DEAR ABBY: I'm a middle-aged, divorced man in a one-year relationship with a wonderful woman. "Alexis" is bright, pretty, fun, responsible, affectionate, and yes, I do love her. She also insists that I move in with her. She wants us to start our life together under one roof -- hers.
I'm having a hard time with all of this -- selling my home, selling most of my belongings, changing my work-from-home routine and giving up the independence of living alone with my mutts. Alexis still has a minor child at home, which is an issue because I feel I have "been there, done that."
I don't think the timing is right, and I have told her as much several times. But she's soon back in "sell your house and move in" mode. Alexis is beginning to think I will never make the move. (She may be right.) I'll probably lose her if I don't give in. Any suggestions? -- STAYING PUT IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR STAYING PUT: Before selling your home and most of your possessions, consider putting the things you want to keep in storage and renting out your home for a year. That way, if things don't work with Alexis -- and they might not -- you won't have given up everything. Another plus: By then your house may have risen in value and you'll get a better price for it. But do nothing in haste or because you feel you are being pressured.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently moved to a new area and are becoming friendly with the people in the neighborhood. My husband works as an education director for the local synagogue and, because he is in this field, we have agreed to keep our new home a kosher home and follow the strict rules of kashrut. We will allow no food in the house that has not been prepared in a kosher kitchen using food approved by the Orthodox Union.
My question is, if people decide to stop to introduce themselves and bring something homemade as a welcoming gesture, how do I politely and tactfully decline their gift if they do not keep a kosher kitchen? -- NEW ON THE BLOCK IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NEW ON THE BLOCK: Smile at your food-bearing neighbor and say, "Thank you. We keep a kosher home and want to know if you do, too." If the answer is no, explain that while it looks delicious and you appreciate the gesture, you can't accept the food because of your strict observance of your religion.
DEAR ABBY: On Jan. 23 you printed a column "Recognizing the Signs of a Stroke Can Help Save a Life." Well, in our family it sure did. After my husband and I read it, we had our three children (19, 16 and 14) also read it. Then we hung it on the wall in the kitchen.
Our 16-year-old son, Charlie, was taking his 87-year-old grandfather out shopping not long afterward, and not a mile from the house our son noticed rapid changes in his grandfather. Grandpa said, "I'll be fine, just take me home." Of course our son, for the first time, did not listen to him. He pulled the car over and proceeded to call 911. A couple of weeks of physical and occupational therapy, and they say Grandpa will be good to come home. Thank you so much for putting that in your column. -- CATHERINE IN GARDINER, N.Y.
DEAR CATHERINE: You're welcome. I'm pleased to know -- as I'm sure the writer of the letter I printed will be -- that it turned out to be so helpful to you. Your son is a hero, not only because he saved his grandfather, but also because he calmly took control of the situation in an emergency.
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