Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I come from a family of seven children. Last spring, our oldest sister, “Susan,” was diagnosed with lung cancer, and it has spread. We have rallied around and take turns spending time with her.
We recently found out that “Tom,” Susan’s husband of 30 years, has been cheating on her for the past five. They live in a small town, and everybody knows. (I found out by overhearing women talking at the grocery store.) Susan filed for divorce two years ago, but when Tom was diagnosed with prostate cancer, she stopped the process to take care of him. She thought this would wake him up, but apparently, his girlfriend was “taking care” of him, too. Tom has no problem being seen about town with this woman, who is also married with young children.
In all of our visits, Susan has yet to mention the affair. We also don’t know what to do about her two grown children who know nothing of their father’s activities, even though all their friends are aware of it. Tom isn’t likely to proceed with the divorce because it would make him look bad, but he undoubtedly thinks if he waits long enough, Susan will die. This is making us all sick. Any of us would gladly take her in, but we don’t know how to broach the subject. — Perplexed Siblings
Dear Siblings: Please allow Susan to bring up her husband’s affair. There is no way to know whether she would be relieved to talk about it or whether it would simply be more stress than she can handle. It may comfort her to think her siblings believe her marriage is solid. Instead, tell her that all of you would like the opportunity to provide a place for her in your own homes. Let her know how much you love her and want this chance to spend time together. In spite of your loving offer, however, Susan may prefer to stay where she is. (And please leave the children out of it. We suspect they know more than you think.)
Dear Annie: I have noticed disturbing behavior occurring on a website that is supposed to be used for educational interaction between schools. One student taunted another and even said no one liked her.
Is this classified as cyberbullying? What was said was certainly harmful and hurtful. How do you suggest I inform the school that this is going on? — Student Trying To Make a Difference
Dear Trying: Yes, this is cyberbullying and should be reported to all the schools that use this website. These sites should be regularly monitored to prevent just such activity. Talk to your parents, and ask them to call or visit the principal with a printout of the offending page, or ask if you can bring it up on the school computer. The principal should handle it from there.
Dear Annie: “Workplace Dilemma” said her small office consists of only her and a part-time employee, and her boss’s boss won’t pay her overtime. You said an hour a week is not that much, but, Annie, in a year, it could add up to a week’s pay. Also, not paying overtime could be against the law, depending on her position. She can find out at www.dol.gov/compliance/laws/comp-flsa.htm.
“Workplace” should keep a notebook nearby and document everything she does, and then find time to talk to her boss objectively. Further, if the boss is so dependent upon her, she should get a significant raise. — New Hampshire
Dear N.H.: Even though we said “Workplace” should be paid, many readers were angry with us because we also said an hour a week isn’t that much if you like your job. (And a few pointed out that for an extra 12 minutes a day, they would gladly take her job.) We hope she will check to see whether she is legally owed overtime and then take the necessary steps to ensure she gets it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email 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 10.25.11