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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Gets Nervous With Brother in Driver's Seat

DEAR ABBY: My brother just turned 16 and is learning to drive. He has already run over a chipmunk, a garbage can and our fence.

Yesterday, my father asked my brother to drive home in our brand-new van. My mom and I were terrified. I started yelling, "I'm too young to die!" My mother told him to pull over because she was afraid she was going to "hurl."

Abby, what should I do the next time I have to be in a car he is driving? Help me! -- GOING BANANAS BECAUSE OF BRO

DEAR GOING BANANAS: You should never get into a vehicle with anyone -- your brother included -- unless you are certain the person is a safe driver. And your brother should not be behind the wheel unless he is accompanied by an adult who can supervise his driving.

It appears your brother still has a lot to learn -- and he may need some additional lessons from an accredited driving instructor.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 38-year-old white-collar professional who works in a stressful and demanding position. I cherish my time off (nights, weekends and holidays). I need to unwind and rejuvenate myself.

The problem: my mother. She also leads a hectic life filled with ongoing responsibilities, which include running her own business in addition to managing several apartment buildings she owns.

Whenever there is a problem with one of her rentals, she complains about everything she has to take care of. Then she'll ask me to help her out fixing plumbing, changing locks, etc.

Abby, my mother nets in excess of $250,000 per year. I have offered to find a handyman to assist her, but she gets upset and says, "It costs too much to hire someone."

Mom tries to make me feel guilty by telling me that the day will come when I'll inherit everything she has. What should I do to keep the peace? -- OVERWHELMED IN ORLANDO

DEAR OVERWHELMED: Your peace of mind is more important than "keeping the peace." Tell your mother that with all of her responsibilities, she needs a handyman -- and if that means you inherit less, so be it. Then offer again to help her find one.

DEAR ABBY: Please help me. I am scared about my feelings. I am 32, married and emotionally and physically attracted to my 18-year-old cousin, "Peter." He has been vacationing in our home this summer. Since he's been here we have had wonderful conversations -- he hasn't left my side. The truth is, Peter makes me feel wanted, loved and happy.

Abby, please explain what I am going through. I've been so caught up with Peter that I have neglected my husband. Is this an early midlife crisis? -- TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT

DEAR TOO CLOSE: No. You are getting admiration, compliments and validation from someone who is idealistic, enthusiastic and youthful. That can be a pretty heady cocktail for someone who is thirsty.

Ask yourself why you are vulnerable, and you'll have the answer to your question. You and your husband would benefit from marriage counseling. It will give you both an opportunity to explore your feelings. Call today for a referral from your physician.

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-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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