DEAR ABBY: I wholeheartedly agree with "Steaming in Massachusetts" that you shouldn't cook if you have been drinking.
Four years ago, I went out to dinner and had a few drinks. When I returned home, I threw a chicken breast and some oil in a skillet and turned on the stove to cook it for my 17-year-old son who was working late. While the skillet heated, I went into the living room, turned on the TV and sat down.
The next thing I remember, I was in my front yard being shaken by my neighbor.
I had consumed only a couple of drinks, but they were enough to make me pass out and not notice the smell of the oil smoking in the aluminum pan. Fortunately, a neighbor walking with her 5-year-old son saw the smoke pouring out of my open windows. She sent her son home to dial 911, while she stood at our fence screaming for us to get out of the house. (Our two Rottweilers wouldn't permit anyone to enter our fenced yard.)
My husband heard the neighbor's screams and went outside. When he realized I was still inside, he re-entered the house and found me fast asleep. He dragged me outside moments before the police were going to shoot the dogs to get in.
I am forever indebted to my neighbor and the fire and police departments. I learned a hard lesson I will never forget: IF YOU DRINK, STAY AWAY FROM THE STOVE! -- KAREN IN TAMPA, FLA.
DEAR KAREN: You had a close call. Since the amount of alcohol you consumed caused you to become unconscious, I hope you called a halt to the drinking. Your frightening experience should have proven to you that when you drink, you're a danger to yourself and others.
DEAR ABBY: When my daughter was young, I told her that sex was something you shared only when you had strong, special feelings for someone. I encouraged her to tell me when she reached the point she might want to become sexually active so that I could take her to the doctor for birth control.
At 16, she told me she was ready to see the doctor and get the pill. I felt she was still too young, but I honored her request and took her to see our doctor.
On the way home, a little angel on my shoulder prompted me to say, "Remember, honey, just because you can, doesn't mean you have to. The choice is still yours, and you still have the right to say no."
She gave a big sigh of relief. I later learned that she postponed having sex until she was 19. -- LOS ANGELES MOM
DEAR MOM: How wise you were.
At the age of 16, many teens begin to assert their independence, and they sometimes do so by doing exactly what the parents discourage. Reminding your daughter that the choice was still hers and trusting her to make the right decision was a clever way to handle this tricky situation.
DEAR ABBY: My friends and I recently discussed this question: What is the appropriate cut-off time to call someone on the telephone? Our answers have ranged anywhere from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. What is your thinking on this? -- CALL-WAITING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CALL-WAITING: The answer depends upon the parties you are calling and the hours they keep. Ask the people in question what would be the latest they would welcome calls and respect their wishes.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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