Q: My beloved father passed away three years ago. One of my older sisters moved in with Mom to help take care of her and be her companion. My sister has a boyfriend my father absolutely disliked, and the rest of our family doesn’t like him either.
My issue (and I’m not the only family member who feels this way) is that when her boyfriend is at the house, he sits in Dad’s chair. It’s hard enough not seeing Dad there anymore, but seeing the boyfriend sitting there is offensive. Am I wrong for feeling this way? If there is a way, how could I or my family approach the subject with my sister or her boyfriend? — Daddy’s Gone Now
A: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your obviously much-loved father. But the boyfriend may be using Dad’s chair because no one else is using it, and it is comfortable and available.
As I see it, you and your other siblings have two choices: Either speak to the boyfriend and tell him nicely that seeing him occupy your father’s special chair is painful for all of you, or replace the chair with one that has less sentimental value.
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Q: Some time ago I was descending an escalator when a suitcase belonging to the woman ahead of me got stuck. She had put the bag in front of her, and the wheels had caught on one of the steps. When she reached the bottom of the escalator, she fell over her suitcase, and then I fell over her. I scrambled on my hands and knees as fast as I could to get out of the way of the dozens of people behind us, visualizing a pileup and injuries.
Fortunately, an attendant quickly grabbed the suitcase, and no one was hurt. As he did he said, “NEVER put a suitcase ahead of you on an escalator! Always carry it behind you so you can control it!” I hope this letter will save others from what could be a dangerous situation. — Avoided a Pileup in New Jersey
A: Whoa! So do I. Thank you for the warning.
Q: Recently my wife was out for some training all day on a Saturday. Our 11-year-old daughter had been invited to a birthday party on the same day, so I was to drop her off. My wife and daughter told me the birthday party “might or might not” be a sleepover party. My daughter would inform me at the end of the party if she were spending the night.
I wanted to know at the time I dropped her off whether she was going to be sleeping over. My wife claimed I “didn’t need” to know. She accused me of being unreasonable and said it was OK for me to find out at the end of the party. I don’t mean to be picky, but as a dad was I being unreasonable? — Responsible Parent in Oregon
A: No. As the parent responsible for your daughter that day, you had every right to know what the plans would be so you could plan your own evening. When the invitation was issued, that information should have been conveyed so your daughter would be prepared and take along her pajamas and toothbrush.
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