Questions about how she conceived abound
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are in our 30s and have been happily married for almost six years. After two years of trying, we’re finally expecting our first child.
How do we handle questions as to whether or not we conceived naturally? I am appalled by people we hardly know asking if we used in vitro fertilization.
As a matter of fact, we did conceive using IVF, after having tried numerous other options. Please help me respond properly without seeming as rude as those who ask. — INTRUDED ON IN DALLAS
DEAR INTRUDED ON: Handle it by saying, “That is a very personal question and I’d rather not discuss it.” That an acquaintance would have such little respect for boundaries to ask this question is appalling, I agree.
DEAR ABBY: My mother retired and since I have a degree and background in finance, she asked me to help her get her finances in order. She held low-paying jobs most of her working life, so I was pleasantly surprised to find she had amassed a substantial amount of money in her retirement and other accounts.
Together, Mom and I developed a budget that will not only pay her bills, but also will give her a certain amount of spending money each month while still allowing her savings to grow. Despite my assurances, she still won’t treat herself to dinners out or go on nice vacations even though she says she’d like to do those things. How can I convince her she deserves those things and that she has the money now to enjoy them? — WANTS THE BEST FOR MOM IN MICHIGAN
DEAR WANTS THE BEST FOR MOM: Recognize that the habits of a lifetime can be difficult to break. Your mother might be more open to dinners out if you go together. As to the vacations, do some research for her online or talk to a travel agent and get some brochures for vacation spots you think she might enjoy. Be patient and you may find she becomes receptive.
DEAR ABBY: I’m one of four guys who go on a men’s golf trip every year. There’s no infidelity — just three days of golf and fine dining.
I no longer want to go because I’m tired of being the big brother, the referee and the designated driver while the others get drunk and obnoxious. I am also a physician who treats them and their families in my medical practice.
How do I get out of this mess? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. — THE ODD MAN OUT
DEAR ODD MAN OUT: An effective way to manage it would be to tell them the dates they have selected for the golf trip “don’t work” for you. You don’t have to be specific about why.
However, as their physician, if you know these patients drink to such excess that they become obnoxious and a danger behind the wheel, it would be in their interests to talk to them about it during their medical exam because they’re a danger to themselves and others.
When declarer is faced with an immediate threat that cannot be averted, he should seek a way to minimize the risk. South tried to do that in today’s deal, but he overlooked an option that offered him the best chance to save his contract.
West led the king of spades against four hearts after having overcalled with one spade. South won with the ace and returned a spade, planning to ruff his third spade in dummy. East, in the meantime, followed with the five and the three.
When West won the second spade with the queen and continued with the 10, declarer saw that if he ruffed low in dummy, East might overruff. Because South could not very well afford to ruff with the ace, which would establish a trump trick for the defense, he decided to ruff with the 10, hoping West held the jack.
Unfortunately, East overruffed, and the defenders later scored a club trick and a diamond trick to set the contract.
The misfortune that befell South really was his own fault. He missed a relatively simple play that would have offered a far greater chance of success. Instead of trumping the third spade in dummy, he should have made West a present of the trick by discarding a diamond from dummy.
This maneuver solves two problems at once. It eliminates the threat of an overruff by East and at the same time eliminates declarer’s diamond loser. In effect, South simply exchanges a potential heart loser for a certain diamond loser.
Once this countermeasure is taken, the defense is helpless. If West continues with a fourth round of spades, declarer can ruff (or overruff, if necessary) in his own hand, then play the A-K of diamonds and ruff a diamond before drawing trumps. His only losers in this case are two spades and a club. The result is exactly the same if West shifts to another suit after the 10 of spades holds.