Dear Annie: My family moved from Shanghai four years ago and have settled in a lovely home in California. I very much enjoy our family lifestyle here and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
During the move, however, there was something very unsettling that we brought with us that still plays a role in my nightmares. We have a life-size Ronald McDonald statue sitting on a bench sitting in the middle of our backyard. My dad used to work for McDonald’s and took home two statues as a gift from the company. Luckily, we sold one of them before we moved. However, the other one was shipped across the Pacific, despite the effort required to bring it here, and it now scares all of my friends as well as myself.
My parents are very nostalgic people and I have tolerated the 4-foot-tall Kipling monkey statue, the kneeling terra-cotta soldier next to the fireplace and the fake flowers littered on our tables. This Ronald McDonald statue has increasingly become an issue though, and is no longer just a “quirky” thing I want to accept about my family.
My friends don’t want to come to the house, and they will frequently lie about their plans for the day so we don’t hang out.
How do I approach this with my family? I don’t want to hurt their feelings but I want to be able to bring my friends over as well.
— Not Lovin’ It
Dear Not Lovin’ It: Aside from contracting the Hamburglar for a kidnapping job, you have a few options.
First, you can — and should — talk to your parents. If you politely let them know how much he’s bothering you, perhaps they’ll find him a new, less-visible home.
Second, you can spend time with your friends outside of the house.
Third — and this one is my personal favorite — just own it. Turn your parents’ mad menagerie into a selling point. Heck, build Ronald his own Instagram account and make him a selfie destination. If you have fun with it, everyone else will. Confidence works wonders.
Dear Annie: Perhaps you can answer a question that my sister has raised since becoming disabled from a stroke:
Why are the handicapped stalls in restrooms invariably placed farthest from the door, thereby requiring those with walking impairments to walk the farthest?
— Struggling with a Walker
Dear Struggling: Great question. After looking into, it seems that it’s safer to install support rails into an actual wall, rather than a stall divider.
Dear Annie: I understand the frustration of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered ... and Stolen,” the young lady whose package was stolen from her mailroom, and who didn’t get any help from the super when she reported the incident.
Rather than trying to make friends with her neighbors, she should initiate a petition and circulate it among the neighbors for a security camera to be placed in the mailroom. They aren’t very expensive and probably would be welcomed by all. I bet she isn’t the only one who has lost a package.
— Covington, Virginia
Dear Covington: Wi-Fi enabled surveillance cameras are available to purchase online for as little as $37.99 — a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Dear Annie: I am the person who wrote to you, and you responded in your column, “Dreading Wife’s Reaction.” I haven’t talked with my children about the discovery of another son but plan to do so in the very near future.
I just want to thank you for your advice and to let you know that I appreciate your clear thinking on the matter. I am sure your column has helped many people, and I will count myself among them.
— Faithful Reader
Dear Reader: Thank you for your kind words. Good luck with your upcoming conversation with your children.
I love hearing follow-ups from readers. Remember, the truth will set you free!
Annie Lane, a graduate of New York Law School and New York University, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Email questions to email@example.com.