Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I am a retired 70-year-old single senior and live on a fixed income. I try to be self-sufficient so I won’t have to depend on my children for anything. They have their own financial issues.
Two years ago, my daughter, “Alice,” asked if I would like to earn some extra money by helping at her workplace in the summers. I agreed, as it is a job I once did many years ago. I only work 10 to 12 days. It’s an hour away from my home, so when I’m working, I stay with Alice and her family.
I have some major expenses coming up and asked the boss for more hours. My request was granted. I also told the boss I do not want to infringe on my daughter’s hours and was reassured I would not. However, when I discussed this with Alice, she told me she doesn’t like working with me. She feels she always has to look out for me and also has to watch what she says. She added that my staying with her puts a strain on her family.
Annie, I am healthy and can work circles around most of the crew. I understand that Alice has to watch her conversations when I’m there, but I think she could deal with that for those few days a year. I drive separately to work and take lunch alone to give her space.
I told Alice she should be happy that I am able to pay my own bills. Otherwise, I’d have to come to her for occasional financial assistance. Both options would put stress on our relationship. Is my daughter being selfish, or am I? Is there a compromise? — Confused Senior
Dear Confused: Alice did a nice thing, only to discover that the result is harder to deal with than she anticipated. Could you arrange your workdays so they don’t coincide with your daughter’s? Could you drive the hour commute some of the time so you aren’t staying with her for two weeks every summer? Is it possible to find another part-time or temp job that will earn you the same amount of money? Talk to Alice, and see whether the two of you can come up with a way to make this work. This job isn’t worth alienating your child.
Dear Annie: My husband was given up for adoption 61 years ago. Recently, a change in adoption laws permitted him to obtain a copy of his original birth certificate. Through the Internet, I learned that his birth parents married and had four other children. His birth mother is deceased, but his birth father lives nearby, as do three of the siblings.
Two months ago, through an attorney, we contacted the father and asked for a medical history. We also said that my husband would be willing to see him. There has been no response. The father is 87, so there’s not a lot of time to lose.
My husband feels rejected and says to let it go. But he’s waited such a long time that I think he should try again, perhaps via the siblings. What do you say? — Still Waiting
Dear Waiting: It’s possible the father is ill or otherwise incapable of responding. Having a relationship is beside the point. A medical history is a reasonable request and is important to have. If you can contact the siblings, we think you should do so. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Tom,” who is upset because his girlfriend still lists herself as “single” on Facebook.
An engagement ring on the left hand third finger would probably compel her to change her status. Until then, she is, in fact, single. — Propose Already
Dear Propose: Yes, of course, but there is a variety of ways to list your status on Facebook, including “in a relationship.” If a girlfriend of eight months insists on being “single,” they don’t have a promising future.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, 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 11.8.11