Dear Annie: I have been married to a farmer for 18 years. He has never made a very good living, even though he works seven days a week, 365 days a year. My job pays most of the household bills.
I was laid off at the beginning of the year, and my unemployment benefits are about to end. There are lots of projects (minor repairs, painting) that I'd like to finish before I start a new job. Plus, we have two teenage sons, and I've never really spent much time with them. My husband and I have money in the bank, and it won't hurt us if I take off another month.
Here is the problem. My mother-in-law calls every day to ask if I've found a job yet. It is really starting to get on my nerves. Mom recently went to the hospital with kidney stones. While there, she asked about finding me a job at the hospital. She told me I need to dress "real pretty" and tell them I need work.
This isn't the first time my mother-in-law and I have bumped heads. She's said I'm "lazy" because my house is not as clean as she thinks it should be. I want my husband to tell his mother to mind her own business and quit bugging me about a job. He says not to let her bother me. What do you say? Unhappy in Michigan
Dear Michigan: You are both right. Your husband should tell his mother that this is not her business, and you should stop letting her get to you. If he doesn't have the gumption to speak up, you ought to say, "Mom, it's time to drop the subject. I'll be getting a job soon enough." If she persists, ignore her.
Dear Annie: My mother passed away in August. It has been a very trying time for the family. I know you send out thank-you cards for money and plants and flowers. Do I send one if they prepare food? Do I send one for a sympathy card? We have gotten a lot of everything from a lot of people and want to do the right thing. Lily
Dear Lily: According to Peggy Post, thank-you notes should be sent for flowers, for Mass cards, for contributions, for all personal condolences and for special kindnesses like prepared meals. You don't need to send them for printed condolence cards with no personal message added, or for calls at the funeral home.
Dear Annie: I read your answer to "Marrying a Sex Addict." You agreed that his increased interest in sex was due to his insecurity about her 160-pound weight loss and you alleged he is using sex "to maintain some control" over her.
Has it ever occurred to you that men are visually stimulated and not nearly as complex as you seem to think? A lot of men are just like me -- not interested in sex with fat women and very interested in sex with women who are shapely.
Instead of recommending counseling, why don't you suggest weight loss? Maybe we are sick of talking and just want to romp with a firm, well-shaped body. Quit looking for deep-rooted motives when the real answer is often just skin- deep. Hot for Hot Bodies
Dear Hot: Well, aren't you a peach of a guy. We know men are visually stimulated, but that doesn't explain what was going on in this instance. The boyfriend fell in love and proposed to his girlfriend when she was heavy. Now he wakes her up from a dead sleep for sex, becomes angry any time she refuses and accuses her of having affairs. This isn't a newfound attraction. This is a problem.
Dear Readers: Remember to change your clocks back one hour before you go to sleep tonight, and while you're at it, replace the batteries in your smoke alarms. We want you to wake up safe and sound. And on time.
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