DEAR ABBY: How long should I hold onto greeting cards from family and friends who send them on my birthday and holidays? I feel guilty throwing away something that someone spent time and money on for me, but they're doing nothing more than taking up space in a drawer. -- CLUTTERED WITH CARDS IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR CLUTTERED: Don't feel guilty. Contact a children's hospital, nursery school, nursing home or senior center and ask whether they would like the greeting cards to use for craft projects. However, be sure to cut off identifying names and addresses before you donate them. Alternatively, consider taking them to a recycling center.
DEAR ABBY: I have employed the same cleaning lady every week for nearly 20 years. She worked for my grandparents before me. "Dora" is 70 and shows no hint of retiring. In fact, she tells me from time to time she has no intention of ever stopping.
Although I admire Dora's spunk, the truth is she is becoming increasingly careless in her work. I often come home to find something broken, knocked over or spilled. I can see she has trouble managing the stairs and carrying the vacuum cleaner. I know she needs the income and I can't imagine letting her go. What can I do? -- HOUSEBROKEN IN BUFFALO
DEAR HOUSEBROKEN: Point out the broken, spilled or knocked-over items and ask Dora what happened. Then offer to schedule her for an eye exam if she can't afford one herself. She may be breaking and spilling things because she has a vision problem that is correctible.
If that doesn't resolve the problem, I have another suggestion. Have Dora come to you every other week, and hire a cleaning crew to fill in and do the "heavy lifting" in the week she's not there. That way, Dora will have her dignity, a lighter load to carry and some income. And you'll have a house that's spick-and-span, and no guilty conscience.
DEAR ABBY: Two years ago, my boyfriend, "Dwight," and I set a date for our wedding. He wanted to be married on his birthday. We happily announced the date to all our family and friends.
Six months ago, Dwight informed me that his divorce is taking longer than expected and the wedding date would have to be changed. I was very upset. I refused to set another one until after his divorce is final.
Now as the original date approaches, Dwight is mentioning things he'd like to do on his birthday. Abby, it was supposed to be my wedding day! I do not want to go to an action-adventure movie that day. I don't know what to do with all the feelings of sadness associated with that missed date. Am I being childish? Should I just celebrate his birthday the way he wants? -- DEPRESSED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR DEPRESSED: Your sadness may be less about depression than anger -- turned inward. While I sympathize with your disappointment, you need to accept that when you date a man who is still married, this goes with the territory.
Because you are close enough that you had set a wedding date, you should also be close enough to discuss your feelings. It is understandable that you don't feel like celebrating this birthday, and intelligent of you not to set another date until he is actually free to marry you. Do nothing that makes you uncomfortable.
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