DEAR ABBY: My four girls and I recently moved from Texas to Florida to help out my in-laws. My husband, "Jeff," made a big deal about not wanting to move without a job, so he stayed behind.
Now I feel like a single parent, and even though I hide it from my daughters, I am depressed. I haven't been able to find work, and Jeff says he doesn't want to come here for several more months.
My husband and I have been together 14 years, and this is tearing me up inside. He seems to be treating this issue as a joke. I suspect he likes not having the responsibility of a wife and kids. Our youngest is 6 months old and she's growing up without her daddy! Please help me figure this out. -- LONELY AND DEPRESSED
DEAR LONELY: How long has this been going on? Three weeks? Three months? Tell your husband that because you can no longer tolerate being separated, you are moving back to Texas. Be sure to mention that the responsibility of helping his parents should not be yours alone. Your concerns about your baby girl are valid. She should be bonding with both her parents right now -- and the separation may make it more difficult for her.
DEAR ABBY: Last February we lost my 14-year-old niece to suicide. Needless to say, it has been very hard on the family, especially her father, who is my brother. The two of them were inseparable.
Her mother has been playing the "perfect mother" card since then, even though all they did was fight. Her latest move has the entire family appalled. "Mom" is planning a birthday party for my niece, with a DJ and everything, even though she never had one for her while she was alive.
We are all worried about my brother's state of emotional well being and how he will respond once he finds out. How do I approach her with my concerns and put a stop to the party? -- APPALLED AUNT IN THE EAST
DEAR APPALLED: You shouldn't and you can't. Have a talk with your brother about this and suggest grief counseling for himself and his wife if they haven't already had any. The poor woman may be planning to have the party out of guilt because she didn't host one while her daughter was alive, or because her relationship with the girl wasn't a good one. She may also be unable to accept that her child is gone and not thinking rationally. What a sad situation.
DEAR ABBY: My wife cleans our hand-held vacuum in the kitchen sink. I think this particular appliance is probably the dirtiest one in the house and should be cleaned outside, not in the kitchen sink where food is prepared. She says she cleans the sink thoroughly afterward. I'm grossed out by the whole thing. What do you think? -- PEEVED UP NORTH
DEAR PEEVED: I think you're grossed out by the idea that your hand-held vacuum is the dirtiest appliance in the house, but please calm yourself. People wash all kinds of things in the kitchen sink -- children, pet dishes, the soles of shoes. As long as your wife cleans and sanitizes the sink afterward, you should be safe.
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