DEAR ABBY: A friend was diagnosed with cancer. A single woman living alone, she rallied a group of co-workers, friends and neighbors to donate their time to help her with a variety of tasks. These included driving her back and forth to chemo and doctor appointments, fixing meals, cleaning her house (she has OCD and was super-picky about every detail -- including cleaning the cat box), sleeping over to make sure she was OK (we had only a lumpy couch because she refused to set up a bed in one of her two vacant bedrooms!) and handling a variety of other tasks.
I was one of the many who donated time, energy and vacation days from work to help her.
After her chemo treatments were over, she invited all of her "caregivers" to an inexpensive neighborhood restaurant for dinner as a thank-you gesture. At the end of the meal, everyone was asked to pay for our dinner and drinks! The restaurant bill came to around $250.
Abby, this woman holds a high-level, well-paying job and was receiving a regular paycheck during her illness. If not for the generosity of many people, she would have had to pay no less than $25 an hour for months of "personal care." I think she should have paid for our dinner as a small token of her gratitude. What's your opinion? -- USED UP IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR USED UP: My opinion is the same as yours. But look at it this way: She could have "invited you" to an expensive restaurant. Give her credit for being a talented organizer as well as an ingrate.
DEAR ABBY: I am a young woman, happily in love with a young man, "Travis." We have been dating for more than two years and hope to become engaged. But we're unwilling to take the next step without the blessing of my parents, and for a number of reasons, they're not ready to see us become engaged at this time.
In the meantime, Trav and I are constantly confronted by people who are eager to see us tie the knot. I wish I had a dime for every person who has asked, "So, where's the ring?" or, "Why don't you just elope?" We used to try explaining that we're waiting for my parents' blessing (and for Travis to finish college), but nobody seems satisfied with our reasons for waiting. I respect my parents' opinion, and do not feel I must defend it to others.
Trav is uncomfortable with the questions, too. He thinks we should tell people we're "just friends," but I don't believe we should hide our relationship just because someone is nosy.
Being rude is not in my personality, so I need a polite way to tell people to mind their own business. -- SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT WORDS
DEAR SEARCHING: Smile and say, "We'll set a date when we're ready, and we're not ready yet." Then change the subject.
DEAR ABBY: Is it possible for a wife of eight years to have a baby from another man and three "flings" after that, and still say she loves her husband? This is killing me. -- BROKEN-HEARTED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR BROKEN-HEARTED: It's possible, if the wife is a sex addict who can't control her behavior. More important is how you feel about her, because you would have to be a masochist to allow the situation to continue unless she gets some much-needed help.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
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