- Dear Ann Landers: I have a wife and two sons, ages 15 and 12.
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Section: manners, children, relationships

Dear Ann Landers,
I have a wife and two sons, ages 15 and 12. I love them dearly, but they are so scatterbrained, they drive me nuts. They constantly are losing keys, glasses, hairbrushes and wallets. They put empty peanut butter jars back in the cabinet and containers in the fridge without the tops screwed on. I once found my wife's purse in the freezer. I am one of those people who likes everything in its place. I have started hiding items from my family so I can find them when needed. I used to lend my wife and kids the scissors or Scotch tape, but I would never see those things again. Now, I refuse to let my family use any of my belongings. I'm sure I drive them as crazy as they drive me, but the truth is, they are the ones who need to change. I have pleaded with them to recognize how frustrating their forgetfulness is to me, but they simply laugh and ask, "Where's the TV remote?" (We have at least three, none of which they can locate.) Do you have a solution to this problem? -- Left-Brained in South Carolina

Dear Left-Brained,
I can tell you they will never change, so stop eating yourself up over their "forgetfulness." It must be difficult for a neatnik such as you to live with slobs, but accept with grace that which you cannot change. It's a no-hoper.

What do you think? (or ask a question?)

A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Totsybug's Comment
Continue to hide whatever you need/use on a regular basis so those items will be there when you need them. Let your wife and kids fend for themselves. Don't even think about loaning your items to them to use unless you want them to be lost/misplaced.

Ky's Comment
Perhaps I'm being harsh, but loving them "dearly," is not the same as loving them unconditionally. I would suggest that, if you're starting to divide everything in the house into yours and theirs, and "lending" them your stuff, you might feel better with a little counseling to explore why you feel more worried about where the remote is than being grateful for a healthy, relaxed family. When I was growing up, everything in the house was "ours."

Chicken Lady 's Comment
I used to find my husbands husband's tools all over the place, even up and down the road into town! Then he'd buy new tools to replace the ones "somebody" stole, plus other ones that caught his eye. I just got a bucket and painted on it "the stuff you lost". Then I made a point of placing it on his work bench and everytime he was in there I'd put the wrenches,keys, sunglasses,pruners or whatever I'd found in his bucket. Pretty soon he got the message and became more careful.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you'll be married to a man who cheats on his wife."
-Ann Landers