Grandma's stuck babysitting as mother cheats on kids' father

DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old sister, "Lara," who has four children with her deadbeat "boyfriend," lives at my 57-year-old mother's house and cheats on him. Mom is suspicious because Lara sometimes doesn't come home from work, and she's always using the excuse that she's "going to a friend's house." This leaves my mother baby-sitting Lara's children.

Should I keep out of it while watching my nieces and nephews suffer? I don't know what to tell Mom when she calls me to vent. As Lara's brother, should I say something to get the message across?

- Son/Brother/Uncle in Detroit

DEAR S/B/U: Your nieces and nephews aren't suffering. They're safe and supervised by their imposed-upon grandmother, who seems unable to tell her daughter that she refuses to be taken advantage of any longer. I see no reason to hesitate to say something. The next time your mother calls to vent, by all means speak up.

Petal pusher

DEAR ABBY: My daughter "Adele" has been divorced for more than 20 years. I didn't mention it to my neighbors, so no one knows her marital status. To me, this is a family affair and not for publication.

Adele met a nice gentleman who recently sent her flowers for her birthday. The florist delivered them to the wrong address. When I went to get them, I could tell the neighbor had read the card because it wasn't in the little plastic holder the florists use.

She counted the flowers "for" me, 12 roses, pointed to my daughter's name on the envelope, and then had the gall to read the card to me and ask if I know the sender! I was so shocked I took the vase and left without comment.

This woman, a schoolteacher no less, has more nerve than brains. Our neighborhood friendship is now over. What do I say to her when I see her?

- Peeved on the West Coast

DEAR PEEVED: Frankly, the less said to your nosy neighbor the better because she's the kind of person who is best avoided. If you haven't already, tell your daughter what happened so she can make sure her gentleman friend has her correct address, or complain to his florist so nothing more gets misdelivered.

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.