DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old sister, “Lara,” who has four children with her deadbeat “boyfriend,” lives at my 57-year-old mother’s house and cheats on him. Mom is suspicious because Lara sometimes doesn’t come home from work, and she’s always using the excuse that she’s “going to a friend’s house.” This leaves my mother babysitting Lara’s children.
Should I keep out of it while watching my nieces and nephews suffer? I don’t know what to tell Mom when she calls me to vent. As Lara’s brother, should I say something to get the message across? — SON/BROTHER/UNCLE IN DETROIT
DEAR S/B/U: Your nieces and nephews aren’t suffering. They’re safe and supervised by their imposed-upon grandmother, who seems unable to tell her daughter that she refuses to be taken advantage of any longer. I see no reason to hesitate to say something. The next time your mother calls to vent, by all means speak up.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, “Raul,” has been having the same issue all of his adult life, but it’s new to me because we have been together only a few years.
Raul was born in Mexico, but has been raised in the United States since he was an infant. For some reason, every time Raul and I go somewhere, whether it be the bank, restaurant, store, etc., people always speak to him in Spanish and direct English questions/ remarks to me.
At first, I thought it was funny and would tease him about it. But now I see how much it annoys him. I want to help him address the issue in an appropriate manner. What’s the best way to respond (other than in English) that their assumption of his limited language ability is offensive?
— SANDRA IN SYLMAR, CALIF.
DEAR SANDRA: I’m sure no one does this to be intentionally offensive. However, because being spoken to in Spanish annoys your boyfriend, all he has to do is smile and say, “I speak English.” That ought to fix the problem.
DEAR ABBY: My daughter “Adele” has been divorced for more than 20 years. No one knows her marital status. To me, this is a family affair and not for publication.
Adele met a nice gentleman who recently sent her flowers for her birthday. The florist delivered them to the wrong address. When I went to get them, I could tell the neighbor had read the card because it wasn’t in the little plastic holder the florists use.
She counted the flowers “for” me, 12 roses, pointed to my daughter’s name on the envelope, and then had the gall to read the card to me and ask if I know the sender! I was so shocked I took the vase and left without comment. This woman, a schoolteacher no less, has more nerve than brains. Our neighborhood friendship is now over. What do I say to her when I see her? — PEEVED ON THE WEST COAST
DEAR PEEVED: Frankly, the less said to your nosy neighbor the better because she’s the kind of person who is best avoided. If you haven’t already, tell your daughter what happened so she can make sure her gentleman friend has her correct address, or complain to his florist so nothing more gets misdelivered.
DEAR ABBY: Is it more appropriate to eat ice cream cake with a spoon or a fork? I’m always unsure which is preferable. — ELLEN IN WOODLAND HILLS, CALIF.
DEAR ELLEN: Eat your ice cream cake with a spoon or a “spork” (a utensil that’s a combination spoon and fork) so there will be fewer drips when the ice cream starts to melt.
Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.