We are good friends with our neighbors the "Smiths." Our oldest son is their youngest son's best friend. The problem is their oldest son, "Joey." Tonight we came home to find that Joey had broken into our garage and stolen the liquor we had stored there. When Mr. and Mrs. Smith confronted him, he took off.
This is not the first time Joey has vandalized our home or stolen from us, and we are fed up. It would be sad to sacrifice our relationship with his parents, but we don't know what else to do.
Should we press charges? Or would that open a whole new can of worms with Joey? Do you think he might take his anger out on our kids? I don't know what's best. Part of me wants to throw the book at him; part of me is afraid of the repercussions. What would you do?
Had Enough in Minnesota
I'd make my decision based on the number of times Joey had acted out. Since this is not the first time he has vandalized your home or stolen from you, I'd put the Smiths on notice that if anything further happens, the police will be involved. Their son is in serious need of counseling and possibly drug rehabilitation. Also, he needs to learn that there are serious consequences for his actions. If he threatens your children, it may be necessary to get a restraining order.
My husband, "Roger," has some unusual hobbies that I don't know how to handle. He owns more than 24 cars. None of them run; they just sit and rot. He buys old airplanes, although he doesn't know how to fly -- and they, too, sit rusting away. He also collects cardboard boxes and anything in bulk. A few months ago, he bought 23 16-by-20 picture frames simply because they were on sale.
Roger ignores me. Unless I initiate a conversation, he does not talk. He won't talk to anyone; he just sits and reads.
With the promise of a new home as bait, he moved us out of state into a trailer park. But all our money has been spent on old vehicles.
Abby, my husband comes from a nice, well-to-do family. Roger has a college education and works for a large company, but sometimes I think he would like to be a hermit. What can I do?
Living Like a Hermit in California
Talk to an attorney who specializes in family law and find out what your rights as a wife are in the state of California. Your husband appears to be eccentric by conventional standards, and possibly should be evaluated. If he won't consent to the evaluation, then please discuss it with his "nice, well-to-do family." But don't be surprised if they are already aware of it. These quirks have been known to run in families.
Prom season is upon us. Thousands of beautiful gowns and handsome tuxes will be bought or rented.
Please suggest to your young readers that they can get more mileage out of those beautiful outfits by planning and presenting a fashion show or a tea for a local retirement home. Seniors in these facilities would love to see the girls in their gowns and the young men in their tuxes. This will not only bring back memories for the seniors, but will bring the "outside" and "inside" communities together in a way that will bring joy to young and old alike.
Pat Bridges, Topeka, Kan.
What a delightful idea for a school club project. All it would take is someone with the willingness and skill to coordinate the event, and I'm sure the "models" would enjoy strutting their stuff. Perhaps the parents could split the cost of the tea, cookies or cake.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate