DEAR ABBY: My father is 83. My mother has been dead for more than 30 years. Since then, Dad has been involved with many women. But since he turned 70, he has become involved with men, which he says he finds very rewarding and much less complicated.

Dad and I always had an open and honest relationship. We have a lot of homosexual family members and friends. At the same time, I’m shocked that the fact he is gay has been so difficult for me to accept. Have you any suggestions on how I might better deal with this? – CARING SON IN MIAMI

Your father appears to be bisexual, which means he is attracted to both men and women. Whereas he may not have wanted to admit to himself or to you years ago that he had feelings for people of the same sex, it is no longer shocking to be open about it. Times have changed. Today a person’s sexual orientation is no longer considered something to be kept hidden.

One constructive way to “deal with it” would be to realize how fortunate you are to have the kind of relationship you have always had with your dad. Be supportive, don’t judge and love him for the parent he has always been.

DEAR ABBY: I’m an office manager, bookkeeper and the receptionist. What I am NOT is a maid. I have lost count of the number of times I have walked into the break room to have my lunch or get a quick cup of tea and found spilled coffee/sugar/creamer all over the counter. I clean it up when I find it because I don’t like using a dirty counter, but I don’t feel I should have to because I didn’t make the mess.

I have considered sending out an e-mail to the office staff about cleaning up after themselves, but the issue turns my crank enough that I’m having trouble being polite about it. Every e-mail I draft makes me sound like a nagging mother, and I know when my mom nagged me it certainly never worked – it just annoyed me.

Have you any suggestions about what I can say that will get results without offending? – LAURA IN SAN FRANCISCO

Forgo the e-mail. Post a sign in the break room, and here’s what it should say: “The maid has retired. You’re on your own. If you spill something, please make sure this counter is wiped clean or I will strike you dead with a bolt of lightning,” and sign it, “God.”

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I are eating out, before we leave I will take home a small creamer packet for my afternoon tea. My husband says this amounts to stealing, and he finds it embarrassing. I feel that because he doesn’t use cream in his coffee, I am only taking “his” cream home for my use.

I know this may seem trivial, but what say you? – SPRINGFIELD, ILL., READER

The sweetener, creamer and condiments on a restaurant table are supposed to be used while in the restaurant. However, you can settle this disagreement by simply asking your server before you leave if there would be any objection to your taking a packet of creamer with you to use later. I’m positive the answer will be no – as long as you’re not taking the entire supply.

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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