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home : columns : dear harriette March 6, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex-husband's new wife completely crossed the line with me the other day. She took my daughter to get her hair "trimmed" and brought her back with about 4 inches of her real, natural hair cut off. My daughter insists that she wanted her hair short, but as you can imagine, I was completely blindsided. I've had no issues with my ex-husband's wife up until this point.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

Reader considers charging friends for using apartment
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in the heart of Atlanta (close to the airport) in a small apartment. When my friends fly into the city for the weekend, they will usually ask to stay at my home, even though my space is small and it will inconvenience me. I am seriously considering charging them to stay at my place as often as they do; for obvious reasons, I am hesitant to ask.
Friday, March 5, 2021

Family feels like the only people quarantining
I'm beginning to think that my family is the only one left who is doing any form of quarantining. My other friends seem to have stopped being strict about what they or their kids do. When I talk to them, they are headed for a road trip or to a family gathering. They are out and about. My kids are mad at me and my husband because we will not let them hang out with friends. Even though it looks like the numbers are going down on COVID-19 spread, they are still pretty high, and most people don't have the vaccine yet. Am I being too strict to keep my family mostly at home?
Thursday, March 4, 2021

Acquaintance makes big asks too often
A guy who went to college with me calls every six months or so, always wanting me to hook him up. By the second sentence of the call, the ask is there, and it's always for a significant favor that is far beyond my scope of interest, network or anything else. This guy is pushy and gross, as far as I am concerned. But we do share the bond of going to the same college a thousand years ago. I do my best to help anybody from my school that I can. But this has gotten out of control. How can I get him to back off?
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

World Almanac
Today is the 61st day of 2021 and the 72nd day of winter.
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Big birthday celebration in flux due to COVID-19
I have a big birthday coming up, and I don't know what to do. Normally I would host a big party for myself -- not out of ego, but as a way to ensure that I can bring my friends together and we can all have a great time. I want to do something like that, but thanks to COVID-19, we still can't get together in person. I feel like everybody is sick and tired of Zoom parties, plus I don't know how to design one so that it would be fun and not solely focused on me. Do you have any ideas?
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Employee overwhelmed by new workload
I have been so busy at work that it has been hard to keep everything organized. My boss keeps giving me more and more assignments because she says I am the most capable member of the team. I appreciate that, but it's becoming too much. Last week, I missed a couple of key deadlines. That is not my way. I know it was because I overlooked them, trying to add on the new work that my boss just gave me. How can I talk to her about the workload without seeming ungrateful? I want to be promoted and to be thought of favorably. I'm afraid that it's all about to fall apart, though, because it is just too much.
Monday, March 1, 2021

Reader worried about small business closing
Every time I go outside in my neighborhood and a little bit beyond, I see more businesses shutting down. It is so depressing. I realize it's been almost a year since COVID-19 stopped us in our tracks. I have been working from home ever since, and I have been afraid to do much of anything. But I do try to spend a few dollars here and there to help out the local shops. I feel so sad. I guess my little sandwich purchase or occasional trip to the dry cleaners hasn't been enough to keep these stores open. Obviously, I know they need more than me, but I see whole blocks of businesses shut down. I'm so worried about what is going to happen. Is there anything more that I can do to help? I see a few establishments hanging on, but I can only spend so much. Is this a lost cause?
Saturday, February 27, 2021

Boyfriend's past trauma affects his behavior
My boyfriend comes from an abusive background. He has experienced a lot of terrible things, such as sexual, physical and mental abuse. I can tell he is still heavily affected by his childhood trauma because he can go from zero to 100 real quick. He is a very logical and sweet person, but sometimes those bursts of anger consume him. Although he is seeking some therapy, sometimes I am concerned whether that anger and aggression will ever become directed toward me. I do not think that he would ever hurt me, but I am also a realist and understand that anything can happen. Should I be more concerned about this? What are ways that I can help him? Do you think I should try to talk to him about seeking more therapy?
Friday, February 26, 2021

Woman wants to change career path
I am an older woman, and I would like to leave the job that I've been working at for decades. I find that my creativity and my desire to do something different are not being fulfilled. I fear that it is too late for me to follow my dreams, and I have too much to lose -- I am in my 50s now, and I have a family to support. I know that people say it is never too late to follow your dreams, but I am trying to be pragmatic. I cannot abandon my job altogether, but I fear if I don't leave now, I'll be stuck here for the rest of my life. What steps should I take?
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Friends don't support influencer's career
I have recently gained a lot of attention through social media (Instagram specifically) as a brand influencer. I get paid a substantial amount of money to simply take a few pictures and promote brands from all over the world.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021

