DEAR ABBY: My father absolutely refuses to turn off the ignition when fueling his car, despite the warning signs at the pump. How can I convince him to stop endangering himself and my mother? -- WORRIED DOWN SOUTH
DEAR WORRIED: Motorists are instructed to "Stop Motor" while refueling for good reason. Gasoline is highly flammable. However, it is not actually the liquid that burns. Even at temperatures as low as 45 degrees, gasoline gives off vapor.
It is the vapors that ignite. Gasoline vapor is heavier than air, so when it ignites, it does so at ground level. All it takes to create a violent explosion is fuel vapors, enough oxygen and a source of ignition. A spark from a cigarette, a hot exhaust pipe, faulty wiring, static electricity or the vapor reaching an open flame -- all can cause gasoline vapors to explode.
Please show this item to your father. Perhaps it will convince him to be more safety conscious. If there is an attendant at the gas station your father frequents, frankly, I am shocked that the person hasn't insisted your father turn off the engine.
DEAR ABBY: My husband loves to cook and he's very good at it. Every night when I get home from work, he greets me with a huge meal. Problem is, I feel obligated to eat it even when I'm not the least bit hungry. Every morning, he asks me what I want for dinner. I prefer my main meal at noon and a very light meal -- or none at all -- at the end of the day.
How can I get him to stop cooking for me without hurting his feelings? I know he does it because he loves me, but I feel I am being forced to eat food I really don't want. -- STUFFED IN SAN ANTONIO
DEAR STUFFED: I presume you're a new bride, because otherwise you would have already learned how to communicate openly with your husband while still being tactful. Try this:
"Honey, you're killing me with kindness. If I keep eating like this, I'll have to invest in an entire new wardrobe. My metabolism works better if I have my main meal at noon and very little -- if anything -- in the evening, so please help me by not making these large dinners because they're too tempting to resist."
P.S. If cooking is his creative outlet, why not suggest he go all out once a week and invite another couple?
DEAR ABBY: My daughter recently became engaged to a wonderful young man. I have looked forward to planning her wedding for years. She always said she wanted to be married in our hometown, but now she says they want to get married near where he lives, which is four hours from where I live.
I feel she has been persuaded to do this. I'm paying for the wedding and work full-time, and I'm really stressing about planning the dream wedding she wants from far away. Weddings are usually in the bride's hometown for obvious reasons, but I'm concerned her mind was changed by his family for their convenience. What do I do? -- JUST THE BRIDE'S MOM
DEAR JUST: Have a frank talk with your daughter and ask why she changed her mind. Tell her that you have dreamed of planning her wedding for years, but the change of venue is causing stress for you.
Then ask if she would prefer you just give her a check for the amount you can afford, and whether it would be more practical for her to do the planning herself.
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.)