Dear Annie: My husband keeps telling our sons they can do whatever they want when I tell them “no,” and that they don’t need to listen to me. He is never on my side. The kids make fun of me and call me names, and Dad doesn’t seem to care. When I insist that he back me up, he slaps them on the head.
I’m tired of him undermining me and encouraging the kids to be disrespectful to me. It’s been 18 years, and I’m ready to throw in the towel. — Disrespected Wife
Dear Wife: Your husband is a terrible parent, and we don’t know why you have put up with it for so long. He sets a horrible example for his sons, teaching them that their mother doesn’t deserve their respect, that women should be ignored, that parenting is unimportant and when kids misbehave, just hit them. And frankly, by letting him get away with this, you have reinforced those attitudes. Tell your husband to come with you for parenting classes, or you will be seeking marriage counseling, with or without him, to see what’s worth saving.
Dear Annie: Last year, my sweet cousin died after a brief illness. Her two children requested donations in her memory to a charity. I was not sure which division of the organization to donate to, so I wrote a check to the charity and sent it to the eldest child, along with a card expressing my sympathy.
Three months later, I asked another relative to inquire whether they had received my card, because the check had not been cashed. Their response was that they had been “too busy” and had not opened any of the cards yet. It’s now approaching 10 months, and I doubt my bank will honor the check.
I am so disappointed in these well-educated yuppie kids with seven-figure incomes. Maybe your readers need a refresher course on bereavement etiquette. — Cousin Patsy
Dear Patsy: You are assuming that these kids are only marginally mourning their mother, and that Mom left things so tidy that they are simply ignoring the cards. Yes, they should have acknowledged your donation as soon as possible, but try to be forgiving. Since they have been remiss in responding and the check is too old to cash, phone the children and inform them that you will write a new check and mail it directly to the charity. (Put “in memory of” their mother on the subject line.) Ask them to please tear up or return the old one if they ever get to it.
Dear Annie: In response to “Warren, Ohio,” who claims she can’t find clothes for petites, I beg to differ. I’m 4-foot-9, and I find clothes all the time – just not at my local department stores. I shop online.
I highly recommend petitesource.com, which lists all the stores that offer petite wear by category. You also need to be creative if you are tiny. I discovered that Old Navy sells a ton of petite stuff, but only online, and that J. Jill stores don’t have much for me in their brick-and-mortar stores, but have a great deal online. Lands’ End sells petite nightgowns, lots of coats and, best of all, petite bathing suits. Coldwater Creek and Jones New York are for petites who are taller than I am, but the Sundance Catalog has some gorgeous and pricey tops, slacks, dresses and sweaters for petites that are both fashionable and beautifully made.
Also, many major department stores sell a lot of sizes, but only online, so check the websites for Nordstrom’s, Bloomingdale’s, Talbots, Ann Taylor, Macy’s, Dillard’s and Kohl’s. And when I’m looking for a great sale, I can often find it at T.J. Maxx online.
You may have to return a few things initially, but sometimes you can return online purchases without incurring shipping costs if they have a local store nearby. — Tiny Grandma in Florida
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.