Dear Auntie Linda, I have been writing and talking by phone to a man I thought had fourteen more years to serve in prison for sexual assault. Last time I visited, he told me he was getting out in eight months and wants a relationship with me. It thought it was harmless enough to write, phone, and visit him because he had a long sentence to serve. It was thrilling and relieved the frustration of my boring life. I told him I don’t want anything more to do with him, but I keep getting letters saying he is coming when he gets out. He knows all about where I live and work and all about my children. He hasn’t actually threatened me, but it’s clear what he means. I am terrified. How do I get out of this mess? Scared
Dear Scared, You are in a pickle. Talk to the police in your town. Don’t ignore this problem. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie Linda, My wife and I have a two sets of twins, two-year boys and ten-week old girls. Betsy just found out she is pregnant with our fifth child in six years. She is going back to work in two weeks, but now she has decided there is no way she can work afterwards with five children under three. We were struggling with just the first babies. We can barely keep the rent paid and the utilities turned on since the girls came. We are both exhausted all the time, and can barely keep up. I don’t know how we will manage financially or hold up to the physical demands of five babies. I already work fifty-five hours a week and would work more except that Betsy needs my help. We are not living beyond our means. We don’t have cable, get by with one car, and have the cheapest cell phones available, but do have some credit card debt. We can only pay the minimum, so we are getting further and further behind.Since I make about forty thousand dollars a year, we don’t qualify for any type of assistance. Where do we turn? Strapped
Dear Strapped, You are having it rough. First of all, I recommend you cut up your current cards and get a 0% interest rate for one year and transfer all your balances. That should cut your bills some. Be sure not to be late paying or that rate will jump up. Before the year is up, shop for another 0% interest card and transfer balances again. Check with social services through your wife’s OB/GYN and the Pediatrician’s office. If Betsy and the children aren’t on the WIC (Women and Children’s Nutritional Program) they should qualify. That is a great help. With the increase in your family size, you might be able to get a better health insurance plan through your state program for your family. Some churches offer Mother’s Day Out. That might give your wife a little relief. It is possible you could get food assistance through a food bank, if necessary. I actually bought a lot of my family’s clothes from Goodwill and Thrift Shops. You could also get baby equipment there. If you are lucky enough to have family and friends nearby, accept any help you are offered. It wouldn’t hurt to check with the employee assistance program at your job and your wife’s. They might be able to help somehow. I have know of that to happen where I worked. You are in for quite a ride. Good luck!