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Ask Someone Who Writes In To Advice Columns

Dear Someone Who Writes In To Advice Columns,

Despite the fact that we're in good shape financially, my fiancée and I have decided we don't want the hassle of planning a big wedding. The problem is, whenever we tell anyone that our reception will be a simple affair, they always say we must be looking to save lots of money. Will we look like cheapskates if we don't roll out the red carpet?

—Engaged In Englewood

Dear Engaged,

My husband has a work-at-home job, so he usually attends our children's school functions and picks the kids up if they become ill. I never saw this as a problem—until all my daughters' notes from school started showing up addressed only to my husband. I may work 9 to 5, but I'm a full-time parent, too! Am I being oversensitive, or do my these school teachers need a lesson in manners?

Dear Someone Who Writes In To Advice Columns,

My neighbor in the apartment across the hall and I exchanged keys in case one of us ever found ourselves accidentally locked out. I've reserved the use of her key only for emergencies, but she takes carte blanche with mine—letting herself in for all sorts of reasons. Can I tactfully put an end to the open-door policy, or am I getting all keyed up over nothing?

—Annoyed In Arlington

Dear Annoyed,

I love to have big dinner parties! I find nothing more fun than entertaining a group of people, and all my guests say they have a great time, too. The problem is, these parties have started to put a strain on my pocketbook. Is it okay to ask the friends I invite to chip in a few dollars to help cover the cost of the food and wine?

Dear Someone Who Writes In To Advice Columns,

Our friends have a high-school foreign-exchange student from Russia named Sergei, who my husband and I find simply fascinating. We'd like to invite this young man on a sightseeing trip to Washington, D.C., but we feel bad about excluding the couple's other two children. We can't afford a vacation for five! What should we do?

—Budgeting In Boscobel

Dear Budgeting,

Every time our neighborhood holds a friendly summertime get-together, a certain family down the block never fails to show up with a cooler full of beer. My husband and I are trying to teach our children, ages 14 and 16, that one doesn't need to drink to have a good time. Do you think I should politely ask my neighbors to leave the brew behind, or am I butting in where I don't belong?

Nancy Reese is an avid advice-column reader whose weekly syndicated column, Ask Someone Who Writes In To Advice Columns, appears in more than 250 newspapers nationwide.

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