He won't be returning to their home or marriage
Dear Annie: Tonight, my always grumpy, sometimes hateful and often mean husband of almost 15 years shot my pet poodle to death. "Edgar" had flown into a rage because of something he blamed me for, and he took out his anger on my sweet dog. He emptied the gun into her poor little body. When my daughter grabbed his arm and tried to stop him, he threw her to the floor.
She and I were hysterical and are devastated. Edgar was arrested for animal cruelty, which I believe is a felony in my state. He might actually serve time. Under no circumstances will he be returning to this home or to our marriage. It's over.
I am currently having a very bad time with rheumatoid arthritis and was forced to apply for Social Security disability. I was turned down and am appealing. I can hardly see through the tears. What in the world do I do now? I have a child to take care of and am nearly broke. At the moment, I have exactly $30 in my purse.
Edgar receives several pension checks each month. Can I ask for child support or spousal support? Can I access his money while he is in jail? Grieving Out West
Dear Grieving: Edgar is a brute, and you are well rid of him. You are entitled to child support if your daughter is under age 18, and you may be able to get spousal support as well. You can access Edgar's money if your accounts are held jointly.
There are attorneys who will help you for free or on a sliding scale. Check with your local women's associations and law schools, or contact the National Legal Aid & amp; Defender Association (www.nlada.org), 1140 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Suite 900, Washington, D.C. 20036. We'll be thinking of you.
Dear Annie: I am 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. Last year, I had this teacher who made my life miserable. Here's what happened:
We were supposed to have our supplies by the end of the week, but since both my parents work, they never found time to take me to the store. I explained this to "Mrs. Smith," and she said I'd get half-credit if I brought the supplies by Monday, which I did. However, when I told my dad about it, he called Mrs. Smith and said it was his fault I didn't have my supplies and she should give me 100 percent credit.
She did it, but she told me it was not fair to the other students who brought their supplies late. From then on, I got nothing but attitude from her. She even insinuated that I use drugs. Annie, I have never touched drugs and don't plan to.
Here's the real problem: In spite of what I thought were good grades, Mrs. Smith said I failed her class so I have to retake it this year. What should I do when I have her again? I know she is going to treat me terribly. Ticked Off in Texas
Dear Texas: Your father's interference, while well-intentioned, pressured Mrs. Smith into doing something she resented. She then took out her resentment on you. Your parents should see if you can have a different teacher for this class. If not, the principal should speak to Mrs. Smith and see to it that she does not penalize you for last year's incident. It also wouldn't hurt for you to talk to her directly, and calmly, and let her know you're sorry you got off on the wrong foot and hope to do better this time around. Teachers appreciate that kind of effort.
Dear Annie: There is a phrase that bugs me. It's, "How may I help you?" Wouldn't it be better to ask, "May I help you?" and leave off the "how"? I know this won't keep anyone awake at night, but can you answer my question? Greensboro, N.C.
Dear Greensboro: "May I help you?" actually gets the point across nicely and implies "in what way may I be of assistance?" Adding the word "how" is a little redundant, to be sure, but harmless.
XE-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, Ill. 60611.
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