Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I just came home from a trip in Europe where I met a wonderful man. We had one perfect month together. He wants me to return to his country and live with him, but I don't know him all that well that I could just give up my job. He might be the love of my life though. What else can I do? -- Missing Him Terribly, Winnipeg
Dear Missing: Make sure he isn't just thinking you should be the one to give up everything. Invite him over here and see how things go. If you're more in love than ever and he fits well on this side of the ocean, then go see him in Europe again and meet his family and friends. Only then can you start to make any decisions about getting together under one roof. It's smart to have trial periods when one of you might be giving up everything to live far away from family.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Maybe Upset Mom's missing liquor bottle is just a harmless steal for a party, like watering-down-the-booze tricks we all pulled as kids. But, maybe one of the kids has an alcohol problem that's escalating and needs to be looked at. Some years back, I was employed in a family-owned restaurant and had access to the till -- as did both a son and daughter. Forty dollars at a time began to go missing and I was accused more than once, and finally told the boss who said he would take the money off my cheque if any more went missing. I walked out. I heard later there was "some trouble with his kids --- drug problems." I had figured that out before I left, but my poor boss refused to even consider what was really going on. It cost him a great deal, I'm told. -- Concerned , St. James
Dear Concerned: A chat with the kids, while watching their faces closely, is a good move along with locking the liquor in a cabinet. And don't sleep through the evidence of drug or alcohol abuse! An occasional waiting up for your kids, and a room search is a good idea, especially if they might be coming home drunk or high. One dad told he didn't search his daughter's room until she ran off with her boyfriend and he found evidence of drug and alcohol use. He said they had been trusting parents who said to the kids they respected their privacy and would never look in their rooms. That's what a buddy says, not a parent! The parents motto should be, "We stand on guard for thee." Active guard, that is.