A Really Important Question

Posted on | April 19, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My husband and I are in our early 70′s. We have had some health issues but by and large we are pretty fit.We live in a large old house with many stairs and a never ending series of repairs that need attention. We have enjoyed everything about it for 20 years or more.  We like taking care of the house and have always joked that we are like the old women in the Italian Hill towns — that if we run up and down the stairs many times a day (and we do), we will never have a problem. But lately I wonder if we are not being responsible about our future.
Not So Young Anymore

Dear Not So:
Wow! We hear you.  We don’t have an answer for you except to say that you and your husband should keep talking about it even though it is a very difficult subject.  Do you want to stay in the house until you die? Do you have enough money to pay for help which you will inevitably need? Have you given alternatives such as moving to a smaller, easier house or senior housing serious consideration? We have observed that there is a window in which to make changes — probably mid 70′s — and after that, it is increasingly difficult.

Your Home Is Your Castle

Posted on | April 19, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I recently quit drinking and prefer not to have alcohol in my house. Should I buy it just when I have folks over, or warn them ahead of time? Or what?
Newly Sober

Dear Newly:
There is so much pressure to drink in our culture, and it is so available, we think you are under no obligation to serve your guests. And you should not do anything that jeopardizes your sobriety. That is really the only issue that matters.

Better SAFE than Sorry

Posted on | April 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My friend has a  boyfriend and I think they are having sex. She is only 15 and I don’t think she is using birth control. It’s none of my business but if she gets pregnant and has to drop out of school, I will feel so bad.  What should I do?

Dear Worried:
We are worried too! Ask her if she is on birth control and if not, offer to go with her to planned parenthood or a doctor. If she is depending on him for birth control, remind her that teenage boys are notoriously unreliable.  And good on you for caring.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

Posted on | April 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My friend is cheap. There is no other way to say it. Cheap. Last one to pull out his wallet, always short on cash, never buys a present, and if he brings wine to my house it is so cheap — it’s undrinkable. This is such a long-term habit it’s hard to bring it up now but I find I get mad BEFORE I see him.  Suggestions?

Dear Pre-Mad:
Next time you are out together, look him straight in the eye when the bill comes and tell him “this one is yours buddy.”  Nothing to be done about his gift of cheap wine.

Warm and Cozy

Posted on | April 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My son and his wife and his baby have been living with us for almost two years. To be honest, I haven’t really minded. Mostly.  Now they say they are expecting another baby. Does this mean they will never move out?

Dear Mom:
Yes, they will never move out. Why should they? If this doesn’t suit you, you had better speak up.

War on Boring

Posted on | April 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My friends adopted a baby years ago. They are doting parents and their son is a poster child for adoption — happy, well-adjusted, polite — all the good stuff. HOWEVER, it is all they can talk about.  At first I enjoyed the stories and enjoyed how much they were enjoying being parents.  I don’t have kids and in general couldn’t care less about them.  But it is more than 5 years now, and I feel like I have lost my friends to this child.  I mean don’t they ever read a book, or go to a movie, or have an idea about anything except kindergartens or birthday parties? Is there anything I can do or is it too late now?
So Bored w/ Baby

Dear SBWB:
We hear you. Parents of kids under a year actually don’t read books or see movies or have ideas.  But by 5, they should be back on planet earth. We suggest next time you see them, you go prepared with a few topics that interest you and see if you can engage them. If that doesn’t work, interupt their stories with stories of your own … do you have a dog?

Too Much Information

Posted on | April 18, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
The person at the assisted living facility where my dad is living who takes care of him regularly complains about him every time I see her. She says he is declining ( I know), that he sometimes doesn’t make it to the bathroom (I know), that he sometimes makes inappropriate comments (I know). It depresses me to hear all this. Should I tell her to stop reporting or is it her job?
In Denial?

Dear Denial:
Got it. This stuff is hard to hear and sometimes it feels like we are responsible … or remiss.  Perhaps you could speak with the person who supervises his care once a month to monitor changes, and have the supervisor tell the other caregiver to lighten up.

Grown-Up Decisions

Posted on | April 12, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My nephew confided to me that his girl friend is pressuring him to get married but that he’s really not sure it’s the right thing to do.   His father is not around and he really wanted a male point of view.  From the way my nephew talked, marriage seems like a really bad idea for him — and I told him so.  Apparently, his mother had already given him this same advice so I wasn’t the first.  Now, my nephew, who is 30, wants me to meet his girlfriend and tell him want I think. I do not want to get any more involved but wonder if I should do this? He doesn’t seem to have anyone else to ask.

Dear Uncle:
He is old enough to make this decision.  Tell him so and bow out.

A Case for Retirement

Posted on | April 12, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I’m worried that my boss at work (who is only about 65 years old I think) is getting a bit senile.  He forgets things, repeats himself and has these emotional outbursts that I never saw before.  I don’t have the kind of relationship where I can just casually mention this.  And we’re a small office so we don’t have a real HR department.  I have read that you can’t do anything about Alzheimer’s (if that’s what this is) anyway so I’m not sure what good it would do to tell anybody.  But somehow it seems wrong to keep this to myself.

Dear Peg:
It’s possible that he is stressed about things outside work … you could ask him.  We are wary of making medical diagnoses and you should be too!

When Action Is Softer than Words

Posted on | April 5, 2015 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I have an older friend who has always been very attractive and very particular about her appearance.  Recently, she has started to wear heavier and heavier make-up — it looks like she put it on with a putty knife.  I am sure that she would be humiliated to know how bad she looks and that people are whispering behind her back.  Is there a nice way that I can let her know that she needs a stronger light in her bathroom and a lighter touch with her make-up?
A Good Friend

Dear Goodie:
If she is a really good friend, next time pull her aside (privately, no audience, please) and say “let me fix this.”  Once over lightly with a kleenex and she will get the point.

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