DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife cheated on me five years ago. She ran off with a nonworking criminal type and has been bouncing from place to place with this bozo ever since.
When they and their 3-year-old became homeless two weeks ago, all of a sudden she showed up at my door shoeless and with their son in a diaper. She said her boyfriend was abusive and asked to stay with me until she finds a place. I agreed under the provision that she not see this guy.
I am a hard-working single father of two. I know my heart is two sizes too big for my own good sometimes, and I don't want to be taken advantage of. Abby, did I make the right choice? Or should I have told her she was not welcome and turned her and her son away?
I really feel I shouldn't have to help her, and she should rely on her loser boyfriend -- who she has started seeing again. I need guidance and your expert advice. Am I an idiot? -- CONFUSED
DEAR CONFUSED: You're not an idiot; you're a pushover. Your ex has already broken the agreement she made when you let her in. The situation is not going to get better; it will only become more complicated.
You have helped her for two weeks. Now it's time to direct her to a shelter that can help her get her life back together and give her son a stable home. Your responsibility for her welfare ended when she left you for another man.
DEAR ABBY: I just finished reading the letter from "Cafe Crazy" (Jan. 4), about the woman changing the baby on the restaurant's table. You advised that she should have taken the baby to the ladies' room to change it on a changing table there, and if there wasn't one, there should be.
I am a stay-at-home father and many times have had to resort to an awkward changing table alternative to accomplish the task (though never a restaurant table) as there are very few changing tables in men's rooms. In these dynamic, diverse and changing economic times, the ability to stay home and raise my children has been awesome, and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. It has been hard, however, because society still assumes that raising children is a woman's job. Not only should there have been a changing table in the ladies' room, but also one in the men's room.
Abby, please help us proud papas to raise our children with the same facilities allowed the mommas of the world! -- GRANT IN SUNNYVALE, CALIF.
DEAR GRANT: I apologize, and I'm glad to have the opportunity to not only help fathers everywhere to raise their children, but also to raise consciousness where it is needed.
Since the letter from "Cafe Crazy" was printed, I have heard from parents of both sexes, as far away as Denmark. Although some men's restrooms are equipped with changing tables, not all are -- and they should be. Another solution is a "family" restroom; however, many establishments have neither the money nor the room to install a third one.
DEAR ABBY: Something has been bothering me and I'd like your opinion. If a group of people goes out to eat together, and no one wants to order dessert except one person, is it rude for that person to keep everyone else waiting and watching while he/she orders and eats the dessert? -- CHECK, PLEASE
DEAR CHECK, PLEASE: It's not rude if you first ask the others in the group if they would mind, and they wanted to chat over coffee.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)