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Compulsive hoarders Difference between at issue for girlfriend mulch, compost key DEAR ABBY: I have been with my wonderful boyfriend for almost five years, and we have a 4-yearold daughter together. The problem is, his parents are hoarders. Their house is a disaster. It’s falling apart from the inside out. They have piles of junk in the house and yard, and six dogs that live in the house with them. My daughter has just been diagnosed with a severe allergy to mold. I don’t like her to go to their house, but they adore her and want to spend time with her. I don’t know what to do! I have tried talking to my boyfriend about it, but he’s in complete denial about his parents’ situation and says I’m “overreacting.” I don’t want to hurt their feelings, and I don’t want to keep my daughter from her grandparents. At a Loss in Texas

DEAR ABBY has Van Buren severe allergies, he needs to understand what that means and how serious her allergic reactions could become. If your daughter is allergic to mold, she also may be severely allergic to other things — like animal dander and dust.


Dear Abby: My daughter recently was married in our hometown. Even though she was born and raised here, she’s now living in another state, so it was a destination wedding for many of the invitees. It wasn’t a large affair — Dear At a Loss: The lov- only 60 people attended. ing grandparents can spend I received an email today time with the child at your from an old friend who was home rather than theirs. surprised to hear about the Schedule an appointment wedding and wanted to with your daughter’s pedia- know why she wasn’t invited. trician or allergy specialist I’m at a loss as to how to for you and your boyfriend. respond. I feel guilty for not Because your daughter having invited her, but we had decided early on that only family and a few close friends would be invited. Is there a polite way to respond to her? I feel it was rude of her to even ask. Mother of the Bride Dear Mother of the Bride: For the woman to ask

why she wasn’t on the guest list was, indeed, rude. A polite response would be to tell her the wedding was very small — family and only a few friends were invited — but you’ll be sure to let her know when the grandchildren start arriving. Dear Abby: Years ago, my sister developed a freckle-sized spot on her arm that was diagnosed as skin cancer. She was treated, and nothing more came of it. Recently, she has been telling people she’s a “cancer survivor” and participating in survivor walks. I applaud her willingness to help and be involved, but it seems she’s comparing herself to people who have undergone life-altering conditions, loss of family members and worse. Are my family and I being overly critical? Or is there some way we can make her realize that what she has gone through is not nearly as devastating as the experiences of those who have truly survived this ordeal? Brother Dave in Pennsylvania Dear Brother Dave: Yes, you are being overly critical. That cancerous “freckle” might have been melanoma, which is a very serious cancer. Your sister is lucky it wasn’t life-threatening. If she wants to participate in cancer fundraisers, she has earned the right to be there. To My Muslim Readers: Happy Eid al-Fitr — it’s time to break the Ramadan fast. May God make yours a blessed feast.

NOW THAT I am back, I’m poring over the test results for the soccer fields and figuring out all the steps that will soon follow on the quest for the perfect pitch, so let me take this opportunity to answer a reader’s question, then return next week to helping everyone green up their grass.


So here, Phyllis, is where the problem lies: May The compost you spread atop, which is fine-grained and thus very susceptible to compaction and crust forDear Andrew: About two years ago, I mation, has done just put a thick layer of compost over my landthat: compacted down scape area (planted with perennials, and baked off to a hard shrubs and bulbs). crust, making weeding Since then, moss has been growing difficult. over these areas. Because compost is It is hard to remove, as it ends up organic material and being a thick carpet over the ground surhas just rotted away, its pH is acidic, and face. the combination of acidic conditions, What weeds manage to grow through organic matter and compaction (meaning also are hard to pull. it drains poorly) are the perfect ingrediI thought compost was good for garents for moss production. dens, but now I am not so sure. How do I go about eradicating the Light and airy moss? Thanks. — Phyllis in Port Hadlock Mulch by its nature is loose, light and airy, allowing weeds to be pulled out easDear Phyllis: Your question and ily and water to pass through readily. dilemma are interesting and allow all So, Phyllis, compost is great for your readers to learn an important distinction garden. between compost and mulch, for I believe Add it annually as I do to all flower this is the reason for your gardening and vegetable areas, and cultivate well problem. the compost into the soil. So first off to my good buddy, the MerThen, add a few inches of mulch atop riam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, your freshly tilled soil to gain all the benwhich defines compost as “a mixture that efits afforded to you with mulch. consists largely of decayed organic matter For you, Phyllis, I would till in moss and is used as a fertilizer and for condiand compost as soon as it works into your tioning land (i.e., soil).” gardening schedule. Mulch is defined as “a protective covAdd 50 pounds of lime per 1,000 ering (as of sawdust) spread or left on the square feet because we know by the presground esp. to reduce evaporation, main- ence of moss, the soil and moss are acidic tain even soil moisture and temperatures, — so in fact, let’s add 60 pounds per prevent erosion and control weeds.” 1,000 square feet to compensate for the Compost is fine-grained, decomposed thick moss layer. organic material added to the soil for the Now, everyone knows the difference purpose of improving the tilth of that soil. between compost and mulch, which is one Generally, it is worked (tilled or cultiof the most frequently asked questions I vated) into the soil. receive! Mulch, however, is added directly to ________ the surface of the soil to regulate evenly Andrew May is an ornamental horticulturist who moisture, temperatures, erosion and dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties weeds; hence, it is coarse or very coarse nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” in texture, trapping air and thus allowing Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. for great water penetration and ease in Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@ (subject line: Andrew May). weeding.

_________ Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Letters can be mailed to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or via email by logging onto

Now Showing ■ Deer Park Cinema, Port Angeles (360-4527176) “The Bourne Legacy” (PG-13) “The Dark Knight Rises” (PG-13) “The Expendables 2” (R) “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” (PG) “ParaNorman” (PG)

■ Lincoln Theater, Port

Angeles (360-457-7997) “The Campaign” (R) “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (PG) “Safety Not Guaranteed” (R) “Total Recall” (PG-13)

■ Uptown Theatre, Port Townsend (360-3853883) “The Bourne Legacy” (PG-13)

■ The Rose Theatre, Port Townsend (360385-1089)

■ Wheel-In Motor Movie, Port Townsend (360-385-0859)

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” (PG-13) “Hope Springs” (PG-13)

“Moonrise Kingdom” (PG-13) “Savages” (R)

Rebecca Wanagel MA Special Ed.

Peninsula Births

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Olympic Medical Center Kim and Craig Kempf, a son, Alexander Craig, 8 pounds, 11 ounces, 5:39 a.m. July 14.

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