DEAR ABBY: I love the occasional “how we met” stories in your column, and would like to share mine. “Blake” lived in the apartment below me during college. His roommates and mine would often get together casually. One night, after work, Blake announced that he had to pick up his sister from the airport. “Would anyone like to ride along and keep me awake?” he asked.

I had nothing better to do, so I volunteered. During the drive, Blake pulled out a two-carat diamond ring and said, “I know I don’t know you very well, but …” He was grinning from ear to ear, and I was hugging the door handle wondering, “Is this guy for real?” When he saw my reaction, he started laughing and apologized. The ring belonged to his sister. She was returning from her honeymoon and had asked him to keep it so it wouldn’t be lost.

I’m quick-witted, so I got back at him when we reached the airport. I went first through the security checkpoint. (Those were the days when you could wait at the gate for your passenger to get off the plane.) When Blake passed through the metal detector, of course it “beeped” and he had to empty his pockets. As soon as he put the ring box on the tray, I started jumping up and down, saying loudly, “Oh, honey. Yes! Yes!” Then I threw my arms around his neck and gave him a huge hug. People around us began clapping and Blake was so embarrassed! Twenty minutes later people were still pointing and whispering about the guy who had just proposed.

From that night on, we knew we’d end up together. We’re two practical jokers who still make each other laugh after 12 years and four children. – KATE IN IDAHO FALLS

DEAR KATE: I’m not surprised. A sense of humor can make even the most trying times easier to bear. I’m pleased your romance is still in the clouds so many years after it took off at the airport. May it ever be thus.

DEAR Abby: I’m a 43-year-old woman with a college degree and a highly technical job. I’m preparing to buy a large piece of land on which I plan to build my dream home. Because I am under 5 feet tall, I’ll be having my home custom-built for my comfort, with the countertops and shelves lowered a few inches.

This drives my 63-year-old mother out of her skull, even though the house itself will be normal-sized and perfectly comfortable for even the tallest visitor. It’s just that I have spent my entire life standing on my toes or a stepladder to reach anything higher than the first shelf in the cupboards. If I need to use the back burners on a stove, I suffer burns when I reach over the front burners. I use long barbecue tongs to reach items above the second shelf in the cupboard, and sometimes the tongs knock things off the shelf and onto my head.

Mother has been ridiculing me in a cruel manner lately about my height, implying that I can make myself taller if I really want to. My height never angered my mother before I started planning the house. Can you give me a clue about why she wants me to go “into the closet” with my height? – PAULA IN TUCSON

DEAR PAULA: Your mother may be concerned that your home will be so uniquely customized that it could adversely affect its resale value. Since the house is still in the planning stages, I have a suggestion: Talk to your architect about making the counters and shelves in your home adjustable, so they can be raised and lowered at will. This is done for people with disabilities such as those in wheelchairs, and it could be helpful for you, too.


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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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