No Need For Delicacy Here

Dear Margo: My elder sister is 62, and her hubby (to whom she’s been married for 40 years) is now 68. My sister’s family has had a rough life because of my brother-in-law’s unsuccessful attempts to make it as an entrepreneur. They’ve had financial dealings with all the family, and because of that, some of my sister’s relationships have been strained, mostly with the spouses of her husband’s brothers.

Lately, her hubby and one brother’s wife have become very chummy — so chummy that they choose to talk when Sis is not around. Sometimes the phone will ring, and if my sister picks up, the caller hangs up. Then my brother-in-law’s cell phone rings. After exchanging pleasantries, he casually leaves the room and continues the conversation out of earshot. My sister is deeply hurt by this. When confronted, his answer is that the relationship is of a brother-sister type and my sis is being unduly judgmental.

My sister is not concerned that there is physical infidelity, but what about loyalty between husband and wife? Why the need for private conversation if they are discussing spirituality or world politics? Sis has been confiding in our mother, who’s been privy to the sacrifices Sis has made to stand by her hubby through all the financial difficulties. Mother is disgusted with the lack of compassion, if not outrageousness, of my brother-in-law’s behavior. Any suggestions for my sister? — Concerned Sibling.

Dear Con: Hanging up if your sister answers and hubby then continuing the next call in another room is absolutely unacceptable and suggests that perhaps your sister has guessed wrong about any physical infidelity. I suspect your b-i-l’s financial difficulties and feelings of failure have made him susceptible to another woman’s attentions and compliments. I suggest you advise your sister to make a major scene about this. Suggest she tell her husband that she does not like the way this is playing out, and that he can cool his “brother-sister type relationship” or she will have to reconsider her husband-wife type relationship. — Margo, absolutely


Pets, Rights and the Law

Dear Margo: I read your advice to the tenant whose building does not allow pets, but she wants a dog because it makes her feel better. If she wasn’t permitted to get a dog, you suggested a cat. My question to you: Are you kidding me? As a landlord, allow me to enlighten you.

1) The security deposit is typically equal to one month’s rent. One month’s rent would not begin to cover the costs of replacing and repairing floors and carpets caused by “accidents” or the rent lost while I’m repairing an empty apartment.

2) I am, like many other people, allergic to cats. I would not be able to enter my own apartment if there was ever a cat present. I can often sense it the minute I open the door of someone’s house. That’s because my lungs begin to close down. Am I supposed to incur the costs of a top-to-bottom cleaning of the apartment so a future tenant with allergies can move in?

3) What about the tenants next door? Are they supposed to put up with the barking all the time?

4) Maybe you can explain to me why renters insist on having animals. Very few landlords allow them for the reasons I mentioned above. I cannot tell you how many people sign up for my apartments and at the last minute ask, “Is it OK if I have two German shepherds?” The person who wrote to you should wait until her/his lease expires and find a place that allows pets. — Landlord

Dear Land: Your letter, for me, is an unusual follow up. I don’t usually monkey with them because they are mostly from people who just don’t agree. (I also don’t like them and find them boring.) Your letter, however, rationally states “the other side” and will help many people understand the “no pets” rule. — Margo, informatively

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers‘ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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