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Annie's Mailbox®, October 10

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Dear Annie: My wife, "Alice," and I are moving to Kentucky. Alice has invited "Dottie," a close female friend, to come along for company and share the driving. When I asked what the hotel arrangements would be, Alice said we could all share a room — two double beds, of course.

Here's the problem: A year ago, I entered a very costly rehab clinic to address longtime addictions to alcohol and pornography. During the month I was gone, Dottie told my wife I had made sexual advances toward her, which is completely untrue. That fact was substantiated during a polygraph disclosure to my wife at the conclusion of my stint in rehab. I have been clean and committed to recovery for over a year now, and proud of it.

Alice's continued friendship with Dottie bothers me, and I choose not to have any contact with the woman. Alice's decision to invite her on our trip is confusing and irritating since she knows how I feel. It belittles my recovery and shows scant respect for me or our marriage. Recovery is challenging enough without such unnecessary hurdles.

I intend to follow in our second vehicle and drive straight through to Kentucky so that I won't have to be in the car with Dottie or share a hotel room with her. Am I wrong? — Hurt in Houston

Dear Houston: No, you are absolutely right. We're surprised your wife has chosen to maintain such a close relationship with Dottie, but she apparently doesn't see her as a threat to the health of her marriage. The entire situation sounds bizarre to us. You are wise not to put yourself in a compromising position.

Dear Annie: My husband and I are having our worst argument in 43 years.

My late father's last sibling recently died, leaving me a lakeside home worth millions. The home has been in the family for over 90 years, and I have wonderful memories of vacationing there as a child. I want to keep the estate and the traditions and pass them on to our children.

My husband says "over his dead body."

We cannot afford the upkeep on two houses. My husband wants to sell the estate, fix up our current home and generally live it up. He says we're too old to move and he never liked my extended family or their house anyway. I suggested we rent our house for the summer and stay in the big house just to see how we like it. He flatly refuses. He doesn't want the relatives, or even our own kids, to "invade" us.

No one in the family can afford to buy this house from me. Selling means it would be lost forever, and I can't live with that. On the other hand, my husband says if I make him move, he'll resent me to his dying day. Can you help? — Tormented in the Suburbs

Dear Tormented: Instead of renting your current house, how about renting the family estate? Charge enough to cover the upkeep and a little more. Or, you can use the estate as collateral to borrow money to maintain it. You'll get to hang onto the house until you can make a firm decision about it, and in the meantime, you won't have relatives barging in and your husband won't have to move.

Dear Annie: As you are undoubtedly about to be bombarded with thousands of letters making the following observation, I thought I should be the first in line.

"Eydie in Louisville, Ky.," asked about the grammar of the phrase, "All men are created equal." In your response, you said the phrase was best known from the Constitution. No, it's not. It's from the Declaration of Independence. Good marks for grammar, but none for history. — Patrick in Kansas

Dear Patrick: We're planning to crawl into a hole. Of course it's from the Declaration of Independence, and we know this because we had to memorize it in school. We apologize to history teachers everywhere — especially ours.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2007 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



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