DEAR ABBY: Our family went away for a two-week vacation. One of my co-workers suggested I hire her daughter to stay in our home and take care of our pets and plants in our absence. The daughter is 20 years old and a student. We agreed upon a generous payment and paid her as soon as we got home.
Everything was fine, except our stockpile of Costco items (granola bars and juice boxes) out in the garage was nearly depleted. When I asked her about it, she texted me back almost in a joking way that she had helped herself and meant to replenish the supply, but it had slipped her mind. She had also "borrowed" a couple of items from our home she forgot to return (blow-dryer, a game and our wine glasses), but returned them once it was brought to her attention.
I was happy just to come home to my plants and animals being alive and our house in one piece. My husband, on the other hand, was not. He suggested I inform my co-worker that I won't be hiring her daughter again because she was very unprofessional. What is your opinion on the matter? — HOUSE-SITTING IN THE EAST
DEAR HOUSE-SITTING: I agree with your husband. Although the daughter isn't a professional house-sitter, she should not have taken items from your home without permission or without informing you about what she had "borrowed." And if she was not given permission to help herself to the goodies in your garage, she should have left them where they were or offered to compensate you for them upon your return. I suppose the omission could be chalked up to immaturity, but I do think it should be mentioned.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating this guy for 2 1/2 years. We started dating when he was separated and in the process of getting divorced. My friends and family have met him, but he has introduced me only to his friends. He didn't want me to meet his family until now. (I don't know why.) He has a 3-year-old daughter.
One day I sent him an article about "your kids shouldn't be the most important." Well, he became upset because he thought I was trying to separate him and his daughter. I tried to explain that the article says you should love yourself first, but he still misunderstood me. I told him I'm tired of him doubting us and my love. He isn't sure if we are going to get married in two years.
What should I do? I want this relationship to work, but at the same time I feel like he is dragging me nowhere. — VERY INSECURE IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR VERY INSECURE: You say that although you have met this man's friends, you still have yet to meet any members of his family. Why not? After 2 1/2 years, this is a red flag. That after all this time he says he isn't sure he wants to marry you is an even bigger one.
Put your cards on the table with him as you have with me, and tell him you think it would be better for both of you to start seeing others because even after 2 1/2 years he still isn't ready for a commitment and you are.
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.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)