DEAR ABBY: I am a day-care provider working out of my home. Most of the children I watch belong to friends. One friend -- I'll call her Jodie -- announced that she was quitting work and would no longer need me to care for her infant son.
Then Jodie had a family emergency and asked me to baby-sit for a few hours. She had five other so-called emergencies over a two-week period. She left her child here about five hours each day, during my normal working hours.
My question: Should Jodie have offered to pay me for the time her son was in my care? My husband calls me the Good Samaritan and thinks Jodie took advantage of me. I say we're friends, and I wouldn't have taken the money anyway. What do you think? -- GOOD SAM IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR GOOD SAM: I think you have been a sympathetic friend and Good Samaritan long enough. You are also a businesswoman who deserves to be paid for her services. It's time to draw the line -- and don't feel guilty for doing so. Jodie may be a friend, but your husband is your BEST friend.
DEAR ABBY: My father died two months ago and left his belongings to my mother. My siblings have begun to request some of them. Most of the items have little or no monetary value, while others are worth a considerable sum.
I believe Dad's belongings should be distributed by my mother when she is ready. When my father was alive, he refused to give my sister something she wanted -- and now she says she's just going to take it. I am very uncomfortable with this and don't know what to do. What are your thoughts? -- FEELING PAIN IN MAINE
DEAR FEELING PAIN: The items are your mother's to do with as she wishes. Discuss it with her and see how she feels about these requests. If your mother feels she's being taken advantage of, help her to resist the pressure. If not, accept the fact that the items are going where your mother wants them to go -- and express to her what you would like.
DEAR ABBY: I married a high school friend a year ago. I had remained single for 12 years after my divorce, and I wanted to be sure I married a great guy this time. In almost all ways, he is a terrific husband.
The problem? I keep finding porn sites in the history files on my computer, and also Yahoo profiles of young girls. He promised me in the past that he would not do it anymore. I wouldn't mind as much if we had a sex life, but it is pretty much nonexistent. Your advice would be appreciated. -- WIFE WITH A PROBLEM IN MINNESOTA
DEAR WIFE: Your husband has substituted impersonal computer sex for a mutually satisfying sex life with you. And if he is conversing with or meeting underage girls, he is also breaking the law.
Tell him you know what he has been doing and offer him the option of counseling. If he refuses, you have a serious decision to make about the future of the marriage. I hope this story has a happy ending. It depends on how invested he is in your marriage and how strong his addiction to cyber-sex may be.
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 $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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