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by Abigail Van Buren

Grandparents' Bad Grammar Is Painful Music to Mom's Ears

DEAR ABBY: My neighbor lives a few short steps from my back door; we have adjoining yards, yet she calls me on the phone intermittently all day long -- just to chat. I wouldn't mind if she called once for a brief conversation, but she often calls three to four and even five times a day, just to ask me what I'm doing. She has invited me over for coffee, and I have invited her here -- but once she's here, she stays too long.

She's 35 years old, no children, and doesn't want any. I work for my husband's business in my home, and this neighbor is getting to be too much for me. I got an answering machine, and she leaves messages for me to call her. Should I call her back or ignore her messages? I hate to hurt her feelings, but I don't know what else to do. I've even considered moving, but why should I move when I love this house? -- STIFLED

DEAR STIFLED: You must tell your neighbor that just because you are home all day does not mean that you are not working; explain that you work for your husband during the day.

Suggest that she do volunteer work -- there are numerous good causes in every community. And if she continues to leave messages, do not return her calls.