Dear Annie: My oldest and youngest sisters are 10 years apart. They used to be good friends, but in the past three years, something apparently happened and now they can’t stand to be in the same room together. At family events, the tension is awful. They can’t talk to one another without condescension and sarcasm.
My parents and I are caught in the middle. Each sister comes to me to complain about the other. I have tried to get them to talk it out or call a truce for the sake of the family, but it continues to get worse. My oldest sister will invite everyone for dinner except my youngest sister. Then my youngest sister complains to our mother.
Mom is 86 years old and worries constantly about her daughters. My brother wanted to move back home to help with my parents, but he changed his mind because he didn’t want to deal with the bad vibes coming from our other two sisters. No other family members will talk to them about this, because they don’t want to hurt their feelings.
I am so sick of this family feud. Is there anything we can do with these selfish adults? – The Middle Sister
Dear Middle Sister: Does anyone know the original cause of this animosity? Sometimes, a minor problem can become a major rift because it isn’t dealt with at the time, so it festers. Could you, your mother, your clergyperson or a professional mediator get the two of them in a room together to discuss it?
One common problem with estranged siblings is that they spend years unable to enjoy each other’s company, only to regret it when it’s too late to fix. You might remind your sisters that they could have less time to repair this than they think. We hope one of them can be the bigger person and make the first move.
Dear Annie: A while back, I read with interest a letter from “Jungle Jim in Indiana,” regarding the things men should know if their wives become incapable of doing common household tasks. What is good for one is good for the other. Please print my list of things a woman should know if her husband were no longer around, or incapable of doing these things. – Dover, Pennsylvania
Dear Dover: Thanks. Here it is:
1. Know how to check the fluids in the car (oil, power steering, brake, windshield washer). Also, know how to check the air pressure in the tires and properly wax the car. Or know where to find a reputable mechanic and car wash.
2. Know where the main water shutoff is located in the home in case a pipe bursts.
3. Know where important papers are kept (car titles, insurance papers, deeds, IRA and CD certificates, bonds), as well as retirement information and medical records.
4. Know what to do if the pilot light goes out on the gas stove and who to call if there is a gas leak.
5. Know how to replace the batteries in the smoke detectors/radon detectors in the home and do it every six months.
6. Know where the fuse box is and how to change a fuse.
7. Know how to fix a toilet that has stopped working properly.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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