Dear Ann Cannon • I recently found out that my brothers and their families, along with some of their friends, took a trip on which my husband and I weren’t invited. I suspect that the reason has to do with one of my sisters-in-law who, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, has never liked me very much. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I don’t think I’ve ever given her a reason to dislike me.
Anyway, my husband is furious and I’m beyond hurt. My natural tendency is to not say anything when extended family drama happens, but my husband feels like I should call my brothers out. What do you think?
— Sad Sister
Dear Sad Sister • Families. Families, families, families.
Even under the best of circumstances, family dynamics are complicated. The potential for love and support and companionship exists in the family structure, of course, but so does the potential for pain. This is just my way of saying I’m sorry your feelings have been hurt. Mine would be, too. And I also understand why your husband is angry. Both of you are responding in different ways to the feeling of being excluded.
So, what can you do? While I usually see the value of not saying too much in many family situations, I’m gonna side with your husband on this one. I do think you should talk to your brothers and let them know how you feel. You can talk to them individually or as a group. You can talk to them in person or even, in this case, via an email or a text. My guess is that they won’t be surprised by what you have to say. But they do need to hear from you.
This is hard territory. Again, I’m sorry. Wishing you luck.
Dear Ann Cannon • I have a new puppy and he barks a lot. I have to let him out for a few minutes in the middle of the night because he’s barely housebroken and when I do sometimes he barks. I’ve apologized to my neighbors on both sides, and those on the east understand, but the ones on the west yell out the window if there’s any barking at all. And yesterday they stopped me in the driveway to complain. What should I do?
— Puppy Mom
Dear Puppy Mom • When it comes to puppies, all I can say is WOW! As the owner of many puppies past, I’ll be the first to say that there’s hardly anything more adorable. I have such fond memories of one puppy in particular — Aggie the field spaniel — who sat in the dugout with one of our son’s little league teams. Those boys passed her back and forth among them, and she squirted out of their arms like a water weenie. SO CUTE.
Puppies do come with their challenges. Like chewing, for example. Better not leave anything lying around that you value (shoes, for starters) because your puppy is likely to use it as a teething ring. Sometimes they’ll even go after stuff that you can’t put up. Like chairs, for example. Or walls. One of our Newfie puppies took a bite out of a hallway corner, which didn’t seem to hurt her. Can’t say the same for the wall.
And then there’s the housebreaking. Ugh. It’s a long and tedious process. Meanwhile, you’ve done the right thing by talking to your neighbors about what’s happening and why. I’m not sure what you can do about the neighbors on the west. (My husband suggests you only let the puppy out on the east side of your house.) Barking can be a nuisance, and I understand that. But still.
I guess if it were me, I’d apologize again, while pointing out to your neighbor that this probably won’t be an ongoing problem — at least during the middle of the night. Then go ahead and do your best to ignore their reactions. Meanwhile, enjoy your puppy while at the same time surviving the crazy.