DEAR ABBY: I have a serious problem that is taking its toll on my marriage. My husband, "Lewis," and I recently hired a live-in nanny who moved six states away to work for us. She is great with the kids, polite and receptive to me -- but when it comes to my husband, "Celeste" can barely bring herself to be civil.
Lewis and I were both committed to making this a rewarding experience for Celeste. He even invited her to play darts with him in his dart league. Celeste has become close friends with many of his friends and makes disrespectful "humorous" comments about him or to him all the time.
Lewis has tried to be nice to her, but he has reached the end of his rope, and they can't seem to work it out. How can I help this immature young lady realize that mean comments, even in jest, sting? Celeste is about to lose her job. -- JUST ABOUT HAD IT IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR JUST ABOUT HAD IT: You and Celeste are overdue for a frank talk about how this situation came about. Most employers do not invite their nannies to socialize the way your husband did. Is it possible that he did something that she considered to be inappropriate, and this is her way of getting back at him?
Even if that is not the case, it is clear that Celeste's presence in your household is creating tension and discomfort. And from my perspective, it would be better for all concerned if she found other employment.
DEAR ABBY: Could you please clarify something for my husband and me? My brother and his wife have been divorced for several years and have two children together. His ex-wife has nothing to do with my children. Should they still refer to her as "Aunt Julie"? I say no. After all, my brother is divorced and this would be very uncomfortable for his new wife, should the day come that he ever remarries.
My husband says that Julie is still their aunt because she is the mother of their cousins. Who is right? -- CAROL IN GEORGIA
DEAR CAROL: The reality today is that many marriages do not make it to the finish line. That, however, does not erase the fact that an ex-spouse existed, or the role he or she played. Your brother's new wife will understand that he was previously married and should not feel in any way threatened that "Aunt Julie" is mentioned once in a while -- if ever. I agree with your husband.
DEAR ABBY: I am 38 years old. In 2000, I separated from my husband, and in July 2003, my divorce was final. In April 2004, my husband (or ex) passed away.
I was previously seeking a Catholic annulment. After my husband passed, the church no longer required it because the "till death do you part" clause had been lived up to. (Or died down to.) Therefore, am I widowed or divorced? -- A LITTLE CONFUSED IN FLORIDA
DEAR CONFUSED: In the eyes of the state of Florida, you are divorced. In the eyes of the church, you are widowed. Take you pick.
DEAR ABBY: I received a flag from a memorial service for a friend who had no family. I was this person's closest friend. The flag remains stored in a box, unused and packed away.
Would it be wrong or disrespectful to my country or to my deceased friend to allow my parents to fly this flag on their flagpole at home? -- WONDERING IN CONCORD, N.H.
DEAR WONDERING: As long as the flag was treated with respect -- taken down at night and not allowed to become tattered and faded because of exposure to the elements -- I think it would be a loving tribute to your friend if it were displayed. Better that than folded away and forgotten.
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