DEAR ABBY: Every December my wife virtually buries our home in Christmas decorations. It's not just the tree and stockings in the living room; she's not happy until there are Christmas towels and Christmas soap in the bathroom and another tree and knicky-knacky stuff downstairs. Not even a doorknob is safe from decoration.
It drives me nuts; I feel so claustrophobic. I bump into these decorations everywhere I turn. I was raised differently, more simply. There was a tree in the living room and stockings hung from the mantel. That was it.
For the last 20 years of our marriage, I have suggested - - unsuccessfully -- that we compromise and alternate every other year. One year her way, the next mine. When I do, she tearfully accuses me of being Scrooge. I admit I'm not big on the commercialized Christmas season, but is my request unreasonable? -- NOT FOND OF CHRISTMAS IN NORTH OGDEN, UTAH
DEAR NOT FOND: No, it's not. You are suggesting meeting each other halfway. Your wife is unwilling to do that even though she knows what she's doing is making you uncomfortable. And that's regrettable because Christmas is supposed to be about what's in the heart, not what's all over the house.
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DEAR ABBY: I'm a female college student and I intern at a chemical plant. When I arrive at work, the middle-aged men start "working out" and flexing their muscles. Literally! It makes me uncomfortable. I want to tell them I'm not interested and they're making fools of themselves. Should I say something? They read your column. Help me out, please! -- THERE TO WORK
DEAR THERE TO WORK: Your middle-aged co-workers are acting like a group of teenaged boys. Continue to ignore them; you won't be there forever. However, if it escalates, you should discuss it with Human Resources.
DEAR ABBY: Please settle a disagreement I have with my husband and daughter. How do you determine "up the street" or "down the street"? I contend that it goes by the house numbers. They disagree. Any advice? -- CURIOUS IN NEW YORK
DEAR CURIOUS: According to Merriam Webster's Learner's Dictionary online: "In general, the prepositional phrases 'up the street' and 'down the street' mean the same thing, and in most cases either one is appropriate. ... However, if the street is on a hill, use 'up the street' when talking about something that is further uphill, and 'down the street' when it's further downhill."
My postman said that, in his opinion, "up the street" means in the direction of higher address numbers, and the reverse for lower ones -- so I'll defer to him and to you.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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