cereta: Barbara Gordon, facepalming (babsoy)
[personal profile] cereta
Dear Amy: My beloved father-in-law passed away a few months ago. Before he died, he was bedridden for several years. He received a handicap parking permit. During the years of his sickness, mom proudly displayed it whenever she parked, even though dad was not with her.

Now that he has died, she still uses it everywhere she goes, even though she is very healthy and walks 2 miles every day.

Recently, my wife and I took her out to dinner. I was very embarrassed when she pulled the permit out and told me to park in the handicap space. I offered to drop her off at the door and park in a normal spot. She would have none of it.

To avoid an argument, I parked in a handicap space. Afterward, I vowed not to do that again because it is illegal and wrong. My wife thinks that I am overreacting. She wants to appease her mother and believes the permit reminds her of dad. Please help.

— In a Quandary

Dear Quandary: A parking permit is a strange totem to attach emotional meaning to. Perhaps you should simply assume that your mother-in-law is attached to the convenience of illegally using a handicap permit.

When you are transporting people in your own car, you get to say how and where you will park. Your offer to drop off your mother-in-law at the entrance was the appropriate gesture to make. Your wife could have easily walked with her to the restaurant entrance and waited inside while you parked in a regular spot.

Because you know it was wrong of you to park in the handicap spot, you might have made your point clearly if you had told the group before the meal: "I feel terrible about taking up that spot while we are sitting here eating. I'm going to move the car now. When we leave, I'll retrieve it and pick you up at the entrance, if you don't want to walk."
amadi: A bouquet of dark purple roses (Default)
[personal profile] amadi
Dear Amy: My wife's daughter (age 26) has lived with us for the past five years. She pays rent of $400, including everything. Her boyfriend of three years also lives with his parents, but he pays them no rent. They party every weekend, and then she stays the weekend at her boyfriend's parents house.

I added tougher rules at our house in hopes they would get a place of their own. It hasn't happened. We don't allow him to spend the night here and we insist that when we go to bed, he must go home. He bought her a "promise ring," I believe to keep her from nagging about their next step.

I love my stepdaughter, but as a parent I feel we need to give her a bigger push to move out and become self-sufficient. She talks about staying here until her school loan is paid off, but at the rate she's paying, it would be a decade before that happens.

I seriously believe her boyfriend has no intention of ever moving from his parents' house. It seems so strange to me that they don't seem to want a place of their own. I try and encourage our daughter to save money so that they could buy a house, but each time I bring it up, she gets defensive.

Any suggestions?

— Frustrated in Portland, OR

Dear Frustrated: The last thing you should do is encourage your stepdaughter to cohabit with her boyfriend. Nor should you point her/them toward buying a house. Her boyfriend sounds completely dependent on his parents, and you can assume that he will remain so.

These two are not candidates for cohabitation or homeownership.

The way to put the squeeze on your renter is to gradually increase her rent until she is paying roughly market value. Then it will be obvious that she can afford to live elsewhere. You can discuss this with her as a family, helping her to set goals and a timeline, and then you should start the clock running. Depending on where you live, she might be able to afford to rent a room in a group house. This would be a good option for her; it would get her further out in the world and might provide an incentive to work more, party less and get on with her (own) life. I assume she would prefer this to you and her mother controlling her romantic choices in your home.


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