Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Cards bearing gifts are best opened after party, in private

August 31, 2000


Dear Ann: I recently attended a birthday party for a girl who just turned 14. After the cake was served, her mother brought in the gifts. Several of the gifts were envelopes from relatives meaning cards with cash or gift certificates. The mother insisted that the girl open each envelope and thank the giver. This would have been fine, but then, she told the birthday girl she must mention the amount received. Even worse, an uncle sat nearby and calculated the total after each card was opened, and announced it to the guests.

I was appalled by the commercial aspects of the party, and felt this was in very poor taste. Opening gifts at a baby shower is one thing, but cash at a birthday party should be private. I cringed throughout the entire process. Everyone tried to be polite, and "oohed" and "aahed" when large amounts were mentioned, but later, several guests told me how uncomfortable they were. I can guarantee you I will never give anyone in that family another cash gift.

Tell me, Ann, was this totally inappropriate? Am I pathetically out of date? Please set me straight. Bay Area Questioner

Dear Questioner: You are not out of date. Announcing to the guests the amounts of the checks was grossly inappropriate, or more to the point, just plain tacky. Those envelopes should have been opened privately.

Money gifts are fine, but it should never be cash, which can be misplaced. Also, once cash is removed from the envelope, the recipient has no way of knowing who gave what. Checks are much classier, and also enable you to have a record of what you have given.

Dear Ann: This letter is for "Formerly Soggy Sister," whose husband wet the bed. For 14 years, I lived with my husband's bed-wetting problem. I often had to change the sheets in the middle of the night, and change my nightgown, as well. He ruined several mattresses. Even though I knew he didn't do this on purpose, I had a lot of anger to deal with. We couldn't visit or spend the night away from home. We couldn't allow our children to crawl into the bed with us. I spent many nights on the couch or in bed with one of my children in order to get a dry night's sleep.

My husband was very embarrassed about this. We talked to his doctor, who sent him for tests to check the size of his bladder. Finally, his urologist sent us to a sleep disorder clinic, where we finally got our answer he has sleep apnea.

My husband now wears a mask to bed at night. It is attached to a machine that gently forces air into his nose while he sleeps. Since he started with this treatment, I'm back in bed with him. We have had very few wet nights, and he feels so much better. He awakens each morning rested, and he no longer falls asleep at the dinner table. He also used to fall asleep while driving, which was dangerous and frightening.

I urge anyone suffering from bed-wetting or a need to urinate at night to check with a urologist about a sleep disorder clinic. It changed our lives. Little Rock, Ark.

Dear Little Rock: Thank you for letting us know. Those who would like more information on being tested for sleep apnea can contact the American Sleep Apnea Assn., 1424 K St., N.W., Suite 302, Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Readers: Think you've heard everything? Well, hold on for this one.

According to The Southside Times, the city of Beech Grove, Ind., received a bill from the Internal Revenue Service for 1 cent. Apparently, when the city submitted a payment for an undisclosed amount, it was 1 cent short. The penalty was $1,999. They sent in the penny, and the matter was resolved with the IRS in a friendly fashion.

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