Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

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.

DEAR ABBY: In celebration of Father's Day, I would like to share with you a poem my daughter wrote as a tribute to her daddy years ago. It meant the world to him, and to honor his memory I offer it to you and your readers. -- MARION LENZEN, AURORA, ILL.

DEAR MARION: I am pleased you did. I'm sure it will strike a familar note with many readers.


By Eileen Votava

He couldn't buy the roses

I saw in the vendor's cart.

But he showed me how

To plant the seeds and cut the blooms.

And together we'd tend

The garden from his heart.

He couldn't show me the way

To slide downhill on my sled.

But the tales of horsedrawn

Sleighs from his youth filled my hours.

Richer was I than my friends,

As down the hill they sped.

He couldn't take me places

Filled with intrigue and mystique.

But he promised to take me

Fishing on the banks of a quiet stream.

No doubt we would go;

His promises he'd always keep.

He never promised dreams and schemes;

That life would be always fair.

But he pledged me his support;

Even when I made mistakes.

And when I needed him most,

He was always there.


For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600