DEAR ABBY: I will be spending a couple of months visiting my daughter, who is a single mom. She has asked me to help her wake her 8- and 11-year-old kids in the morning and have them ready for school.
Unfortunately, she works some distance away from her home. The kids attend private school and are involved in sports. The problem is, they eat and go to bed later than they should. In the morning, they can't wake up or get out of bed. She reminds them repeatedly to get ready, but when it's time to leave and they're not dressed or haven't eaten breakfast, my daughter begins raising her voice. Leaving late means the kids arrive at school late, and my daughter is late for work.
I'm leaving in a couple of weeks and need some guidance on how to approach this no-win situation. -- RISE AND SHINE IN MAINE
DEAR RISE AND SHINE: I'm surprised the teachers haven't complained about your grandchildren's constant tardiness, or that your daughter's boss hasn't warned her about her constant lateness. It's time you and your daughter had a private chat.
As you have stated, your grandchildren are going to bed so late it's interfering not only with their school schedule, but their mother's work schedule. The obvious solution would be for her to get the kids to bed at an earlier hour, with lights off and no electronics. You can enforce it while you are there, but unless your daughter is willing to continue to do that, nothing will change.
DEAR ABBY: For the past five years, I have been using the (very small!) exercise room in my apartment complex every day after work. It's an important part of my routine. A couple of weeks ago, a new girl started coming into the exercise room shortly after I start my workout (it's a little crowded, but no problem).
Last week, she started coming in just a few minutes before I get there. She puts her TV show on (very loudly), uses the machine I always use, and when I walk in at my usual time, I must use an old machine I don't like and watch her horrible show.
I have lived here longer and feel I have earned my time in the gym, and she is being sneaky by coming in just before I do. I cannot come in earlier since I get there as soon as I get off work.
I'm tempted to exert my seniority! I feel wronged, even though I know it's not my personal gym. Is there anything I can do when I feel snubbed like this? -- WORKED UP (NOT OUT) IN OHIO
DEAR WORKED UP: One of the sometimes unwritten rules of gyms is that the person who arrives first gets to choose which machine to use and whatever television show he or she prefers. If you can't make it in before the new girl arrives, then you will have to adjust your schedule and come in later when she's out of there, or reach a compromise with her. Sorry.