DEAR ABBY: I am a divorced mother of two incredible children. It took a bit of work but after some time, my ex and I have come around to being civil, if not friendly with each other. He has been dating a woman for more than a year and now tells me they will be getting married in three months.
Abby, I haven't met her yet. I harbor no ill will toward her and understand through my children that she's very nice and good to them. My ex keeps telling me they are not ready for introductions. I have no idea what that means, but I haven't pushed the issue because I want to keep things on friendly terms. My question is, at what point is it appropriate to introduce your ex to your children's soon-to-be stepparent? -- READY IN HOUSTON
DEAR READY: Because you and your ex share custody of your children, the logical time for you to meet his fiancee would have been at the time of their engagement -- if not before. I can't help wondering why your ex is stalling about making the introduction because, in the months and years to come, it will be important that you and your children's stepmother can function effectively together.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a coupon clipper. I save our household an average of $30 to $40 a week using them. Sometimes I have a great coupon we can't use, so I'll leave it at the store on top of the item it's for.
When I do, my husband accuses me of littering and merely creating trash for store employees to pick up. I think a stranger finding a valuable coupon for the item he or she wants is a kind way to "pay it forward." I'm selective about leaving them and only do it when the coupon offers significant savings.
What are your thoughts? Am I being a litterbug? -- CHICAGO CLIPPER
DEAR CLIPPER: Of course you're not being a litterbug. You're being generous, and I'm sure many -- if not all -- of the coupons you leave have been put to good use.
Since you asked for my thoughts, I'll share one: You have a critical husband who is faulting you rather than complimenting you on your generosity. Shame on him.
DEAR ABBY: My grandson and his bride were going through their gift envelopes and found some with nothing in them. They don't know if there was money inside and it fell out. If they thank a guest for a gift and there was none, it could seem sarcastic. If they don't thank the person and there was money inside and it got lost -- then what? What do they say?
Also, there was a family (mother, son and daughter-in-law) who attended the wedding. The mother put in a check that was larger than she really could afford, while the son and daughter-in-law left a card with nothing inside. We don't know what to do, because my grandson doesn't know if the check was intended to be from the three of them. Abby, what's the proper way to handle this? -- EMPTY ENVELOPES IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR EMPTY ENVELOPES: Your grandson and his bride should write notes to those guests whose envelopes were empty saying, "We want to thank you for being part of our wedding day and helping to make it so memorable and meaningful. Your presence and the fact that you were with us made it extra special. With love ..."
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)