Dear Abby: While housesitting, Grandma hosts parties and moves our stuff

The woman’s daughter-in-law dreads coming home from vacation and finding the family’s property rearranged.

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DEAR ABBY: Whenever my husband, kids and I go away, my mother-in-law insists on staying at our house. She then rearranges the rooms in my house, moving things to where she thinks they should be. She also manages to leave behind her toiletries in the bathroom.

More than once she has thrown a party for her friends during our absence. It drives me crazy. Going on vacation stresses me out because I have no idea what I’m going to come home to. When my husband tells her I don’t like when she rearranges things, she gets defensive and cries about how she “can’t understand why I hate her.” I don’t hate her; I just wish she would respect my boundaries in my house. — INVADED IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR INVADED: The next time your MIL insists on housesitting while you are on holiday, say you have made other arrangements and do not waver. (If necessary, change the locks.)

DEAR ABBY: My husband had a stroke five years ago. I’ve been taking care of him ever since. I recently found out that he cheated on me. I want to get him into a VA home. What form would I need? I’m hoping to avoid a messy divorce. I’m fine if we stay married but no longer live together. He accuses me of “not doing anything.” Our house is paid for and we have no debts. Our daughters are grown and live elsewhere. Should I contact an attorney? — WANTS OUT IN THE SOUTH

DEAR WANTS OUT: By all means, contact an attorney. You have a responsibility for your husband’s welfare. Abandoning him to a VA home may not be the best solution for HIM, even though it may seem like a convenient one for you. Do nothing in anger. Before making any plans, you might want to discuss this with your daughters, who may be able to suggest alternative solutions to the one you are considering, such as hiring a part-time caregiver for your husband.

DEAR ABBY: Long ago, my parents purchased a large burial plot for our entire family, including spouses if we have them. My spouse isn’t eligible because he doesn’t fit the cemetery’s religious requirement. My parents and I also don’t see eye to eye on politics.

Our relationship has greatly diminished over the last few years — so much so that I no longer want to spend eternity next to them when my time comes. Part of me says let it be, but they seem to relish the idea that we will “all be together,” when in reality, I do not. I’d like to be cremated, which also goes against religious beliefs. Thoughts? — BAD SON IN VIRGINIA

DEAR SON: I think it’s your body, your choice. Because most parents die before their children, the odds of your folks being buried before you are great. In the meantime, since their fantasy of one big happy family plot is something they relish, be kind and don’t ruin it for them.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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