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Dear Abby: I’m 62 years old and a widower. My wife passed away in July 2011. It has taken me a while to get over losing her. I realize how much she did for me as I have been learning how to be a house husband without a wife.

My wife told me this was the first house she lived in that had a dishwasher. She was so proud of it! I could never understand why she would wash the dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. Now I have to do it myself, I understand why. My question is, is there a detergent that will actually CLEAN the dishes?

Also, do you have any cute readers who would like to teach an old man how to clean house?

– Fending For Myself

Dear Fending: I’m sorry I can’t print your name or location because if I did, you might be crushed in the stampede. If you and your late wife were married 20 or 30 years and the dishwasher was already installed in the house when you moved in, it is now practically an antique. Because you have tried several brands of detergent and your dishes aren’t getting clean, you probably need a new dishwasher. (And I do not mean a cute, young one.)

Worried sick

Dear Abby: My best friend’s mother has dementia. It usually is worse in the evenings, but she can function during the day – somewhat. My friend and her husband both work, leaving the mother alone at home during the day with the door locked from the outside so she can’t wander off.

I have told my friend many times how dangerous this is, but she continues to do it. It makes me sick worrying about her mother, but I don’t know what to do about it.

– Friend in Florida

Dear Friend: Your friend and her husband may have the best of intentions, but locking a demented person inside the house is not the answer to their problem. If a fire were to start, she might not be “with it” enough to know how to put it out or summon help. She could also fall and injure herself.

A better solution would be to find a day-care program where the mother would have company, be entertained and safely looked after. Please suggest it to them. However, if they are not receptive, Adult Protective Services should be notified because the woman’s life could depend on it.

Loose lips

Dear Abby: I was just wondering why when men drink and get drunk, they always talk about themselves.

– Heather in New Hampshire

Dear Heather: They may do it because the alcohol allows them to loosen up and open up. Or, because they think the subject is fascinating, and you are a willing listener.