DEAR ABBY: My husband works, but I do not. I stay very busy, but he expects me to pack him a lunch every day. It must include a breakfast item and a lunch item, as he is starving by the time he arrives at work, even if he ate at home.
My problem is, he has a huge list of "do not pack" preferences because he's so picky. It changes randomly. His list includes "Don't pack so many carbs; I want protein. No sandwiches. No spaghetti leftovers using twisted noodles -- only regular noodles. Don't use too many peppers; use more bell peppers and tomatoes." The list goes on and on.
I have told him he needs to eat what I give him since he expects a completely different lunch than our son, but he constantly complains about the lunches. However, if I don't pack his lunch, he refuses to pack one and then overspends on takeout. One man shouldn't spend $20 at Taco Bell in a single meal. I'm getting frustrated and don't know how to get this list to stop expanding. -- FRUSTRATED LUNCH PACKER
DEAR FRUSTRATED: I know you're hoping I'll say that the solution is for him to pack his own darn lunches. But since he works and you are a stay-at-home mother, I'm reluctant to advise that.
Try this: Because your husband's list of preferences is not static and changes often, have him accompany you when you do the marketing on weekends so he can select what fruits and vegetables he would like to eat during the week.
When you get home, pack them in plastic containers labeled Monday, Tuesday, etc., so that when he's on his way to work he can grab one before he's out the door. Along with it include some lean protein. That way he'll have what he wants, and you'll have the peace of mind of knowing it's far healthier -- and less expensive -- than fast food.
DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my 40s, married with two children. I am always getting invited to someone's bridal or baby shower. I loathe these events. I think they're a total waste of time. There are always stupid games guests have to participate in, and the nonsensical chatter is more than I can take. On top of that, the take-home gifts and door prizes are almost always tacky and cheap.
Am I alone in feeling this way? Do other women hate them, too? Most of the time, if I can, I decline the invitation (and send a gift if it's family). I just want off the invitation lists. Help! -- GROUCH IN NEW YORK
DEAR GROUCH: Some people enjoy these parties because they are acquainted with many of the other guests, and it gives them a chance to catch up. Others attend out of a sense of obligation or to support the honoree on a happy occasion. While you can't stop the invitations from being issued, if you continue to be unavailable, I predict that eventually you will receive fewer of them.
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