DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I saw a man going into my neighbour's house who shouldn't be there! It is her ex-husband from long ago when hoity-toity lady first moved on the block. I am old, and I remember. I see everything then, but I say nothing and I remember the fights and the black eyes. Her new husband is a nice man. Her old husband is a very bad guy. Why is he there now, in the afternoons two times a week when her good guy is at work, making money so she can sit on her behind? I feel like telling her husband, but how can I do that? What if I put a note on his truck that says to check his house on these two afternoons of the week? It is terrible to watch her nice man get tricked. I see them laughing together and I see her kiss him when he comes quickly in the side door from his car so he won't be seen. But, I see him with my old eyes! What do you think I should do? -- Old Woman Who Knows, North End
Dear Woman: This is the story of three people. It is understandable you would like to warn the husband but he's not your family or close friend. (In that case, you have to mix in.) Imagine if you did blow the whistle on this affair. It would soon be obvious who told on them. And there you are, sitting in your house, right next door. If this guy could black your neighbour lady's eyes, he is not someone for you to cross. You'd best close the curtains and let this play itself out.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm so tired of my abusive teenagers, I want to move out. They're running the house now and I'm the person who finances their lives. They're too young to pack and leave, but they are making my life a living hell. The two teenage girls share a room and fight over everything because they're too lazy to clean my stuff out of the spare room/junk room and one of them move into it. My son, who is only 13, comes home stinking of pot. Their dad lives across town with his girlfriend, and thinks everything they do is a laugh. His answer is, "I was like that when I was their age. Hey, it's normal! Hahaha!" They bring their friends home while I'm at work and eat the fridge empty and drink any liquor they can still find in the house. I know I'm letting them walk all ever me, but they are stronger than I am. What can I do? -- Weak and Pathetic Mom, South Suburbia
Dear Pathetic: Give the older two exactly one month to get a part-time job, and warn them you're cutting off their spending money. Then have close girlfriends over to help you get the spare room emptied so the sisters can separate. Then the fighting will calm down. Why should you do it yourself? Because in the end, the peace will benefit you the most. Help both sisters make their rooms places they like to be. As for your son, he's looking for some of the attention his sisters grab, so give it to him. The pot is a smoke signal. Surprise him by taking him out alone for pizzas, movies, the zoo. Talk about your life at his age -- including the difficulties -- and ask about his friends and the challenges at his school. Is he happy? Worried? Being bullied? Most kids don't tell their parents until it's late in the game. Ask him to teach you some games on the computer. He'll wonder if you're nuts, but he'll like it. And, every time he comes home smelling like pot, say evenly, "You smell like marijuana. That makes me worried and upset. Tell me about this." He wants a motherly reaction. Give it to him.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6