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Dear Abby 1/9

Sisters protest when brothers shirk their assigned chores

DEAR ABBY: I am in dire need of your help. I have four brothers and one sister. My oldest brother stays with his girlfriend. My sister stays out of town. My second-oldest brother goes to college during the week and comes home on weekends. This leaves me, my third-oldest brother and my little brother at home.
    We have certain chores that have to be done when we get home from school, and they must be completed before Mom comes home. The problem is, my third-oldest brother goes up the street and my little brother goes somewhere else, leaving me at home to do all the work.
    When Mom gets home and the work isn't done, she blames me, even though there are two more people here that could have helped me. Abby, please tell my mother that if three people are meant to do chores, she shouldn't blame just me! -- MAD AND CONFUSED SISTER, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.
    DEAR MAD AND CONFUSED: Please clip this column and share it with your mother. It's unfair that your brothers run off, leaving you with all the chores, while your mother chooses to ignore their lack of responsibility. She should make a chart that defines specifically which jobs are to be done by each member of the household and when. And if the chores are not completed when your mother gets home, the guilty parties should be reprimanded — not you. To do otherwise shows sexist and antiquated logic.
    DEAR ABBY: I need advice about visiting a person who is going into hospice care with terminal cancer. I know this woman socially. We've always been cordial, but I am not a close friend.
    What is the most comforting approach? After, "I'm sorry you're sick," I am not sure how to proceed. -- WANTS TO REACH OUT IN BOULDER
    DEAR WANTS TO REACH OUT: There is some confusion about hospice. Some people think hospice is a place, but it is really a program. In other words, people can be "in hospice care" at home.
    I recommend you give your friend a call, ask if she's "in the mood" for company, and if there is anything you can bring with you on your visit. (Most people in hospice care are no longer worried about their figures. She might welcome a box of candy or her favorite ice cream.)
    When you see her, tell her how sorry you are that she's ill — and go armed with all the latest gossip, too. What's most important is not to hang crepe. Treat her as you always have. She may be dying, but there's life in the lady yet. Remember that, and I'm sure your visit will be rewarding for both of you.

    DEAR ABBY: I have just been invited to my third "grandma-to-be" baby shower. I am disgusted by this trend, especially knowing the mother-to-be has had three baby showers already (a family one, a friends one and a work one).
    Have you heard of this, and what are your thoughts about "grandma" baby showers? Please do not reveal my name or location. -- ASKANCE IN THE U.S.A.
    DEAR ASKANCE: If the grandmother will be doing a lot of baby-sitting and cannot afford the equipment she'll need, then I can see why there might be a shower. But frankly, I have never heard of a "grandma-to-be" shower, and the idea strikes me as somewhat excessive.

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