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Annie 10.19.11

Annie 10.19.11

Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 8:02 pm

Dear Annie: My husband and I have an old friend whom we’ve known more than 40 years. For the past 20, we have alternated spending Christmas Eve together.
“Betsy” has one unmarried adult son who has not attended our Christmas events in many years. Our daughter now spends Christmas Eve with her husband’s family. My son and his wife, along with one aunt and uncle, have always come to us for the holidays, so the events at our home and Betsy’s have been lovely adult affairs. However, this year, our son has a new baby, and they are flying in to celebrate.
Yesterday, I had coffee with Betsy and asked whether she’d mind if we host again this year since it would be so much simpler with the baby. Our house is already equipped with a highchair, portable crib, toys, etc. And it would be much easier for our son and daughter-in-law since Betsy’s house is not baby-proofed and our grandson will be 11 months old and getting into things.
Betsy’s response was quite hurtful. She said my husband and I are too structured and kids should just go with the flow. I didn’t back down, and she finally relented, but in an unfriendly way, saying she didn’t want to “create a crisis.” She totally does not understand how much things will change with the addition of a toddler at a dinner party. I tried to get her to see our side, but she couldn’t.
Next year, we will probably go to Betsy’s, since our son will likely start coming home every other Christmas. But what do you think of her response? — A Devoted Grandmother
Dear Grandmother: Actually, we can see both sides. Obviously, it is easier if the baby is at your house. However, children are quite adaptable and can manage at other places, too, if the parents keep a sharp eye, bring along toys and have a place for the child to lie down. Parents do it every day. Still, we wish Betsy had been more gracious in responding to your request. It has obviously created some ill-will.
Dear Annie: You answered a question about how much to tip for carryout restaurant service. I have the same question about a buffet.
If the employee simply fills your drink order and takes away your dirty plates, do we need to leave the same 15 percent to 20 percent tip that is suggested for a regular meal? My wife thinks a dollar tip is good enough. I think it should be at least 10 percent of the buffet cost. What do you say, Annie? — Wondering in El Paso
Dear El Paso: You win this one. The server at a buffet who fills your drink order and clears your plates should be tipped 10 percent of the tab (before taxes). Thanks for asking.
Dear Annie: Thanks for printing the letter from “Glendora, Calif.,” the 87-year-old who misses his kids but understands that they are living their own lives. I needed that, as I am currently packing up after being in the Pasadena area for 78 years.
I am moving into an independent living facility. I was given a trial run at the facility and loved it. There were games to play, activities for the mind as well as the body, parties on the patio and myriad other activities that will keep me plenty busy. I will also be relatively close to my grandchildren, if 400 miles is close.
I have no intention of sitting on my kids’ doorstep, but do relish being able to spend holidays with them. The rest of the time will be theirs when they want me, and to fill the void, I will walk my two small dogs, play bridge, join discussion groups and enjoy participating with others in day-to-day living. Life is truly a gift to use and enjoy. — Pasadena Nana
Dear Nana: We love your attitude.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at

Published in The Messenger 10.19.11

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