DEAR ABBY: My husband, son and I live next door to my in-laws. My mother-in-law, "Hazel," has a set of keys to our house for emergency purposes. For some time she has been using the key to come and go as she pleases, "borrowing" food, dishes and toiletries when we're not home. When we discover the items missing, she usually confesses.
I am really irritated about it and have frequent fights with my husband over this and other privacy issues. How can I talk to Hazel in a way that won't hurt her feelings? She is very sensitive, and I don't know how to confront her since my husband refuses to do so. -- MISSING MY PRIVACY IN SAN JOSE, CALIF.
DEAR MISSING: Try this: Take your mother-in-law to lunch and over a nice, leisurely meal say (slowly and quietly), "Hazel, honey, I have a problem I need your help with. (Breathe.) When you come into the house and take things without asking, it makes me feel violated. (Pause.) Do you think you could please refrain from doing that anymore? (Smile.) I'd really appreciate it."
And if any more items turn up missing, quietly change the locks.