DEAR ABBY: When my husband, “Wyatt,” and I first started dating, we both had jobs. Because I am a teacher, my workday ended about two hours before his, allowing me some much-needed time alone before he came home.

Just before our wedding three months ago, Wyatt was laid off, and he has not been able to find another job. Although he is in school part-time, he is always in the house when I return from work.

Abby, I have no time for myself! All day I work with my students, and all evening I am with Wyatt. I have tried to explain to him that I need a little time to unwind when I first get home, but he always finds some reason to stick his head in and chat while I’m reading or taking a bath. I desperately need some alone time. I love my husband dearly, but how can I tell him I need an hour away from him? – PRIVACY PLEASE IN N.C.

You are not the only spouse – of either sex – who needs some alone time to quietly transition from workday to home life. Explain this again to your husband, and do it just the way you have explained it to me. Unless you speak up, one of these days he will interrupt you, and you will erupt – which isn’t fair to him.

If he STILL doesn’t get the message, start jogging after work – for about an hour.

DEAR ABBY: I am co-hosting a baby shower for a friend. I do not know the other hostess well. She is insisting on serving alcohol at the shower because many of the mommy-to- be’s friends like to drink, and she says “it will provide some ‘class’ to the shower.” I disagree.

I’m not a prude, and I do drink occasionally, but I think it is inappropriate to serve alcohol at a baby shower – especially when the guest of honor can’t partake. Am I justified in stating my disapproval? And would it be OK for me to decline to contribute financially toward that shower expense? – NOT A PRUDE IN COLUMBUS, OHIO

Nowhere have I seen it written that in order for a baby shower to be “classy,” alcohol must be served. You are certainly within your rights to air your feelings on this subject. The point you are making is a valid one. And if your co-hostess wants to go ahead and serve alcohol at the shower, you are under no obligation to help her foot the bill.

DEAR ABBY: I was able to retire while I was in my mid- 50s, after teaching for 33 years. Since then, I have been traveling as often as possible and volunteering on a regular basis.

Sometimes in these situations I find myself with a group of people older than I am. When I am asked my age, which I don’t mind, the response I get is, “Oh, you’re just a pup!” Because I am chronologically younger than most of the group shouldn’t automatically discount or invalidate me.

How can I respond to these comments nicely, yet make the point that I also have something to offer regardless of my age? – AGELESS PUP IN ARVADA, COLO.

DEAR AGELESS PUP: First of all, stop being so defensive. When someone calls you a “young pup,” just laugh and say, “If you think I’m a young pup, you’re barking up the wrong tree!”

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.

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