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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Is Held Hostage When Stepsister Comes to Stay

DEAR ABBY: When my stepsister, "Skye," stays here every other weekend, I not only have to share my room with her, but I'm also expected to spend all my time with her. We're both 15. I have nothing against her, but she's not someone I would choose as a friend.

It's a small room for two people. It means I can't have friends over every other weekend, and I'm also not allowed to spend the night at a friend's or do anything with them without taking her along. She's usually not invited, so I'm stuck staying home with her.

Abby, Skye is supposed to be here visiting her father (my stepfather), but he's usually out playing golf or fishing, and I have to be home with her and feel like I'm her baby sitter. Please tell me what you think. -- FED UP IN EUGENE, ORE.

DEAR FED UP: I'm glad you asked. This is something you should discuss with your mother. But please consider that as uncomfortable as this is for you, imagine how your stepsister must feel. Skye is stuck every other weekend in a small room with someone who resents her because she'd rather entertain her friends. Add to that the fact that Skye has a father who shows no interest in spending special time with her, and would rather be with his buddies or alone amusing himself with his hobbies.

Frankly, I feel sorry for both you and your stepsister. You're being treated like her unpaid baby sitter, and she's no baby. And she is being treated like a burden to everyone.

DEAR ABBY: I recently received a wedding invitation from my cousin, who is marrying a woman with two children from a previous marriage. Photos of all of them were included in the invitation.

In addition to the typical registry items (housewares, kitchen gadgets, etc.), I was surprised to see a number of items for the children, including bedding, games, toys and clothing. Is this typical for couples with children who marry, or is this an abuse of the registry? -- PERPLEXED IN UTAH

DEAR PERPLEXED: An abuse of the registry? When a couple is being married, they register for items they think they will need as they start life together. Loving friends and family try to give them what they request, to the extent they are financially able to do so. Your cousin and his bride-to-be may prefer new items for the children to yet another coffee pot, toaster or piece of china. If that offends you, give them something else. The registry is a guideline; it's not cast in stone.

DEAR ABBY: Once a week I meet with three friends at a coffee shop/restaurant. We sit for at least an hour chatting and catching up about our families. I'm the only one in the group who orders anything, and it's usually just a beverage. It makes me uncomfortable that no one else orders and we take up the table for an hour. This has gone on for a while, and I have not found a way to say anything. Can you help? -- FRIEND IN SACRAMENTO

DEAR FRIEND: If the owner or manager of the place objected to the fact that you are taking up the table, something would have been said by now, or a notice would have been printed stating that customers must place a minimum order per person. However, because you feel awkward being the only person having something, tell your friends how you feel and that you'd feel more comfortable if they ordered something, too.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)