Dear Abby: Our 86-year-old father needs to go temporarily (about 10 days) to a rehabilitation hospital for physical and pulmonary ailments. However, our 86-year-old mother refuses to encourage him and "allow" him to go. This happened once before, and Dad will not stand up to her and do what he knows will help himself. His quality of life would improve if he went.
Mom says the hospital is "too far away," and it's "too inconvenient." My sister, brother, niece and nephew would arrange to take her to visit him if she chose not to go with Dad. Still she discourages him, and bitter family arguments ensue.It is painful to see Dad suffer because of her decision and his lack of backbone regarding rehab. He wants to go, but can't stand up to her controlling nature. Should we siblings "butt out" and not try to influence him to do what we and the doctor know would be best for him? Would we be interfering in their marriage and the situation? Feels for My Father in San Diego
Dear Feels: It appears that your 86-year-old mother is afraid of change even change for the better. Improving your father's quality of life is not "interfering." As caring children, see that he obeys the doctor's orders. Hold a family meeting, outvote your mother, take your father to the facility, and argue about it later when he's better.
Dear Abby: I have a problem with a flirtatious neighbor. My fiance, "Ron," and I are building a new home, and every time we go to check on the progress, our neighbors, the "Smiths," come over to talk. Mr. Smith seems OK, but his wife stares, smiles and touches Ron. She has even stated that Ron must like older women meaning me, although we're about the same age. She does this in the presence of her husband.What should I say to Mrs. Smith? I hate to move into a new home only to dread our neighbors coming around, but she makes me very uncomfortable. Please help. In a Pickle in Greensboro, N.C.
Dear In a Pickle: Nothing you could possibly say to Mrs. Smith would be as effective as a couple of pertinent comments from your fiance. The next time the "desperate housewife" touches him, he should say, "Don't do that. I don't like it!" And if she aims another snide comment in your direction, he should take your arm, say, "C'mon, Honey we don't need this," and end the conversation.
Dear Abby: I have lived in the same house for almost three years. My girlfriend at the time I moved here moved out a year ago and never took her stuff with her. I felt guilty, so I told her she could leave her things here as long as she wanted.
Well, I am married now, and her stuff is still in the attic. My wife wants it out. I agree that it should go, but I feel bad about it because I hate breaking a promise.Is it really OK in any instance to go back on my word, even for my wife? Needs an Answer in Belleville
Dear Needs an Answer: In a case like this, it is perfectly fine to contact your old girlfriend and let her know that the time has come for her to make other arrangements for her "stuff." You have a new life now, and presumably, so does she. Her stuff belongs in her new dwelling or in storage, not in your attic.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate