DEAR ABBY: If this letter can save one person's life, it will be well worth it.
I was experiencing headaches for quite a long time, and my husband was sleeping in his chair quite a bit of the time. The day of our grandson's birthday last November, I could hardly think because my head hurt so bad. In spite of it, I drove to the party and started to feel better. I told our son about my headache, and he said he would check our furnace for us.
Because our furnace was quite new, we never gave it much thought. The automatic damper was shut, and the furnace was emitting carbon monoxide fumes!
Our beautiful kitty, Yvette, had died some time before, and we never knew why. However, she had slept in the furnace room.
I always opened the window at night, and we have a large home, so this is probably what saved us.
I hope you'll alert your readers to have their furnaces checked -- even if they're new. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. -- PATRICIA IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR PATRICIA: Your letter gives new meaning to the phrase "wake up and smell the coffee." Carbon monoxide is a deadly killer, and every year the news reports deaths because of improperly vented heaters. Having one's furnace checked in the fall, before the cold weather hits, is a wise precaution. Since the winter season is now upon us, I hope my readers will heed this warning immediately.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 37-year-old mother of three. Until recently, I had a wonderful relationship with my mother. She's a beautiful lady who adopted me when I was 5. Mother is a teacher, author and political activist.
However, as she begins her 82nd year, our relationship has taken a nosedive. For years, she has been strong-willed about discussing her political views at every gathering and conversation. Guests have literally run out of the house after being badgered by her, and quake at the thought of visiting us. I finally gathered enough courage to tell Mom that her outspokenness was embarrassing me and my friends.
My reprimand worked for about a year. However, during the past three months she has been avoiding me. She refused to attend the family holiday parties and asked to see my children without me. She flatly states that my demand that she stop talking politics all the time is "unfair."
Her behavior is startling to me, and I'm unsure how to handle it. I hope you'll have some insight on how I can mend this fence. -- PUZZLED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
DEAR PUZZLED: Given her professional background and her age, I'm sure your mother feels that the world wants her opinions. She's punishing you for not being receptive to her ideas. You aren't going to succeed in "muzzling" your mother, so apologize. Be grateful that she cares enough to have a viewpoint -- and tease her about it if she becomes a bore.
Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
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