Dear Abby: Monday, November 1

Caregiver Gets A Hand, But Kids Foot The Bill

Dear Abby: My mother has had serious health problems lately. She had a brain tumor that was successfully removed. Four weeks later, she needed major colorectal surgery. I stepped up and used my vacation and sick time to care for her. I don’t earn a lot of money, but I make enough to support myself. During Mom’s illness, my car broke down, and my brother offered to get it repaired since I was with her 24/7 for about six months. I was grateful because I didn’t have time to manage that situation. He returned the car to me with an itemized bill for around $3,600, and I repaid him on a monthly basis. When the bill got down to about $1,200, he told me that he’d taken a collection from our family and the rest of the debt was forgiven. Abby, I just learned he didn’t take a collection from “our family.” He took a collection from my CHILDREN. I don’t want to list all the reasons why this is upsetting. My children are adults. I did not pay for their college. They’re all self-supporting and have made their own way in life. I’m very proud that they stepped up to the plate when my brother rolled them, but I didn’t raise my kids expecting them to take care of me or support me in any way. Is it unreasonable of me to be angry at him for doing this? We have 75 family members. My parents are the oldest ones left. For the last 17 years I have taken them to every medical appointment and surgical procedure with no help from anyone. My brother ran the vacuum cleaner only three times during the six months Mom was sick. Am I right to think what he did was wrong? — Bothered in the East

Dear Bothered: You are entitled to your feelings. Before soliciting your children for the $1,200, it would have been better had he let the other 73 relatives know you needed a hand. If he had, it would have cost less than a good meal. Because you feel it was wrong for your children to have forked over the money, offer to repay them if it will make you feel better. But don’t be surprised if they refuse. (By the way, they seem pretty terrific, and so do you.)
Dear Abby: I live in a state where it is illegal for employers to ask their employees about their vaccination status. I am vaccinated and cautiously eating inside restaurants now. Since I can’t ask a manager about the vaccination status of employees, can I ask a server about it when they approach? How should the question be phrased? I have asked the person who cuts my hair and the people at my doctor’s office, but I am unsure how to ask in a restaurant. — Questions in the MidWest

Dear Questions: If you do not know a person’s vaccination status, proceed with caution. If you have established a relationship with a server and feel comfortable asking, ask. Otherwise, use your common sense about your safety. Your server should be masked. If the person is not masked, you should be patronizing a different establishment.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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