cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: I am 23 years old and have been dating "Tom" for two years. He works in a demanding job that requires an extensive amount of travel. He's away almost six months of the year.

When Tom isn't traveling, he's with me during the week, but spends most weekends going places with his fraternity or visiting his parents. This means for the six months he's in town, I get perhaps one weekend.

We are saving for a house, and Tom's constant recreational travel is cutting into our budget. I want our couple time back, as well as time to take care of things at home. I've suggested compromises (such as two weekends away and two weekends home), but things always come up that he "has to do." Two months ago, I was let go from my job. That same afternoon, Tom left on a trip with friends that could have easily been cancelled. I can't use those same weekends to visit my family because they are too far away, so I spend a lot of time sitting home alone.

I know nothing unsavory is going on. Tom is a wonderful guy. I have no intention of leaving him. I knew when we met that his job would require a lot of travel, but these personal weekends are difficult for me. I know he hates being inactive or staying home, but it seems excessive. How can we come up with a workable solution? -- Home Alone

Dear Home: Tom thinks he already has a workable solution and has no incentive to compromise. After all, he sees you all week. Right now, his schedule is a minor hardship for you, but if you marry and have children, it will be a major problem. You'll have to revisit this issue then.

Meanwhile, we are never in favor of sitting home alone moping. Please find things to occupy yourself during the weekends when Tom is absent. Look for part-time work. Take classes to bone up on your skills. Go biking. Accompany him when he visits his family, and get to know them better.
cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta
NB: All of the Annie's Mailbox columns being posted at Arcamax are reruns from a few years ago, but I still find them interesting.

Really mean-spirited pranks )
cereta: Cartoon of Me, That's Doctor Fangirl to you. (Doctor Fangirl)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: I am the youngest of seven children and the only one who didn't marry young. I am also the only one who attended college. I am graduating in May and mentioned to my parents that I hoped to have a small graduation party with family and close friends. One friend already offered to make my cake.

You can imagine my disappointment when my parents said it was silly to have a graduation party, and they'd rather spend money on a wedding whenever I get married. Annie, I wasn't asking them to spend money. I just wanted to use the hospitality of their home because my college apartment is a few hours away.

I've worked hard for my degree, and I'm hurt by their lack of excitement. I want to share my happiness. I don't need gifts. Would it be against etiquette to throw myself a party? -- Puzzled

Dear Puzzled: It is OK to give yourself a party, but please don't mention your graduation until after your guests arrive. You don't want to give the impression of, "I'm so fantastic and accomplished -- bring presents." Simply say you want to have a party. You can then tell them during the event that you are celebrating your degree. Another option is to get together with your classmates and have a group celebration, whereby you are essentially giving a graduation party for one another.
cereta: Cover of Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots (do princesses wear hiking boots?)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: I am the step-grandmother of a 7-year-old whom I consider my granddaughter. "Missy" does not have a relationship with her father (my husband's son), although we have been actively involved with her since she was an infant. Missy's mother subsequently had another child, now 3, with someone else.

We recently were informed that Missy cannot visit us on weekends without her little brother. According to their mother, he "cries all weekend when his big sister is gone."

My husband and I feel this woman is simply seeking a babysitter for the weekends.
We have resorted to elaborate reasons why we cannot have both kids, but I'm afraid we're running out of excuses. We have not seen Missy for weeks now, but my husband refuses to take the 3-year-old. What should we do? — Perplexed

Dear Perplexed: You may be right that Missy's mother is looking for free babysitting, but the price of saying no is rather steep. She seems perfectly willing to keep her away until you acquiesce, so you might reconsider and "adopt" the 3-year-old, as well. Missy might appreciate it. You also could try working out an arrangement that doesn't involve weekends, perhaps taking Missy out for ice cream on Wednesdays or picking her up from school. It wouldn't be the same, but at least you would remain in regular contact.

If there is any way to encourage your stepson to be more involved in his child's life, that would be a positive move. And also look into grandparents' rights in your state.
cereta: Flowers (Flowers)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Annie: My sister "Justine" has invited me to go on vacation with her three times. The problem is, she consults with my other two sisters and their husbands to come up with the date and place without any input from me. She just phones with the information and expects an immediate reply. Given the short notice, my husband and I have not been able to go.

I don't understand why Justine can't give me a little more choice in the matter. Last time, she called on my cell phone and expected a "yes" or "no" answer while I was in the car. She had airline information up on her computer screen and was ready to book the flight. Annie, I have seven grandchildren that I help take care of. I needed to consult with my daughters and check my calendar at home.

I feel like an afterthought. Or maybe she doesn't want me to go and is hoping that the short notice and lack of options will make me decline. I am the youngest of four sisters. We also have three brothers, who are never asked to go. Sometimes I think that might be less hurtful.

There have been other occasions when Justine has said derogatory things to me in front of others. I am so taken by surprise that I never have a good comeback. I don't want to cause any family turmoil, but would like to be treated with some respect. How do I do that without causing hard feelings? — Left Out

Dear Left Out: Justine is accustomed to bossing her baby sister around. Talk to her, as well as to your other sisters, and explain the vacation problem. Ask if they could please give you more options when selecting a date because you would love to go. And when Justine insults you, call her on it. You don't have to be clever. Practice the phrase, "Why would you say such a hurtful thing?" and repeat as needed.

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