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Column: Monsters-in-law and golf terror
by Lauretta Hannon
May 16, 2013 09:57 AM | 5806 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lauretta Hannon
Lauretta Hannon
Q: My mother-in-law hates me and mostly ignores me. The only time she acknowledges my existence is to send me ridiculously offensive email forwards which express her opinions on welfare, abortion and Obama. Obviously I cannot tell her to stick those emails where the sun doesn’t shine, but how can I get her to back off without this hurting my marriage? I should note that she has the self-awareness of a smashed gnat, so my repeated hints at how much I dislike her behavior have gone completely unheeded.

A: The problem is that you’ve only given hints rather than being more direct and explicit. Subtlety will never work in this case. Ask her in a calm, assertive way to remove you from her email list and tell her why. If your marriage is solid, your hubby will support you in this. Your monster-in-law will be miffed but may eventually have more respect for you.

Q: The neighbors who have recently moved in next door have spawned a prepubescent male creature who thinks it is his God-given right to whack golf balls at our mutual fence. Not only is it loud, it is damaging the fence boards, and he quite frequently misses the fence entirely, hitting the roof, breaking wind chimes and nearly conking me out as I sit on the back porch. We have spoken to his parents, who rather casually said they’d take care of it. Not. What’s a good way to suggest to his parents again that their little heathen might want to swing his club elsewhere?

A: It sounds like it’s time to up the heat on the parents. Explain in detail how the little golf terror is damaging your property, endangering your family and disturbing your peace. If you don’t see improvement right away, keep communicating with them about the problem. Hopefully they will tire of your complaints and start taking the duffer to the driving range.

Now I’m going to present an unconventional strategy. When my husband and I lived in a sketchy area of Savannah, we had to deal with young thugs — until hubby went outside wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a crazed look. And oh yeah, I almost forgot: He also had a shotgun. The point was to scare the miscreants by making them believe an unhinged man lived in our house. From that point on, we got nothing but respect from the criminal element. I see that you’re writing from Texas, so perhaps this approach doesn’t seem extraordinary at all. (I can already hear the collective harrumph of the progressive liberals reading this.)

Let me be clear: I’m NOT advocating threats involving firearms. I am suggesting that you get creative and employ a bit of harmless psychology. Use your imagination. It may lead you to a resolution if the parents won’t step up and do their job.

Q: A former father-in-law died recently. I really liked the man. Is it inappropriate for me to attend the funeral given the potential for conflict?

A: If you have to ask that question, just sign the book at the funeral home and call it a day.

Q: I really enjoyed the “nuggets of advice” you shared a couple of weeks ago. If you had to boil those down to just one piece of advice, what would it be?

A: That’s easy: love one another.

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Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of “The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life” and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at

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