Dear Annie: I am a fortunate mother of four beautiful little girls, all under the age of 8. While I am not overweight, I could be in better shape.
How do I handle strangers and distant acquaintances who approach me and ask me when my baby is due? I do have a little bit of a belly, but it is quite a stretch to assume that I am pregnant. I find this to be incredibly rude and then embarrassing when I have to say that I am not actually pregnant. I would never approach a stranger to inquire about her pregnancy unless she brought it up first.
It is always women, never men, who do this. One would think they might be a bit more understanding in this department.
— No, I Am Not Trying for a Boy
Dear Not: We think people often open their mouths before their brains are in gear. No one should ever assume a woman is pregnant based on her appearance. It is asking for trouble. But we will also say that if this happens to you so frequently that it is disturbing, you might want to reconsider your choice of clothing. You may be accentuating your tummy area more than you realize.
Dear Annie: Twice in the past year I have been at events where you could win some grand prize, vacation trip or other gift. The entry forms required filling in my name, address, phone and email.
I found out the hard way that this isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The first time, someone called to say I’d won a free trip. But the salesperson insisted that in order to claim my prize, I had to come to a specific address and tour townhomes. I went and discovered that I didn’t win anything at all.
The second time (for which I supposedly won a free car), I didn’t answer their calls, and then I blocked their number, but the calls continued. I ended up phoning them and asked them to stop calling me, but they wouldn’t listen. Finally, I said it was harassment, and the salesman said he would take my name off his list.
Tell people to be careful about those entry forms. It could be a scam.
Dear Texas: These aren’t scams. But they are misleading, and you need to read the fine print. They are similar to lotteries or sweepstakes. Could you win a free vacation or car? Yes. But the odds aren’t in your favor. Someone will win the grand prize, but most people will simply get a tour of townhomes, timeshares or other vacation property.
We haven’t seen your entry forms, but we suspect they actually said to fill out the form and “win a free vacation” (no guarantee) or “you have won a free gift,” which could be anything, including the tour you took. We hope readers will take your warning to heart and pay attention to forms where they must put down personal contact information.
Dear Annie: I can relate to “S.W. in California,” the father who had a falling out with his daughter and she cut off contact. In response, he took her out of his will.
My husband and I have traveled this road with our adult children. Some young adults are simply selfish and ungrateful. They expect their parents to tolerate everything they do (even drugs), allow their friends into the home (even drug pushers and felons), give them money at the drop of a hat (even when the parents are struggling financially), and allow them to use their home as a hotel or storage facility. If the parents don’t cooperate, the kids punish them by being abusive or keeping the grandkids away.
I am tired of being treated so poorly. I have loved unconditionally, and in return, I’ve received disrespect and a broken heart. My job is done.
— Indiana Mom
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to email@example.com, 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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