Dear Annie: Protect your loved ones and make a will

Dear Annie: I met a wonderful man online in 2010. I moved from Maine to Pennsylvania with him in 2012. He has a nice family, which I grew close to, including a daughter and her small family. In September of last year, he passed away from a heart attack and left no will.

His family helped me pack up, and they took most of his stuff. Shortly before I moved, his daughter and her husband showed up unannounced to take more things. The day before, I had sold my car and put the money with my personal papers, plus money for the move, into a security box. They took the box and refused to give it back.

I’ve sought legal help but to no avail. I have been told that this is considered a “domestic” case. This has been a nightmare. It has given me anxiety and loss of sleep. They promised to return my stuff if it was found to be mine. Please, people! Protect your loved ones and make a will! These people live in Pennsylvania, as my partner and I did, but in Pennsylvania our relationship was not considered a common-law marriage because we got together after 2005.

-- Heartsick

Dear Heartsick: I am very sorry for your loss. You can only control what you can control, which is your peace of mind. They already took away your physical things; don’t let them take away your peace. The best revenge when someone has wronged you that badly is to live that well! Focus on getting back to taking care of you. Make sleep a priority, and if your anxiety is really bad, seek the help of a trained professional. Meditation, yoga and exercise can all help with managing anxiety.

If the money was for your car, and your partner was not involved with the purchase, then you can take them to small claims court to force them to return that money and all the cash that you put into the security box, plus your personal papers, of course.

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Dear Annie: I am part of a family that also has a woman renting a room in our house. I have always been extremely sensitive to smells and scents, but this woman’s odors send me gagging out of the room. My son is also sensitive to the smell.


Now that the weather is getting warmer, the smells are becoming stronger. While she is OK with my occasional request for her to go take a shower, I also don’t want to demand that she shower daily, although that is what is necessary to keep the smells manageable.

How would you suggest I broach this subject without offending her?

-- Sensorily Overloaded

Dear Sensorily Overloaded: The best way to deal with the stinky housemate is to be honest, kind but firm. Ask her what she thinks is causing the odor? The worst thing you can do is be passive aggressive about it. Instead, investigate together what could be causing the bad odor. You could even have a laugh about it. You might also help her in other areas of her life. For instance, maybe after she cleans up her act, she will be more willing to find a romantic partner.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: