Dear Abby: My son is being deployed for 10 months. His wife and baby are coming to live with me, and I am thrilled.

My concern is that his wife is a picky eater and she doesn’t do much around the house. Would it be too much to ask her to help with the chores while my husband and I are at work? How do I handle the mealtime dilemma? (She doesn’t cook.)

I don’t want her to feel like she’s our live-in maid or that we’re mean about the meals we prepare. We want to be the best in-laws we can be. Help?

Meaning Well in The East

Dear Meaning Well: After your daughter-in-law arrives, schedule a family meeting during which everyone’s household responsibilities will be discussed. If necessary, create a chart to keep track of them. If there are things she is able to do, assign them to her. If she’s clueless, then teach her. Do not overload her, and make sure she understands that you and your husband also have chores you will be doing.

Because she’s a picky eater, ask her to list what items she wants in the house, so they are available. If she’s interested, offer to show her how to prepare some of the dishes your son has always enjoyed, because it would be a nice surprise for him once he returns. And arrange regular monthly meetings, so that if adjustments need to be made, they can be done without hurt feelings or misunderstandings.

You are all adults. If you want this to work and are all willing to communicate and listen, you should be able to accomplish your goal without your daughter-in-law feeling like the maid.

Dear Abby: My boyfriend, “Luke,” and I go to the gym four to five times a week. Yesterday, there was a man on a treadmill who was sweating profusely. I kid you not, it was coating the treadmill. Luke tends to speak loudly, and he occasionally forgets to turn on his filter. When he saw what was happening, he exclaimed loudly, “That’s disgusting.” I nudged him and told him he was being rude, but unfortunately, we think the man heard him.

Luke is actually a kind and sensitive person, so he instantly felt awful. This man is a frequent gym-goer and is often there when we are. Luke wants to apologize, but he’s worried that if the man didn’t hear him, he will have to explain what he said. What are your thoughts?

Filterless in California

Dear Filterless: Luke was out of line, but at this point, he should let it go or he may further embarrass the man. Sweating during aerobic exercise is normal and healthy, and not something that a person can control.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Read or Share this story: