DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Ron," and I have been together for more than a year, and we now live together. His garage is full to overflowing with his ex-girlfriend's belongings. She apparently left him and all her stuff -- including her four cats -- to marry some guy she met online. She no longer lives in this country.
I'm fine with taking care of the cats; they are innocent and I love them. However, I want her stuff out of the garage. Ron thinks it's "the right thing to do" to keep it until she can arrange for it to be moved to her new place.
Abby, it has been a year and a half! She's not going to move this stuff. I want to donate it or trash it as appropriate, and I don't think legally we have any responsibility to tell her or ask her before we do. What do you think? -- WANTS IT GONE IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR WANTS IT GONE: It would be neither appropriate nor kind to do anything to Ron's ex-girlfriend's belongings without warning. Ron should contact her, inform her that he wants to use his garage for the purpose it is intended, and ask if she wants the items she left to be disposed of or put into storage at her expense. He should allow a reasonable time for her to respond before doing anything, and you should distance yourself from the process.
DEAR ABBY: I have a friend with one annoying habit. Whenever we have a party, she'll invite friends without asking first, or by saying, "I told them it was OK to come." It creates a problem because we plan our parties for a certain number of guests, and now there are two, three, sometimes even four more -- often on short notice.
I like her friends, but they are not close friends of mine. Sometimes I just would like to have an intimate gathering with four to six people.
At my last gathering she invited not only her friends but also their children. It went from an intimate brunch for six to a party of 12. We even had to set up a second table.
How can I get her to stop, short of not inviting her to any more of our parties? I feel stuck in a situation that no matter what I do, I'm going to P.O. somebody. Any suggestions? -- PARTY PLANNER IN GEORGIA
DEAR PARTY PLANNER: Your "friend" has a lot of nerve and no manners. She appears to be using you to entertain her other friends, which is not only rude, but also extremely presumptuous. She will continue treating you this way until you call a halt by telling her to cut it out because you don't like it. If she can't respect your wishes after that, see her only on a one-on-one basis.
DEAR ABBY: I know someone who receives Social Security for her disabled children. She uses that money to feed a slot machine. Those children could have so many opportunities if their money was used appropriately and it's going down the drain. What can I do about it? It saddens me. -- THINKING ABOUT THE KIDS
DEAR THINKING ABOUT THE KIDS: It appears the woman is addicted to gambling. What she's doing may "sadden" you, but as a taxpaying American it infuriates me because her children aren't getting the assistance that money is meant to provide. So please, pick up the phone, call the Department of Children's Services and clue them in to what's happening. I'm betting they'll be interested.
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