This is a reply to "Dilemma in N.Y.," whose ex-husband complained that his child-support money is not being spent on his two sons. The law states that the mother must give an accounting to the father on how his child-support money is spent. This is reasonable and makes a good story, but that's as far as it goes. The truth is, she can do what she pleases with the money.
"Dilemma" says she doesn't "go out partying or dress to the nines." Why should she? That money is to support the child and nothing else. She should be ashamed to admit she buys macaroni and cheese by the case. It is not adequate nourishment for a child. As for money for school dances, costumes, and so on, if Mom chooses to have these extras, then Mom should pay for them.
I am not an angry ex-husband. I am a 71-year-old woman. Please print this letter. "Dilemma" needs to see the other side.
Grandma in Crown Point, Ind.
"Divorced Mom" buys macaroni and cheese because that's what she can afford -- and it does indeed provide nourishment. As for the costumes and school dances, Mom doesn't want her kids to be left out. She wants them to enjoy the normal activities that other kids do, and she should be commended. I'm on her side.
I was intrigued by the essay Rose Mula wrote about the unwelcome old woman who invaded her home. Please tell her that the old woman has sneaked into my home too.
I noticed that she likes to nap. At first, it was for 15 minutes a day, and now, it's up to an hour. I think it's disgraceful. I dare not leave her alone because she misplaces my datebook and makes me miss meetings. She is also a terrible clutterer. You should see what she has done to my study.
Ask Rose to call this old lady, and suggest that she find somebody else to annoy. I've had it. Mec in Massachusetts
I was surprised at the number of readers who wrote to say the old lady had visited them as well. She certainly does get around. I hope she sees this column, and will honor your request to find someone else to annoy.
I am responding to "Unable to Cope in Indiana," whose husband gets angry and blows his top over trivial things. I had the same problem with my husband when our children were growing up. Here's how I handled it:
When "Ed" started to pick on the kids, I knew he was stressed out, so I waited until they were in bed, and then, I'd kiss him and tell him what a great husband and father he was, and how much I appreciated all the things he did for me and the children. My words of praise changed him from a growling bear to a pussycat. It worked for me, and I'm sure it will work for "Indiana," too. She ought to try it.
Been There in Hemet, Calif.
Thanks for the short course on human relations. Have you considered serving as a negotiator for the United Nations?
I am a self-employed maid who would like to get a message across to the people I work for. Christmas is just around the corner. Please don't give me a sweater or a gift certificate. What I really need is cash. For workers like me, money is the best present. Thanks, Ann.
Tapped Out in San Diego
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.