DEAR ABBY: I joined the Navy after I learned I was becoming a father. I didn't want to be a husband or father, but I did both. In 2010, my wife died. My feelings about being a husband and father never changed.
Our two children are now grown and want me to move near -- or in with -- them. They say, "Won't it be great to be with your grandkids?" No, it won't!
I worked and supported my family. When I was in port, I went to baseball, softball and basketball games, had tea with my daughter and did everything I believe I should have done. I have served my time. I don't want to "be close." Honestly, I'd prefer they left me alone. I don't love them, and I didn't love their mother. I did my duty to the best of my abilities both in uniform and in family.
When we aren't together, I'm happy. I read, I study and do what I like. I've earned that, haven't I? How do I get them out of my life so that at age 52 I have my own life? I don't want to hurt anyone, but I never wanted a family in the first place. -- NEVER WANTED A FAMILY
DEAR NEVER WANTED A FAMILY: The one thing you should not do is express your feelings to your children as bluntly as you have to me. Because you don't want to hurt them, a way to phrase it might be to say that having done your job as a parent to the best of your ability, you need time to yourself now -- time to read, study, travel, reflect, etc. Be sure to make clear that it has nothing to do with them -- that you are proud of them and the way they are handling their lives -- so they won't think they are somehow to blame.
DEAR ABBY: After reading your "timely" reminder about changing the batteries on smoke alarms and detectors when turning clocks back to standard time, something occurred to my wife and me. We have never seen another aspect of fire protection in our homes mentioned -- fire extinguishers.
Many homeowners have these devices, but may not realize extinguishers don't last forever and should be checked and periodically replaced. Almost all home fire extinguishers are non-rechargeable. Consequently, they come with the recommendation that they be replaced every 12 years.
Neither my wife nor I have any connection with the fire safety industry or profession. We are worried that in case of a fire in the home, many people may waste precious time trying to extinguish it only to find out the extinguisher they're using no longer works or is ineffective.
The way to check is to look at the gauge most extinguishers have. If the needle is in the green area, the extinguisher may still be usable. (If the extinguisher is more than 12 years old, that may not be the case.) If there is no date on the extinguisher and the date of purchase is unknown, the expiration date can be determined by calling the manufacturer or going online to the manufacturer's website.
Could you pass this information on to your readers? It may save lives. Thank you. -- PATRICK IN NEVADA
DEAR PATRICK: Actually, Patrick, I should thank you for pointing this out. I'm glad you wrote because your letter may help many readers.