Dear Annie: I have a loving daughter, and I respect her husband greatly. I have visited from across the country countless times. I am 84, and they have two grown children. Everyone is happy when we are together. The only issue as far as I'm concerned is that the hubby, although generous and kind, is overly domineering, bordering on being a tyrant, and a nut about managing things, especially electronics.
On a recent visit of mine, my daughter mentioned that he had installed cameras in several places in their house because I was there. It was supposedly so he can see the entryways to their home from his cellphone for security purposes. He installed them, however, so that he can both see and hear virtually everything that goes on in their house. He has even called her from his office a few times to say, "What room are you in? I can't see you." She is about the most hardworking and honest and kindest woman a man could ever expect. He is a successful and important provider. They have never had any marital conflict about cheating or anything. She has no way of knowing whether his snooping gadgets are on or off.
She says that it's his thing and that there's no use in fighting about it. However, it disgusts me, and I don't think I will be able to visit their home again if I'm being monitored. It's not moral or proper. It's an invasion of privacy.
Should I mention this to him or just stop going there? He would probably be grossly offended, seeing as he is allegedly "the master of the house." Not seeing them would be devastating to me because my daughter is my closest living relative and I love her dearly. We have never had a real argument since the day she was born. -- Loving Gramps Needs Advice
Dear Loving Gramps: I agree with you that all that surveillance seems a bit creepy. If this is part of a larger pattern of controlling behavior, it could indicate emotional abuse. (Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline, at 800-799-7233, for guidance.) But unless and until your daughter comes to you with such concerns, there's not much you can do. Why not invite them over to your house rather than create a conflict in their marriage where there may be none?
Dear Annie: I have two grandsons in the military, and I am very proud of them. Each Christmas, I send each a card and a nice check. One I hear from as soon as he opens his mail, but I don't hear at all from the other. The first year, I reminded the parents several times before I received a very nice thank-you letter. This past year, I said nothing and received no thank-you. This year, I want to cut him off (to get his attention) and then give him another chance next year. What advice would you offer me in this situation? -- Wisconsin Grandpa
Dear Wisconsin Grandpa: You shouldn't have to jump through hoops trying to train your grandchildren to write thank-you notes. This year, do only as much as you feel inclined to do. Perhaps send a card but no check so he knows you're thinking of him and you're not thinking of him resentfully afterward.
To the grandchildren reading this, let this be a reminder of just how much a simple thank-you note means.
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