Annie’s Mailbox: Should we keep scheming mother-in-law out of our lives?
June 24, 2010
Dear Annie: I have been married to "Nick" for eight years. Four years ago, we decided it was time to start a family. After a year with no success, we consulted a specialist, and it turns out Nick is infertile.
After much soul searching, we decided to use donor sperm. We selected a donor with the same ethnic heritage, coloring, height and weight as Nick. Nick didn't want anyone to know we were undergoing a major fertility treatment process, so we told no one.
Two years ago, our son, "Brian," was born. At first, everyone said how much he looked like Nick, but as he got older, it was clear he was a blue-eyed, blonde child, and Nick and I are both brown-eyed brunettes.
However, my dad has blue eyes, so I obviously passed on his eye color to Brian. Unfortunately, my in-laws swore there has never been a blue-eyed baby in their family.
My mother-in-law and I have had a strained relationship from the beginning. For our eighth anniversary, Brian and I went on a cruise, and his mother babysat Brian.
While we were away, Mom had a DNA test done without our permission because she suspected Nick was not the father.
Of course, she discovered that Brian is not Nick's biological child. When we returned from our cruise, Mom very gleefully presented this fact to Nick, expecting him to accuse me of cheating. Nick then had to reveal our infertility secret.
I am absolutely furious that she did a DNA test without our knowledge or consent, and I want to totally eliminate her from our lives. Nick, while angry, doesn't feel as strongly as I do.
How should I handle this?
— Deceived in Delaware
Dear Deceived: Your mother-in-law is quite a piece of work. Since Nick apparently wants to forgive her, it is in your best interests to do the same, or he will eventually resent you for the estrangement.
However, Nick needs to make it clear to his mother, in your presence, that her actions were reprehensible, and she owes you both an apology. There is a price to pay if she is incapable of treating your marriage with respect.
Dear Annie: Please tell me if I made a faux pas. I recently had a hair removal laser treatment at a beauty salon. The cost of the 10-minute procedure was $200.
When I signed for the charge, I didn't add a tip because this felt like a medical appointment rather than a beauty treatment like a massage or facial. I wouldn't tip my doctor. Plus, at that price, it felt like a tip surely shouldn't be required since the technician clearly isn't underpaid.
The receptionist seemed to look twice at the receipt, although she didn't say anything. Now I'm wondering: Should I have added a tip?
Dear Canada: When you have a procedure done at a beauty salon, a tip is expected. The technician does not set the prices, and a great deal of the cost goes to the owners.
However, please be sure that your laser treatment is performed by a board-certified specialist with experience. There are risks to such procedures.
Dear Annie: I have a suggestion for "Help" on how to get her husband to close doors and drawers.
My wife had the same problem. After several conversations on the subject, I told her I would remove every door or drawer she left open.
When that didn't help, I took pictures of each open cabinet and then removed all the contents and placed them in the living room along with the picture.
That worked. I suggest "Help" empty the drawers or cabinets and put the items on the counter or floor.
— Deep South Reader
Dear Deep South: We suspect having cabinet items strewn all over the floor might bother women more than men, but thanks for the extreme suggestion.