Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My sister-in-law, “Kate,” has a son who is a year older than mine. For my husband’s sake, every time Kate comes to town, I tell her she’s welcome to stay with us.
Kate doesn’t always behave herself. I try to blow off her offensive comments, but it’s hard. My husband says, “My sister is stupid. Don’t let her get to you.” But her last visit was the final straw. She asked whether my 2-year-old son is “normal” because he has a big head. Annie, he looks like his father, who is tall and broad-shouldered. So is my brother, who played high school sports. She asked this repeatedly, and each time, I calmly told her that his pediatrician says he’s perfectly fine. Then she had the gall to ask my husband whether our son was actually his.
Kate also will make nasty remarks such as, “Did you serve bad bacon? It tastes funny,” or “You don’t wash your floor. It’s sticky.”
I’d love to tell Kate exactly how I feel about her rude comments, but I know the consequences won’t be worth it. I already ignore her phone calls and reply only by text. I’m tired of crying to my husband over Kate’s nasty behavior. I can tell that he is getting irritated with me. What do I do? — Ready To Explode in N.D.
Dear Ready: First, stop complaining to your husband. It’s tiresome and accomplishes nothing positive. Instead, learn better ways to handle Kate. When she complains about your sticky floors, reply, “Oh, I’m so sorry. Here’s a mop.” If she dislikes the food, smile and tell her, “Sorry I can’t make what you like. Feel free to do the cooking.” When she insults your son’s size, nicely say, “He’s so athletic looking, like his father and uncle.” The trick is to remain wonderfully polite, sweet and perfectly innocent while you drive her nuts. It might help to understand that Kate says these things because she is jealous. We feel sorry for her.
Dear Annie: Please publish this letter to my friends and relatives who do not own computers:
I don’t mind helping you, but there are rules: I am not going to research a term paper for your child. If I have printed out information, please store it wisely. I may not have saved it to the computer I am currently using. If you have access to the Internet, please look things up yourself before asking me.
A dear relative recently became angry when I told her I no longer have the family tree information she wanted, nor did I have time to re-create the file. Also, paper and printer ink are expensive. I do freelance writing and editing and need my supplies for that. It would be nice if people would reimburse me for some of the expense or buy a pack of paper once in a while. — Computer Geek
Dear Geek: You ought to attach this letter to any work you do for others so they understand your rules. Those who ask for favors should not expect you to pay for the privilege.
Dear Annie: “Lost My Appetite” better get used to being around diabetics unless she plans to lock herself up in the house forever.
Type 1 diabetes is an epidemic, and people with the disease aren’t going to wait to eat. They need to time their insulin precisely. Doing it in the bathroom doesn’t always work because some bathrooms are disgusting and many don’t have a counter to put your supplies on.
I think her friends will be thankful that “Lost” stays home. — Sterling, Mass.
Dear Sterling: We heard from a great many diabetics who took issue with “Lost’s” position. Watching someone inject insulin is not pleasant. However, when one has close friends or family members with diabetes, it requires that you put a lid on your sensitivities. Otherwise, simply show up later.
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, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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 5.29.12