Dear Annie: When I married my husband, he was divorced with a college- aged daughter. For some reason or other, she did not complete her degree.After college, “Connie” got a job and her own apartment. She became pregnant by a co-worker and had a son. Her dad and I were very disappointed. Later, Connie moved to another state and had two more children with the same man, but no marriage. Her dad and I supported her and paid her rent whenever she needed it. He advised her on the difficulties and disadvantages of raising children without marriage, but she didn’t listen. She moved back home three years before her father died. Her mother died two years later.
My 57-year-old stepdaughter now lives in her mother’s house. Connie is on dialysis and lives on her disability income. I cook, clean and take her to the doctor. I also help with the bills.
The problem is, I am now 70 and ready to retire and return to my hometown to spend time with my immediate family. My widowed sister has invited me to live with her. How long am I obligated to support Connie physically and financially? Should I remain here and put my life on hold?
— Had Enough
Dear Had Enough: That’s up to you. You are the only parent Connie has, and you’ve stayed relatively close to her through the years. Some parents would sacrifice their personal happiness to care for a child, but others reach the point where they become resentful and feel taken advantage of. Can Connie manage without you? Could you look into available resources in her area for home health care, housekeeping and cooking, and perhaps contribute to the cost? Her children are adults now. It’s time they took over the responsibilities you’ve been handling. Talk to them.
Dear Annie: I have been going to the same hairdresser for the past 12 years. Lately, I have received some pretty bad haircuts, and I’ve noticed that the salon is not as clean as it used to be. There is often hair from previous customers on the chair and the floor.
I feel a strong connection to my hairdresser, and we’ve developed a friendship over the years, but I just can’t take another bad hairdo. I’m thinking of going somewhere else, but I don’t know how to do it. Should I just stop calling for appointments, or must I “break up” with her directly?
— Can Hairy Leave Sally?
Dear Hairy: After 12 years, your hairdresser deserves to know why you aren’t returning. Is it possible the salon is having financial difficulties? Might she be ill and unable to do the work she used to? Inquire about her well-being, and then tell her what’s been bothering you. Give her the opportunity to improve the situation before telling her you feel it is necessary to take your business elsewhere.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Dog-Free Wedding,” whose relative wants to bring her self-trained, poorly behaved “service” dog to the wedding.
I have had a seeing-eye dog for 30 years. My dogs are trained at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J. Those of us who use legitimate service dogs, guide dogs, hearing or other therapy dogs are confronting a huge issue: people who train their own dogs and those who get service dog equipment off of the Internet. They dress up their pets as service dogs and bring them into public places.
”Dog-Free” has every right to refuse this person and her ill-behaved dog who was not professionally trained. If this relative has a legitimate disability and needs a dog, she should investigate the proper channels. Otherwise, she is jeopardizing the rights and privileges for which those of us with legitimately trained dogs have fought for more than 80 years.
— New Germany, Nova Scotia
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