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by Abigail Van Buren

House Sitting Husband Turns Home Into Hotel

DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother and have taught school for 20 years. Two months ago, I began a sabbatical out of state and took my teenage daughter with me. Prior to leaving, a good friend, "Marjorie," accepted a job transfer that required her to move out of state as well. Marjorie suggested that since her husband wasn't ready to leave town due to some personal business, he would be the perfect candidate to house-sit for me. It seemed like a good arrangement.

Within a few weeks, former neighbors started calling and telling me that Marjorie's husband was having women stay overnight at my house. I have since learned that Marjorie had asked a mutual friend to keep an eye on her husband to find out if he's cheating. Our friend refused, but confided to me that it's as plain as day the guy IS cheating and everyone in town knows it.

We don't want to hurt Marjorie -- nor do we want her husband to humiliate her. Should we tell Marjorie what's going on or let her find out on her own? -- UNSURE IN MESA, ARIZ.

DEAR UNSURE: Tell her what the neighbors told you. Marjorie already has suspicions, so it won't be a shock. And get her husband out of your house. The last thing you need is strangers walking through and possibly helping themselves to your possessions.

DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old girl in high school. Recently I was required to make a presentation in my science class. Naturally, I wanted to look my best. That morning I selected a denim skirt and black shirt -- neither of which was too short or low-cut. Black nylons and chunky-heeled black shoes completed my ensemble. I headed off to school feeling confident about my appearance.

The minute I arrived on campus, I realized I had made a severe miscalculation. It was as though I had broken some unspoken, but well-known, rule. Kids looked me up and down and stared at my legs. One astonished girl gasped, "Oh, my god! She's wearing black stockings!"

Abby, I am a reasonably conservative person. I have never worn anything outrageous and would never intentionally go to school wearing something risque or improper. I still think the black pantyhose were appropriate for my outfit. Could you shed some light on this? -- DAZED AND CONFUSED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DAZED AND CONFUSED: Perhaps your classmates were surprised to see you "dressed up." If you had violated a dress code, I'm sure you would have been told about it by a teacher or the principal. From what you have described, your outfit was appropriate for the occasion.

DEAR ABBY: I have a precious 6-year-old niece on the East Coast whose father just died. I have been searching for a sympathy card designed for a child, but have found nothing. "Thinking of you" cards don't seem quite right. How best can I let this little girl know how sorry I am for her loss? -- CONCERNED AUNT IN COLORADO

DEAR CONCERNED AUNT: Buy a pretty blank card and write a short note of sympathy to your niece, in lettering she can easily read. Tell her how much you love her, that you're thinking of her, and how sad you are for her loss.

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