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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife's Meticulous Grooming Becomes Troubling Obsession

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I just bought our first home. It's in a very nice neighborhood, and the neighbors seem friendly. There's just one problem. My son, "Abner" -- who will soon be 3 -- goes to bed between 8 and 9 o'clock, and that's when our neighbor decides it's time to mow his grass. Getting Abner to sleep becomes difficult because the man mows right outside our son's window.

Initially, I didn't think it was a big deal because the first time he woke Abner up, my son had gone to bed at an unusually early time for him. But last night it happened when Abner went to bed later than his normal bedtime.

We have talked to our neighbors a few times in general. But since we're new to the neighborhood, I don't want to cause problems. I don't know the man's schedule, but would it be out of line to ask him to mow earlier in the evening? -- BEDTIME IN ILLINOIS

DEAR BEDTIME: Not at all. If you explain the problem, your neighbor may be willing to modify his mowing time. However, if he isn't, then look into the noise ordinances in your community because there may be rules about mowing after -- or before -- a certain hour.