Clearing table after holiday meals is everybody’s job
Dear Annie: With the holidays coming up, and people going here and there for dinner at others’ houses, I would like to know why some people feel they can just sit on their butts after the big meal (or before), while the others, always the same ones, get up and clean up.
Don’t the ones who don’t offer to help realize how exhausting it can be — the days and weeks that go into planning, making lists, shopping for groceries, prepping, cooking, cleaning the house, etc. I have a large family and was taught by age 8 that helping out is just the right thing to do. If I didn’t get up and help, I would have been scolded. I’m 65 now and still recognize the need to help.
I have many sisters-in-law, but one in particular, a professional, has helped one time (that I can remember) with the dishes after the meal. All she wants to do is sit there and talk about how she is putting her kids through college, what college they are going to, and on and on about her kids. Another sister-in-law is just lazy.
Most people know that after the meal, there are not only the dishes to be done but also clearing the table of the dishes, silverware, serving dishes and glasses; loading the dishwasher (if you have one); filling the sink to clean the pots and pans that can’t go in the dishwasher, etc., etc., etc. Also, someone has to take care of the leftovers. I really don’t want to get in their faces and beg them to help. Maybe someone will see themselves in this letter.
Help, please … before the holidays! — Suds to My Elbows
Dear Sudsy Elbows: In an ideal world, your family members would have enough manners to offer you help with cleanup after holiday dinners. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, and you’ll need to ask them for help if you want it. A simple “Would you please help me with the dishes?” will do.
Maybe Santa will bring them some manners and next year you won’t have to ask.
Dear Annie: I read with great interest the letter from “Grandma Blindsided by Mental Health Issue,” whose adult daughter has Contamination OCD. For four debilitating years, I suffered from this (also referred to as mysophobia).
I lost practically everyone in my family (and so many friends) because my OCD behaviors were so annoying. I had been put on so many different meds because my doctors wanted me to be free of my obsession with germs. But the meds didn’t work. It turned out my OCD was caused by a massive brain tumor (benign meningioma).
When the tumor was finally removed, I was free of the OCD behaviors.
In any case, there are millions of Americans with this OCD behavior who, of course, do not have a brain tumor. I am writing to you to share some insights with them, about what kept me going when I was out of my mind and only thought about germs: 1) I saw a psychologist who helped me by not judging me, and 2) I prayed to God every single day that one day my fear would be overcome. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel when help is received. — Janet Johnson Schliff
Dear Janet: Thank you for your hopeful testimony. And though it was not your primary purpose for writing, your letter is also a wake-up call that such sudden changes in behavior can indicate underlying neurological issues.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.