Annie Lane

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: My letter about how to deal with my wife about getting a second dog made it in your column. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought it would! This is a nightmare right out of a TV sitcom whereby the husband does something stupid that publicly humiliates his wife, and their neighbors and friends are privy to the inner workings (or nonworkings) of their marriage. This is not your fault at all; I’m the one who was stupid enough to write.

As of this writing, she has not seen the column, nor have any of her friends. By the way, we live in a small town and my wife has a very visible job.

I cannot tell you how much trouble I am in if she finds out. She will hate me forever. I have done many things to cause her frustration over the years; public humiliation may be that which causes irreparable harm. She’s already had to put up with numerous health problems and financial problems and other problems.

I’m in so much trouble. What do I do?

— Caught Writing to Dear Annie

Dear Caught Writing: You might be digging yourself into an even bigger hole than your new puppy could dig in your backyard. Now, let’s get you out of the hole.

First of all, it’s never wrong to ask for help. If your wife sees your letter and is upset with your writing to me, then share how you wanted to gain perspective as to why she didn’t want a second dog and wanted to be understood for your needs. Seeking advice and support is admirable, not embarrassing.

Consider sharing the letter with your wife directly. It’s better to have the news come from you than from a friend or neighbor. She’ll learn just how much getting a second dog means to you, and you’ll get to hear her reaction to the letter, not just what you fear she’ll say. Once you both fall in love with your new furry addition to your family, you might look back at these letters fondly. Best of luck!

Dear Annie: Our neighbor, friend and co-worker has a green thumb and a wonderful, bountiful garden. The garden produces more than she can ever use, and so, each week during the summer, we are presented with squash, kale and peppers. It is more than I can use either, but I do not want to cause hurt feelings.

What is the right response to the generosity of someone I do not want to offend? She gives me more than I could use, even if I were a good cook, which I am not, by the way!

— Summer’s Abundance

Dear Summer’s Abundance: Sounds delicious. What a lovely neighbor. The correct response is to continue to show her gratitude and appreciation. If you can’t eat and use all of the vegetables, then you have two choices. You can politely tell her exactly that נthat you really only use about half of her produce. Or you can give away the produce to friends and family.

Eating vegetables fresh from the garden is very healthy. I’m sure you can find friends who would appreciate the fresh produce. That way, you are paying your neighbor’s kindness forward.

Dear Annie: We had to cancel our trip to celebrate my 9-year-old granddaughter’s birthday due to COVID-19.

It occurred to me that, if I could find a photo of her mom (our daughter) on her 9th birthday, my granddaughter might get a kick out of seeing her mom at her same age. I found the right album, took a photo of the photo using my iPad and sent it to her. Her dad immediately sent me a text, saying that she had just loved it and that it had raised her spirits.

I got to thinking that I should send lots of people a single fun picture of themselves that I had taken over the years, and ask them if they could guess what year the photo had been taken.

My texts were going crazy, as everyone was guessing about the year, and the event that the photo was from. We had fun, reminiscing about what had brought us together, for the event in the photo, and how young we were, etc.

Some of these people live all over the world, and some are close but may as well be on the other side of the world right now. Most photos they hadn’t ever seen, and I barely remembered a few myself. It was a fun way to reconnect, and I thought I would pass it along.

— Barb

Dear Barb: What a fantastic way to foster connection and enjoying beautiful memories with loved ones near and far! Thank you for the suggestion.

Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to

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