DEAR ABBY: My brother- and sister-in-law were trying to have a baby using artificial insemination. A few months into the very difficult pregnancy, they were told the baby had many life-threatening defects and asked if they wanted to terminate because the baby had little, if any, chance of surviving. They chose to carry the baby to natural birth.
A month or so before she was due, she went into labor. The baby lived for only a few hours. They had a funeral, and it was a very sad event. A month later, on the due date, they started organizing a birthday party for their 10-year-old daughter and invited 30 to 40 people, young and old. They contacted my son and daughter-in-law, who had been pregnant at the same time and had given birth to a healthy baby, and asked them not to bring their newborn. Other babies a year old or older are invited.
How should we respond? Leave the baby and my daughter-in-law at home, or refuse the invitation? Was it proper for my brother-in-law and his wife to throw a party and unwelcome a newborn? — LOST IN ETIQUETTE
DEAR LOST: Your brother-in-law and his family are in mourning. They have my deepest sympathy. If they felt it would be too painful after their loss to host a tiny baby at the birthday party, they should not be criticized. Your daughter-in-law should GRACIOUSLY refuse the invitation, saying she is sorry she will be unable to attend, and send a gift for the daughter.
DEAR ABBY: What do you think of barbers or beauticians who take phone calls and continue to talk to the callers while doing a client’s hair? I haven’t said anything because I don’t want an angry person cutting my hair. It’s almost like having a doctor talk on the phone while doing surgery. What do you think? — HAIR-RAISING IN ILLINOIS
DEAR HAIR-RAISING: A short conversation to book an appointment is one thing, but what you have described is just plain rude. The first time the beautician did it you should have spoken up. Because you didn’t, she/he thinks you don’t mind.
Hairdressing is a service business, and the client in the chair should take priority. If you are really afraid your stylist would butcher your haircut in retaliation if you complain (talk about passive aggressive!), find someone else to provide this service.
DEAR ABBY: I have been a widow for three years. Sixteen years ago, my husband and I built a modest — but nice — home and worked very hard to pay off the mortgage early. I am constantly asked if I am going to stay in my home or if I plan to sell it. I have no intention of moving at this time or in the near future, if at all. Is there a good answer to give people when they keep asking this question? Do they think I am not capable of living in a house by myself? Any suggestions will be appreciated. — HAPPY AT HOME
DEAR HAPPY: When someone asks that question, rather than become defensive, say, “Why do you ask?” Then let the person explain the reason behind it. Instead of implying that you are no longer capable of living alone, the questioner may be considering making an offer to buy it from you.