DEAR ABBY: I am an 83-year-old mother of four. I have been living with my second husband now for 21 years. Nineteen years ago, my husband loaned one of my daughters and her husband a large sum of money so they could buy a house and pay off bills and judgments. All the necessary paperwork for the loan was signed at the time of the closing with a lawyer present, and it was agreed they would pay us back a certain amount every month.
After a few years of mostly regular repayments, the payments dwindled, although they continued to buy expensive electronics and other items. Several years have passed now, and a few checks and cash payments have arrived, but only after much begging.
Our lawyer sent them a letter a few years ago telling them to pay up or we would sue them. It resulted in their not seeing or talking to us for a couple of years. We REALLY need the money now. Maybe she's hoping we will die. What do you suggest we do at this point? Her brother and sisters don't want to get involved. -- LOVING, GIVING MOM
DEAR MOM: I am truly sorry. But because your other children refuse to become involved in convincing your deadbeat daughter and her husband to pay what they owe you, you have no other choice but to contact the lawyer who drafted the loan agreement and instruct him to follow through.
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 it's an expensive hobby. Finding and buying all the replacement parts costs money.
He has been working on that car for 3 1/2 years now. As soon as he gets it ready to drive, something else breaks. Meanwhile, he has bought four more old Corvettes "to work on." Our backyard looks like a junkyard.
We haven't had a vacation trip since he retired, not even a weekend to the mountains. He argues that we can't afford it, but he spends thousands on those old cars. It has become an obsession for him, and it's "driving" ME crazy. Any suggestions? -- CORVETTE WIDOW IN THE SOUTH
DEAR WIDOW: Healthy couples discuss large purchases before making them. What your husband is doing is destructive to your relationship. It almost seems as though he is using his hobby as a way of avoiding spending time with you. My suggestion is that you and your husband find the money to consult a marriage counselor because what's going on is unfair to you. And if you need a vacation, consider taking one by yourself or with a friend.
DEAR ABBY: I will be turning 50 soon. How do I explain to my husband and parents that I just want to spend it alone? Is there something wrong with me for feeling this way? -- BIRTHDAY WISH IN IOWA
DEAR BIRTHDAY WISH: People react to their birthdays, especially milestone birthdays, differently. Some are elated, while others feel depressed. Not everyone wants a lot of "hoopla." If you prefer spending your 50th birthday quietly, your wish should be respected, and you should not have to go into a long explanation about why.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Read Dear Abby daily at rocketminer.com.