DEAR ABBY: I am ready to explode. My father-in-law dotes on my 16-year-old daughter, who is his only grandchild. The biggest issue, aside from his overspending, is that he takes her to and from school every day and then expects to stay and visit.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to sit and chitchat with him about the same old stuff over and over. My husband doesn't want to be involved. (He doesn't get home until after his father has left, anyway.) It would probably end up in a nasty fight.
I want to politely make "Dad" understand that he doesn't need to come in every single day. I know he will think we are being negative or against him personally, and from past events, I don't want to come across in this manner. Please help. — TOO MUCH OF A "GOOD" THING IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR TOO MUCH: Obviously, your father-in-law doesn't have enough going on in his life to fill his time. Things won't change until you manage to set some boundaries.
It would not be "negative against him" if you had to go out and run errands or your daughter had to do homework after she gets home from school. It would also not be negative, since you don't have time to sit and chat, to ask him to pitch in and help with the chores.
You might also suggest that he do some volunteer work to fill his time. But you will have to schedule a time for him to feel welcome — perhaps a Sunday dinner — when your husband is home and can help to entertain his father.
DEAR ABBY: We are the parents of two adult children. We have always lived below our means so we could save for college expenses and retirement. Now that our two sons have finished college (with no debt), we splurged and purchased two luxury vehicles.
Our oldest son, "Sam," lives in another state but comes into town for business and pleasure, and when he does, he wants to borrow one of our cars. Although Sam has a good driving record, we are hesitant to loan him one of them. He is no longer on our car policy and can well afford to rent a car.
Sam is upset with us and says from now on he will stay with friends. I offered to share the rental expense, but my husband said Sam is an adult now and responsible for his own expenses. Are we being unreasonable by not letting him borrow one of our cars? —CONFLICTED IN DALLAS
DEAR CONFLICTED: You have been generous with your children. Many students finish college with a mountain of debt. It appears that Sam is less interested in what you have done for him than what you will do. He's acting like a spoiled brat, and I hope you will stick to your guns because your husband is right.
DEAR ABBY: Over many years of travel in the U.S. and Europe, I have collected postcards picturing the main sights. Now it is time to toss the trip memorabilia, but the cards are in pristine condition. Any suggestion as to what could be done with them? — GLOBETROTTER OUT WEST
DEAR GLOBETROTTER: If there are schools in your area that offer art classes to the students, you might be able to donate the postcards as material to be used in art projects. Or contact nearby senior centers and ask if they would like to have them to be used for discussion groups or art classes. (They would be wonderful for decoupage projects.)