DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Ralph,” has one sister, “Dawn,” and one brother, “Curt.” Their parents died six years ago, within months of each other.

Ever since, Dawn has once a year mentioned buying a headstone for their parents. I’m all for it, but Dawn is determined to spend a bundle on it, and she expects her brothers to help foot the bill. She recently told me she had put $2,000 aside to pay for it.

Recently Dawn called to announce that she had gone ahead, selected the design, written the epitaph and ordered the headstone. Now she expects Curt and Ralph to pay “their share” back to her. She said she went ahead and ordered it on her own because she has been feeling guilty all these years that her parents didn’t have one.

I feel that since Dawn did this all by herself, her brothers shouldn’t have to pay her anything. I know that if Curt and Ralph don’t pay her back, they’ll never hear the end of it, and neither will I. What should I do about this? – ANNOYED IN INDIANA

DEAR ANNOYED: Nothing. If you’re smart, you will keep your mouth shut and stay out of it. This should be settled by the “children” alone. Trust me.

DEAR ABBY: I am 13 and in the eighth grade. I have always had trouble sleeping. Every night it takes me an hour to fall asleep, and lately I haven’t been able to sleep at all. I have started taking pills that make me drowsy so I can get some sleep.

My mom doesn’t know about the pills. I’m scared to keep on doing this. I have told my mom about my sleep problem, and she tells me to read. She won’t take me to the doctor because she thinks my problem is normal. Abby, this isn’t normal. What can I do? – SLEEPLESS IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR SLEEPLESS: You are too young to be depending on sleep aids to help you rest. Please clip this item and give it to your mother. You should be evaluated by a sleep disorder specialist; your physician can refer you.

At your age, you should be getting at least eight hours of sleep a night to do your best in school. Whether you are really up the entire night or not, I am concerned about the quality of the sleep you’re getting. I hope your mother will change her mind. If she doesn’t, ask a trusted teacher at school or the mother of one of your friends to intercede with her on your behalf.



DEAR ABBY: Our office is small. There are only four of us, but “Chloe” is considered the office manager.

Abby, Chloe does nothing all day long but interrogate the three of us about our personal lives, and as soon as she finds out anything, she goes back into her office and calls her friends and relatives to tell them what she has found out. We feel obligated to answer her questions out of fear for our jobs.

What can I do or say to discourage her from asking this stuff? It’s really getting bad, and even though I love my job, I’m almost to the point of quitting to get away from her constant prying. – TIRED OF PRYING SNOOPS IN KANSAS

DEAR TIRED: I can think of a couple of ways to handle it. The first is, when Chloe starts asking personal questions, smile and tell her you have too much work to do to chat about personal matters. Then go back to what you were doing.

Alternatively, poll your co-workers and ask if they’re as offended as you by her questions. If the answer is yes, the three of you should write a letter to your boss asking that he or she “counsel” the office manager to keep questions limited to business. The letter should be signed by all of you.



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, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby – Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)


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