DEAR ABBY: We're a military family and have moved often since my husband and I married. In the past, relocating was always easy because our two sons were younger, but we have lived in the same community for more than five years now. Our older son is 14 and a freshman in high school.

My husband has reached a point in his career where he can either retire from the military or re-enlist to finish out his 30 years. Either way, it will probably require another move. Our 11-year-old son is a free spirit who seems to adjust wherever we are. The problem is, our teenager is begging us not to move because of the friends he has in school.

I'm torn. I understand my son's reasons, and people who had to move as teens agree it's difficult when they're in high school. We live in a very small town, and I'm sure the move will take us to a larger area. I know my son will see he'll have more to do and will make a lot more friends. But he doesn't want to leave and is becoming very emotional about it.

My husband is willing to leave without us, get settled and let our son finish high school here. I don't want to separate the family. Can you help us? -- NOT "AT EASE" IN GEORGIA

DEAR NOT AT EASE: Do not separate your family. If this were your son's last year of high school, I might feel differently. However, there is still plenty of time for him to make new friends at a new high school. Because he doesn't want to lose his old ones, he can stay in touch with them electronically.

What your son is experiencing is one of the realities of military life, and it may teach him to become more adept at social relationships. So think positive and do not let his fear of change hold you back.

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At Closing Time, You Can't Stay Here

DEAR ABBY: I have a pet peeve and it's an aggravation I encounter frequently. For some reason, people do not understand hours of business. Our hours are always clearly posted, so please don't knock on the door before the business is open.

My personal irritant has to do with closing time. When the sign says we close at 9 p.m., it means the doors lock at that time. It does not mean that if you can slide in the door 30 seconds before closing that we must stay and serve your needs for however long you are present.

If you can't complete your business at or before closing time, then come back tomorrow or find a business that stays open later. There are still a lot of duties to be finished after the last customer leaves and before we can go home. -- HAD A LONG DAY, RICHLAND, WASH.

DEAR HAD A LONG DAY: Not only was it a long day, it appears to have been a bad one. If it wasn't, you wouldn't have forgotten that the most important thing in running a business is customer service. This sometimes can mean bending the rules.

If you find this too difficult, you can always refuse to open your door early and "remind" anyone who enters just before closing that you lock your door promptly at the posted hour for the reason you stated. Individuals who want more personalized service are, indeed, free to shop at stores with more flexible hours. (And they will.)

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