Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I barely get along. It has been like this for years. He retreats into the other room and watches TV while I cook dinner, look after the kids and then sit down to relax in the living room to watch TV -- never the same program and rarely in the same room. It has become more noticeable now that we both are at home all day long. Even as we are in the same space 24/7, we hardly ever talk about anything meaningful or sit together in the same room. How did we get to this point? I have other friends telling me how much fun they are having with their husbands during this time. What can I do to spice things up? -- Doldrums

DEAR DOLDRUMS: Talk to your husband. Pick a quiet moment before he settles into his evening routine. Tell him you want to have some fun together. Since you can’t go out for a date right now, invite him to go on a date with you at home. Ask him to help you prepare a special meal for the two of you. Help can be just having him in the room with you chatting, or, if he’s game, he could assist with the preparation. Choose a movie to watch that you both might like, and then talk about it afterward. Set the mood for romance. Encourage some form of intimacy. But take it slow. Little by little you may rekindle the flame if you choose to be together.

DEAR HARRIETTE: Usually my family and I rent a house in a beach community about an hour from where we live in the summer. We haven't yet organized it for this year because of all of the worries about being quarantined. But then my husband and I decided we might as well. If we have to be away from people, wouldn’t it be better in a pretty beach community? We can just take precautions when we go outside and to the beach. We know when the downtimes are.

When we started researching, we realized that, to our surprise, there’s hardly anything available. I think most people who own these homes have decided to stay there since they can’t readily hop on a plane and go someplace else. I’m bummed. I don’t know what I’m going to do with my kids all summer. They need to get outside and play. Any ideas? -- Quarantine Summer

DEAR QUARANTINE SUMMER: Don’t stop looking. Call your friends and people you know in some of the smaller summer communities. Right now, summer rental services are probably not the way to go, but word of mouth might work. If you can’t find anything, check the newspaper in your city for summer activities. Just like at the beach, in order to safely take your children to the park, it will likely mean going early in the morning, practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. Pick safe paths for walking. Research trails and parks outside the city where there are fewer people. Get lots of art supplies, too, and do projects with your kids. It’s a lot of work, but it may be necessary for you to become camp leader at home.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)