Monday, December 04, 2006

Dear Abby

In today's newspaper, Dear Abby answered a question from a homeschooler. Nothing profound, but I thought it was fun. I noticed that the newspaper printed "home-school" instead of "homeschool." I wonder if the author of the letter wrote it that way, or the newspaper editor stuck it in.

This question to Dear Abby reminds me of an incident my husband had at a high school reunion. While visiting with old classmates, my husband was bemused when a former classmate pulled out pictures of his dog, much as one would share pictures of his children. While I don't have anything against pets, it is sad when they take the place of children. (If you read my post recent post on pets, you might argue that I'm really not a pet person.)


DEAR ABBY: We are a small family of four living on my husband's income. We have a small farm that I run, and I home-school my children. My husband works full time in another job. We aren't poor, but we do have to count our nickels and dimes and budget for things we want.

This is the first year we have splurged on gifts for the children, and we spent more on my sister-in-law because, for once, we had a little extra to spend. It has brought us joy that we can be a bit more generous.

Now that our Christmas budget is spent, my sister-in-law has asked twice that we purchase gifts for her dog -- wrapped, no less -- because her dog likes opening packages! I ignored her request the first time. After the second one, I told her we don't ask people to purchase gifts for our kids, and we don't purchase gifts for other people's pets. Now she's offended.

Abby, it may not seem like a lot, but for us, it's a big deal when we get to purchase a movie and a pizza every few months. We never ask anything of anyone. We're a happy, tight-knit family regardless of our financial status.

My husband has had enough. He's tired of his sister's self-absorption and wants to tell her to grow up and that the world does not revolve around her and her dog. Instead, I asked her to simply return any gifts she has bought for us and spend the money on her dog. Are we being unreasonable? -- IN THE DOGHOUSE IN ALASKA

DEAR IN THE DOGHOUSE: Not at all. Your sister-in-law is out of line to put the bite on you for gifts for her dog, and you are within your rights to tell her you have a bone to pick with her. After she chews on it awhile, let's hope she comes around.

I also wonder if this is one of our homeschool blogger friends.

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Phil said...

I've only been homeschooling for about four months, but I've written it with and without the hyphen. Is all one word the norm? It actually looks better that way.

Janine Cate said...

I think one word is the norm.

Heather said...

We have a sort of running inside joke at our house about people treating their pets like children. My mother talks to her cat and refers to herself as "Mommy" to the cat. I think it makes her sound like a mental patient, but some people think it's quite normal. When discussing a mutual acquaintance with a friend recently, they asked if the former had children yet. I said, "No, they have dogs." The response from my friend was, "Oh, one of those huh?" We had a good laugh.