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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I was married three months ago and still do not live with my husband. We have been remodeling the farmhouse that he has lived in for the last three years. Before I came along, he lived in filth and clutter.

Abby, I'm beginning to lose patience. He promised the house would be habitable before we married. The only work that gets done to the house is what my mother and I do. I cannot live in a house under construction because I become claustrophobic and agitated in that kind of clutter. This is starting to have a negative effect on our marriage. Please help. -- LIVING SINGLE IN DES MOINES

DEAR LIVING SINGLE: If your fiance promised the house would be completed before your wedding, and then failed to fulfill that promise, that should have rung an alarm bell regarding his level of enthusiasm about marriage. Since after three months he is still not motivated enough to keep his promise so that you may live together as husband and wife, it's time to re-evaluate the entire situation.

Is this the way you want to live the rest of your life? Marriage should be a partnership, but you and your mother are doing all of the work. This man is unlikely to change. Consider consulting an attorney about an annulment before investing any more time or elbow grease. You deserve better.

DEAR ABBY: Scooters are the latest rage. Their popularity is growing. They're at the top of almost every kid's Christmas wish list.

Along with this scooter craze comes a number of safety concerns. Abby, will you help me spread the word about the do's and don'ts of safe scooter usage? -- CARLTON CALVIN, PRESIDENT, RAZOR, U.S.A.

DEAR CARLTON: Certainly. Your safety tips are important and well worth the space in my column. Read on:

1. DO use the same precautions you would when riding a bike, a skateboard or using in-line skates.

2. DO wear a helmet and elbow and kneepads.

3. DON'T ride barefoot or in sandals. Wear athletic shoes.

4. DON'T allow children under age 8 to ride a scooter.

5. DO watch the terrain; avoid bumps, water, sand and gravel.

6. DON'T be a "hot dog" and ride too fast.

DEAR ABBY: What do you think of receiving a thank-you for a wedding gift and being told, "Your generous gift has been donated to our favorite charity"?

I realize once a gift is given it's the recipient's to use or dispose of as he or she wishes. However, I would have preferred to have been told beforehand that the wedding was to be a "charity fund-raiser," because my gift was chosen especially for the bride and groom. -- MIFFED IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR MIFFED: The couple who received the gift were a little too truthful. To inform someone that his or her gift wasn't worthy of keeping implied that it was useless or tasteless. A simple "Thank you for the beautiful ( ) and for your generosity" would have been much kinder than the note you received.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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