Dear Annie: My husband hoards cars and is too lazy to fix them. Now he is lying about money, saying, “Oh, this is set aside to fix the cars.” But I know he is frittering it away and wasting his time. He always has excuses about why he can’t fix the cars, but if that’s the case, why hang on to them?
We have more than 10 cars on our lot, and only one is really drivable. Another is a collectible that he doesn’t like to get dirty. The rest are wrecks. He acts as if the drivable vehicle belongs to him, but he bought it for me when I graduated college as a replacement for one that was stolen. He drives it every day, and I have to beg to use it. I have lost my mobility and independence, and he doesn’t care.
I work full time and bring in a decent income. He is retired and watches videos and putters around on the computer. I am angry and tired of his lies. If he really wanted to fix the cars, he would. I am sick of all of the excuses and lies. Why doesn’t he do something about these wrecks? Some have been sitting there for 20 years.
— Frustrated in Northern New York
Dear Frustrated: Somewhere in the back of his head, your husband believes he will get around to fixing these cars. He is reluctant to part with them, because it means giving up that little fantasy. The wrecks may be annoying but are not critical to your marriage. Taking the only usable car, however, is a problem. Can you afford another car? If so, get one for yourself. If not, stop begging. Tell your husband the car belongs to you and you intend to use it to get to work and run errands. Maybe it will give him some incentive to deal with the wrecks.
Dear Annie: My husband and I love our youngest daughter and have always been proud of her accomplishments. However, now in her late 40s, she has become involved with a religious group that does not celebrate birthdays or holidays.
Over Christmas, I sent out some email greetings to my list of friends, and she was included. She called, outraged, and I was forced to admit that I do not believe as she does. Now, I don’t hear from her anymore. What can I do?
— Blue Christmas
Dear Blue: Not much. Your daughter’s lack of tolerance is not unusual for someone who has adopted new religious beliefs. Please try to stay in touch. Send her letters or emails letting her know you miss her and keeping her up to date on family news. Do not mention her religion or yours or the argument you had. We hope, over time, her stringent position will mellow a bit and she will contact you again.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Midwest Cook,” who is appalled when other people’s children say they “don’t like” what she’s serving. She says her own children will happily eat anything besides sauerkraut and Brussels sprouts.
It seems unfair to me to acknowledge her own children’s food biases, but assume that any other child’s preferences are a result of being pampered. Manners, like saying “no, thank you,” can be taught, but some people simply cannot eat the way others do.
If “Midwest Cook” will be regularly entertaining others’ children, she might ask in advance whether they have things they can’t (or won’t) eat. This would save her guests, even the children, the awkwardness of offending the hosts by declining food.
— No Fish, Please
Dear No Fish: Unless there are serious allergies, it is unreasonable to expect hosts to cater to individual tastes. A good host will provide enough variety that no one goes hungry. A good guest will find something to nibble on without complaint.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, 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.
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