10/25/2009DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Harvey," and I have operated a home-based business for more than 20 years. Harvey is an amazing technician, extremely efficient with his time on the job. The problem is, he is always in a hurry to get to the next job.
I receive calls from angry motorists complaining that "the driver of one of our trucks" cut them off, yelled at them or flipped them off in traffic. When I receive one of these calls I say, "Thank you for calling. I'll be sure to speak to the appropriate driver about the incident."
Harvey feels I should support him by telling the caller it was probably his own fault for talking on a cell phone, driving too slow or cutting him off. I have no doubt that some of these motorists actually do those things, but my husband is driving around with his phone number on his truck and they're not. When I mention the complaints, he wants to call them back using caller ID.
Am I handling this appropriately? I don't feel I should reprimand someone for bad driving if I wasn't present when something happened, nor do I want anyone to know it was my husband -- the owner of the business -- who flipped them off. Harvey is angry at me because I'm "not supporting" him. Any suggestions? -- BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE
DEAR BETWEEN: Harvey may be a great technician, but it appears he's a little short on common sense and good manners. I see no reason why you should defend him. His behavior is not only childish but also dangerous. Because other motorists are actually calling to report his erratic driving, it's a pretty good indication that your husband is an accident waiting to happen.
It's time you mentioned to him that what he's doing is also bad for business. Those he offends in traffic are not likely to say a kind word about the business he's advertising on his truck.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Adrian," and I have been married five years, but there is something looming in our future that both of us dread -- our parents' old age. Adrian is an only child. I have one sister, but when it comes to caring for our parents, I might as well be an only child.
Adrian's parents live month-to-month on Social Security and pension checks. If they ever have any extra money, they don't save it. They buy each other expensive gifts and eat out. Neither one of them is in good health, and the day will come when they won't be able to care for themselves or each other, and I know they'll expect us to do it.
My parents are about the same, except they're banking on an inheritance to see them through retirement. That money may or may not be enough, considering how long people live now. My grandparents were frugal. They saved and were determined not to be a burden on their children.
Our parents think it's our duty to care for them. His parents are in their late 60s, and we have young children. We cringe at the idea that after all our hard work we'll go from caring for our children to caring for our parents with no time for ourselves. -- AFRAID FOR THE FUTURE IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR AFRAID: No one can foresee the future, so stop ruining the present by obsessing about what "might" happen. You say your in-laws are not in good health? One or both of them could die before they become completely dependent on you and your husband. The same is true for your parents. Forgive me if this seems cold, but it happens to be the truth.
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