DEAR ABBY: I recently realized that my mother-in-law stole several of my prized possessions. It seems that my husband's brothers, who helped us move when we lost our home, took the items (obviously at her request and with her approval) instead of placing them in the storage unit as instructed.
I am furious at her and my husband's brothers. How should I deal with this? I want to confront her and let her know that I am aware of her betrayal, but my husband is a great man, and I hate to hurt him in this process.
When I told him I was aware that his mother had stolen from us, he said he would make it up to me and that his mother is old (she's 81) and I should let it go. However, every time I visit her home and see my things it hurts. How should I deal with this? I feel raped.
- Furious in Tennessee
DEAR FURIOUS: If the items are replaceable, let your husband do as he promised. If they are heirlooms, you will either have to wait until she dies to reclaim them or go over there and demand that she give them back.
How many showers a week are enough?
I am a senior-aged man who swims three times a week at a nearby fitness center. I shower there after each swim. Seldom do I use the shower in my apartment. My son has reprimanded me strongly for not showering daily. He asserted that by not showering every day and by using a public facility when I do, I am practicing "very poor hygiene."
I believe that my hygiene routine is acceptable and in line with common practice, but I'm concerned that in order to visit with him in the future, I will first need to take a shower. Am I wrong here, or is he?
- Not showering enough
DEAR NOT SHOWERING: With apologies to William Shakespeare: To shower or not to shower, that is the question: Whether'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of your son's criticism or to stand up for yourself (in a sea of sniping) is up to you.
From where I sit - far downwind - if you can pass the smell test, showering three times a week is all that's necessary for proper hygiene. Do not allow your son to shake your self-confidence.
Be understanding in the face of grief
I recently went to a funeral viewing for a friend's adult child whom I had never met. After entering the funeral home, I saw a computer-generated sign stating, "Please understand that we (mom, dad, brother and daughter) just couldn't be here."
Abby, I wasn't there to see the deceased; I was there to express my sympathy to the family. Why bother to have a viewing? All I wanted to say was how sorry I am for their loss.
- Karen in Pennsylvania
DEAR KAREN: Please have a little less judgment and a little more compassion. Remember that not everyone deals with death in the same way. The viewing was for family members, friends and acquaintances of the deceased who could bear to be there. You can still express your sympathy to the grieving family by writing them a condolence letter.