AnnLanders.com - Dear Ann Landers: Most of the world works by day and sleeps by night.
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Section: work, money, health-and-wellness
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Most of the world works by day and sleeps by night. But many people do their jobs while everyone else sleeps -- police officers, nurses, firefighters, waitresses, truck drivers, telephone operators, cab drivers, janitors, security guards and night-shift workers. I am a woman who manages a very busy bar, which means I work late hours six nights a week. Some people have the crazy idea that I get paid to "party." Actually, I monitor the bartenders and have to decide which customers have had enough. I rarely get to sit down. Meanwhile, my husband seldom gets to stand up. "Mike" is a disc jockey. He is expected to be cheerful and funny and sound as if he is having a ball, even when he has a killer headache or the flu. I get home around 4 a.m. Mike gets home about 5:30 a.m. We eat supper together and go to bed when the sun comes up. Then, the phone starts to ring. People think because we work at night, we have the whole day free. Some of our friends and family members have actually said, "You sure have it easy. You can sleep all day." Where do people get that nutty idea? Night workers are just like everybody else. We spend eight hours at work, a couple of hours commuting and running errands, a few hours doing marketing, cooking and household chores, and if we are lucky, we get six or seven hours of sleep. Will you please say a few kind words for us night owls? We could use a little sympathy. -- Sleepless in New Orleans

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Section:
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I am 19 and a single mother of a 1-year-old girl, "Amanda." I attend college part time and am working to provide my daughter with the best life possible. Amanda's father is the problem. He does not pay child support and rarely sees his daughter, although I have bent over backward to arrange times that are convenient for him. He never bothers to call and let me know when he is not able to make it. He simply doesn't show up. When he does keep an appointment, he is always late, which causes me a great deal of stress, and I resent it. Tell me, Ann, how important is Amanda's father going to be in her future? Frankly, I don't think he deserves to be part of her life. I am troubled by the thought that Amanda may grow up to be a "Daddy's girl" and will want him to walk her down the aisle when she gets married. He has done nothing to merit such a place of honor, and it eats at me that he might get the privilege anyway. On the other hand, I don't want to see her on talk shows when she is 18, looking for her long-lost father. Any advice for me? -- Emotional Mom in Oklahoma

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Section: children, family, marriage, manners
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Many years ago, my daughter asked me to co-sign a loan for a new car. She was young and just starting out, so my wife and I agreed to co-sign. After making only a couple of payments, she defaulted. By then, my wife and I had divorced, and I had remarried. My new wife and I ended up paying $246 a month for almost four years in order to pay off that loan. We did it because we felt it was important to maintain our credit rating, as well as our daughter's. My ex-wife refused to help in any way. Our daughter is now engaged to a fine young man. When we divorced, my ex-wife and I agreed to share the cost of a wedding whenever our daughter decided to marry. Since my ex did not contribute one cent to paying off that auto loan, I do not feel obligated to contribute to a future wedding and have said so. My daughter, with her "good credit rating," just bought a new car and took a nice vacation. She has never offered to pay back one red cent of the money I laid out for her first car. The young man is wonderful and had nothing to do with this mess. I feel uneasy about backing out on the wedding expenses, but I still think I'm justified in doing so. What do you say? -- Still Hurting in Levittown, N.Y.

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Section: family, teenagers, behavior
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
You have printed several letters from lonely grandparents who wonder why they never hear from their grandchildren. I'm a man who has the reverse of that problem. I've been happily married for 21 years and have a teenage daughter and son. Since the day our children were born, my widowed mother has shown absolutely no interest in them whatsoever. I cannot understand this. Our children are every parent's dream. They are bright, well-mannered, respectful and a joy to be around. When the kids were young, my mother made it clear she did not want to baby-sit, so we never asked her. When we make the 200-mile trip to her town, it's as if my wife and kids are invisible. She talks incessantly about her friends and social activities but never directs any conversation toward our children. The only acknowledgment she has ever given them is an annual birthday card. The one time she came to our home, she sat on the edge of the sofa and kept saying she needed to leave as soon as possible. She went home the next morning. Am I expecting too much? My mother is in her 70s and is an intelligent woman. My children would love to have a caring grandmother, and I wish I could find a stand-in for them. At this point, I no longer want to visit my mother and subject my children to her indifference. Do you have any ideas on how to get her to warm up? -- Sad Son in N.C.

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Section: depression, sexuality, gender, marriage
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I want to respond to your column on cross-dressing. My dear husband of many years passed away suddenly. We had a good marriage, and I loved him with all my heart. After he died, I cleaned out his workshop, which was piled to the ceiling with projects he hadn't finished and stuff he had accumulated over the years. I seldom went in there unless I needed a hammer or screwdriver. While cleaning, I found evidence that my devoted, loving husband was a secret transvestite. There were dozens of boxes of women's clothing, underwear, shoes and wigs, and magazines about cross-dressing in the closet and on the shelves. Apparently, he had been engaging in this activity for a very long time. Our sex life was good, and I thought our marriage was solid, but now, I'm depressed and upset because I feel I was married to a man I didn't really know. It also makes me wonder if he had any gay friends and if he went beyond just dressing up. All the precious memories I had of my husband have been besmirched. I cannot talk to anyone about this because he was prominent in our community, and I don't want to tarnish his good name. I am just thankful our son and daughter didn't insist on helping me clean out their father's things. I refuse to let anyone give me a hand with his closets and bureau drawers because I would rather die than have it known he had this weird side to him. Please, Ann, warn your readers who have secrets like my husband to come clean with their families or make sure they don't leave any evidence behind. I am -- Devastated in Texas

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Section: aging, family, health-and-wellness
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
In a recent case, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that parents alone make the decision whether or not grandparents may see their grandchildren. I am a pastor and counselor in Florida. For years, I have been privy to the horror stories of seniors whose grandchildren are used as bargaining chips in an effort to control wealth and influence relationships. Since nothing is more precious to seniors than their grandchildren, the threat goes like this: "If you don't agree to do this or that, you will never see your grandchildren again." If the grandparents don't cave in, the result is often total abandonment. Florida is filled with happy retirees with good relationships, but there are also hundreds of seniors, who are forgotten and warehoused in nursing homes or trailer parks. Their only connection to family members is the outdated pictures of grandkids whom they never get to know. This is a tragedy. Everybody loses. -- Dr. R.S., Ridge Manor, Fla.

