DEAR ABBY: My husband's brother split from his wife, "Charlotte," five years ago and now works and lives in another country. The brothers are still quite close. His school-age daughters live nearby and are close to their cousins, our daughters.
Charlotte's latest boyfriend (they have been dating for 18 months) has started insisting on hanging out with my husband and trying to "bond" with him. He is also jumping with both feet into the role of stepfather, especially with the younger daughter, who has just returned after living with her father for the last seven months.
It feels awkward and weird, but we are too polite to say anything to him or Charlotte because we're afraid she'll restrict us from seeing our nieces. What is your advice? -- ANXIOUS IN AUSTRALIA
DEAR ANXIOUS: Not knowing the terms of your brother-in-law's divorce, my advice is to consider that Charlotte has been with this man for a year and a half. He may be trying to form a relationship with your husband because he wants to bond with "the relatives." Your husband doesn't have to be best friends with him, but he should keep the relationship cordial -- not only for the nieces, but also so his brother can stay informed about them.
DEAR ABBY: I have an addiction to vitamin gummies. They say to eat only two a day, but I eat almost half a container a day. They're SOOO good.
This has been a problem for five years. What should I do? Do I contact my doctor? I'm about to graduate from high school, and I think my new college friends will think I'm weird if they find out about my gummy addiction. -- LOVES YUMMY GUMMIES IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR LOVES: I am glad you wrote. Your vitamins may taste like candy, but they are NOT candy. It is important that you discuss this with your doctor. The least of your troubles could be that your college friends make fun of you. What you have been doing is dangerous because it can cause unsafe levels of vitamin A, vitamin E and minerals like iron to reach toxic levels in your system.
DEAR ABBY: I have a suggestion about how to help the child with the broken glasses mentioned in the letter from "Trying to Help in the West" (Feb. 25). I'm a member of Lions Clubs International. Our local club donates the cost of visual screening and free glasses for those in need who seek our help.
The Lions were established in 1917 by a businessman who wanted to start a service club that would help improve communities. The idea quickly spread to other communities and became international.
In 1925, Helen Keller inspired the clubs to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Since then, Lions have worked tirelessly to aid blind and visually impaired individuals in the U.S. and all over the world. Services for the boy in the letter should be available in his area, or he can be directed to the closest local Lions Club. -- MEMBER IN WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.
DEAR MEMBER: Thank you for reminding me -- and my readers -- about the good work the Lions Clubs do. Anyone wanting further information about this worthwhile service organization can find it at www.lionsclubs.org.