Dear Ann: This problem involves my mother-in-law (a lovely, non-interfering person), my husband and me. Mom decided to buy a large beach house. She insisted on putting everyone's name on the lease. This included daughters, sons, and their husbands and wives.
Last winter, Mom asked if we wanted to pick a week to have the house for our own use. We said, "Thank you very much," and chose a week. She made it clear that this was to be a vacation for my husband, me, our two boys and her. She said, "This is not going to be a big family reunion. There will be just the five of us."
It is now three weeks before we are scheduled to go, and I have just learned through other family members that my mother-in-law has invited 12 other people. Also, they have permission to bring their dogs, so at last count, there will be 17 people and six dogs. The house has beds for 20 people and only two bathrooms.
I became very upset about this, and expressed my frustration to my mother-in-law. Now, my husband thinks I am too emotional, that I overreacted, and that there is something wrong with me. Understand, please, that my mother-in-law is a wonderful woman, and I have never had any problems with her. I need your help with this, Ann. Don't let me down. Disappointed in Wisconsin.
Dear Wisconsin: Show that "wonderful woman" this letter, and tell her you wrote it. Ask her what she would say if she were Ann Landers. I don't mind being dragged into this mess if it will help. Putting the ball squarely in her court just might solve your problem. I hope so, because your complaints are totally legitimate, and she needs to hear them.
Dear Ann: I just read the poem "Tea Drinker's Lament," by Natalie Brannian. She is right. Tea drinkers are discriminated against in this country, and I know why. After the Boston Tea Party, Americans considered tea drinking to be a British custom, and looked on those who drank tea as British sympathizers and traitors. Even though this happened two centuries ago, the discrimination lingers. I just thought you would like to know. Tea Drinker in Philadelphia.
Dear Phil: I enjoy my morning coffee, and I have tea in the afternoon. I never have thought of myself as being discriminated against, nor do I view myself as a "British sympathizer." I doubt that the average American can tell you what the Boston Tea Party was about. Check with your friends, and you will see what I mean, but thanks for the history lesson.
Dear Ann: We all can use a laugh now and then, and I hope the enclosed will do just that for many of your readers. A friend sent it to me with no clue as to the origin. Please find room for it in your space. Mrs. R.S. in Long Island, N.Y.
Dear Long Island: Thanks for the laugh which I'm sure my readers will enjoy, as well. Here it is:
A San Diego patrolman pulled over a driver and informed him that because he was wearing his seat belt, he had just won $5,000 in a safety competition.
"What are you going to do with the prize money?" the officer asked. The man responded, "I guess I'll go to driving school and get my license."
At that moment, his wife, who was seated next to him, chimed in, "Officer, don't listen to him. He's a smart aleck when he's drunk."
This woke up the guy in the back seat, who, when he saw the cop, blurted out, "I knew we wouldn't get far in this stolen car." At that moment, there was a knock from the trunk, and a voice asked, "Are we over the border yet?"