Dear Ann Landers: I would like to share a bit of personal experience with ``Corpus Christi,' who was angered by the way her father's new wife controls his personal affairs: Do yourself a favor and get over it!
My parents divorced after 43 years of a not-so-wonderful marriage. Everyone in the family knew their relationship was awful, but it didn't prepare us for the venom that erupted during the divorce proceedings or the battles that took place over the property settlement.Though my parents live in a state where the normal division is 50/50, my mother chose to fight to make sure ``that woman' - my father's mistress - didn't get any of it.
After almost three years in the courts, they blew a ridiculous amount of money on lawyers and inflicted wounds that will never heal.
What a tragedy to have wasted all that time and energy on petty things that happened almost 50 years ago. They wrecked family relationships by playing child against parent and sibling against sibling for an estate that was quite modest to say the least.
My father is retired now. He and his girlfriend live fairly well on a disability check, Social Security and a modest sum he inherited from his father. My mother has less, though she did put some money in the bank recently from the sale of her parents' home.
What they have is theirs and, as I have told them both, in very plain language, they can do with it what they want. They can burn it, sell it or give it away. I don't want anything.
It doesn't bother me one iota that Pops bought his girlfriend a new house with what could have been my inheritance.
Granted, it is not always easy to keep my mouth shut. As with alcoholism or drug abuse, staying uninvolved in a dysfunctional family is an ongoing battle.
I realize, however, that for the sake of my own peace of mind, I must do it. So, Corpus Christi, let go of your anger and get on with your life. Your father is doing just that, and he is doing it with his money, not yours. Sign me - Doing Fine in D.C.
Dear D.C.: You sound like my kind of girl, a terrific role model for people in your spot. Thanks for an excellent letter.
Dear Ann Landers: You recently provided advice about the use of electrical products near water. At the Consumer Product Safety Commission, we know that electricity and water don't mix. At least 17 people a year, mostly young children, are electrocuted when a hair dryer falls into a bathtub.
In addition to your suggestion to disconnect appliances in the bathroom, an inexpensive device designed to prevent these deaths is now available. It is called a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) and can be purchased from hardware and electrical supply stores.
The GFCI comes either as a portable adapter for plugging into an outlet or as a replacement for the outlet. It will protect against electrocution from any electrical appliance and should be used in kitchens, garages and outdoor receptacles, as well as in bathrooms.
Thank you, Ann Landers, for providing a valuable public service and helping reduce preventable electrocution deaths. - Jacqueline Jones-Smith, chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C.
Dear Jacqueline Jones-Smith: Thanks for the information.
My readers should be aware that this lifesaving gadget can be purchased for as little as $15 in most stores.
Write to Ann Landers in care of the Greensboro News & Record, P.O. Box 20848, Greensboro, N.C. 27420.