Dear Annie: Many couples, like myself, are on our second marriages, and have grown children and property. When my wife and I married, we were advised by our pastor to sell both of our houses and purchase one together. However, it has been three years, and we still have both houses. We live in one and rent out the other.
My wife's children talked her out of selling the house, arguing that if she passed away, I would get her money and they would not. I would have been happy to make an estate plan to cover such an eventuality, but my wife decided to keep the house instead. I since have made a will, which states that my child will receive my house, and my wife will receive my life insurance and half my pension. My wife, however, refuses to make a will. Under state law, her house would become mine.
There are other problems with the grown children and grandchildren that are beginning to tear us apart. I'm beginning to wonder if second marriages can survive. Is there a solution other than divorce? Wondering in Florida
Dear Florida: Second marriages require a great deal of effort, compromise and patience, and a strong commitment from both the husband and wife to put the relationship first. When there are children and grandchildren involved, the problems multiply, but they do not have to destroy the marriage.
Ask your wife to go with you to see an estate planner about how to divide your property equitably. Discuss your plans with the children so there are no surprises. Then talk to your pastor about the other problems, or ask him to refer you to a marriage counselor. Don't give up.
Dear Annie: I almost spilled hot coffee in my lap while reading the letter from "Grossed Out." This cashier complained about customers trying to "help" her by licking their fingers to separate credit card receipts.
I made quite a few purchases the other day at my local mall. At one store, the line was quite long, and I heard coughing that could wake the dead. It was coming from the girl behind the counter. I saw her lick her fingers at least five times (per customer) to try and separate each customer's credit card receipts. This was done with the same hand that she held over her mouth trying to muffle her cough. I put down my merchandise by the nearest table and ran out of there. Grossed Out in Los Angeles
Dear Grossed Out: Quite a few readers spoke up on the subject. Here's more:
From Pittsburgh: I used to work as a cashier. People have no clue where their money has been. It's disgusting. People put money in their mouths to hold while they fidget with a purse or wallet. Women pull wadded bills from their brassieres, and men pull money from the waistbands of their underwear. Sometimes, the money is damp with sweat. I've watched mothers hand a dollar bill to their child, only to watch that child stick that germ-infested, nasty, awful thing in his mouth. Yuck!
Portland, Ore.: Every time I go to the bank or grocery shopping, the clerks lick their fingers to count the money, separate plastic bags or hand out a receipt. When I mention that it is not healthy to lick fingers and handle money, I get an answer like, "I've been doing this for 25 years, and I haven't been sick yet." If you say, "Well, what about your customers?" the clerk gets angry.
These grocery clerks handle everything from bloody meat to dirty money. They should keep a clean, damp cloth or sponge nearby to moisten their fingers. It also would be great if someone invented plastic bags that separate easily so all the customers in the produce section are not licking their fingers.
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