Dear Annie: I am a good person. I always try to do the right thing. But I did something stupid, and it could cost me my job and the respect I have earned.
For 10 years, I have been the director of a preschool. Every member of the staff has to take 18 hours of learning in-service. One of my staff members was absent during one of the in-service exams, so I took the test for her and signed her name.
I could get fired and probably should be. I am sick about it. I knew it was a mistake as soon as I mailed it in. Please tell me what to do. Should I tell my boss upfront and resign? Or do I live with the stress and pray I don’t get caught? I will never do it again, but I doubt anyone will care about that. — This Is Not Me
Dear Not You: We don’t think you will be able to live with the stress. It’s already eating you up inside, and you will forever anticipate the truth coming out. Did the absentee woman ask you to take the test for her? If so, she could lose her job, as well. You made a terrible mistake and will have to face the consequences, but there is a possibility that if you are forthcoming and sincerely sorry, you will be given another chance. You might also wish to talk this over with your clergyperson or counsellor and ask for guidance.
Dear Annie: Can you settle a dispute between my husband and me?
“Lenny” is retired and does the majority of the housework and taking care of our cats. On weekends, I like to get up early while Lenny sleeps in. One cat prefers to be fed at the crack of dawn, but the other two sleep late and aren’t hungry. I usually feed the one cat but not the others. I also pick up the caked-on dirty cat dishes and put them in the kitchen sink to soak. I always intend to wash them, but often get busy doing other things. When Lenny gets up and goes into the kitchen, he sees the dirty bowls in the sink and has a cow.
I think he should be glad I’m getting a head start on the cleaning, but he thinks I don’t appreciate him because I leave the bowls in the sink for him to wash. That is not the case. I was taught to soak dirty dishes because it helps in the washing. Who is right? — Dirty Debbie
Dear Debbie: Soaking dishes is always a good way to remove crusted-on food, but your husband interprets it to mean you want him to wash them. And since he inevitably ends up doing so, we can’t argue with his logic. This could easily be resolved if you soaked the cat bowls before going to bed and washed them when you got up in the morning. Or, when your husband sees them, he simply tells you that the dishes have soaked long enough and then you jump right in and take care of it. This is a minor dispute, and we’re certain you can find a way to make it less annoying. Too bad you can’t teach the cats to clean their own dishes.
Dear Annie: Like “Loyal Reader in Florida,” I also think it is extremely important for everyone to find out about their extended family’s medical history. Alas, I can’t even get the most basic information, as I am adopted. I stand a better chance of receiving top secret military information from the Pentagon.
I’m in my 50s, and this incomplete knowledge has had a negative impact on my medical care. May I suggest that medical records be given to adoptive parents and a way established to automatically keep these parents (and the adopted child) informed as to later developments in the biological parents’ health?
For example, if the father has a heart attack when he’s older, or the mother develops breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease decades after giving up the child, or either parent later has a genetically handicapped child, there needs to be a way to get this information to the adoptee. Our health depends upon it. — Baby Girl Born in 1955
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.