DEAR ABBY: After my wife had our sixth child, our love life fizzled out. But at age 80, we have suddenly discovered that we aren't THAT old!

How do we tactfully deflect kids and grandkids who enter without ringing the bell? I realize that lots of people would love to have this problem, but it's a problem all the same. -- BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN

DEAR BACK IN THE SADDLE: Your letter made me smile. I'm pleased to hear there's still plenty of "hi-ho" in the old Silver.

If you haven't told your children and grandchildren that you would prefer they not enter your home without ringing the bell, my first suggestion is to speak up now. If you have, and your request is being ignored, then I have two more suggestions.

The first is to put a chain or double lock on the doors to your house; the second is to hang a "Please Do Not Disturb, the Old Folks Are Napping" sign on your doors when you're feeling amorous. I'll bet you $20 that because of entrenched misconceptions about sexuality in the over-70 generation, none of your children or grandchildren will question it.

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DEAR ABBY: Boy, do I need your opinion. My wife's youngest daughter has moved in with us, along with her three children: ages 3, 4 and 5. We are having a disagreement about allowing the kids up on the countertops.

My wife and her daughter think it's fine for them to pull a chair over and hop up on the counter. I have seen them on both sides of a stove full of pots filled with hot food. Because this has been allowed, the kids constantly crawl up to the cabinets to help themselves to treats and other things.

I have told them both countless times that this is the worst habit I have ever seen taught to children. I feel it's extremely dangerous and a bad idea. Please help me win this battle, or if you think it's fine, shut me up for good. -- GRANDPA DENNIS

DEAR GRANDPA DENNIS: I'm on your side. Allowing a child to climb up on a counter is inviting an accident -- and to allow a child to do so when the counter is adjacent to a hot stove is child endangerment.

Your wife and her daughter are being far too permissive. Children that young should ask for treats, not be allowed to forage. Rules have to be set and enforced. What is to stop those children from dragging a chair up to a bathroom medicine cabinet and helping themselves to the pills?

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DEAR ABBY: I am a single, independent, educated 26-year-old female. I recently bought my first house and enjoy living alone. My problem is, whenever I run into someone I haven't seen in a while and they learn where I am living, often the first thing he or she asks is, "Oh, you got married?"

I find it offensive that people automatically assume that because I bought a house I am married. How do I deal with a question like that and not hurt feelings in the process? -- CONTENT IN VIRGINIA

DEAR CONTENT: You deal with it by not becoming defensive. Keep your sense of humor. The next time you are asked if you got married, smile at the person and say, "Did you get an invitation to the wedding?" When the person tells you no, end the discussion by saying, "Well, then, I guess I'm not married!"

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