Dear Annie: We live in a new neighborhood and take pride in the appearance of our home and yard.

We were very pleased when new neighbors bought the house next door and moved in. Unfortunately, they have a rusting vintage car that’s parked in the driveway next to our yard. I can see it from my window every time I look outside. Even though they cover it with a tarp, it is an unsightly blot on the neighborhood. Mind you, they neither drive this car nor work on it.

There is no homeowners association in our area, and while the city has rules about cars parked on the street, there is none for personal driveways.

How can I tactfully approach these new neighbors and ask that they put the car in their garage to increase the attractiveness of our street? — Longing for Beauty in the Burbs

Dear Longing: So you are not actually objecting to the car, which is covered. Rather, you find the tarp unsightly. Instead of making your first interaction with the new neighbors a complaint, bring over some baked goods, and welcome them to the neighborhood. Invite them to drop over for coffee. Get to know them well enough to ask about the vintage car and why it’s not in the garage. Maybe they’ll find a nicer looking tarp so it’s less of an eyesore.

Dear Annie: As a child, I remember my mother as a heavily abusive alcoholic. She has been sober for 11 years, but she has slowly started drinking again. When she’s drunk, she makes vulgar and belittling comments, which she never does otherwise. After I tell her how much this hurts me, she becomes defensive and acts like she’s perfectly OK.

Being around her when she is even slightly buzzed brings back terrible memories. I have offered to go to AA meetings with her, but she’s not interested. My husband has told me I should leave the room when Mom has been drinking.

Annie, I love my mother with all my heart, but how do I make her understand how much the drinking bothers me and that I wish she would stop? I don’t want to be her babysitter or tell her how to live her life, but for the sake of my family, how do I get through to her? — Distraught Daughter

Dear Distraught: You can’t get through if she is determined not to hear you. You do not need to be around your mother when she is drinking. But this is understandably difficult for you, and we think you could use some support. Please contact Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org) and also Adult Children of Alcoholics (adultchildren.org).

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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