DEAR AMY: Our young neighbor boy defecated on public property about three inches from our yard. I think he just got caught up in playing. I immediately walked over to his house and told his dad. His mother, who is my good friend, was not home. Dad was watching a football game with friends but I still expected a prompt response. Unfortunately, 45 minutes later he had not cleaned it up and his children continued to play in the area. I sent a text to both the father and mother letting them know that kids were there. Within a few minutes the mother rushed over and was cleaning it up apologetically. She said she hadn't been home earlier because she had been at the ER with her mother. Amy, I am so disturbed first that the father didn't respond immediately to clean up his son's mess, but even more so that he allowed his wife to come deal with it while he watched football! As a friend and neighbor, should I say something to the husband about his lack of response and treatment of his wife? He is a bit of a bully anyway and I'm not interested in a fight, but both the un-neighborliness of his response and the unjust treatment of his wife are appalling to me.
DEAR UPSET: If you do speak to your male neighbor about his disrespectful inattention, what outcome would you hope for? Do you imagine he would smack his head in recognition and say, "I get it now -- I'm an inattentive boor!" All the same, because this incident involved you directly, you certainly have the right to say, "I want you to know that I don't appreciate that you didn't respond when I told you about your son's accident." Your friend already knows what she's dealing with. Be her supportive friend. Unless she asks you directly for feedback, it might be best if you simply understand that you did the right thing in this situation -- even if her husband did not.
DEAR AMY: I come from a large family of nine children who don't always see eye to eye. Some of us barely speak to one another. The problem is, whenever there is any type of sibling rivalry, our mother wants to know what's going on and intervenes. This has caused much division among us. I tried to explain to our mother that she should not get involved and that it is none of her business. We are all adults with families and lives of our own. What happens between us, we need to work out among ourselves and if we choose not to -- that is our business! My mother believes that because she is our mother it makes it her business and she has the right to try to smooth the waters among her children. This not only makes it worse for the siblings but it also puts a strain on our relationship with her. I love my mother dearly but I feel our conflicts are just sibling rivalry.
DEAR FRUSTRATED: Don't even bother telling your mother what is or isn't her business. As long as her children live and breathe, she is going to make you all her business. Accept it.
In a family of so many siblings, you can easily lay down ground rules, which another sibling could immediately undo. You must accept that this is a dynamic that currently exists and will continue. Because you value your privacy, you should not discuss these difficulties with your mother. Understand, however, that for other siblings, her intervention might actually be useful.
DEAR AMY: "Stuck Sister" was stuck with the cost of an airline ticket, which she had put on a credit card for her sister. She needs to give her sister a deadline to pay this off and then either give this ticket to a friend or sell it on Craigslist.
DEAR NO DEAL: I don't believe that airline tickets are easily sold or transferred, though I know that some people do offer them for sale; this is why "Stuck Sister" was so stuck.