After losing job, mom wants to stay home with kids
My husband and I have been married for six years and have two beautiful children (ages 2 and 3). About a year ago -- around the time the pandemic started -- I lost my job. At first, my husband was extremely sympathetic and supportive about my struggle to find new work, but now it seems his patience is wearing thin. He makes passive aggressive remarks about being "the only one who pays the bills" and gets angry with me when I spend "too much money" on groceries.
Monday, February 22, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I live in a neighborhood that got hit hard by snow recently. I told my sons to go around the neighborhood and ask if they could help people shovel out their driveways. When I was growing up, we used to do that for a few dollars. We don't have as much snow these days, but I thought it would be good for my boys in terms of helping out and also making some money. Turns out, people did let them shovel their driveways, but several of them didn't offer the boys a dime for doing it.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Son upset he hasn't heard from top-choice schools
DEAR HARRIETTE: My son was accepted at four colleges so far, and he was offered some scholarship money. I am so proud of him, but he isn't happy. He hasn't heard from his favorite schools yet; he says he'll feel like a failure if he doesn't get into one of them. I have tried to console him. He knows that some of his buddies from school haven't gotten even one acceptance yet. I want to be able to support him, but I'm not sure what to say. What do you recommend? -- Waiting for College Acceptance
Friday, February 19, 2021

Fad diet doesn't work to shed pounds
I did one of those popular diets for the month of January, and I am so mad. I did it because I need to lose weight; sitting around at home during COVID-19 and eating whenever I want to has not helped me at all. But starving myself for a month didn't help either. My stomach was constantly upset, and I didn't even lose much weight. I did notice what my cravings are because my patterns were disrupted. But still, I'm left in the same position that I started in: I need to lose weight. What should I do?
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Husband's new job idea stresses out spouse
Since the pandemic started, my husband has been working at home. He still has his job, thank God, but he hardly ever goes in. I'm so worried that he will end up losing his job. He is already a senior citizen. I can't imagine what he will do if he has to look for work. He has been taking real estate investing courses, but I can't envision him doing that successfully. My husband is not a salesman in any way. He refuses to speak up at work to say he is available for an assignment. In real estate, you have to hustle. It's all about being assertive and putting yourself out there. I know my husband means well, but I think it's unrealistic for him to believe that he will be able to grow a real estate business when he lacks the people skills that go with it. How can I encourage him to make a responsible choice without hurting his feelings? I'm scared to death that we will end up with nothing if he continues down this path. I work, by the way, but I don't make enough money to take care of the both of us. --
Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Adult child wants to encourage mother and other elders
I was just looking back at old photos of my family. A little more than a year ago, we hosted a pretty extravagant party for my mother's birthday. All of her friends came, and it was beautiful to be with everyone. Even though all of her friends are aging, they were doing pretty well.
Monday, February 15, 2021

Reader concerned with mandatory vaccine legality
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to many who choose to get it. I have decided not to get the vaccine. I just feel like it's too rushed and new, and we don't really know the effect of it just yet. I am a supervisor at a warehouse, and I received a memo that I was to tell my subordinates that in order to continue to work safely in the warehouse, every employee will be expected to get the COVID-19 vaccine and provide proof of having received it. I do not feel comfortable ordering others to do something for their health that they may not want just to keep their job. I feel like this is so wrong and possibly illegal. We are a small, privately owned company, but it doesn't feel right. How can I talk to management about how wrong I think this is? Do you think I will lose my job over this?
Saturday, February 13, 2021

Reader excited by prospect of Tubman $20 bill
Now that Biden is in office, he is busting out so many new things already. One that I found interesting was his movement to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. This was originally put into motion by President Obama, and now that Biden is President, I think it is noble that he is continuing this goal despite the effort being slowed down by President Trump. I think it's a great plan that will be a daily reminder for Americans, but what can we really expect this to change for our futures? Have you given any thought to what this really means to people here on the ground?
Friday, February 12, 2021

