Ques­tions about how she con­ceived abound

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN STEVE BECKER

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.

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