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Section: abuse, relationships, dating
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
Please print this list of warning signals to help women determine if a mate or date is a potential (or actual) batterer. Be careful if your mate displays any of the following signs: 1. Jealousy of your time with co-workers, friends and family. 2. Controlling behavior. (Controls your comings and goings and your money and insists on "helping" you make personal decisions.) 3. Isolation. (Cuts you off from supportive resources such as telephone pals and colleagues at work.) 4. Blames others for his problems. (Unemployment, family quarrels -- everything is "your fault.") 5. Hypersensitivity. (Easily upset by annoyances that are a part of daily life, such as being asked to work overtime, criticism of any kind, being asked to help with chores or child care.) 6. Cruelty to animals or children. (Insensitive to their pain and suffering, may tease and/or hurt children and pets.) 7. "Playful" use of force in sex. (May throw you down and hold you during sex. May start having sex with you when you are sleeping or demand sex when you are ill or tired.) 8. Verbal abuse. (Says cruel and hurtful things, degrades and humiliates you, wakes you up to verbally abuse you or doesn't let you go to sleep.) 9. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. (Sudden mood swings and unpredictable behavior -- one minute loving, the next minute angry and punitive.) 10. Past history of battering. (Has hit others but has a list of excuses for having been "pushed over the edge.") 11. Threats of violence. (Says, "I'll slap you," "I'll kill you," or "I'll break your neck.") 12. Breaking or striking objects. (Breaks your possessions, throws objects near or at you or your children.) 13. Uses force during an argument. (Holds you down or against a wall, pushes, shoves, slaps or kicks you. This behavior can easily escalate to choking, stabbing or shooting.) Ann, please tell your readers they don't have to accept violent behavior from anyone -- mates, dates, parents or friends. Because millions of American women will be battered at some time in their lives, they need to know how to read the warning signs. Any woman who sees herself in the column today should call the nearest women's crisis line and tell someone what is happening. She will be provided with support and safety options. There are several ways to break the cycle of violence, and identifying the warning signs is the first step. -- Portland, Ore.

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Section: relationships, family, gender, marriage, money
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
One day last weekend, my parents popped in just as my husband and I finished lunch. It was one of those rare occasions when my husband had offered to do the dishes. I was shocked when my mother asked, "Why is HE doing the dishes?" My mother has always been very traditional when it comes to women's roles, and her disapproving remark annoyed me. Wishing to avoid a confrontation, I simply did not respond. What I SHOULD have said was "Maybe because this is the '90s and I work, too." I could have added, "Maybe because I spackled and sanded and painted all the bedroom walls. Maybe because I ripped up the carpet on the stairs, pulled nails and repainted the stairway. Maybe because I go to his shop and do sanding for him while he builds kitchens for a living. Maybe because I helped him put a new floor in the upstairs bathroom. Maybe because I help him unload wood from his pickup truck. Maybe because I'm usually the one who hauls two large garbage cans filled with trash down the road to be collected. Maybe because I'm constantly picking up after him, cooking his meals and doing his laundry. Maybe because we do things for each other and I shouldn't be made to feel guilty if he does the dishes once in a while." I'd love to write more, Ann, but I've got to mop the kitchen floor and start preparing Sunday's dinner. HIS family is coming over. If my mother reads this, I've got another shocker for her. He cooks, too. And now, if I could only get him to sew. -- Doing It All in Binghamton, N.Y.

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Section: behavior, dating, marriage, relationships
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
"Smarter Now in Florida" wanted to know what kind of person looks for companionship through personal ads. I can tell her. They are the same "losers" who look for employment in the classifieds because they have exhausted all other possibilities and are pretty darned desperate. And how about us morons who look in the newspaper to find a used car, kitchen appliances and "like-new" TV sets? Heaven help us! Haven't we any other resources? Not all of us can go to an Ivy League college and meet Mr. or Ms. Right on campus. Nor do we all work in a profession that allows us a large circle of acquaintances with similar interests. Take night classes? Do volunteer work? Know what we'll find? Two hundred women in full war paint and one cowering male. For some of us, personal ads are the perfect solution. I met my wonderful husband when he responded to an ad I placed many years ago. Our son is now in college, and our marriage is the envy of our friends. Using personals to find a wealthy man who looks like a movie star is nonsense, but for the discerning, sane and sensible, the personals are the way to go. -- A.G. in Hollywood, Calif.

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Section: behavior, manners, marriage
 
 

Dear Ann Landers,
I never cease to be amazed at the number of people who put an unfair burden on a bride and groom by carrying wedding presents to the reception. The couple then must arrange for one or two empty cars to haul the gifts to the couple's new home. I believe this happens for two reasons: procrastination and laziness. Many guests wait until the last minute to buy a gift, and then they bring it to the wedding rather than having it delivered. Also, some guests don't want to be bothered with wrapping a gift for mailing. You would do thousands of wedding couples a huge favor if you would urge guests to purchase and deliver gifts before the big day. If they can't manage to get the gift in advance, it is perfectly OK to send it a few days after the wedding. I hope you agree with me, Ann. -- F.W. in Zionsville, Ind.

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"Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other."
-Ann Landers