Isolation taking a toll on reader's mood
I feel like I am always fussing these days. At work, everybody seems on edge, and I am, too. At home, my husband and I seem to go at it about the littlest things. It's all too much. Being cooped up for a whole year without the normal ways that we could blow off steam is taking its toll on my mood -- and it's not just me. Everybody around me seems to be affected. I don't want to be stuck in this bad mood. What can I do?
Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Recent hire wants to leave new position
I've been applying for jobs, and they all get back to me at different times. After interviewing with one place, I was offered a job and started working. I had worked there for two weeks when I received a call for an interview for another job. I made time to do that interview remotely, and I was offered the job that day. I really love the new job, but I already accepted the other one. I've never been in this position where I have a choice of where I can work. I want to take this other job, but I feel weird leaving the first employer so soon after telling them how greatly appreciative and excited I was to work with them. How do I ethically leave this job for another one?
Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Friend upset after losing money in bet
My friend and I are pretty competitive when it comes to sports and gambling; it's what we have always done since college. We get hurt -- like bumps and bruises -- but end up fine. We laugh it off and get back up, no problem. We gamble and make bets on games and random things. We do silly and crazy dares.
Monday, February 8, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I grew up in a house full of boys. I have four brothers who were rowdy and loud. Plus, my dad had a huge presence in the household. I have a boyfriend who is the opposite of them. He is sensitive and thoughtful. As much as I love my family, I would never call them sensitive. My boyfriend cries when we watch certain movies or when sad things happen. I like this about him.
Saturday, February 6, 2021

Parent sorry after breaking daughter's trust
DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter and I have a great relationship because it's always been just us. She tells me everything. When she was a teenager, she told me all the nitty and gritty, and there was a lot we went through; I can't imagine she left anything out. I trust her. But now she's an adult making her own decisions, never consulting me. I guess that makes me feel left out and jealous.
Friday, February 5, 2021

Breakdown in communication brings about break
I asked my boyfriend for a break so I could have some space to think. He has bad reactions when I tell him things, and he can't control his feelings. I have been scared to talk to him, which has led me to hide things from him. I constantly feel like I am lying to him, all to protect his feelings and his mood. He just can't handle certain information, and he doesn't listen to me -- he just jumps to react. It has made me rethink how we communicate and whether we can connect in a healthy way. If we can't, then should we even be in a relationship? After realizing this, I asked for a break, but I've heard that people don't get back together after a break. Do you think a break will help?
Thursday, February 4, 2021

Family members don't say thank you for Christmas money
I gave all of my nieces and nephews money for Christmas, mainly because we weren't going to be able to see one another. I figured it was an efficient way to give them gifts. Plus, they are old enough to want to choose how to spend their money themselves. Of the six teenagers I sent money to, only two said thank you. I kid you not! I don't mean a thank-you note. I mean anything. I didn't hear boo from the others. I know they got the money because I sent it directly into their accounts. Two of them had to set up the delivery system so that they could even receive the money, which they did with help from their sister -- and still they didn't say thank you. I am surprised at just how rude they were. Do you think I should say something, or maybe just not give them a gift next year? I worry that if I wait until next Christmas, though, they probably won't even remember -- if they even realize it now
Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Employee embarrassed after answering phone while tipsy
My boss called me after work hours the other evening; I had been sipping wine for some time, and I was definitely tipsy. I don't even remember what my boss and I talked about because of my state. I'm worried that I sounded drunk. I also wonder if I agreed to do something for her that I can't remember. Obviously, I know this is terrible, but how do I fix this? Do I ask my boss to remind me of what she wanted me to do? Do I apologize for being tipsy? Do I say nothing and hope for the best?
Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Spouse wants to end marriage but worries about money
I keep waking up in the night with the realization that I do not want to stay married. My husband and I have barely gotten along in years. He seems to have a short fuse all the time. We tiptoe around each other, and our only child is about to go away to college. It feels like things could naturally end after our kid goes to school, but I am scared to death about what to do next. I don't have enough money to be on my own, and he does not have enough money to take care of both of us if we were to split, not that he would want to or have the duty to do that, anyway. I feel stuck because I can't afford to go, which is horrible. I work, but I don't make a lot of money, and I have virtually no savings. Should I just figure out how to stay or pray that there is a way for me to manage if I leave?
Monday, February 1, 2021

