DEAR ABBY: I am 32 and in a relationship with a 31-year-old single mother. Her son, "Steven," is 7. Her daughter, "Jessica," is 15.
I am a stay-at-home dad. Both kids refer to me as "Dad," as I have been a part of Steven's life more than his (incarcerated) dad has ever been. Because I am a stay-at-home dad, this means I take Steven to various professional appointments, doctors, including a psychiatrist for ADHD, the dentist and various sports activities.
I was informed three weeks ago Jessica is pregnant. When I take our boy for doctor's visits, they always want guarantor information, and I always sign. But after a recent checkup of his, I called for results and was outright lied to —"We don't have the results back" — and Jessica's doctor said they can't release any information to me.
Abby, I'm in this for the long haul. If doctors will let me sign to pay their medical expenses but I can't have the results, what can I do?
DEAR "DAD": A guarantor is different from a legal guardian or parent. Have their mother call the doctors and request the information so she can share it with you. And if you haven't suggested to Jessica's mother that her daughter should be put on long-acting birth control, I think the time has come.
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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently moved into our dream home and invited my family over to see it. My sister noticed that the house had been designed to be handicapped accessible. We confirmed that it had been built by an elderly couple. The doors and walkways are larger than normal, there are handrails in the bathroom, a seat in the shower, etc. She went on to say that we shouldn't have purchased the house because we were "taking it from someone who may have needed it." Then she compared us to someone who parks in a handicap parking space without a permit.
The thought had never occurred to me. I loved the openness of the floor plan; it was a huge selling point for me. The house is within walking distance of my work and had been on the market for two years. The sellers were thrilled to have someone finally buy it. The community has been nothing but welcoming to us and seems glad to have a nice family move into a home that was built by much-loved neighbors. Should we have passed on it and continued our search?
— DREAM HOME OWNER IN KANSAS
DEAR OWNER: Of course not! The house served the needs of the couple who built it. Now it is yours and doing the same for you and your family. Enjoy it! And the next time your jealous sister brings up the subject—we both know she will—hand her an antacid tablet and talk about something else.
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DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who I suspect has a mental problem. I wonder if it may be a disease of some kind. No matter what I talk about—what I've done, who I know or what I have—she one-ups me by saying she has done or had the same thing. It really grates on my nerves. Do you think it's a habit or a disease?
— OUTDONE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR OUTDONE: It's not a disease, but an obnoxious habit. The "cure" may be to tell the woman how what she's doing makes you feel. The result will be that she either stops trying to top you or ends the friendship. Either one will be a relief.
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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.