Annie’s Mailbox: What do we do about family thief?
June 23, 2010
Dear Annie: Last week, our 22-year-old grandson flew in for a visit from college. We celebrated with lots of barbecues and swimming. The entire family was here for the weekend — our older son, his live-in girlfriend and her 17-year-old daughter, along with our younger son, his wife and their three teenage girls.
On the morning of my grandson's departure, he noticed that a $100 bill from his wallet was missing. He also found a hair barrette on the floor near the dresser.
The 17-year-old is the only child who wore barrettes. But our 16-year-old granddaughter has a history of lying. None of the bedroom doors has a lock, and with all the confusion of changing clothes after swimming, anyone could have entered the bedroom and stolen the money.
We reimbursed our grandson for his loss, but here is our dilemma: Our sons were notified of the missing $100, but they both said they did not believe their children were involved. We don't know if either of the girls in question was told.
Do we broach the subject next time we are in the company of either of the girls, or should we just let it go and do a better job securing our money when they are in the house?
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Dear Saddened: Four teenagers and four adults were guests in your home, and any one of them could have taken the money.
You have notified your sons, and the rest is up to them. Unless you want this to become an issue every time you see the family, you will have to let it go. Next time the kids visit, you might want to lock up any valuables.
Dear Annie: My husband has subscribed to adult magazines since the early 90s. I have no problem with that, but I hate that he collects the magazines and stores them in dozens of boxes in our garage, taking up space we could use for other things.
At any given moment, there are 10 such magazines in bathrooms frequented in some cases by guests, and also by our growing children. I have spoken to him about this, and he either changes the subject or tells me to stop nagging. He says the magazines will be collectors' items one day. Is this true? Can I just toss them?
I am ready to take whatever action is necessary to get the magazines out of my home, even if it means I have to do it without his knowledge.
— Hate the Trash
Dear Hate: It's possible these magazines may someday be worth money, but probably not as much as your husband believes. Suggest he check out their value online, and if he still plans to sell them, they need to be in good condition, not scattered around the house. Tell him to rent storage space elsewhere, or you will throw them out. Then he can decide how much they are worth to him.
Dear Annie: Your response to "Concerned Grandparent" really aggravated me. She asked whether a 7-year-old girl was right to tell Dad that she saw her mom kissing another man. I agree that a 7-year-old couldn't possibly know what sort of response is appropriate. However, you blamed Dad for not controlling his emotional outburst, which was directed at the child. At no point did you address the cheating wife.
She is the only guilty party in the entire mess. The father's reaction was understandable. But it's the mother who caused the problem. Quit covering for the bad behavior of cheating wives.
— Lafayette, Ind.
Dear Lafayette: No one's covering for anybody. The question was how to help the child. After three years, Dad still cannot control his reaction in front of his daughter, which makes her feel responsible. The entire family needs help.