Reader upset masked friend caught virus
I was horrified to learn that a co-worker and her entire family caught COVID-19 even though they wore masks the entire time that movers -- who were also wearing masks -- were moving them into their new home. She says they worked together for eight hours but never took off their masks. She suspects that because there was a lot of heavy breathing due to moving furniture, maybe more droplets got out. Whatever! I really thought that you were safe if you wore a mask. I'm afraid to do anything now, given this new situation. Can you completely protect yourself from this virus?
Friday, January 29, 2021

City dweller desperate to move to the suburbs
I have been trying to move out of my city all year to avoid the coronavirus. I have heart problems and have been locked away in my home for nearly 12 months. I have been truly scared to leave my home for fear of getting sick. I have been following the market to find a new place to rent in the suburbs or rural areas with more space. But the vetting process for rentals is cutthroat and happens quickly. By the time I get a realtor to return my email or call to an ad for a home, they have selected an applicant already. I've glued myself to rental apps trying to get notifications as soon as they post to just have a chance at being the first to apply, but I keep striking out. Any advice for how I can quickly and safely move out of the city? Do you fear for city residents, or am I overreacting?
Friday, January 29, 2021

New employee wants to quit job
I just started a new job about two months ago, but I hate it. I took it because I was out of work and a friend recommended it to me, but it's not what I imagined. My work-life balance is completely off. I work overnight; I am working my body in ways that are painful, like it's deteriorating day by day. I feel like I need to get out now to get my life and sense of mind back. But I really don't have a good enough reason to leave this job, and I am scared about what to say to my manager. I have never quit a job before without a plan. When I have resigned in the past, it was because I had a better job, but right now I have nothing. I can't just lie, either. How do I properly leave the job with no reason at all?
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Engaged woman worried friend has crush on her
I have a friend in my circle who recently came out as a lesbian. She told us that she had dated girls in secret in the past but decided to let all of us know because she has a crush she can no longer keep quiet about -- but she's waiting for the right time to say who it is. A couple of our friends have been asking me how I felt about what she said, and it's giving me the impression that I am the one she has a crush on. To my knowledge, I am the only one in the dark about what is going on.
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Chance encounter with psychic leads to questions
I met a psychic at the supermarket the other day. We were both in the produce department waiting for the stocker to bring out more vegetables. The pandemic has been causing a lot of shortages in some items, so grocery runs have been difficult. We were able to share a moment together, talking about the challenges we've faced. She asked for my birthday and my sign, and she told me all about myself and my past. She knew about my family and my fight to keep my father healthy. I couldn't believe the connection I felt with her; she felt what I have been feeling this past year.
Monday, January 25, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: One of the horrible side effects of being in quarantine for nearly a year now is that my husband and I are not getting along. We have always argued about this or that, but things have gotten a lot worse. I feel like I never know what the morning will bring. In the past few weeks, I have noticed that I could say one wrong thing and he will just start yelling at me, seemingly for no reason. I am walking on eggshells, unsure of what to say -- or not say -- to him because I don't feel like arguing. I am not a passive person; I just want peace. I know my husband will not go to therapy, especially now when he is not leaving the house. What can I do to make things more positive at home? -- Tired of Arguing
Saturday, January 23, 2021

Woman wants to close open marriage
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have become dysfunctional, and I don't know how we can come back from it. We have been married for three years. We were discussing divorce until we found the root of our problem -- my husband wanted to see another woman and still be with me. I couldn't imagine being without him, so we opened our relationship; we both had outside relationships. I have trouble keeping other relationships going once I tell them about my open marriage with my husband; every time I get serious with someone, they ask me to leave him, and I end up dumping the guy. This open marriage is not working for me. I want to close our marriage, but I'm afraid my husband will not want to. I fear that this is the end of my marriage, and I am not ready. How do I prepare myself for my marriage to end? -- Closing My Marriage
Friday, January 22, 2021

Seemingly perfect reader seeks motivation
It's a new year, and everyone has made New Year's resolutions. I have challenged myself every new year, and I've changed my life dramatically. Now I'm kind of stuck on what's next for me. I have transformed my body and nutrition, and I have my dream job, home and family. I would say my life is perfect and I have everything I could have ever wanted; there's nothing more I could ask for. So I really don't know what is next for me -- what goals to set, or what's out there for me to accomplish. How do I find a new motivation?
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Mom doesn't want daughter to give up baby
My daughter is pregnant and wants to give up her baby for adoption. I have offered to take custody of the baby and raise it to keep the baby in the family, but my daughter wants to give it to another family because she does not want it in her life -- or mine. I just can't understand how that would be better. What if I had given her up? I told her this baby will not take away from her life, and any concern she may have about raising it I can help solve for her, but she's not budging. I don't want to see a part of my legacy disappear from my life. Can you help me understand why she feels this way?
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

