Dear Annie: Last year, my husband gave our son a nice used car for his 17th birthday. Last week, my husband informed me that he is going to start driving our son’s car to work because it gets better gas mileage.
This car was a birthday present to our son. To my way of thinking, that should be the end of the discussion. Also, my son doesn’t smoke, but my husband does. He certainly will smoke during his long commute, polluting the car for whenever my son wishes to “borrow” it.
Hubby thinks I am way off base. I think he has lost his mind. I am feeling some resentment growing between us, so I really need your advice. – Mad Mama
Dear Mad Mama: It is not a good idea for your husband to teach his son that Daddy’s gifts come with strings attached and that Daddy can yank on them at any time, for any reason.
The car belongs to your son. Unless there is an overwhelming need for your husband to take it away (i.e., Hubby’s car is in the repair shop, Sonny abused his driving privileges, or the family has fallen on hard times and cannot afford a separate car for your son), he is being rather selfish to grab it now. If Hubby doesn’t like the gas prices, tell him to trade in his guzzler for something more economical.
Dear Annie: My widowed father has dementia. It’s progressing slowly, and he still lives alone, but his condition is deteriorating noticeably. He now requires a great deal of assistance. My sister, “Jo,” and I both have jobs overseas, and it is becoming quite a burden to fly back home for Dad.
The problem is, it generally falls on me to care for Dad, even though I am in poor health and, being self-employed, must sacrifice my full earnings when I visit. Jo, in contrast, makes twice my salary and gets four weeks’ paid vacation but refuses to contribute even a small amount of time for Dad’s care.
I return from these caregiving visits exhausted and broke. Jo says that’s “not her problem.” I’m willing to take on an equal share of the responsibilities for Dad, but I think Jo should do the other half. Jo claims she doesn’t have to do anything at all. I think she’s in denial that Dad has a deteriorating illness. When I try to bring up working out a fair arrangement, she becomes verbally abusive or refuses to discuss it.
I’m terrified what the next few years will be like. Please give me some advice. – Trapped
Dear Trapped: It may be time to consider other arrangements for Dad, such as an assisted living center or a nursing home. You cannot force Jo to do her share, and you obviously are in no position to care for him full time. Contact the Eldercare Locator Service (eldercare.gov) at (800) 677-1116. Talk to someone about your situation, and ask what services are available in Dad’s area. Good luck.
Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Gary” for 30 years. He came home from the doctor’s office with a sample of Viagra as well as a prescription, but he refuses to try it. He tore up the prescription, saying he didn’t need it.
I enjoy sex at least once a week, but not Gary. Last night, he told me he was ready, but nothing happened. I see several options – a personal massager, Viagra for him or a boyfriend for me. What do you suggest? – Weepy
Dear Weepy: Gary doesn’t want to admit he has a problem, and this makes it difficult for him to accept help. Nonetheless, you are obviously miserable. Ask him to go with you for counseling so you can work on this together. (Meanwhile, the massager is a better idea than the boyfriend.)
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