DEAR ABBY: When our neighbors with five small children moved in next door, my husband offered them our barbecue grill to use, because they were trying to cook on one that was too small.
Since that day, the wife has come over no less than twice a day to borrow something -- but she never returns the items. She'll ring the doorbell, waking up the baby and disturbing me when I'm finally getting a break.
Yesterday, this neighbor asked if she could borrow some diet soda because her husband didn't want to drink what they had at their house. (Yes, they have a car to go to the store themselves.)
I have given this woman everything from plastic zip-lock bags to milk for her two youngest who are still bottle-fed -- as well as lending out my dog carrier, which our dog needs.
She also comes over to use my phone for what she says is "only a minute" -- then calls her husband at work just to chat. Lately, I've been telling her I'm out of whatever she asks for, but she's always quick to ask for something else.
Last night I didn't answer the door when I saw her standing there. I feel like I'm literally hiding in my own house. How can I put an end to this? -- HIDING BEHIND THE BLINDS IN NAPLES, FLA.
DEAR HIDING: Your neighbor has taken advantage of your and your husband's kindness. Tell this freeloader the store is closed -- and you are busy. And to please not call when the baby is napping because it's disruptive. Period. If you don't stop her now, her behavior will escalate.