Dear Ann: Please help me with this, because I am very upset and need to know if my anger is justified. Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I noticed an attractive woman in her mid-20s with a knock-out figure. I ended up in the check-out line behind her. She was wearing designer jeans and expensive jewelry. I was stunned when she pulled out food stamps to pay for her groceries. I kept my eye on her, and when she drove away in a brand-new convertible, my blood pressure went up 30 points.
I am a successful young female and know $8,000 breast implants when I see them. I can also recognize designer clothes and am aware that new cars don't come cheap. It upsets me to know that my hard work helps support someone like this. I try not to be judgmental, but how does this woman get away with being on welfare? I would appreciate a comment from you on this bizarre situation. Angry Taxpayer
Dear Angry: I'm sure there are some welfare cheats in this country, but let's not jump to conclusions. It is possible that this woman recently suffered some major financial setbacks that have put her on the dole. The car, jewelry, designer clothes and breast implants may have been acquired when she was solvent, or they may have been gifts from a wealthy admirer. Without more information, there's no way to know, so I prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you should, too.
Dear Ann: I married "Chris" three years ago. His parents live thousands of miles away, and I have yet to meet them. I speak to them on the phone and e-mails them weekly with news and updates.
Here's the problem: My mother-in-law never calls or writes. My father-in-law will sometimes e-mail a letter, but his wife is not involved. She doesn't phone on birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas or any other time. When we call their house, my mother-in-law NEVER gets on the phone. All conversation goes through my father-in-law. He always says she is "busy" and can't come to the phone.
I thought mothers were supposed to care about their children, but apparently, my husband's doesn't. I realize the Bible says to honor your parents, but I am bitter about his mother's lack of interest in us. Should I stop calling and e-mailing? Should I tell Chris it is his responsibility to keep in touch with them? I don't understand why his mother is so cold. Any ideas? A Knoxville, Tenn., Wife
Dear Knoxville: Please don't withdraw from the situation. Your husband needs your support. It sounds as if your mother-in-law is clinically depressed. Perhaps someone should take her to a physician for a checkup. Plan a trip to visit the in-laws (something you should have done three years ago). You'll be glad you did, and Chris will love you for it.
Dear Ann: I have an annoying problem, and I hope you can help me solve it. My employer likes to acknowledge the birthdays of his employees. This is nice, but sometimes he takes things too far. He has asked our office manager to look up our birth dates in our personnel files. Whenever someone reaches a milestone (say 40 or 50), he posts the information on the office bulletin board. Of course, everyone then knows how old we are.
I would prefer that my co-workers not know I am turning 50 this year. How can I get my boss to keep this information private? Young at Heart in Detroit
Dear Young at Heart: Tell Mr. Blabbermouth you'd appreciate it if he kept the specific numbers to himself. Express your gratitude, but be firm about your wishes.