Dear Annie: We are the grandparents of a beautiful four-year-old girl.
We have been watching her for the past three months because her parents had their water service shut off due to lack of payment.
A month ago, they had their gas and electricity shut off, as well. They are living off of the welfare system with no other means of support.
In the past, my wife and I have paid a lot of money to keep their utilities on, but this time we took a stand and decided not to.
Instead, we opted to assist in taking care of their daughter until they can fix this situation, knowing it will probably happen again.
We want our granddaughter to have a shot at normalcy, and we feel she will never get that if we return her to her parents.
Unfortunately, my wife and I lack both the finances to raise a child and the vitality necessary to keep up with her.
We don’t know what to do. If we decide to seek custody, how do we go about it? Is there financial aid available for people in our situation?
We want to do the right thing for our granddaughter. — Geezer with a Cause in Los Angeles
Dear Los Angeles: Instead of seeking custody, you might want to apply for legal guardianship of your granddaughter or become her foster parents. Would the parents voluntarily allow this?
That would be the easiest way to do it.
Discuss your options with an attorney who specializes in family law. You can get referrals for low-cost legal assistance through LawHelp California (lawhelpca.org).
Dear Annie: We work in an office where the employees (mostly the female employees) bring treats — candy or homemade goodies — on a regular basis. This always has been a nice gesture and much appreciated.
The problem is a new employee who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of taking your share and no more.
“Vern” is the first one at your desk if he notices candy. Then he keeps coming back over and over again, taking large quantities on each trip. Those treats are for everyone.
Vern is really a nice man in so many ways, but we are about ready to discontinue bringing treats to the office because this is so frustrating.
One of the employees made special homemade treats for her boss on his birthday, and Vern stood at her desk to get his share before anyone else, and then returned for a second helping before others had their first.
No one wants to hurt Vern’s feelings, and he doesn’t seem to get the hint when comments are made to others in his presence. Do you have any suggestions about how to handle this? We hate to see a nice tradition ruined because the goodies can no longer be shared with everyone. — Didn’t Take This Guy To Raise
Dear Didn’t: Someone needs to speak up. If Vern returns for seconds before others have had a turn, say, “A lot of folks haven’t had any treats yet, Vern, so no second helpings until everyone has had one.” If he takes six cupcakes, stop him, saying, “Sorry, Vern, only one per customer.” Be nice, firm and consistent. We don’t think it will take much to retrain the guy, so please give him a chance before you eliminate something that all of you obviously enjoy a great deal.
Dear Annie: “Showerless in Sheboygan” said her retired military husband refused to shower or get a haircut. You suggested he might be depressed.
My husband is a psychologist with the Veterans Administration. V.A. services are available in most states for mental health issues or changes in health status. Please pass this along. — V.A. Supporter in Louisville, Ky.
Dear Louisville: Thank you for reminding those readers who have served in the military that the V.A. (va.gov) can provide psychological as well as medical counsel.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.