New husband doesn't respect wife's opinion
My husband and I are newlyweds in our late 20s, and we are just moving in with each other into his current apartment. We are planning to buy a home together. Before getting married, he was all for making me happy and letting me decide on things like the type of home that I want. Now that we are married, things are different. He is telling me that there are things to consider that I, as woman, do not understand. I get that he may have certain concerns about the homes I choose, but he will not share his thoughts with me.
Monday, January 18, 2021

Reader struggled with awkward work romance
I began seeing my boss romantically outside of work. After a while, I decided I didn't feel the same way anymore and I don't see myself going anywhere with him in the future. So I started canceling our dates and haven't been answering his texts or calls after work. He has resorted to scheduling us on the same shifts so that we can be together. I try to keep the conversation about work, but he keeps asking about us. I told him there is no us. As long as I'm working there, I don't think he is going to let go of this relationship. Finding a job right now is hard enough, so I can't afford to quit. I know I put myself in this situation, but I shouldn't be stuck, and he isn't giving me much of an option here.
Saturday, January 16, 2021

Sister with cancer turns to sibling for pregnancy advice
My sister is pregnant and has cancer. Her doctors said her hormones could speed up the growth of her cancer and the baby may not survive the treatment for the cancer. The father is not in her life, so I've been attending all of her appointments, and she's turning to me for advice. She's had a lot of trouble with pregnancy and thinks that this is her only chance to have a baby. She is willing to risk her life for the chance to have a baby. She really wants to leave a legacy on this Earth. But that just means me having to give up my sister and take care of her baby when she is gone. I think she should take care of herself firs and try for a baby later in her life when she is healthy. That's just my opinion; should I tell her what I think, or leave it up to her?
Friday, January 15, 2021

Newlywed caught between wife and best friend
My female best friend and my wife don't get along. My best friend is like a sister to me. She thinks that I made a huge mistake eloping with my wife this year; she doesn't think that my wife is right for me. I know we rushed into the marriage, but I want my friend's support so that if I ever come to realize this was a mistake, she is there for me. But if not, and this marriage lasts, I don't want her to resent me for my choices. I just need my friend back, and I don't want her making jokes about my wife and making fun of her.
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Kids throw childhood trauma in mom's face
I feel like my adult kids are losing respect for me. When your kids are young, they look up to you for everything and trust in you. My kids are all of college age and older. They are leaving the nest and not looking back. They throw their childhood bad memories at me, saying that I was manipulative and a liar. But as parents, we know what it's like when your kids throw a tantrum, or when they get into trouble as a teenager and just won't listen. I did what I needed to do to raise smart, strong kids, and I feel like I succeeded. All I want now is to enjoy a mature adult relationship with my kids, but they want nothing to do with me. I feel like I gave my life to them, and now I am hated and alone. Was I a bad mother?
Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Kids seem too connected to technology
With so many children doing distance learning, I feel like it's harder for them to grasp the work without being in school. Technology is taking over the lives of my stepchildren and other family members. Kids should be learning how to make friends, run around and use their imaginations to play games and learn social interactions. Watching them not have the same experiences I had growing up with little technology, I am not sure how they will turn out. Will they be smarter from using technology at an early age, or will they face difficulties connecting to others? How can I teach them without using so much technology while making sure they learn the same morals and values?
Monday, January 11, 2021

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I suffer from extreme allergies all year long, and I work at a factory. When I get into one of my sneezing or coughing spells, I can feel my co-workers cringe. I get it. Coughing and sneezing spread germs, and nobody wants to catch COVID-19. But we all take COVID tests once a week.
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Friends upset that reader won't attend party
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a group of friends who have been my close buddies for years. They recently decided that they have had enough of COVID-19 and they are going to throw a party. They want to get together after months of isolation, and they decided to go for it. I'm usually the one to throw the biggest parties; I have never let a birthday or holiday or just-because event go by without gathering a huge group of people to eat, drink and dance.
Friday, January 8, 2021

