DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 16 years and have two teenagers. "Mom" died two years ago, and my husband is an only child. How can we tell my widowed father-in-law that we need a weekend to ourselves?
"Pop," who's 87, lives an hour away and drives to see us every weekend, staying until Monday afternoon. We don't doubt that he's lonely, although he does play bridge twice a week and has dinner with friends occasionally. We love him dearly and would never want to hurt his feelings, but we long for a weekend for "just us."
How do we ask Pop not to visit? We believe he's still in mourning over the loss of his wife of 60 years. We don't want to add to his heartache. -- TORN IN TEXAS
DEAR TORN: You do need to talk to your father-in-law and set some boundaries. Accomplish it by setting a predetermined visitation schedule that allows you time alone with your husband and nuclear family without him being present. A way to get that message across would be to say: "Pop, we love you, but we need some time to ourselves, so let's schedule your visits for twice a month. You pick the weekends."
DEAR ABBY: The neighbor above my apartment has a snoring problem. My bedroom is directly below his. Around 10 every night he starts snoring to the point that it sounds like an elephant lives above me. I have to sleep with my TV on and sometimes the radio.
Please tell me what to do. Should I confront this neighbor? Should I complain to management? Or should I just live with it? -- FED UP IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR FED UP: Write your neighbor a letter and explain to him there is a problem. He may not know that he snores. If he's snoring steadily, but stops for 20 or 30 seconds before starting again, it could indicate that he has a serious medical condition that should be discussed with his doctor.
If the apartment above you has poor insulation, a carpet under his bed could muffle some of the sound. Playing a tape of "white noise" could block it out more restfully than your television or radio. Or, because adequate sleep is so important, you could ask a real estate attorney about the possibility of breaking your lease and leaving without penalty.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 23-year-old woman who will graduate from college soon. I am looking to undergo a post-college makeover. I want to find some clothes that will work in the professional world, but also mix for more casual environments. Taking a recent college grad's budget for this into account, what signature pieces should a young female have in her wardrobe? And what tips do you have for building a great collection over time? -- YOUNG, BROKE, BUT FABULOUS
DEAR Y.B.F.: Start with two suits -- one with a jacket and matching skirt, the other with jacket and slacks. Make both suits interchangeable and in a neutral color -- black, navy or beige -- whatever looks best on you. Add a couple of blouses and sweater sets, several pairs of shoes and a good handbag. Make sure to look for "classic" styles rather than trendy, and you will have the basis for a business wardrobe and the beginning of a great collection.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)