DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are expecting a baby in a few months. My father and his wife asked if we would like a large crib/changing table/shelf combination they took a fancy to at an antique store. I politely refused and explained that there is no space in our small apartment. They sent it anyway! Now I have to figure out how to get rid of it because it takes up most of our living room. The piece can't be returned, won't fit in my car, and I can't lift it anyway. I'm hoping the thrift store will pick it up.
My questions are: Must I send a thank you for a gift I explicitly asked them not to send, and what should I say when they discover I've given it away (they are going to be angry), and how do I prevent this from happening again? -- UNWANTED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR UNWANTED: Write your father and stepmother a sweet note thanking them for their thoughtfulness, and include with it a photo or two that show it crowding your living room. The next time you talk with them, explain that space is tight and offer to have it shipped to them to be used when the baby visits. If they agree, you're off the hook. If they don't, sell or donate it.
As to preventing this from happening again, much as you may wish to, you can't control what other people do. You tried that before, and it didn't work.
DEAR ABBY: I am an 18-year-old guy. A lot of my best friends are super cool and absolutely amazing people. All of them share one thing in common. They all dye their hair different unnatural colors, such as green, purple and even rainbow. I have natural hair, but now I feel left out, and I want to do the same. But I wonder what it feels like to have hair like that. Do you have any opinions on the subject or heard of past experiences from anyone about this? -- DYED HAIR HOPEFUL
DEAR DYED HAIR HOPEFUL: Dyeing your hair in a neon color will attract attention, some of it positive and some of it negative. What's important is whether you like it and the kind of attention it brings. You will never know until you try it. It's only hair. If you decide you don't like it, you can dye it back to its natural color or cut it off and let it grow out. It's important to remember that hair dye will not make you cool and amazing. You are already those things.
DEAR ABBY: I mentioned to two friends that my best friend was thinking of moving. One of them told the main office of the company they work at. When my best friend found out, she said I had betrayed her, and she no longer wants to be my friend.
I love and miss her. I have tried everything to repair our friendship. She'll say hello when I see her, but she no longer calls or visits me. What can I do to get back in her good graces? I have apologized, but nothing seems to help. Please advise. -- NEEDS MY FRIEND
DEAR NEEDS: If your friend didn't warn you that the discussion about her moving was in confidence, she has no one to blame but herself for the word getting out. Perhaps you should remind her of that fact. I can't guarantee that it will repair your relationship, but if it's the truth, she should hear it.
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 $8 (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.)