Dear Annie: I am a single mother of a wonderful 5-year-old son and am expecting another baby in the winter. My son's father cheated and lied and then left me for another woman. He briefly came back, and I thought he meant to stay, but it was only a one-night stand. I became pregnant, and he left. He wants nothing to do with the children.
I love my son and unborn child, but I don't know how it feels to be part of a loving couple. I've been single for four years and am at the point where I want to settle down and marry someone special. I want the picket fence and the dog.
I don't know how to meet guys, and it feels as though I will never find my better half. In the past four years, I've been walking around heartbroken. I've been fat, thin, wild - and single. I feel so alone. I realize that my son loves me, but I have no one to sleep beside and make love to. Am I giving off some kind of loser "aroma" that's repelling men? It's like I have a sign printed on my head saying, "Run away." Am I just meant to be alone? - Miss Lonely
Dear Miss Lonely: More likely, you are giving off a vibe that says, "I'm desperate," because that is how you are coming across to us. The worst thing you can do is grab hold of the first guy who shows any interest.
Place your complete focus on what is best for your mental health and most stable for your kids. Men who float in and out of your life aren't the answer. Take however long you need to sort this out. In the past four years, you haven't done the work to change your approach, so get some counseling. Create a solid environment where your children can thrive. (Your ex should be paying child support.) Become a woman you want your kids to respect. Then you will have a chance of finding the right guy to accompany you through life.
Dear Annie: I own a small pizza delivery shop. I fill in for all positions, including delivery.
One of the things that most amazes me is how rude and inconsiderate people can be. They leave their dogs outside to "greet" you, and sometimes they let them out as soon as they open the door. I have had little dogs, big dogs and muddy dogs nipping at my legs, jumping on me and leaving scratches, slobbering all over my face and licking my hands. Twice, I've been bitten.
How do I tell customers that I don't want their yapping, sloppy, smelly pets anywhere near me? It doesn't help when they say, "Oh, don't worry, he doesn't bite. It's OK." It's not OK with me. - Delivery Guy
Dear Delivery: This is not only rude; it is dangerous. No owner can predict with 100 percent accuracy what their dog will do to a stranger approaching the house. But as the owner of this shop, you can set policy.
If you are willing to risk losing a little business over this, inform callers that your employees will not deliver pizzas if animals are not leashed, held or kept inside. Your delivery people should remain in their cars if dogs approach and wait until the owners retrieve them. Drivers can call the owners and let them know where they are.
Dear Annie: I was reading the letter from "Concerned Grandparents," whose daughter and son-in-law are poor housekeepers.
We addressed that problem by paying for a professional cleaning service to come in once a month and give the house a thorough cleaning. They bring everything they need with them. It isn't cheap, but it makes a big difference. - Murray, Ky.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.