Sibling afraid of playing favorites with family
I hate it when I hear that people play favorites in their family, but now I realize that I do it myself. I have several siblings, and as an adult, I see that I am much closer to one of them than the others. It happened naturally. When we were growing up, we spent a lot of time together. And, quite frankly, we genuinely like each other, so we enjoy talking. My other siblings have either not expressed much interest in me or have been downright mean or rude. I mostly ignored that negative behavior when I was younger, but now I realize that the impact is that I talk to only one sibling at the exclusion of the others. Is that wrong?
Thursday, January 7, 2021

Big-hearted reader wants to volunteer safely
How can I get involved with the community during the pandemic? I don't have much money to give, but I have always been big on providing assistance directly through volunteering. With COVID-19, I am not comfortable going anywhere in public. I know there are still people out there with nowhere to go who need help, especially now that it's winter and the infection rate is beginning to rise again. I want to do my part and be a part of the community, but I'm just not sure what I can do. Do you know of any organizations I can get involved with while staying safe?
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Boyfriend brings up daughter months into relationship
I've been dating this guy for four months. He finally told me he wants to get exclusive, which means introducing me to the most important person in his life: his daughter. This is the first I am hearing of a daughter. He never mentioned her when I met him. It's a complete surprise, and I don't know what to do now. She is still young, and having me in her life is huge because I know the type of influence people can have on kids at that age. I just don't know if I'm ready for that.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Friend tired of paying for mooching woman
DEAR HARRIETTE: I need help saying no to my best friend. She stays over at my house all the time, eats my food and uses my car whenever she gets a chance. She can't hold a job if she doesn't "love" it. When we go out, she always has an excuse not to pay, and she orders the most expensive bill while the rest of her friends pay for her. 
Monday, January 4, 2021

Reader wants to support local stores
New York City will be closing indoor-dining restaurants and will be allowing only takeout orders and outdoor dining. It is now winter; outdoor dining is not really something that I imagine people will still want to do, unless they go to places that have heated patios.
Saturday, January 2, 2021

Gardener's work is getting worse with age
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a gardener who I have been using for many years. He's gotten much older, and I've noticed that his work isn't as good as it used to be. He tends to show up late and leave early; he reschedules and cancels a lot; sometimes he forgets to come by at all.
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Friend's cousin keeps flaking on paying bill
DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I went out to dinner, and she brought along her cousin, "Kate," who I had never met. Kate was short on the bill, so I ended up covering for her because I was able to and she said she would get the money back to me. Since then, she hasn't reached out to me. I called my friend and asked Kate's number and called her. She assured me that she would send it the next day, but again I did not hear from her.
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Creativity required for online family reunion
DEAR HARRIETTE: My whole family has spread out in different directions since the death of my grandmother. Several of my aunts and uncles moved around the country and didn't call or email any of the family to let us know where they are. I've mostly realized how spread out we are from social media. My cousins and I are pretty close, but it doesn't seem like anyone cares to keep in contact. Everyone has kind of built their own lives and never looked back.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Husband stashes gun in garage
DEAR HARRIETTE: I was digging through some storage in my garage and found a lockbox -- which wasn't even locked -- with a handgun inside. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that my husband has been hiding a gun in our garage. I did not know that he has one. It was pretty tucked away and wasn't easily accessible, but I can't imagine if I had sent my son to clean out the garage and he was the one who found it.
Monday, December 28, 2020

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I are about to mark our four-year anniversary. I'm really in love with this guy. We have had many ups and downs, but we stand together.
Saturday, December 26, 2020

Messy sister-in-law and kids need to clean up their acts
I'm having issues with my sister-in-law about house duties. Unfortunately, she and her kids moved in with my husband and me after she lost her job and could no longer afford her home. My husband invited her to live with us, but it's a problem because they make a lot of messes. She expects me to clean up all the time because it is my house. It is annoying to clean up after everyone when you didn't make the mess.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Boss won't let employee check phone at desk
My job doesn't have any written policy about allowing phones at our desk. I've worked for this company for more than 10 years, and I've never had an issue. I have kids, and I am a nervous wreck with them in high school during the pandemic, so I check my phone and text them throughout the day.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Friend is fickle when answering communications
I have a friend who calls me only when he needs something. He rarely responds when I email him, even if I ask for feedback from him. This friendship is very one-sided. When he is attentive, though, he showers me with his thoughts and charm.
Monday, December 21, 2020

