DEAR ABBY: My mother insists on telling my three youngest children that my husband is not their father. The oldest girl is the spitting image of him, and she's upset about it. Mom also calls me terrible names. She keeps saying it will add years to my life if I divorce him and makes appointments with divorce lawyers "for" me, which I am charged for. My husband and I have a limited income and can't move away because our jobs are here. How can I convince our kids my husband is their father? — TRYING TO PROVE IT
DEAR TRYING: A way to do that would be to explain to your children that your mother has severe emotional problems and isn't in her right mind when she says those things. (From what you have written, it appears to be true.) You do not have to move away to distance yourself from this toxic, troubled woman. Stop communicating with her. Block her phone number, if you must, and do not allow her to have contact with any members of your family unless and until she regains her senses and apologizes to all of you.
DEAR ABBY: I belong to a women's golfing group. The mission of the club is to play golf and have fun. We have tournaments, prizes, and awards are given for the best scores.
The problem: Several of the ladies are "allergic" to counting their scores correctly. We have given them counting beads to help them "remember" their score. They have played with board members who asked them to count their scores out loud each time they hit the ball and to state their scores after the last putt. There have also been conversations with the golf pro about the importance of keeping accurate scores. Yet, the inaccurate counting persists and denial reigns. Members are upset because these ladies often "win" tournaments. What to do? — PROUD OF MY HIGH HANDICAP
DEAR PROUD: You might be able to curb the cheating if you suggest club members swap scorecards and keep score for each other. However, if that doesn't do the trick, stop playing with those who cheat.
DEAR ABBY: Yesterday, I took my computer to an electronics store to be fixed. The tech who helped me had a ton of dirt under his nails. I was grossed out seeing him with those filthy nails type on my computer keys. Should I have said something to him or his supervisor? How can they allow someone with his hygiene problem be in a position that requires contact with the public? — GROSSED OUT IN OHIO
DEAR GROSSED OUT: A quiet word with the supervisor would have been the way to handle it. And while you were at the store, you could have asked for sanitary wipes to clean your keyboard. (They probably had some behind the counter.) Using a soft tissue dipped in alcohol once you returned home would also kill germs, as long as you're careful the tissue isn't so saturated that liquid drips beneath the keys.
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.