DEAR ABBY: I'm a single male in my late 20s. I live in a tree-lined subdivision that borders on a common grounds wooded area with a running path. My bathroom has two windows, each one foot wide and six feet high. Since the bathroom faces the wooded area, I never felt it was important to close the blinds while getting dressed in the morning.
The other day I found a videotape in my mailbox, along with a short, nonthreatening note, apparently from one of my neighbors. It read, "Thanks for the show ... and for giving me a reason to get up on time every morning to run. I'm not asking you to stop; I just thought you'd like to know how easy it is to see you in the morning when it's dark out. See you tomorrow? Ha ha."
Abby, my problem isn't the embarrassment of someone seeing me in the nude; it goes beyond that. The video was 27 minutes long. It started the moment I turned on my bathroom light, which means this neighbor sat outside waiting for me, and must have been just inches away from my window, as you rarely see the vertical blinds. The video covers my whole morning routine, from going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth, shaving and 15 minutes in the shower. This was far from a video that was shot from a distance. There were close-ups that filled the television screen.
I am very uncomfortable and worried about security, and what my neighbor could do with a copy of the tape. I'm a new homeowner here and don't want to get talked about around the neighborhood.
Abby, what should I do? -- IN LIVING COLOR IN ROYAL OAK, MICH.
DEAR IN LIVING COLOR: CLOSE THE BLINDS!
DEAR ABBY: Since I retired, I've become my wife's prisoner. If I want to explore a hardware store, watch a stock ticker, go fishing or play golf, I am called "selfish" and "inconsiderate." She also gets upset if I don't want to follow her around the shopping mall. (I do plenty of that, by the way.)
I am 67, and my wife is 63. We both drive and each have our own car, so it's not like she's tied to the house.
Am I wrong to want some "space" sometimes? -- CAPTIVE HUSBAND IN COLORADO
DEAR CAPTIVE: Every couple benefits from some time alone. It gives them more to talk about when they are together. As long as you devote a portion of the day exclusively to your wife and her needs, she should have no objection if you go off by yourself occasionally.
Books are available at the library on how to handle retirement. Check some out and educate yourself.
DEAR ABBY: I'm being married soon to a wonderful man. Because of expenses, we decided to go to a justice of the peace and have a reception afterward for the families.
My problem: A few years ago I was engaged to be married. I was pregnant, so my family felt I should be married, not merely engaged. Rather than standing up to them, I lied and said we had eloped.
My family gave us a huge wedding reception with all the trimmings. After the baby was born, I left my fiance and subsequently confessed to my parents that we were not actually married. Needless to say, it made them feel "used."
Now that I am getting married, I am not sure whether to invite my family to the reception, or simply send wedding announcements afterward. What do you think, Abby? -- WHAT A TANGLED WEB IN TRENTON, N.J.
DEAR TANGLED WEB: If you pay for the reception yourself, you are free to invite whomever you wish. If your parents still harbor ill feelings, they are free to decline the invitation. Let's hope they are willing to let bygones be bygones.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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