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by Abigail Van Buren

Books Make Shorter Work of Long Hours in Hospital

DEAR ABBY: My father recently began treatment for cancer. He has radiation daily and chemo once a week. Mom and Dad spend many hours sitting in the hospital for these treatments.

Several families from church have asked what they can do to make my parents' lives easier at this time. I have asked that instead of offering to make meals (Mom and Dad are both on restricted diets), donating puzzle books, meditation books and crossword puzzles to be enjoyed at the hospital would be a better idea.

I also plan to assemble some "boredom-buster bags" for my parents each week, so they won't get antsy waiting around for the procedures to be finished. -- TRISHA IN MOORESVILLE, IND.

DEAR TRISHA: That's a terrific idea. However, if the church members would like to become more involved, ask them to consider saving their fashion, sports and political magazines and deliver them on a regular basis to the chemotherapy center. That way they will not only help your parents, but also other patients who are undergoing treatment there. I'm sure the donations would be greatly appreciated.

DEAR ABBY: I recently graduated from college, but aside from that, I can't seem to finish anything I start. I am a creative and talented designer, but because I no longer have deadlines, I don't see any of my projects through to completion.

I have tried giving myself personal deadlines to no avail, because I know there will be no consequences. Then I become angry and frustrated with myself, and the piles of uncompleted work get larger and larger. It seems like I am easily bored or stressed -- that's when I stop working. I long for a sense of accomplishment and pride in my abilities. Could I have a disorder? -- NEEDS HELP FINISHING TH ...

DEAR NEEDS HELP: Not unless being disorganized and not a self-starter is a disorder. Your inability to abide by personal deadlines will have serious "consequences" if you plan to have a career in design, because if you can't complete a project, you will have nothing to show potential clients. If you have nothing to show, you reduce the chances of being hired. So stop the self-indulgence and get moving!

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, my husband and I had beautiful wood floors installed in our home. My problem is my two sons, ages 20 and 21, who constantly track dirt through the house. I have asked many times that they please wipe their feet or remove their shoes. They do it only if I am in the living room and can see them when they walk in.

I would like to tack a sign on the front door that says, "Wipe your feet or remove your shoes before entering." My husband thinks it would be rude, but he's not the one who has to constantly clean the floor.

Would it be rude to put up a sign? Or must I just continue to sweep and mop daily? -- TIRED OF MOPPING IN DENHAM SPRINGS, LA.

DEAR TIRED OF MOPPING: If your sons are the only offenders, hanging a sign should not be necessary. In your absence your husband should enforce the rules. And if he doesn't, then HE should do the mopping.

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