Abby: Paying grandma for help becomes divorce weapon

DEAR ABBY: My daughter and her husband are divorced, and I take care of their twin daughters after school. I love the girls and treasure the time I get to spend with them.

Their parents' combined income is more than $120,000. I am on a fixed income and ask for only $10 per day so I can take the girls places like the zoo or an occasional movie (which usually costs more than I am given). I feed them one meal a day on this budget as well.

Whenever discussions about money occur, the ex-husband repeatedly tells my daughter he thinks it's "offensive" that a grandparent charges money to watch the grandchildren. He uses it as a tactic to threaten to not pay for other needed expenses. How do I tell him I think he's out of line for making me feel bad? -- Stunned and Hurt in Tempe, Ariz.

DEAR STUNNED AND HURT: Your former son-in-law may have some bitterness because of the divorce. Whatever his reason, his children should not suffer for it. Frankly, he should be ashamed of himself.

If he raises the subject of being "offended" with you, remind him in plain English that you are on a limited income, food is expensive and if the money wasn't needed you wouldn't ask for it. It's the truth. It's nothing to be ashamed of and certainly not offensive.

DEAR ABBY: I am an executive assistant. A few years ago, my boss passed away after a long illness. My 13 years with her accounted for the longest consistent span of my career, and for obvious reasons, I was not able to get a letter of recommendation. It was difficult applying for jobs without being able to provide a first-hand reference from my longest employer.

I am now happily employed, but I worry sometimes about what if it happens again. My current boss is in his early 50s, but not in the best health. I have no intention of going anywhere, and I don't want to send him the wrong signal, but I'm wondering if it would be inappropriate to ask him for a reference letter, just to make sure I don't find myself in the same situation again. -- Executive Assistant

DEAR EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT: I'm sorry about the death of your former employer, but your lack of a letter of reference should not have prevented you from finding another job. Your length of employment should have been proof enough that you were an asset to the company.

Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2015 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.