DEAR ABBY: I have set the guest list for my Fourth of July party. A few people I entertained last year will not be invited back this summer. Perhaps they'll recognize themselves when they read the following list:
(1) You arrived empty-handed.
(2) You arrived early and stayed late.
(3) You never reciprocated. It's OK if you don't entertain in your home, but how about a restaurant, bar or cafe?
(4) You complained about what I served.
(5) You solicited free advice from other guests who are legal or medical professionals. No guest in my home should have to work. (If you need a doctor or a lawyer, call their office during the week to make an appointment!)
(6) You raided our liquor cabinet without permission.
(7) You complained about how bad the traffic was getting here.
Abby, thanks for the forum. -- SAN FRANCISCO HOSTESS
DEAR HOSTESS: Hmmm. So you have been entertaining a collection of complaining moochers. I don't blame you for paring down your guest list. I'm sure it will make your Fourth of July parties more enjoyable and less stressful in the future.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law, "Lisa," is 50 and married to husband No. 5. I'll call him "Steve." He is 38. (Lisa's son is 31.)
The problem isn't the age difference. It's the fact that her husband refuses to hold a steady job. Steve is often "between jobs" for six to eight months at a crack. Lisa had a job with the same company for 28 years and has a very nice income.
My husband and I are sick of seeing Steve mooching off his mom. He drives around in a new truck, dresses well, has a nice place to live and anything else he wants -- all at my mother-in-law's expense.
Abby, she retired recently, and Steve is spending her retirement money faster than it's coming in. What can we do to get rid of this bum? -- BUMMED OUT IN GEORGIA
DEAR BUMMED OUT: There is nothing you can do. After five husbands, Lisa knows what she wants. She wants a companion and is willing to pay the price. It's her money, and she has a right to spend it any way she wishes. I'm sorry, but not as sorry as she will be when her money runs out and Steve latches onto another meal ticket.
DEAR ABBY: My parents will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this summer. I know this is a huge deal for them, and I'd like to do something really nice.
I have been considering throwing them a party because they were never able to have a real wedding reception. It would probably include a guest list of about 150. However, because I am a full-time college student, my funds are limited.
I want to do something my parents will like, but I don't know how I'll pay for it. What could I do that will be nice, but not require me to take out a loan? -- AMY IN TENNESSEE
DEAR AMY: Under no circumstances should you take out a loan in order to give your parents an anniversary party you can't afford. Figure out how many people you can afford to entertain within your budget -- or just take your parents out for a nice dinner. I am positive that whatever you do for them they will deeply appreciate.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)