Dear Annie: I am at a loss as to how to get my car back from my mom's house. A little history first: My brother and his family have lived at my parents' home on and off since they got married because of financial hardship. I have also lived there at times during my adult life, but I have some physical and mental health issues that preclude my living by myself. And when I did live there, I paid my way. I bought groceries, paid the cable bill or paid for whatever else my folks asked me to.
Anyway, I have always had a car. I have made the car payments and the insurance payments and had "custody" of my car except when I have been physically unable to drive. (I have epilepsy, and the state won't let you drive for six months after a seizure.)
A few months ago, I had to move out of my parents' house and in with my sister for my sanity and space. My brother asked whether he could borrow my car for a few days until he could get his fixed. I said yes, but I let him know that I needed it back after a few days for my own needs. Then my mom started to ask for him, and it has evolved into a situation in which I have had my car for about nine or 10 days out of the past 30. He was supposed to use his bonus check to fix his car but didn't.
Right now, my brother is keeping my car. He argues that our mom is 80 and his wife is extremely ill and they need it in case of an emergency. What am I supposed to do in an emergency? Am I asking too much to have the car I am paying for? — Between a Rock and a Junk Car
Dear Between a Rock and a Junk Car: You've made my job easy. No, you are not asking too much to have the car you are paying for. I think that at this point, you need to stop asking. Simply tell them. You will be going there to retrieve your car. End of discussion.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are having a disagreement on the etiquette of which family to go to for Christmas dinner. My sister invited us a month ago, and we accepted. Then his family invited us a week ago. I told my husband you go to the family that invited you first. What say you? — Overbooked
Dear Overbooked: I second your motion. You already accepted the invitation from your sister. To renege now would be rude. It's as simple as that.
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