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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Annie’s Mailbox: Rebuff nosy aunt with sweet replies

Dear Annie: I am a single mother in my mid-30s and recently graduated from college. Because of the current job market, I am having difficulty finding a permanent full-time position in my field. I will most likely need to relocate to another state. The problem is my great aunt. She is a nosy gossip and occasionally puts me on the spot, asking me all kinds of questions. I am not, nor have I ever been, close to this woman. I usually see her only in church, so this is where these grillings take place. I find it highly inappropriate, but she backs me into a corner, and I end up answering her. She had the nerve to ask whether I will be “allowed” to move to another state. When I asked her what she meant, she alluded to the fact that my ex-husband may not want me to take my son elsewhere.

Miss Manners: Self-invitations are almost always rude

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At the end of a date, a young man suggested (repeatedly) that we go back to my house for a drink. (My house was much closer than his.) Is it unreasonable to say “yes” to such a request and still expect him to go home after an hour or two? He had never been invited to my house before, nor I to his.

Carolyn Hax: Honored stepmom called him ‘son’

While I’m away, readers give the advice. On the woman who took umbrage at being introduced as a stepmother: My stepmother came into my life when I was 4 years old. I initially called her my “footmom.” Stepmom was a wonderful, gracious, giving person to me, my brother, my dad and later to my two adopted sisters. My mom, whom I lived with, was also great. I was lucky to have two moms!

Putting should aid enjoyment

I’ve sampled lots of putters. I’ve tried different blades and mallets, some with inserts, some without. I’ve tried thick grips and standard grips. I’ve tried left-hand low, and still employ that method for putts within 12 feet of the cup. I’ve tried a couple of stances, settling at the moment on slightly open.

Annie’s Mailbox: For wife, sex is a ‘massive chore’

Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 14 years. The first few, everything was good, and then I stopped enjoying sex. I’ve seen several different doctors and had my hormones checked, and the verdict is that I am in great health for a 39-year-old. I think the main problem is, while I love my husband, I don’t find him attractive. I’m not sure I ever did. I was 23 when we met and had never had a boyfriend. Men had never been interested in me until he came along. He is smart, funny and experimental in the bedroom, so it isn’t like we haven’t tried new things. He would do anything for me.

Miss Manners: Coffee service spoils dessert

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had a dinner party for eight people, and when we came to the final course, I asked whether they would like coffee. The eight people present began asking, “Do you have tea?” “Could I have decaf?” Once I had ascertained their preferences, I was left in the kitchen making caf and decaf coffee, tea and decaf tea. I missed most of the dessert course filling their orders.

Annie’s Mailbox: Tell ex parenting is not optional

Dear Annie: I am a single mother of six children, the youngest of whom is 12. I divorced their father 10 years ago. I am the custodial parent and receive child support. I don’t have any issues with my ex’s financial responsibilities. It is visitation that is the problem. Although he’s never been one to phone the kids, he used to see them every other weekend and had them for a week’s time twice a year. Three years ago, he married a woman with no kids, and that’s when visitation became less frequent. Last year, he and his wife had a baby, and they moved 100 miles away into a two-bedroom apartment. When he does have our four minor kids, he arranges a hotel stay.

Carolyn Hax: Take on friend’s snippy 10-year-old

Hi, Carolyn: My best friend’s daughter, 10, is a little (twit). She never smiles at you, and if she deigns to speak to you, it is a one-word answer spoken with hostility. When I walk into my friend’s house, her daughter looks me up and down and refuses to say hello. If she speaks, it is by whispering either to her mother or a friend, and I can tell she is talking about the people present.

Meehan: Chambers Bay experience lingers

I’m a lousy collector. When I started traveling in this profession 25 years ago, I came up with the not-so-novel idea of purchasing T-shirts to denote visits to various stadiums, schools and cities. It didn’t last long, but I swear I have a Pocatello T-shirt somewhere in storage.

Meehan: Collection of memories from Chambers Bay

I’m a lousy collector. When I started traveling in this profession 25 years ago, I came up with the not-so-novel idea of purchasing T-shirts to denote visits to various stadiums, schools and cities. It didn’t last long, but I swear I have a Pocatello T-shirt somewhere in storage. I moved on to hats, but prices soared a little too high for my taste. Still, I’m particularly proud of an old corduroy Los Angeles Rams hat. Then it was shot glasses. I’m solid there, approaching 175, with a few contributions from family and friends. In the last decade or so, I’ve collected scorecards from golf courses. I have a 3-inch-thick pile on the dresser and a growing stack in the trunk of my car. And on an obscure wall downstairs is my only framed scorecard – from Gozzer Ranch. I’ll admit a good score was one of the reasons I dashed to the craft store. A bigger reason was my playing partners that day made for a memorable 41/2 hours. The biggest reason was the course itself. I wanted to recall every swing, every hole on that fabulous track. Gozzer is about to get some company on the wall. That’s an indication of my enjoyment from a tour of Chambers Bay last month.

Annie’s Mailbox: She’s old enough to know about her dad

Dear Annie: Many years ago, my husband, “Sam,” and I divorced. I started seeing someone else and became pregnant. That man left me, saying he didn’t want more children. Sam and I began dating again, and he said we could remarry if his name went on the baby’s birth certificate. The biological father didn’t care, so I agreed. Three months after the baby was born, Sam and I married again. That was 13 years ago. The problem is, sometimes Sam and I will argue, and he’ll say, “Just take your daughter and get out,” and other hurtful things indicating he’s not her real father and so there’s nothing to tie us together.

Annie’s Mailbox: Gravesite activities aggravate widow

Dear Annie: Is there any accepted etiquette about who plants flowers at a gravesite? My husband died eight years ago. I commissioned a beautiful gravestone to be hand-carved from native stone. I planted perennials at the grave, and I touch up and replant each year. On numerous occasions, his ex-wife (who has remarried twice) has planted flowers at the grave without consulting me. Most recently, she planted flowers where I had planted early perennials. She built the area up with a mound of soil and mulch so that when her plants grow, they will hide some of the beautiful hand carving on the stone in addition to burying some of my plantings.

Miss Manners: Texting unsuitable for proposal

DEAR MISS MANNERS: In the past year, two male friends whom I have known for many years proposed marriage to me. I turned them both down due to the fact that both asked me in a text message. Miss Manners, when did asking for a woman’s hand in marriage become so impersonal? I frankly felt offended that neither was willing to ask me in person on one knee.

Carolyn Hax: Keep nose out of brother’s marriage

Dear Carolyn: My older brother has always been outspoken and often interrupts others in group settings. He likes to be the storyteller and center of attention. In the past, this has gotten me quite angry and I would try to show him how domineering he was. I have failed to plant the seeds of empathy, and have accepted him as he is. That is family. However, I get along well with his wife. She is much more tactful than he is, and I consider him a very lucky man! At a family event a year ago, she confessed after a drink that she knew the first years of marriage could be tough, but she didn’t expect it to be that bad.