Dear Annie: My husband and I moved from Alaska to Hawaii a year ago to help a friend who is suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). "John" promised to pay my husband $120 a day if he would leave his job and act as caregiver. My husband agreed, and he not only helps with all his physical therapy, but also takes him to all doctor and other appointments. We have taken care of his vacation rental business, repairs on his house, landscaping and general upkeep. We also have cooked all his meals for the past 10 months.
Six weeks ago, John was in a hospital 50 miles away, and we visited almost daily to help with his physical therapy. On days when we couldn't be there, we sent others to keep him company. While he was in the hospital, John gifted us with $21,000 for a piece of land he sold. We've spent $2,000 of it on his bills, brakes for his car, medications, etc.
Now that he is home, he says he was too generous and wants the money back. So far, we've returned $12,000. Annie, we have never been paid a dime for our services, including the daily $120 he promised my husband. John is angry and mean-spirited and rages against everyone. He accuses us of stealing and lying. My husband is a saint with the patience of Job.
John doesn't have much longer to live. We will continue to help, but I believe this latest attempt to take back the money is a form of abuse. He has more than enough financial resources. What shall we do?
— Gifted or Not
Dear Gifted: You and your husband have been kind and generous. In the later stages of his disease, John may not only be depressed. He also may not be thinking clearly. Please forgive his rants, but protect yourself in case you are held liable for the remaining disputed money. Keep itemized lists of what you have spent the "gift" on, what you have paid for John's benefit out of your own pocket, and the amount he promised to pay your husband for his care. And talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Dear Annie: I am in my early 60s, fairly attractive and happily married. My job requires me to travel and meet salespeople, and they are usually men. The agenda includes an occasional business lunch or dinner.
My problem is that every once in a while, one of these men — invariably a short, older, heavyset, balding guy — thinks he is the most attractive man alive and that I can't resist his charms. After our business dinner, he will give me a call late at night and ask, "What are you wearing?"
Even though I make it quite clear to these guys that I am married and not interested in them, what kind of idiotic, inappropriate question is that? It might work when you're paying for phone sex, but rest assured, the woman on the other end of that line is probably clipping her toenails. Please tell them this question will put an end to any potential relationship.
— Amazed in Honolulu
Dear Honolulu: We agree that this question is both inappropriate and idiotic to direct at someone you have just met at a business dinner. These guys must be desperate for female attention and clueless about how to get it.
Dear Annie: I have another story about having the same name as someone's pet.
My name is "Theresa," and while at a barbecue at a friend's house, I found out her dog has the same name. It was funny to watch both of us respond every time someone called "Theresa," with me saying, "Yes?" and the dog going, "Woof." We all laughed about it, and she was such a cute dog that it did not matter to me one bit.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.