DEAR ANNIE: I work with two women who turn on the air conditioning first thing in the morning. This happens year-round, including cold winter days. One of them claims to be hot even on below-freezing days with the windows open.
I've talked to my manager, who is warm and comfy in her office. The manager is sympathetic, but one of these women is a personal friend who is raising six grandchildren and my manager doesn't want to upset her.
I get along well with both of these women and don't want to jeopardize that. They both hold key positions and do their jobs well. What can we do to have a warm office this winter? -- Call Me Chilly
DEAR CHILLY: OSHA recommends office temperatures be in the range of 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. But unless the temperature is life-threatening, there is no legal action to take.
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These women are bullying the rest of you. Your manager should take action, but that seems unlikely. Since you cannot change the other people involved, you can only make yourself as comfortable as possible. Keep a warm sweater handy, get a space heater and use eye drops, and offer to bring in a fan so you can turn the heat on and these bullies can stay cool. Or start looking for another job with a better manager.
DEAR ANNIE: In our culture, it seems that the mother of a married son somehow becomes a bad person. The problem is pervasive, historical and insidious. I stand guilty. I treated my mother-in-law poorly and now regret it. My mother had nothing nice to say about her mother-in-law. My daughter-in-law's mother had nothing nice to say about her husband's mother. My three sisters likewise badmouth their mothers-in-law. My friends' married daughters? Guilty!
Now that I am the recipient of my daughter-in-law's contemptuous fault finding and my son's seeming acceptance of her stance, I hurt daily. I know that many other mothers of sons share the same unbelievably painful experience.
Little in life prepared me for this. But we have altered our views about so many things. Perhaps, with increased awareness, this, too, can change. -- Mother-In-Law
DEAR MIL: In all fairness, many women have wonderful relationships with their daughters-in-law. (Marcy has three fantastic ones.) If yours is not good, see whether there is anything you can do to warm it up -- consider the types of things your mother-in-law could have done that might have made a difference in your attitude toward her.
To write to Annie's Mailbox, send to c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.