Dear Ann: I am a 39-year-old divorced single father and gay. I have had sole custody of my two teen-age children for the last six years and am proud of the way they are turning out. They have a good understanding of my sexual orientation, which has made my life a lot easier.
I have been seeing a wonderful man for over a year. "Ricky" and my children get along well and treat each other with respect. He attends all our family functions and fits right in. The problem is, I want Ricky to be a real life partner, but my kids don't want him living in the house with us.
They have been very accepting of our dating, and I know they like Ricky a lot. I can't understand why they are so against us living together as a family. I don't want to wait until they are out of the house (the youngest is only 14), and even if I do wait, there's no guarantee the children would accept him in their homes.
I don't want to cause my children any pain, but when do I get to live my own life the way I want to? Feeling Incomplete in Ohio
Dear Ohio: I suspect your children might be concerned about what their friends would think. Most teen-agers might feel a bit uncomfortable about letting their friends know their dad has a same-sex partner living in the house.
I hope you, Ricky and the children have some joint counseling sessions before you make any decisions. This is a heavy load to lay on teen-agers, and they will need a lot of emotional support. Please see that they get it.
Dear Ann: This is for "Out of Sorts Out West," whose son kept showing up two hours late every time he was invited for dinner. You said to wait 20 minutes and then eat without him. I wouldn't wait 20 seconds.
My sister used to show up late all the time, and I got sick of it. I decided to tell her we would be sitting down at the table two hours earlier than we actually were. If dinner was scheduled for 7 o'clock, I told "Julie" we were eating at 5 o'clock. That worked well for a while. Then Julie caught on to my little scheme and went back to her old ways.
Finally, I had my fill of it. I said, "Julie, we're eating at 6 o'clock and will not wait for you." And that's what we did. The first time Julie arrived late, she was shocked to see us finishing dessert. I told her, "The leftovers are in the fridge. Warm them up." After two repeat episodes, Julie realized she'd better be on time and now she is. South Dakota Sister
Dear Sis: More people should do what you did. I hope your letter gives them the courage to do so. There should be a penalty for tardiness and lack of consideration for others.
Dear Ann: My daughter is a flight attendant and often stays in hotels. "Margaret" takes all the little bottles the hotel provides shampoo, mouthwash, lotion and so on, and brings them to me. I then donate these items to a shelter for abused women, where the bottles are warmly received and considered a luxury.
My friend says these bottles are not supposed to be taken from the hotel. I always thought those sample-size items were a "gift" to hotel guests. Please tell me who is right. Frequent Flyer's Mom
Dear Mom: It is perfectly OK to take those "little bottles." Guests are expected to use them up or take them home. Guests may not, however, take the towels, bed linen, pillows, shower curtains, pictures on the wall, bath mats or radios. Don't laugh some folks have tried all of the above.
Write to Ann Landers c/o The Journal-World, P.O. Box 888, Lawrence 66044