Man chooses booze and pot over quality time with stepdaughter
ear Annie: I have a daughter from a previous marriage and my husband and I have a son together. The problem is, my husband ignores my daughter.
He says he loves her, but it doesn’t show. He is an alcoholic who refuses to help around the house or with the kids. He also won’t brush his teeth or flush the toilet. Worse, his sister pushes him to drink at every family gathering, including the children’s birthday parties. I told her he becomes verbally abusive to my daughter when he drinks, but she still supplies him with beer at every occasion. Meanwhile, she and her husband are outside smoking pot while the kids run wild. After I tearfully confided in my motherin-law, she told him, “ You deserve to have a beer whenever you like.”
It hurts to see my daughter’s little face wanting positive attention and affection from her stepfather while he turns away from her. But, Annie, I still love him. He once stopped drinking for two months and those were the happiest times we’ve had. He was energetic, paid attention to both kids, started brushing his teeth and even helped around the house. But it ended when his sister came over with a six-pack.
I’ve suggested counselling, but he refuses to go, and his family backs him up. I can’t go alone because I have no one to babysit. So tell me, how do I help my daughter cope? — Indiana
Dear Indiana: It sounds as if your husband comes from a family of substance abusers who will continue to undermine any effort he makes to stay sober. First contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) at 1888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666). Then ask your pediatrician to refer you to a counsellor who will talk to you by phone or email if you cannot find a neighbour or friend to watch the children.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have joint custody of his children. Lately, the ones who are old enough to drive have started dropping by when they are scheduled to
Dbe with their mother. While I dearly love my stepchildren, it alarms me when I occasionally find one of them at the top of the stairs while I am dripping wet from the shower.
We don’t want to send the message that they are unwelcome. What more can we do? — Loving Stepmom in Memphis
Dear Memphis: We hope you recognize how lucky you are that your stepchildren feel so comfortable around you, and you might want to put up with most of this. Still, you are entitled to some privacy. Approach them with humor. Explain why their unexpected presence could create embarrassment, and ask them to please ring either the phone or the doorbell before entering the house to make sure everyone is dressed and presentable. And keep a robe handy.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from “Rather Embarrassed in Minnesota,” the 24-year-old female virgin who is concerned about her inexperience.
I am a 26-year-old male and a virgin. I am saving intercourse for marriage. I made this decision for several reasons. I do not want to trivialize the strong emotional bond that sex can form with my partner; I do not want to risk contracting an STD; and I do not want to potentially start a family with a woman I’m not willing to marry.
I’d like to encourage women with moral objections to premarital sex to remain true to their feelings for as long as they make sense. Our culture gives the impression that everyone sees sex as uncommitted recreation and thus we are silly to deny ourselves its pleasures. I strongly disagree and am holding out until I find someone who holds the same respect for our procreative power. — Waiting in California
Dear Waiting: It is not always easy to stick to your principles in this day and age. We admire your efforts to maintain your standards. TORONTO— Duff McLaren doesn’t need to unearth any old receipts to recall when he purchased his last pair of running shoes — the answer is etched right onto the soles.
After buying a new pair, he typically makes sure to write the date on the outer sole, and he tends to alternate between pairs to prevent them from wearing out too rapidly.
“I just make sure I know when I got them, so when I have a pair in August ’ 09 I’m saying, ‘ OK, well, geez, maybe I should start to replace those,” said McLaren, a marathon coach with The Running Room who has been running for 20 years.
“There are signs the shoe is running out of life, so I just switch those and use those basically as a lifestyle walking around-in shoe, but not for any distance running.”
While it’s essential to ensure your workout shoes are the right fit for your feet, experts say it’s just as crucial to determine when to retire them, regardless of whether you’re a running enthusiast or more casual in your exercise routine.
McLaren’s shoe-dating approach isn’t unique.
Dr. Kel Sherkin, a podiatrist, tells his patients involved in sports to write the month and year on the inside tongue of their shoes so they can remember when they purchased them.
A standard rule of thumb is to replace them every 1,000 kilometres or so, he said.
“If you’re basically doing nonpounding exercise such as the elliptical, such as the bike, your shoes can last a little longer,” said Sherkin, co-author of The Complete Handbook of Athletic Footwear. “But if you’re doing pounding such as running either outside or inside, the shoe longevity will be decreased.”
For someone who isn’t necessarily keeping track of the number of clicks they’re covering in their kicks, Sherkin said one way to tell if