DEAR ABBY: I am a 21-year-old college student. This year I'm living with three sorority sisters in a house off campus. We get along fine except for one thing.
The mother of one of our roommates comes to stay with her daughter and the rest of us every single weekend -- from Friday night to Sunday night. She is always underfoot. She is always in the bathroom when we need to use it. She uses the last of the toilet paper and never replaces it. In fact, she uses all the household supplies we buy as a group. We are struggling students and cannot afford to pay for a fifth roommate.
To add insult to injury, last weekend not only did this woman come to stay, but Grandma came with her! Never once has our roommate asked if these visits were convenient for the rest of us, nor have Mom's sleepovers been brought to our attention beforehand.
When we finally addressed the problem with our roommate, she promised her mother would start getting hotel rooms when she came to town. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet. We don't expect her to always stay in a hotel because of the expense, but none of us signed up to live with a housemother. Please help us! -- IRKED COEDS IN WACO, TEXAS
DEAR IRKED COEDS: I feel sorry for your roommate. Either the mother is unable to let her daughter grow up and separate from her, or she may be seeking to escape an abusive environment. However, the current arrangement is unfair to you and your other roommates. So stick to your guns and insist that the mother keep her promise to make arrangements for other accommodations.
DEAR ABBY: My son is going through separation and divorce. It is not a friendly one.
He is now serving in the military overseas. His wife and two children are here in the United States and live close to my husband and me. She allows us to see our grandkids whenever we want. However, since the divorce, she's fallen on hard times -- economically and emotionally -- and it kills us to know she is suffering the consequences of her decision to break up the marriage.
The issue, Abby, is loyalty to our son. He is very upset by what she did, bringing the children back to the states and destroying his military career. He is bitter and adamant that our relationship with his ex-wife come to a halt. He says when he returns home, she is not welcome in our house. The children won't be an issue, as they have joint custody.
I love both my son and daughter-in-law. I feel terrible that our relationship with her must end. What would you do in our shoes? -- HURTING IN HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS
DEAR HURTING: I'd remind my son that his almost ex-wife is still the mother of your grandchildren, and that whom you invite into your home is your decision, not his. This is not his choice to make. For the sake of the children, do not burn any bridges.
CHUCKLE FOR THE DAY: The apes in the zoo have a dilemma: They can't figure out if they are their brother's keeper -- or their keeper's brother!
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