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Careless Son-in-Law Leaves Trail of Chaos In His Wake

DEAR ABBY: My son-in-law “Kirk” has issues with closing doors, kitchen cabinets and refrigerator doors. Three times my daughter has had to throw out food because it spoiled. He doesn’t close cereal boxes, bags of candy or chips, either.

My husband and I tolerated Kirk’s behavior until a recent visit to our home. He again left the door to our garage open, where our inside cat could have escaped. He was rough when opening our recliner, and he also didn’t turn the cap all the way down on the seltzer bottle, but I know better than to shake the bottle before checking the cap because I once spilled orange juice everywhere after he failed to tighten the cap.

My daughter says she has known Kirk for 15 years, and he isn’t going to change. She says he doesn’t focus on the task at hand but is thinking about something else. I suppose she has given up and continually goes behind him to fasten things.

My husband and I feel he doesn’t respect our home when he behaves this way. After my daughter spoke to Kirk after his last visit, she brought our granddaughter over twice, but he stayed home. I feel like both of them think we are making much ado about nothing. — OPEN-AND-SHUT CASE IN VIRGINIA

DEAR OPEN-AND-SHUT: Has your daughter or son-in-law actually said that to you? You were not wrong to speak up, and it’s not much ado about nothing. It is consideration for the property of others. You should have drawn the line after the first time your immature and inconsiderate son-in-law left the garage door open. (Was he stoned during those visits? Distracted by his cellphone?) Address the matter directly with your son-in-law, and consider seeing them at their house instead of yours.

DEAR ABBY: My mom insists on giving my oldest child, “Jim,” less money than the other grandchildren because he’s my stepson. Jim is 19, and I am the only mother he has ever known since he was 2 1/2. I’m still married to his father, and Jim is part of the family.

I realized what she was doing only last Christmas, when she gave Jimmy $100 and the other 12 grandkids $500 each. (This included my two younger children.) When I asked her why, she couldn’t give me a straight answer. I have always regarded Jim as my own and thought she felt the same way. Now I’m no longer sure she’s going to leave him an inheritance when she’s gone, and I feel crummy about the entire situation. — LOST IN THE SOUTH

DEAR LOST: I don’t blame you for feeling crummy because this is a sad situation. Unfortunately, in some — not all — families this happens. Bear in mind the money your mother is gifting is hers to do with as she wishes, and there is nothing you can do to force her to behave more charitably toward Jim. However, you and your husband might consider equalizing it in your own estate plans when the time comes. Have the two of you already talked with an attorney about wills, advance directives, etc.? If you haven’t, now may be the time to discuss the subject.

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.

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