DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Hugh," is wonderful in every way except one. He is extremely controlling when it comes to money, particularly on what we spend on gifts for my grown children and our baby grandson.
Not only does Hugh set the dollar limit for birthday and Christmas gifts, but he insists on deciding WHAT we give them. An example: My grandson's first birthday is coming up. Hugh told me we're buying the child a $100 savings bond and will continue to do it every year.
This is certainly not a "fun" gift! I had planned on spending between $100 and $150 on toys and clothes for him -- tangible gifts for him to open. I'm not arguing the fact that Hugh's suggestion is sensible and the boy may appreciate it someday, but it's just not exciting.
Hugh and I make $140,000 a year between us. I work full time, so I think I should be able to do what I want, within reason. What do you think? -- WHERE'S THE FUN IN UPSTATE NEW YORK
DEAR WHERE'S THE FUN: For a child's first few birthdays, most little ones are far more interested in getting their hands into the cake and frosting than opening "exciting" gifts. Until your grandson is a little older, a few small, inexpensive toys in colorful paper he can rip open should be sufficient. While it may be galling to be "told" by your husband what you can or cannot give to your offspring, in this case, I think you should listen to your pennywise husband.
DEAR ABBY: Please print this "act of kindness" letter so the person who helped me can get the proper thanks he deserves.
My boyfriend and I went out to a movie. As we got out of my car, I noticed that one of my tires was almost flat. He decided to go ahead and buy the tickets while I drove to a nearby gas station to put air in the tire. By the time I got back to the parking lot, the tire was completely flat, and it had begun to drizzle.
I called my boyfriend on his cell, only to have him tell me he had already bought the tickets, and he knew nothing about changing a tire. He said he'd wait inside the theater and for me to "hurry up." I stood there in shock.
I knew nothing about changing a tire, either. A man jogging by with his family on their way to dinner saw my distress, and sent his family ahead to get a table and dry off while he stopped to help me.
By then it was pouring rain, so my thank you to him was brief. He wouldn't accept anything for helping me and ran to join his family. I never got his name and have regretted it ever since.
When I entered the theater my boyfriend chewed me out for making him miss the first part of the show! All I could think of during the movie was how lucky that Good Samaritan's wife was to have such a kind husband, and how silly I was to still be sitting there with my jerk of a boyfriend.
The gentleman who helped me that evening changed more than my tire. He changed my life because he made me realize the kind of people I want to surround myself with -- people with the compassion to help a stranger, even if it means doing it in the pouring rain. -- THANKFUL IN LINCOLN, ILL.
DEAR THANKFUL: I, too, hope the kind-hearted man who stopped to help sees your letter because he is both selfless and generous. And I'm pleased you learned the important life lesson his good deed taught you. For your boyfriend to have left you standing alone in the rain while he waited inside the theater was not only selfish and inconsiderate, but also dangerous.
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