DEAR ABBY: I am in my late 60s. When I mentioned to a retired friend my desire to move to a Southern state known for economic friendliness toward retirees, I discovered she was thinking the same thing.
We decided it would be good to buy a house together as tenants in common with rights of survivorship, and to share living expenses. Because I have no family and my friend has very little, neither of us cares what the survivor does with the house.
Our main concern is whether or not we're too old to make new friends and start a new life. It sounds exciting, but I'm wondering whether you or your readers have had any experience moving 1,000 miles away at this stage of life. -- CONTEMPLATING CHANGE IN RHODE ISLAND
DEAR CONTEMPLATING CHANGE: Change can be an exciting and stimulating experience, and many retirees have successfully relocated.
However, and I cannot stress this too strongly, before heading off for the great unknown, you and your friend should consider renting a place for a year. It will give you a chance to gauge your compatibility and learn about the community before locking yourselves in with a mortgage. And if you haven't already, each of you should review your plans with an attorney of your own.
DEAR ABBY: Is it proper for my husband and I to share a meal when dining out with friends? Restaurant portions are quite large and we eat out most nights.
We find sharing is better not only for our health but also for our waistlines. We usually order an appetizer, a salad, an entree, dessert, coffee and a nice bottle of wine. My husband tips 20 percent of the total of the check.
I don't want to offend my friends and I'd like your guidance in this matter. Thank you. -- CAREFUL EATER IN CARMEL, IND.
DEAR CAREFUL EATER: There is nothing rude about suggesting to your dinner companions that you ask the server for separate checks for the reason you stated. And congratulations on managing your portion control, which many health- and diet-conscious people are doing these days. Bon appetit!
DEAR ABBY: I'm a single, successful professional woman who carries her weight in one place -- my belly. Despite many diets and exercise programs, I am unable to lose my belly. Because of this, I'm often mistaken for being pregnant.
Strangers in shopping malls, at professional seminars and in hotels while traveling will ask me when I am due. My usual response is, "I'm not pregnant. I'm just chubby and need to hit the gym." (The other evening, though, I responded, "Not soon enough!")
The last straw was at a recent book signing where the author wrote, "Enjoy your growing life." Any thoughts? -- NOT A BABY BUMP IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR NOT A BABY BUMP: I do have a few. Have you considered wearing a foundation garment? If you already wear one, then I have more suggestions. First, discuss this with your doctor, a nutritionist and a personal trainer. And if they can't help you, talk to a board-certified plastic surgeon about liposuction.
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.
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