I had planned a trip to Europe with my friend "Elizabeth," a friend of hers and Elizabeth's daughter. The plan was I would share rooms with Elizabeth. We paid for the hotels in advance.
Shortly before our scheduled departure I fell, broke my ankle and couldn't go. We tried unsuccessfully to obtain some kind of refunds, and travel insurance paid only if the accident happened while we were actually traveling.
I was out $2,000. Elizabeth's friend offered me $500. Elizabeth, feeling some obligation, also offered me $500. I feel guilty taking Elizabeth's money because she paid for herself and her daughter. I think the other woman should give me at least half - not just $500 - because she derived 100 percent of the benefit. Also, she has never reached out to me directly at all.
No money has been received at this point. Should I just write it off? Or am I wrong to expect some of the money back?
- Money Woes in the East
DEAR MONEY WOES: Yes, you are wrong. Nobody owes you anything. Accidents happen, but the broken ankle was your bad luck. It was generous of Elizabeth and her friend to offer you any money at all. My advice is to accept it graciously, write the rest off, and stop looking for someone to be mad at.
Mental illness makes for troubled holiday
DEAR ABBY: One of my relatives has bipolar disorder, and as far as I know he takes medicine for it. However, at our Christmas celebration last year he became verbally aggressive and abusive toward a family member who had done nothing to provoke it. Needless to say, it put a damper on the festivities.
Some people make excuses for him because he's bipolar, but I don't want another holiday ruined because of his behavior (which can be unpredictable). Must the rest of us sit on pins and needles hoping he doesn't explode this Christmas? I'd prefer not to invite him until he has better control of himself. Your opinion, please?
- Hoping for Happy Holidays
DEAR HOPING: You have a point. A solution might be to talk directly with your relative and explain that if he's taking his medication - which means there will be no unpredictable outbursts - he is welcome to be your guest for Christmas. If not, however, he should make other plans.
An honor for a deceased veteran
DEAR ABBY: On Veterans Day I visited my family's cemetery plot and noticed my closest uncle does not have a military service marker like his two older brothers do. "Uncle Claude" had frequently mentioned to me how important a service marker was to him. I discussed it with his two out-of-state children several times after his death.
Almost two years have passed now, and it appears getting the marker might not happen. Should I inquire about this with my cousins, offer to assist them in getting and placing the marker or let it go? I did place a small flag on his grave later in the day.
- Military Service Marker
DEAR M.S.M.: Discuss this with your cousins once more and ask if they would like you to pursue getting the marker for your uncle. There may be reasons why it hasn't happened - including that they may not be able to afford the expense. You will never know unless you inquire.