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by Abigail Van Buren

Heating Daughter's Pool Is Raising Dad's Temperature

DEAR ABBY: My daughter and son-in-law earn twice as much as my wife and I do. They insist that we visit them each year in California. My wife and I both have arthritis and find a heated pool therapeutic. They have a swimming pool, but they expect us to pay to heat it when we visit.

This is embarrassing because my three stepdaughters never expect us to pay for anything when we visit them, and we never ask our children to pay for anything when they visit in our home. Last year, my son who lives in Ohio paid to have his sister's pool heated while we were visiting in California.

Should we refuse to pay to heat my daughter's pool or keep our mouths shut and ante up? -- "HEATED" DAD IN MICHIGAN

DEAR "HEATED" DAD: It costs more to live in some areas of the country than others. Although your daughter and her husband earn twice as much as you do, their living expenses may be greater than yours, and it's possible their budget won't stretch to include heating the swimming pool.

If you haven't done so already, discuss this problem calmly with your daughter to determine if there is a reason for their request. Should you find their budget cannot accommodate heating the pool for you, ante up without complaining. If it causes you financial hardship, shorten your visits.

A word of caution: It never works in anyone's favor to compare one child with another, since their financial realities could be entirely different -- and comparisons could create hurt feelings.