DEAR ABBY: I'm married to the girl of my dreams. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me. We both work in the medical field. She's an emergency room nurse, and I'm a paramedic/firefighter.
For several years my wife worked the day shift at a hospital more than an hour away from home. I tried to convince her to find a job closer, so we could see each other more. Finally, she told me she had been offered a night shift position at the hospital here in town. She promised to switch to a day shift if one opened up. I thought that was great.
It has been almost a year now, and she is still working the night shift. There have been many daytime openings, but she hasn't requested any of them. On most of my days off, I watch her sleep.
At this point I'm not sure what to do. I am not happy and don't want to spend the rest of my life like this. I feel like I'm missing out on so much. I have the girl of my dreams, but most of the time she is dreaming -- literally. Can you please help? -- AWAKE AND ALONE IN FLORIDA
DEAR AWAKE AND ALONE: You are missing out, on the fun and companionship that you should be enjoying with your wife. It's time to have a frank conversation with her and find out why she has been stalling about changing shifts. There could be more wrong in your marriage than incompatible schedules, but the problems won't be resolved unless you can be honest with each other. The current situation is unfair to you, and you are right to be concerned.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have hosted a holiday party for our neighbors every year for the last 10 years. Over time, we have invited more and more people, and we enjoy almost everyone. However, one of our neighbors, "Jim," is very rude. For the past several years he has taken it upon himself to invite several people to our party who he feels should be on the list. These are people we purposely did not invite.
Last year we decided not to invite Jim, but after he sent multiple emails demanding to know the date and time, we reluctantly invited him. He then had the nerve to send out an email to dozens of people he thought we had missed on the guest list, notifying them of the party. This really embarrassed my husband and me.
How can I tell him it's not his party, and how do we deal with the situation with the folks we did not initially invite but now know about the party? -- IT'S OUR PARTY
DEAR PARTY: There is more than one way to handle this. The most obvious would be to inform Jim that he won't be invited this year and tell him why. He is every host's nightmare, and his behavior is beyond nervy. A host must know how many guests to prepare for in order to ensure there will be enough food and beverages for everyone.
Another way would be to forgo giving the party for a year or two and perhaps take a short vacation. Tell anyone who asks why that the gatherings became too large to manage. And then, when you resume entertaining, limit the guest list to something more intimate than a casting call for "American Idol."
One thing is certain: If you continue to tolerate what's been happening, your hospitality will continue to be abused.
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