Dear Auntie Linda, I am a good kid in a miserable situation. My mother is mentally ill. When she gets off her medication, I don’t know from one minute to the next what she might do or who or what she might come dragging in. My dad works out of town and she manages to pull herself together when he comes in, but trying to go to school, work, and keep things running at home are exhausting me. My brother and I have both mowed, babysat, and done any odd job we could since we were old enough to work to have money for food and clothes. I have come home and found strange people in the house. She has given away furniture. I make sure the rent and utilities are paid as soon as her disability check comes in, but she is as likely as not to spend the rest on junk. I have come in from school and found forty yards of fabric, or old furniture from a junk sale piled under the carport and no food in the house. I buy groceries out of what I make, but I have to keep them in the trunk of my car or they just disappear. Mom is obsessive about my fifteen-year-old brother, often trying to keep him out of school when she is most confused. I worry about her all the time, but dread going home. I graduate from high school this year and have a scholarship for college, but worry about what will happen to Mom and my brother if I do. How can I ever have a life? Old Man at Seventeen
Dear Old Man, I feel for you. This is way too heavy a burden for you and your brother. You have to tell your dad how bad things are and that he has to take responsibility for your mother. He obviously has been able to ignore problems since you are there to take care of things. Make sure he knows everything she does and let him deal with it. It is time for you to make a life for yourself. He is likely to dump the load on your brother as long as he can. No doubt, things will fall apart once you go off to college, but you can’t sacrifice your life to keep propping things up at home. Good luck. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, Somebody is stealing my underwear off the clothesline. Nothing else goes missing, just my skimpies. I haven’t been able to catch anyone, but I had a pair go missing last week and another this week. What in the world do I do? I am worried there is a pervert in the neighborhood. Bare Bottomed Before Long.
Dear Bare Bottomed, Try hanging some big old granny panties and some boxers out instead of skimpies. That should discourage anybody. Sounds like you might need to hang your skimpies on the shower rod. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, We sometimes have pot luck lunches at the hospital where I work. A signup list is posted weeks ahead, so everybody knows and can bring a dish. The problem is, people from other areas of the hospital drop in who haven’t contributed and help themselves. Also, there are a some who fix a plates to take home or even take a whole dish. We have had whole containers just disappear. Why in the world would people be so greedy? How do you keep the pigs out? Cleaned Out
Dear Cleaned Out, You hit the nail on the head. Some people are just greedy pigs with no pride. Unless you can set your buffet up in an area where people can be observed making off with the goodies, it is hard. I suppose you could give out tickets, post a sign, Whatever Department Holiday Dinner Only or post a lookout to discourage moochers. Auntie Linda