Dear Amy: My wife and I are lucky in semi-retirement to have a cabin in the mountains, a two-hour flight away. We visit this property about once a month. We also take a two-week vacation in Europe each year.
The problem: I like to be at the airport with time to spare. I don’t mind sitting for even an hour before boarding.
My wife, on the other hand, loves to cut it close.
It’s like she goes into slow motion at home the day of the flight. She seems to find a million last-minute things to do. I always volunteer to help get them done.
We have missed one flight outright and at least three or four others each year are nail-biters (we leave the luggage in the car in order to make the flight!).
We solved another issue — how long to stay at a monthly family gathering — by taking separate cars; I can leave after two hours, she can stay four or five.
A solution to the flying issue, however, eludes us. One of us can’t really get on a plane without the other.
After the missed flight she did better for a time, but my nails are getting shorter again!
Dear Nail Biter: I’m getting anxious hives just reading about your wife’s behavior.
Three or four times a year you actually leave your luggage behind in order to run for the plane? Yikes.
You state that one of you cannot get on a plane without the other, but … why not?
If I were you, I would leave a day early for the cabin. Just book and take your own flight, get to the cabin (with your luggage!) and open up the house. If your wife misses her flight the next day, she misses it. More cabin for you.
This is a souped-up version of each taking their own transportation to family events (a move I heartily endorse).
An alternative to this is for you to get your own transportation to the airport within your comfort zone, enjoy your magazine at the gate, and if your wife races in and makes the plane, great. If not, she’ll have to sort it out on her own. Again – more cabin for you!
This solution does not cover your European trip, but if your wife experiences some nail-biters on her own, she might modify her behavior.
Dear Amy: My sister, 60, and her daughter, 28, are having a dispute.
My niece went to grad school in another country and has opted to stay for a few more years. Everyone is happy, but because she is a young single woman far away (five-hour time difference), her mom is constantly worrying about her.
She’s made a few visits to see her, and my niece gets back home often. However, my sister feels it’s rude of my niece not to respond to texts from her. She believes it’s not too much to ask my niece for a daily text to make sure she’s all right (alive). She’d be thrilled with just a return emoji – thumbs up.
My niece believes that touching base two or three times a week is enough.
This is causing a rift.
Also, it hurts my sister that her daughter wouldn’t want to know that her own mother is alive and well, too.
Any thoughts on how to proceed?
Uncle Who Cares (I live far away, too)
Dear Uncle: Back in the day, if you wanted to check in with an overseas relative, you would wait for that tissue-paper airmail letter to land in your mailbox. Or you would have a weekly call to catch up.
My point is that with the ability to be in constant contact, people seem to have lost the capacity to manage their own anxieties.
Your niece is not serving in a war zone. Constantly worrying about whether a 28-year-old woman is alive seems excessive, as is expecting this daughter to worry every day about whether her mother is alive.
However, because this dynamic does exist, yes, I do agree that the daughter should acknowledge her mother’s daily texts.
Dear Amy: “Loves to Travel” wanted to take occasional brief trips with her friends, but her husband made life miserable before each trip.
This is emotional abuse and control, and she should be wary.
Dear Upset: To me, this seemed more like misplaced anxiety coming from a long-married spouse. But I do agree that the wife should not cede control to her husband and should enjoy her travels.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.