DEAR ABBY: I am an 83 year old mother of four. I have been living with my second husband for 21 years now. Nineteen years ago, my husband loaned one of my daughters and her husband a large sum of money so that they could buy a house and pay the bills and judgments. All the paperwork needed for the loan was signed at closing in the presence of a lawyer, and it was agreed that they would pay us back a certain amount each month.
After a few years of mostly regular repayments, payments declined, although they continued to purchase electronics and other big ticket items. Several years have passed now, and a few checks and cash payments have arrived, but only after a lot of begging.
Our lawyer sent them a letter a few years ago telling them to pay or sue them. As a result, they did not see or speak to us for a few years. We REALLY need the money now. Maybe she hopes we die.
What do you suggest we do at this point? Her brother and sisters don’t want to get involved.
– LOVE, GIVE MOM
DEAR MOM: I am really sorry. But because your other children refuse to get involved in convincing your dishonest daughter and her husband to pay what they owe you, you have no choice but to contact the lawyer who drafted the loan agreement and ask him to go all the way.
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DEAR ABBY: My husband retired four years ago. At first he seemed to enjoy not having to go to work. Then he got bored and needed something to do. For some reason he bought an old Corvette to restore. I was supportive until I found out that it is an expensive hobby. Finding and buying all the spare parts costs money.
He has been working on this car for 3 and a half years now. As soon as he prepares it to drive, something else breaks. During this time, he bought four more old Corvettes “to work”. Our backyard looks like a junkyard.
We haven’t had a vacation trip since he retired, not even a weekend in the mountains. He says we can’t afford it, but he is spending thousands of dollars on those old cars. It has become an obsession for him, and it “drives” ME crazy.
– THE WIDOW OF CORVETTE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR WIDOW: Healthy couples discuss big purchases before they make them. What your husband does is destroying your relationship. It almost seems like he’s using his hobby to avoid spending time with you. My suggestion is that you and your husband find the money to see a marriage counselor because what is going on is unfair to you. And if you need a vacation, consider taking one alone or with a friend.
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DEAR ABBY: I will soon be 50 years old. How do I explain to my husband and parents that I just want to spend it alone? Is there something wrong with me feeling this way?
– BIRTHDAY WISH IN IOWA
DEAR BIRTHDAY WISH: People react to their birthdays differently, especially to milestone anniversaries. Some are elated, while others feel depressed. Not everyone wants a lot of “hoopla”. If you prefer to spend your 50th birthday quietly, your wish should be respected and you shouldn’t have to explain to yourself at length why.