“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#1 Oct 20, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I have two sisters and three brothers, ranging in age from 52 to 69. All of us except one are comfortable financially.

The exception is our brother "Jerry," who is homeless. He lives in a park and does odd jobs. He owes money for old student loans and probably back taxes, so he's hesitant about finding a "real" job and having to fill out a W-4 form. I believe he uses alcohol and marijuana, but not often.

I am the only family member who is in contact with him, and I give him money occasionally. The others may not be aware of how bad his living situation is. I have no room for him in my house because my adult daughter and grandson moved in.

We are not a close family, although we have no animosity. Should I send an email or letter to my siblings about our brother? Should I ask for suggestions on how to help him? How should it be worded?-- SENSITIVE SIS IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SENSITIVE SIS: The answer to both questions is yes. Your message doesn't have to be long or fancy. If I were writing it, I would put it this way: "Are you aware that our brother Jerry is homeless, living in a park and surviving on odd jobs? This is a disgrace to our family. Do you have any suggestions about how to help our brother?"

People who live on the streets (or in parks) usually have more problems than unpaid student loans and back taxes. There is often a significant mental health or substance abuse issue. My suggestion would be to involve a social worker in steering your brother toward the help he needs to get his life back. If there is money involved, wouldn't it be more wisely spent that way?

DEAR ABBY: I am a senior citizen and an above-the-knee amputee. I wear a full-leg prosthesis and use crutches. I love being out and about, going to theaters, restaurants, outdoor markets, etc.

How should I respond to the many people who ask me what happened? Did I break my ankle, have knee surgery or what? I know telling them the truth would embarrass them. Abby, please ask your readers to think twice before asking a stranger such a personal question.-- AMPUTEE IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR AMPUTEE: OK, I'll try. Readers, I have advised many times that you not ask strangers personal questions, and this is yet another example.

Now that I have repeated that advice, I'll offer some to you: Please do not worry about embarrassing the questioner. Feel free to tell the truth if you wish. It might teach the person a needed lesson when he or she gets more information than was bargained for. However, if you don't want to divulge, all you have to say is, "That's very personal, and I'd prefer not to discuss it."

DEAR ABBY: I'm getting married next year, and in my excitement, I asked four of my good friends to be my bridesmaids. As the date grows closer, I am realizing just how much a wedding really costs. Would it be wrong for me to change my mind about having bridesmaids? The girls haven't paid for anything yet or wasted any time during the planning process.

Please help me. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I can't afford to have a wedding party.-- SOUTHERN BELLE

DEAR SOUTHERN BELLE: Contact your good friends individually and explain the situation just as you have explained it to me. Once they understand that financial constraints prevent you from having the wedding you fantasized about, none of them should feel slighted that you need to scale back. Frankly, I commend you on your good judgment in recognizing this now.
NicoleK

Villeneuve, Switzerland

#2 Oct 20, 2013
I don't quite get why bridesmaids are expensive... just have them wear dresses they already own, and have a small cake and punch type party after a city hall wedding. Cutting costs is fine, so do something cheap enough that you can still involve your friends in.
Cass

Claremont, CA

#3 Oct 20, 2013
LW1 - You can try, but you are not likely to succeed. A man in his 50s or 60s who is homeless and survives on odd jobs because he is, ostensibly, afraid that he government will come after him if he gets a regular one, with a payroll, is either mentally ill or a drug addict/alcoholic. Mentally and physically healthy people who fall on hard times generally do not end up being long-term homeless, especially if they have 4 adult siblings who are financially stable and not estranged from each other.

LW2 - I am sick and tired of letters on how to handle rude and intrusive questions from total strangers. It doesn't matter what the question is about. The advice on how to handle this has been answered a thousand times. It's always the same. Stop printing it.

LW3 - Team NicoleK.

“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#4 Oct 20, 2013
L1: Shame on Abby for that "disgrace to the family" remark.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#5 Oct 20, 2013
LW1: Your brother needs real help, not just an occasional handout. Find out what types of services are available in his area. Winter is around the corner. There are shelters in many cities large and small. I wonder if his drug or alcohol issues are greater than you think. If you can get your siblings on board, maybe you can get him into a treatment program and/or a job program. The IRS can work out a payback program with him, but student loans must be paid. Good luck. I hope you can help your brother get back on track.

LW2: Abby nailed it.

LW3: Team NicoleK.
boundary painter

San Antonio, TX

#6 Oct 20, 2013
I give the blue ribbon to Kuuipo for the best
answers.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#7 Oct 20, 2013
NicoleK wrote:
I don't quite get why bridesmaids are expensive... just have them wear dresses they already own, and have a small cake and punch type party after a city hall wedding. Cutting costs is fine, so do something cheap enough that you can still involve your friends in.
No offense, but not everyone wants punch at a home after city hall, and while I am all about staying within means, I find too many people have gone in other extremes, intimating that anyone wanting more is in the wrong.
I find that attitude just as repugnant.
There is nothing wrong with wanting friends in nice dresses in a church and maybe a "real" hall with some food, music, and dancing. Nothing at all.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#8 Oct 20, 2013
cheluzal wrote:
<quoted text>
No offense, but not everyone wants punch at a home after city hall, and while I am all about staying within means, I find too many people have gone in other extremes, intimating that anyone wanting more is in the wrong.
I find that attitude just as repugnant.
There is nothing wrong with wanting friends in nice dresses in a church and maybe a "real" hall with some food, music, and dancing. Nothing at all.
You can do this on a budget, too, and bridesmaids typically pay for their own dresses. You can find some nice, inexpensive dresses if you know how to shop and/or catch a clearance sale. I think LW should just tell the friends that she asked to be bridesmaids that money is tight and ask for their suggestions. I'll bet that they step up and help her cut costs.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#9 Oct 21, 2013
Kuuipo wrote:
<quoted text>
You can do this on a budget, too, and bridesmaids typically pay for their own dresses. You can find some nice, inexpensive dresses if you know how to shop and/or catch a clearance sale. I think LW should just tell the friends that she asked to be bridesmaids that money is tight and ask for their suggestions. I'll bet that they step up and help her cut costs.
Agreed. I have been a bridesmaid about 4 times, and I bought my dress for every one of them. It's no biggie really to help out.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#10 Oct 21, 2013
The current deal for bridesmaids seems to be that the bride picks a palette and the bridesmaids choose individual dresses within the pallet which fit their figure and budget.

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