Ask Amy: Disgruntled grandpa should engage with grandson

June 25, 2012

DEAR AMY: I’m a 74-year-old grandfather with a 20-year-old grandson who lives more than 800 miles away. At the urging of his mother, I started a Facebook account and tried to connect with him.

He didn’t seem to appreciate it. In fact, he called it “horrible.”

My wife and I have tried repeatedly to make contact with him through our daughter and by making the 800-mile trip to see him, but it has resulted in zero response. During our most recent visit, my wife and I both told him he mattered a great deal to us and that it was important to stay in touch.

That was a couple of years ago, and so far we haven’t heard a thing, although my wife has sent him Christmas and birthday cards. Over the years, we have consistently showed him love and support, and the response has been zero. He accepts money and gifts but can’t seem to say thanks or acknowledge us in any way.

Now this young man is getting ready to deploy overseas with his Marine reserve unit, and my wife wants to try again by going to his town and wishing him well. I’m a Vietnam vet, so the word “deployment” means something to me, but I’ve had enough of this jerk, and it seems like a long trip for nothing, and I don’t want to go with her. Any advice? -- Disgruntled Gramps

DEAR GRAMPS: Many 20-year-olds simply don’t have the maturity to understand how important it is to connect — especially with people they don’t have much contact with.

I urge you to take the opportunity to see your grandson before he leaves home. Give him a photo or another small material reminder of your time in Vietnam.

As a veteran yourself, you and your grandson will forever share a bond of service. He doesn’t realize this now, but he will, and you want to be in his life when he arrives at this moment. So keep those cards and letters coming.

I can imagine this young man overseas, alone and homesick and aware to some extent that he has been a jerk to some of the people who love him. I see a bundle of cards and letters tied together with a rubber band and stuffed in the bottom of his duffel bag.

Your grandson may not find a way to express his gratitude until he is much more mature.

DEAR AMY: My husband and I live in Oregon, where it is legal to smoke marijuana for medical reasons.

We have lived in our house for years. Recently, new neighbors moved in next door. They are a very nice retired couple in their 60s. The problem we have is that they smoke marijuana in their back yard and the smoke drifts not only into our yard and patio but also into our home.

With warmer weather here, I can’t stand the thought of having to smell that smoke all summer. A few weeks ago, we had friends over and they commented on the smell.

I do not have an issue if they want to smoke marijuana, I just don’t want to smell it all the time. I also do not want to offend our new neighbors. Any ideas? -- Smoked Out

DEAR SMOKED: Marijuana has a distinctive, pungent smell, but your approach should be the same regardless of the source of the smoke.

It is completely reasonable for you to say, “Is there something you could do differently so we wouldn’t have so much smoke drifting toward and into our house?”

They (or you) may have some success in directing the smoke away from your home by running a fan outside.

DEAR AMY: “Want to Help” was a hiring manager wondering if he/she should give an applicant unsolicited help with an “atrocious” résumé.

Many years ago, I sent out my first résumé. It was sent back to me. It had been corrected with red ink like a school paper.

Needless to say, I worked a lot harder on the next one. -- Gainfully Employed

DEAR EMPLOYED: The person did you a big favor, and you were smart enough to realize it.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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