DEAR ABBY: I am a single woman who borrowed $80,000 to send my daughter to college with the understanding that she would take over the payments once she was professionally established. She is now so “into” her new lifestyle that she is refusing to have contact with her “poor” birth mother. She refuses to take responsibility for repaying the loan, which is in my name, and says “tough luck” to my stupidity. This means I will have to continue working until I drop dead. Abby, I am 60. Is there any help for me? Has this happened to other baby boomers? — POOR BIRTH MOTHER IN GEORGIA
DEAR POOR: Sadly, yes it has. And no, there isn’t help for you. Because the agreement with your daughter was verbal and wasn’t put in writing, you don’t have a legal means to force her to assume the loan payments.
DEAR ABBY: I have a difficult situation at work. A co-worker lost her driver’s license two years ago, and I began providing her transportation. In the beginning it was occasional, but now it’s almost daily. I don’t know how to get out of this situation because it is taking a toll on me and my time. She has somewhat compensated me for gas, but I have two jobs and family obligations that limit my time off, and I just can’t continue this taxi service. We work side-by-side at my day job. I care about her and our friendship, but can no longer continue allowing her hardship to be my hardship. Abby, please advise how to break the news to her. — NOT A TAXI SERVICE
DEAR NOT: Explain it to your co-worker just as you have explained it to me — that it has become more time-consuming and stressful than you can handle, given your other obligations. Rather than cut her off cold turkey, give her some notice — say a week — to arrange for other transportation. Do not apologize or feel guilty about doing so. You have been more generous and supportive than many people would have. P.S. You didn’t mention why she lost her driving privileges, but if it’s still possible for her to reapply for a driver’s license, you should suggest it.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are part of a tight-knit social group. There are four couples who get together for dinner once or twice a week. We all decide on a theme beforehand and bring a dish, potluck-style. My problem is that one of the couples will announce during dinner, “Those potatoes are our leftovers from three days ago,” or, “We had this for dinner last night.” Is it just me, or is that gross? I always prepare something fresh for these dinners, as does everyone else. They are not struggling for money, and time isn’t the issue. Should I say something? I tend to ignore what they bring, but I think they will notice eventually. Is this something I should keep my mouth shut about? Or is it bad manners to feed someone else your leftovers? — POTLUCK IN OREGON
DEAR POTLUCK: Bad manners? No. Lacking in tact? Yes. Keep in mind that some dishes taste better the next day, after the flavors have had time to meld. If the other couples in the group feel as you do, the “offending” couple should be informed. However, if you are the only person who’s turned off, then keep your mouth shut and continue to “pass” on what they bring.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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