Dear Annie: I have been married almost 30 years to a really good guy.
We have two children together, and “Judd” has a 34-year-old daughter, “Toni,” from a previous marriage. I helped raise her. But Toni creates drama every time she visits and manipulates my husband into doing things without talking to me first.
Judd feels the reason Toni makes poor life choices is because of his divorce from her mother. Even though his ex-wife was the one who wanted out, he feels guilty.
I am so tired of her behavior that I do not want her coming here anymore. She ruins every holiday vacation, and I work hard all year and deserve some decent time off.
I can’t get excited about Christmas anymore because I’m dreading her showing up. What should I do?
— Sad Stepmom
Dear Stepmom: This is Judd’s daughter, and unless he is willing to banish her from the house during the holidays, you will have to tolerate her visits.
That does not mean, however, that you must be held captive. Plan to do some fun things on your own — a trip to a day spa, an evening out with girlfriends, a hike in the woods, whatever you enjoy that makes you feel you are getting some vacation time.
When you are more relaxed, it will be harder for Toni to ruffle your feathers.
Dear Annie: Along with millions of others, I am being overwhelmed with letters and phone calls from charities requesting donations.
I average six requests a day for donations to worthy causes — medical, political, feed the poor, animals, etc.
They send me trinkets, T-shirts, calculators and many thousands of return address labels that I could not use up if I lived a thousand years. I have already received five 2011 calendars.
I am a regular donor to some organizations, but this is too much. I know all donations are voluntary, but many organizations send a follow-up letter if they do not receive a donation in response to their first request.
The letters resemble an overdue payment notice, and I’m sure many people send money because they think they must comply.
The government should take action to restrict nonprofit organizations. Aside from placing them on the “do not call” list, I suggest requiring all such mailings to use first-class postage.
It could make the postal service profitable, or it could end the mailings and save millions of trees and reduce debris in landfills.
I recently received a donation request from an organization that expended nearly 95 percent of its money for fundraising and administration. Only 5 percent was actually spent on the intended charitable cause.
I’m tired of being overwhelmed by these scammers. What can I do?
— Thomasville, N.C.
Dear Thomasville: Contact the charities, and ask them to remove your name from their mailing and phone lists.
You also can fill out a do-not-mail form through directmail.com/directory/mail_preference.
Anyone considering donating to a charity can check it out through the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org) or the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org/us/charity).
Dear Annie: I am writing in response to “Michigan Mom-to-Be,” whose mother has an alcohol problem. Your advice for her to contact Al-Anon was on point. Al-Anon can be enormously helpful.
As a recovered alcoholic, I would like to add that her mother can get help through AA. No one successfully gets sober alone. AA saved my life.
It is imperative that there be consequences for Mom’s choices, including not being around her or talking to her when she is drinking and, as you said, not allowing her near the baby when drinking.
I wish “Michigan” the strength and courage she will need to get through this regardless of what her mother chooses to do.
— Sober in Louisville, Ky.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.