DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My son currently lives with his mother; we have shared custody. I was wondering who I could contact regarding living conditions. My son is four. He currently shares a bedroom, and sometimes a bed, with his mother in a one-bedroom apartment. I don't feel that's healthy. My ex's sister sleeps in the living room. Is it healthy for my son to be living in a tiny apartment with two grown woman? I feel he needs a space to at least call his own. There is hardly any room for him to play and live. I currently live in a large home with a very nice bedroom I've made for him on his sleepover nights. I believe my house with my wife and his dogs are a much more suitable home to live in. What can I do? -- Concerned Father
Dear Concerned: Why are you living in a big house while your ex-wife, with whom you share custody, is living in poverty with your child? You can take this back to court and be asked to pay more support. You can contact your lawyer and go for custody, knowing the outcome greatly depends on who the child is most bonded to. If he is closest to his mom, and doesn't feel as bonded to your new wife and you, your big house will not be a strong argument. As for the son sleeping in the same bed with the mom, buy him a little boy bed shaped like a car and he will be likely to want to sleep there. You are strongly hinting that it will be detrimental to him sexually to sleep in the same bed with his mother at this age. That issue you should address with his mother directly, and tell her you will go for full custody if that doesn't stop. But bear in mind, kids older than your son sometimes end up in parents' beds after nightmares and that's no big deal.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I screwed up with my big mouth at work. I told my best friend at the next desk that I couldn't stand the boss's executive assistant (EA) because she was incompetent, disorganized and had zero personality. In the last two months, I had a falling out with the friend I told. Now she has become best lunch buddies with the EA. All of a sudden, I'm getting crappy low-level assignments from the EA, who doles out the work. I'm not in a position to confront over this, as the EA know knows what I said about her. I can't go over her head, because the overall boss and her EA are tight. I can't take back what I said, either. Now what? -- On the Downward Slide, Broadway
Dear Downward: This would be a good time to make a lateral move within the company, if it's big enough, or look for a job elsewhere. Unless both of these people leave, you are blocked from satisfying work in your own area. You can try to work things out with the EA but you have no idea exactly what this former friend reported you said, so you could dig yourself into a bigger hole if you asked for The Talk. You could corner your ex-friend and ask her what has transpired, but what chance is there you'll get a straight answer? Your best course would be to look for a great new job and get references from elsewhere in the company.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyeharts, 1350 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6