pig to displays of good manners. That brought about even more competition and so many demands for recognition of good manners that no other dinner conversation was possible.
We have since retired the pig to a sideboard where it reminds us that where our boys are concerned, there are no easy fixes. Thanks for the laughs. — Lana from Torrance, Calif.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, 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

Published in The Messenger 4.21.11

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