Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I know my stepmother is going somewhere secret. I get home from school or practice and she is all tarted up to go out. She doesn't dress up like that for my dad unless he's coming home for dinner at 7 p.m. and she's still dressed from her afternoon outing. She doesn't work. My dad has plenty of money, but she's going somewhere she shouldn't be.
When I asked where she was going today, she got all red in the face and said, "None of your business. I don't ask you where you're going." I said, "That's because you couldn't care less." Then she said, "That's not true! Here's some spending money. You need some new clothes."
She left me $200 on the kitchen table to shut me up. Should I tell dad? My mom is useless, which is why I don't live with her. Dad is a nice guy, but he is kind of clueless. -- Forgotten Kid, Transcona
Dear Forgotten: Just tell your dad the facts. Tell him she gets dressed up and goes out, but you have no idea where. And also tell him that when you said she didn't care about you, she gave you $200 for clothes. You owe it to your dad to tell him what's going on between the three of you, but don't add any guesses to the facts.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Work is going badly with the big drunk in the boss's office. Our boss/owner has been hitting the vodka in her office every day since she and her husband broke up. I feel kind of sorry for her, but by mid-afternoon, she's pretending to be taking long-distance calls all the time so no one can get in to see her. We know she's in there drunk and doesn't want anybody to know. We can't get a decent decision out of her past 3 p.m.
If I approach her about the drinking, she may find a way to fire me, or make my life a living hell so I'll quit. This isn't a big enough workplace to have a human resources department. She's the queen of this realm.
Should I secretly leave AA pamphlets on her desk? How about an anonymous letter from all of us? Thank God she doesn't drive any more. Please help us all, as the business is suffering. -- Love This Business, Winnipeg
Dear Love This Business: Does she have one person on staff closest to her who wouldn't get fired? Do you know a close family member to confide in? That's a person who could help her save face at work. She doesn't know you already know.
Your group could study up on interventions, and go in to see her at 4 p.m. when she's blasted and say you all know she's run into a problem with drinking since the split and you want to help her and save the business.
While you're deciding what you'll do, try to schedule morning meetings with her when she's still sober and can make decisions. Even though she's secluded in the office in the afternoon, she may still take emails for decisions later in the day if the question is detailed enough. Call the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba at 204-944-6200 for detailed help on a plan to confront and help your boss. This won't be the first office that's had an alcoholic boss in crisis.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6