By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dear Abby 11/02
Family feud over vacation home is no picnic for sister
Placeholder Image
    DEAR ABBY: Five years ago, prior to my grandmother's death, she gave my brothers and me her summer home. When we all went to see the place, we found an overgrown lot with a house in complete disrepair.
    My brothers and their families wanted nothing to do with restoring it. They said they had neither the time nor the money to put into repairs, and "camping wasn't their thing." We all knew the only value in the place was the land, so we had a real estate company give us an appraisal. My husband and I decided we did want to rebuild the house, so we paid my brothers the full value of the property.
    Five years and thousands of dollars later, the house has been rebuilt from the frame up. And now, here's the problem: My brothers and their wives say it is the "family" summer home and are demanding keys so they can come up and stay anytime. I had planned all along to hold family picnics and such, but not give out keys to the place.
    My brothers are furious with me, and so is my mother. They say I'm "greedy" and don't know how to share. But Abby, we paid them off. We did all the work, and we pay all the bills each month, not to mention the taxes. The house is in my name only.
    Now I wish Grandma had donated the land to the state park and kept us out of it. I know she wanted it to stay in the family, and so did I, but I don't think my family is being fair.
    Grandma was also a hard worker, and she wasn't the type to let people walk all over her. Should I stick to my guns and welcome them to visit when we're here, or just sell the place (which would break my heart) and forget this ever happened? -- SORRY, NO VACANCY, IN THE U.S.A.
    DEAR NO VACANCY: Selling the property wouldn't fix your problem because your relatives would then resent you for having done so. Instead, take a page out of your grandmother's book, thicken your skin, and — as you put it — stick to your guns.
    You paid for the property fair and square, and your brothers willingly let it go. By inviting your relatives to enjoy it with you, you are being more than generous. Please don't allow yourself to be emotionally blackmailed into submission.

    DEAR ABBY: I'm a freshman in high school. Today an upperclassman paid me $5 to do his homework. I did it on the condition that he pay me up front. The deal worked out OK — I got my money and he got his work. (I know it was wrong, and I'll never do it again.)
    Now I'm feeling guilty. I'm worried that my handwriting will be recognized, and I'll never be trusted again. Should I talk to my school counselor about it, and will I be turned in? I'm not sure if I should give myself up or just hope for the best. Please help. -- GUILT-RIDDEN IN NORFOLK, VA.
    DEAR GUILT-RIDDEN: If the upperclassman is as lazy as he appears to be, his teacher won't be fooled by his sudden improvement, and he will only fall further behind than he already is. I don't think it's necessary to turn yourself in. Return the money you were given and tell the person who hired you that you won't ever do his work for him again.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter