Dear Amy:

I have been the assistant manager of a small, family-run retail business for 12 years.

My boss believes that he doesn't need to inform me when he is going on a vacation. He will only mark his initials on a calendar for the days that he will be gone. This calendar is hanging by someone else's desk, not mine.

I sometimes only find out about his vacations by overhearing a conversation he has with a customer. My desk and his are face to face, and there are only three other employees besides me.

When I ask him to explain his behavior, he gets angry and even used a vulgarism once. He's a great guy to work for, but I am at a loss to understand his behavior.

Am I being unreasonable as he suggests?

Angry and FrustratedIt's not clear how your boss's absence has an impact on you, but I assume that in a small business such as where you work, when he is gone your duties would change. If he is the manager and you are the assistant manager, wouldn't you have to take over some of his workload? And what if you had planned for a day off, dentist appointment or parent-teacher conference during his absence -- presumably you would have to change your plans.

If your boss is courteous enough to notify customers about his vacation plans, then it is only reasonable that he should also tell his co-workers -- certainly co-workers whose duties will be affected by his absence.

Regardless of whether he needs to notify you of his vacation plans, your boss's language in responding to you is completely unacceptable. It's surprising that you find him to be a "great guy to work for." He sounds like a pill.

Because this seems to be a particular bone of contention between the two of you, you should make sure to keep an eye on that special vacation calendar of his.

Dear Amy:

I would like to chime in on the idea of women letting men know when they are interested in them.

More than four years ago, I met a guy and was instantly intrigued by him. We quickly became good friends, but it wasn't until we showed up at the same party that I realized the extent of my feelings for him. When he came up to ask me why I wasn't hanging out with my date (also a friend of his), I blurted out, "Because I like YOU." Both of us were surprised by my frankness, but after regaining composure he replied, "Well, I think I like you too."

Fast-forward four years, and despite moves around the world and obstacles galore, we're still together and unbelievably happy.

So, ladies, simple honesty works wonders. Try it!

BlissfulGetting up the courage to tell a guy you're interested in him also provides insight into how brave guys are routinely expected to be.

Dear Amy:

Recently, "Cornered by Custom" wrote in expressing frustration that the parents of the groom are not expected to contribute toward the wedding expenses in the same manner as the parents of the bride.

I have found in my experience, as the parent of the groom, that brides and their mothers rarely allow any input into the wedding plans by the family of the groom.

If I were asked to contribute more than the traditional expenses, then I would also expect to have some say in how that money is spent.

My husband and I felt the money spent on my son and daughter-in-law's elaborate wedding would have been better spent on helping the newlyweds with housing costs, but that was not important to the bride and her parents.

So, instead of helping pay for the lavish dinner, etc., we gave them down-payment money for their first home, and we helped furnish it.

Long after the wedding has been forgotten by most of those attending, they have a home to enjoy every day.

Mother of the GroomMany parents of the groom have written in to say that they don't feel welcome to contribute to weddings because the bride and her family control the wedding proceedings. Using a bit of circular logic, one could assume that the bride and her family control the wedding because they pay for the wedding. It's their party, so to speak.

I maintain that marrying couples should finance their own weddings, knowing that people who contribute money might also want to have a say in the particulars of how their money is spent.

Your choice to contribute to a first home is certainly generous and money well spent.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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