DEAR ABBY: I have started a promising career I thoroughly enjoy. But my husband, "Derrick," has been laid off from his job due to the economy.
I love Derrick with all my heart. I hate to see him hurting. I keep reminding him that he's still a wonderful person and a great worker. I tell him God is watching over us and will help him; it seems to be doing no good. Losing his job appears to have damaged his self-esteem as a man and, with it, our ability to connect. My husband is distant all the time.
I desperately want to help, but I'm getting scared, too. I realize it is my turn to be strong for us now. Any words of advice? -- PRAYING IN NEBRASKA
DEAR PRAYING: Love him, support him and encourage him. Remind him that losing his job wasn't his fault, and all he has to do is look at the news to know that he is far from alone.
Your husband will need to network to find out what jobs are out there for people with his skills. If that doesn't pan out, he may need to explore retraining for a career other than the one he had planned. Believe me, you both have my sympathy.
There will be an end to this recession eventually, and it's important that you not lose sight of that fact. It is also important that your husband not isolate himself. The more people he is in touch with, the better his chances for hearing about an opportunity.
DEAR ABBY: I just returned home from a doctor's follow-up appointment with a specialist (not my regular doctor). My appointment was for 1:15. I was finally seen at 2:30. Can you guess how long I was with him? The visit lasted a grand total of seven minutes. It's a good thing he didn't take my blood pressure because it would have been through the roof.
I understand there can be unforeseen issues with patients, but shouldn't the front desk staff inform the patient when he or she walks in about a delay? And how long is appropriate for a doctor to keep a patient waiting? Is it appropriate for a patient to demand to be seen? Can you issue an ultimatum such as, "I need to leave in 10 minutes"? -- SICK OF WAITING IN DENVER
DEAR SICK OF WAITING: When you arrived for your appointment, you should have asked the receptionist if the doctor was running late, and if so, approximately how far behind he was. That way, you could have stepped out for a cup of coffee if you wished.
In my opinion, if a doctor is running more than 15 to 20 minutes late, the next patient should be warned. However, making demands or issuing ultimatums is not appropriate. A more effective way to deal with it would be to call the doctor's office an hour ahead of time to see if he's on schedule.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I recently attended a spaghetti dinner. Is there a proper way to eat long noodles, or should one just put in a forkful and slurp up the noodles until they are gone? -- USING MY NOODLE IN DULUTH
DEAR USING YOUR NOODLE: Spaghetti can be a challenge, but consuming it by starting at one end of the noodle and sucking it into one's mouth is a distinct no-no because the sound can disrupt conversation. There are, however, exceptions to this in other cultures -- where noodles represent longevity and to cut them would be bad luck.
According to Emily Post, the proper way to eat spaghetti in our culture is "to hold the fork in one hand and a large spoon in the other. Take a few strands of pasta on the fork and place the tines against the bowl of the spoon, twirling the fork to neatly wrap the strands.
"For those who haven't mastered the art of twirling the pasta strands, there's the simple cutting method. Just be sure not to cut the whole plateful at one time; instead use your knife and fork to cut small portions."
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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.)