Dear Annie: My husband and I drove a long distance from our home to help our son and his wife with their move from another state. They have two infant daughters, and we wanted to help in whatever way we could.
The first morning, Dad went with our son to the bank, leaving me at the house with the movers. My daughter-in-law stayed in her bedroom with the babies. The movers’ questions were directed to me, and my daughter-in-law didn’t come out of the bedroom until my son came home. It was hard to believe she wouldn’t want to be involved in the decision-making process about where her furniture should go.
On the fourth day, our son went back to work, and we were left to fend for ourselves in the morning while his wife slept in. There wasn’t even a TV to keep us occupied while we waited for her to get up. At 11 a.m., we decided it was time to leave, and we cut our stay short. We called our son on the way back home and explained the situation.
In seven months of our son saying everything was “fine,” they never initiated any contact. There were no acknowledgements of Christmas and birthday gifts, much less a thank you. There were no phone calls. Now his wife is demanding an apology from us, saying we were rude to leave so abruptly.
We believe this was inappropriate behavior on her part. What is your opinion?
-- Disappointed Parents
Dear Parents: We think you will have ongoing problems with your daughter-in-law. She was rude and ungracious. But she is your son’s wife, and he is disinclined to stand up to her. You will have to work through her if you wish to maintain a relationship with your son and grandchildren.
Apologize, even if it sticks in your throat. If she avoids you by staying in the bedroom, don’t make it a problem. Learn to keep your negative opinions to yourself. Be nice to her. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Dear Annie: I was recently at a restaurant and noticed a woman with a service dog. While standing in line to give our order, I asked what service this dog performed. She politely told me that she has seizures. I thanked her and said I was just curious. She then politely informed me that, although she did not mind answering my question, it was not OK to ask what the dogs are needed for.
I apologized and thanked her for telling me. But is there a way for inquiring minds to know this information, or should we simply not ask? I just want to know about the breed and ability of the dogs.
-- Too Curious
Dear Curious: Asking what service the dog provides is akin to asking someone what’s “wrong” with them. This is intrusive. While some folks don’t mind discussing their medical or emotional problems with strangers, it is rude to let your curiosity take precedence over their privacy. If you want to know more about service dogs, you can go online and check out the many organizations that provide them.
Dear Annie: Please tell “Hate Those Harleys” that the reason a lot of motorcyclists have loud motorcycles is not for prestige, but for protection. Car and truck drivers are often eating, fiddling with the radio, yelling at their kids, talking on their cellphones, texting — everything but paying attention to what’s around them. If a quiet motorcycle comes up in their blind spot, it’s easy to veer into his lane and BANG: another statistic. That’s why motorcyclists keep their rides loud and travel in groups.
-- Don’t Hate Those Harleys
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