DEAR ABBY: When I went to visit my mother, I found her lying on the kitchen floor. I asked her what she was doing there, and she said the floor feels cold and hard and soothes her back.
Abby, my mother has two very expensive beds in her home, and there is no reason for her to lie on the floor. It could be embarrassing if a friend or neighbor should pop in and find her there. How do I get her off the floor? -- NOT BEDRIDDEN IN FLORIDA
DEAR NOT BEDRIDDEN: You should be more concerned with how things are than how they "might" be perceived by others. If your mother is having back trouble, encourage her to discuss it with her doctor or a chiropractor so she can be examined to make sure nothing is wrong. But if nothing is, then leave your poor mother alone. She's in the privacy of her own home, and she is hurting no one.
DEAR ABBY: We have an ongoing discussion in our office. What color ink is proper for signing birthday cards, sympathy cards, farewell cards, etc?
One co-worker continues to use colors other than blue or black. An older co-worker says it's inappropriate to use any other colors. I have searched for an answer to this question with no luck. Can you help? -- SEEING RED IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR SEEING RED: You seem to have a lot of time on your hands in that office. What is being conveyed is more important than how it looks. To sign a sympathy card in bright red might be inappropriate because it is jarring. For cards celebrating happy occasions, colored ink is acceptable -- the exception being fluorescent ink because it is hard to read.
DEAR ABBY: My aunt and uncle are "large" people. In the past we have had to be extremely cautious about where they sit when they come visit. Our furniture is mostly hand-me-downs and not overly sturdy.
They have, on occasion, broken the furniture because of their weight. We have had to have our kitchen chairs reglued, and once a chair was destroyed beyond repair. They have never ever offered to make amends for the furniture they have damaged.
We are about to order a new dining room set and living room furniture. Naturally, we don't want these broken. My husband has suggested giving them only sturdy folding chairs to sit on, but I don't want to embarrass them or make them feel unwelcome.
Is there a way to protect our furniture without hurting or offending my aunt and uncle? We don't have the money to constantly replace broken items. -- STRICTLY ANONYMOUS IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR STRICTLY ANONYMOUS: To drag out folding chairs for your aunt and uncle to use would be glaringly obvious. Consider buying a couple of sturdy chairs (and possibly have them reinforced with metal bracing) for them. When you know they're coming, "guide" them toward the chairs you want them to use. If you are questioned about it, explain (kindly) that in the past your chairs have been broken or needed repair -- so these were bought with them in mind because they are sturdier and you want them to be comfortable.
If they take offense, then please realize that the problem is theirs. To prepare for guests with "special needs" is an example of good hospitality, not rudeness.
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