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by Abigail Van Buren

Vacation Photos Reveal More Than Mother-in-Law Knows

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing to ask what's the classy way to handle a touchy situation. My mother-in-law lives with my husband and me because she's financially unable to live on her own. She sometimes goes away on trips and vacations with her church and "boyfriends."

About a month ago, I noticed several items of nice clothing and shoes had gone missing. I asked if anyone had seen them and got a negative reply. Well, I saw some pictures of my mother-in-law from a recent trip that someone had posted online, and she was wearing some of the missing items. She has since returned, but they haven't been returned.

I haven't confronted her about it yet, but I need to figure out how to get my things back without blowing my top. She does this frequently. They usually turn up after about six months, in places I know I didn't put them. How do I put a stop to this once and for all? Please help me! -- UPSET FASHIONISTA

DEAR UPSET: Show your mother-in-law the pictures you spotted and see how she reacts. You didn't mention whether she may be losing her memory and not remember she has taken things or if she's just light-fingered. The way to fix this would be to install a lock on your closet or bedroom door and use it. (You might also want to explore putting her name on a list for low-cost senior housing if any is available in your community.)

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