Reader worried about Gay ex's impact on child
My husband and I were married for only a few years before he finally told me the truth: He is gay. We divorced quickly, as he already had a boyfriend. They moved in together and started a life.
Saturday, December 19, 2020

Cousin's TV blunder costs extra money
My cousin helped me move into my new apartment recently. He offered to put up a few shelves and mount my TV to the wall. He told me he could handle it on his own and that I should unpack. While I was home alone the next day, I heard a big crash. The TV had fallen off the wall, and the wall and TV were completely ruined. I called my cousin to tell him what happened and haven't heard back. Weeks have passed, and I had to pay a lot of money to repair the wall, purchase a new TV and pay for correct mounting.
Friday, December 18, 2020

Parents move college student's belongings out of room
I just started college this year, and I live on campus. I came home for the holidays this week and found my bedroom was not my bedroom. All of my clothes and childhood items were boxed up in the garage, as was my furniture. My parents switched their in-home gym from the garage to my bedroom. They told me that I can have my room back; I just need to switch everything myself, and before I leave again, I need to put all of my personal belongings and furniture back into the garage and make sure their workout machines are set up correctly.
Thursday, December 17, 2020

Renter frustrated at landlord's lack of help
I have a mouse in my new single-family home. I have lived here for only four months, so I called my landlord to let him know. From my understanding, there might be some holes in the walls that need to be patched up so no other rodents get inside. My landlord told me that I should go out and purchase some traps and seek an exterminator.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Daughter's credit card use upsets parent
When my daughter moved away for college, I told her that she was responsible for paying for any personal wants she may have. The whole time she was away, she never called me asking for money or for me to mail her anything. I've asked if she got a job, and she said no, but she makes money here and there doing different things. I can't imagine what kind of hustle she started.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Employee questions raising flag regarding customer
I work at a grocery store in customer service, and I have noticed one particular customer who comes in every week; I think she is using different IDs. Her receipts usually add up to $200, and she ends up returning about half of her items to receive store credit. I help her each week, and I listen to her outlandish stories for the returns.
Monday, December 14, 2020

Dear Harriette
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a gay college student, and I think I have found my soulmate. We are engaged. I want to tell my parents that I found someone I love, but I have no idea if they even know that I am gay. My parents are very supportive and we are close, so I know I can talk to them, but the topic has never really come up.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

Coughing co-worker causes concern
DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a call center with close cubicles. My employer has upgraded them by adding plastic guards between each of us, and we are required to wear masks in cooperation in stopping the spread of the pandemic. But there is this one co-worker that is insensitive to the pandemic. She sits right next to me, and to my knowledge, she does have allergies. She has often come to the office coughing and sneezing but says she is not sick. This past week, she was sitting at her desk and walking around the office with her mask not covering her nose, only her mouth.
Friday, December 11, 2020

Newlywed suspects her man is gay
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been married to my husband for about three years now. We are still in our 20s. My husband has some questionable habits I have noticed now that we have begun living together. He's saying things differently and acting differently. I feel like he's letting his guard down, and I'm seeing the real him. I think the real him is gay. I never got that feeling before we got married, but everything just seems different now. I'm not sure what to do with this feeling.
Thursday, December 10, 2020

Divorcing dad must plan carefully
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Young boy's comments spark concerns about puberty
My son is only 7 years old, and I think he is experiencing puberty already. He explained to me what an erection is, but he doesn't understand why it happens when it does. I have been so nervous about the coming questions because of his age. I'm worried that he will begin to understand what it means. He's way too young to experience those types of feelings and urges. I was prepared to have this conversation when he was 13 years old. What do I do, and how do I explain what is happening to him, while ensuring his innocence for a few more years?
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Public comment causes hurt feelings
I really put my foot in my mouth. I was celebrating a member of my family when I was speaking in a public forum, and I said something that hurt my aunt's feelings. I feel so bad about that. My intent was to raise her up and let people know how great I think she is. I have apologized, but I wonder if there's anything else I can do. She said it was all right, but she definitely was not happy when we talked about it.
Monday, December 7, 2020

Trinity Dodge Fixed
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