DEAR ABBY: My parents and sister live three hours away, so my family stays with me when they come to town. Over the last few years, I noticed things began to disappear from my home. They are usually small and portable -- earrings, in particular.
The idea of someone stealing from me was very upsetting. When I mentioned it to my sister, she suggested that it could be our housekeeper.
After my wedding band vanished, I had a security camera installed. A few months later, two more pairs of earrings went MIA, so I had the surveillance company review the tapes. It turns out the thief is my sister!
The idea that she has gone through my things and helped herself with no remorse after I opened my home to her disgusts me. When I confronted her, she denied it. She later told my mother that she did take the earrings, but didn't know why I wanted them "because they were so ugly."
Christmas is coming and I can no longer welcome her to my home. Why would she do this to me? -- TRUSTED MY SISTER IN RALEIGH, N.C.
DEAR TRUSTED: Not knowing your sister, I can't say for certain why she would steal from you. She may have kleptomania and be unable to control her impulses. Or, she may resent you for what she perceives you have that she doesn't (a happy life, lovely home, etc.) and has been taking the items to "even things up."
While I don't blame you for being upset, please understand that whatever her reason, she's a troubled woman who needs help. Unless you lock up anything of value, she should not be in your home.
DEAR ABBY: We are part of a group of couples who meet monthly at one another's homes to play cards. We usually play in the evening from 7 to 11 with the hosting couple providing light refreshments and dessert. Many years ago, one couple designated December as "their" month to celebrate New Year's Eve. We start earlier with a meal and end after midnight.
The issue is that it has lost its appeal. Many of us would prefer not to be out on that particular night. How do we, as a group, let them know we no longer want to have game night on New Year's Eve without hurting their feelings? They tend to be a sensitive couple. -- PARTIED OUT IN OREGON
DEAR PARTIED OUT: Unless one of you is willing to be the messenger and speak for the rest of you, you should tell this couple as a group -- well before the end of the year -- that you would prefer not to be out on a night when many of the drivers on the road have been drinking. It's a valid reason.
While the New Year's Eve card game may have become a tradition, times change, and as people mature they tend to make more mature decisions. The one you're making ranks high among them.
P.S. There should be no hurt feelings if you suggest that the card game take place at some other time.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 58-year-old male. My wife divorced me last year after 33 years of marriage. Must I wait the recommended seven years before dating? I heard I must wait one year for every five I was married. -- READY OR NOT IN MICHIGAN
DEAR READY OR NOT: I wonder where you heard that! The answer is no. At 58, you had better start soon. You're not getting any younger.
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