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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Redecorating Scheme Catches Couple by Surprise

DEAR ABBY: I am 24 and recently married "Teddy," the most wonderful man in the world. Our problems began when we were on our honeymoon. We made the mistake of giving his mother, "Janice," an extra key to our home -- "in case of emergency."

When Teddy and I returned home, she had completely redecorated our living room. Janice had removed our beautiful wallpaper and painted the walls and molding several shades of green. She also made curtains and pillows to match. I have never been fond of green, but now it's everywhere -- including paint splatters on our newly refinished hardwood floors.

Abby, I feel violated! I do not want to hurt Janice's feelings, but I need to let her know that although we appreciate her efforts, she is never to do this again.

We will be leaving on vacation in the fall, and I think Janice has her eyes on our bedroom. What should I do? -- PREFERS BEIGE IN BALTIMORE

DEAR PREFERS BEIGE: You and Teddy must talk to his mother together. She may have meant well, but your use of the word "violated" really sums it up. Your mother-in-law's actions were presumptuous and insulting. If I were you, I'd either change the locks or get that key back.

You have your work cut out for you. Your mother-in-law has no concept of boundaries. If you do not draw the line now, you'll never have a home or color scheme to call your own.