Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Every time I get into my car, the passenger seat is tilted way back and slanted down like someone has taken a nap, or done something else. Everyone in my family uses my sports car, including my two sons, daughter and husband. Who could be using my car for something rude? I'm sure my husband is faithful, but who really knows these days? Why does anyone need my older car with the deep reclining seat? My sons are 19 and 20 and have girlfriends, but they are independent and have their own cars. My daughter is only 17 and I really hope she and her boyfriend are not engaged in sex at that age. How do I handle this without sounding like I don't trust my own family? -- Scared Mom
Dear Scared Mom: Stop being a "sorry" bus! You don't need to apologize for shocking behaviour in your own vehicle. You are Big Mama and someone is using your car as a bedroom on wheels. Get mad and stay mad, and get to the bottom of this.
Tomorrow morning put a sign up on the fridge that reads: "Someone has been borrowing my car for what appears to be inappropriate romantic purposes. As of now, I'm not lending my car to anyone. Turn in all copies of my keys immediately. I expect the guilty party to confess. Until then, everyone is guilty and I am furious."
Then see what happens. Report back with a week's reactions from all family members, including your husband. Take note of who appears innocent, who never brings it up or exits the minute the topic comes up. Who is in their bedroom, missing in action all week? Who is acting the wide-eyed innocent? Who points the finger at another?
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm already a golf widow. My husband has found places to practise, God knows where. I'm depressed just thinking about another lonely summer without him to do things with. I'm athletic too, but not a boring golfer. Can you help? -- Golf Widow Blues, St. Vital
Dear Golf Widow: There's no need to be a widow of any kind until he's pushing up daisies for real. The most obvious answer is to start taking golf lessons, but exciting alternatives would be learning to scuba dive or joining a baseball league, playing together or apart from your mate. No doubt you've had plenty of anti-golf fights already. One of my favourite mottos is "stop doing more of what doesn't work." In that spirit, seriously investigate an alternative. Invite your man to join you if he likes, but sign yourself up anyway. You will meet lots of fun new people and have a fun time just as he does every summer and my guess is he'll be intrigued with your new interest.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I love my nieces to pieces, but they are privileged and very spoiled. I asked them to go up to my cabin to help me open up -- as we usually do -- and both of them refused: one of them on an excuse, and the other said, "Why don't you get a cleaning lady for a change?"
These are the two who have come to visit me every summer. They are now 12 and 14. Their father (my little brother) would be upset if I told him what's happened, but part of me thinks he should know what the older one said. I don't want them up there if they're going to pout. Are they finally too old, or just lazy? What do you think? My best friend says to let it be and not invite them this summer, but that would be punishing myself. -- Sad Single Aunt, Lake Winnipeg
Dear Sad: Tell the parents what was said, not in a dramatic "You should know what your daughter has turned into" style. Just mention it wistfully, and say you will miss the fun you have every year when the three of you open up the cabin. The girls have probably entered a new stage where they might not want to leave their friends in the summer. Yes, I know that hurts, but it happens as they enter the teenage world. Any other kids in the family you could start inviting?
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