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

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Mike," and I have been married for 18 years, but for the last few we have been growing apart. Mike has recently expressed a desire to quit work and sail around the world. He bought an expensive sailboat, took lessons, and is teaching our kids to sail. I tried it, but I'm afraid of the water. I have, however, been supportive of my husband's dream.

I knew Mike was looking for a "crew" for the boat because he couldn't sail with just the kids. Today he told me he has found someone. This crew consists of a married woman and her two kids. Mike invited her to crew after she first asked her husband. He did not ask ME first. He simply announced he had found a competent sailor.

I expressed vehemently that I am against this. I have never met the woman or her kids, and I'm hurt that I wasn't consulted. Mike says he is hurt because I "don't trust him."

By the way, the sailboat is only 37 feet long, and they're planning their first two-week trip this fall. What do you think? -- LANDLOCKED IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

DEAR LANDLOCKED: I think you should start taking sailing lessons immediately. For the sake of your marriage, I advise you to remember that YOU are first mate, so haul anchor and get moving. If you think you and Mike are drifting apart now, it will be nothing compared to when he starts living his dream and sets sail without you.

DEAR ABBY: My mother and I attended the funeral of my great-uncle "John." Afterward a reception luncheon was held for everyone who attended. The general atmosphere was like a family reunion, but under unfortunate circumstances.

Because it happened to be my cousin's 24th birthday, all of my aunts, uncles and cousins decided to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. I did not join in and later said something about it to my mother, who assured me that no one was being rude.

Abby, was it inappropriate to publicly celebrate the birth of one person while mourning the death of another? -- REFRAINED FROM THE CHORUS

DEAR REFRAINED: Some extended family get together only at weddings and funerals -- and you stated that the general atmosphere was like a "family reunion." If your great-uncle had been ill, it's possible that the family accepted that his death was a kind of release.

Funerals are for the living. Obviously the majority of your relatives wanted your cousin's birthday not to be forgotten. I respect that -- and so should you.

DEAR ABBY: It disgusts me to see dog owners take their dogs out for a walk on a leash for the sole purpose of letting them dirty someone else's lawn. To add insult to injury, my newspaper boy sometimes throws our paper on top of a heap of fresh delivery of these "jewels." This has continued even after my posting signs asking people not to walk their dogs on my property.

Is it too much to expect folks to be considerate of their neighbors and clean up after their pets? I'm sure I'm not alone with this annoying experience. -- DISGUSTED IN HOUSTON

DEAR DISGUSTED: You're not alone. The 11th Commandment should read: "It is the 'doo-ty' of conscientious pet owners to pick up after their dogs."

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 $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)