Dear Annie: My husband is in his early 50s and self-employed. We are lucky that business is good, but it means he works 24/7. At most, he might take one or two days off a month. He works from home, so I can accept his long hours, but his mood swings are hard to handle. He gets very angry, mostly with me (I work with him). If I mention that he needs to chill out, he only gets worse. He complains I don't communicate enough with him and he feels isolated. Depression runs in his family, and when I suggest he consider medication, he then makes an effort to change, but it doesn't last long.

I don't know what to do. I love him, but it's hard to be around him because of his temperament and it seems to be getting worse. What do you think? — Unhappy Worker

Dear Unhappy: You both need to get out of the house more often. Your husband is feeling closed in, which makes him nervous and irritable, and you are his nearest target. Short breaks, along with some sunshine, can alleviate his mood and help both of you get through the day. Don't chastise him. Instead, explain that being cooped up all day hurts productivity. Suggest an outdoor coffee break twice a day, alone or together, and maybe the two of you can go somewhere for lunch or for a walk now and then. If he refuses to leave the house, you should do so without him, even if it's just for a few minutes.

Dear Annie: My in-laws did not attend my son's high-school graduation. Instead, they went to the wedding of their youngest child, "Dick." This was his fourth wedding. We were supposed to get an invitation, but it never arrived.

Dick is 40-something and divorced his third wife just six months ago. He knew about my son's graduation long before he planned this wedding and could easily have selected another date. My husband feels his brother purposely scheduled it at the same time in order to steal the spotlight.

Dick has always been the favored child. The last time we called my in-laws to say we'd be dropping by, Dick called, too, so they made plans to go out with him instead. I would like you to tell my in-laws how wrong they are to go to their son's fourth wedding instead of their grandson's only high-school graduation. — Heartbroken Mom in Indiana

Dear Mom: Normally, a wedding takes precedence over a graduation. However, since this is Dick's fourth walk down the aisle and he allowed it to coincide with his nephew's graduation, we agree that the in-laws should have made a greater effort to attend the graduation or at least apologized profusely for missing it. Still, it serves no purpose to hold a grudge. Since you recognize Dick is the favorite, these slights should not surprise you. If you change your expectations, you will be less disappointed.

Dear Annie: Here is another suggestion for "Anonymous Grandpa," the 90-year-old widower whose greedy grandchildren have cut off contact because he refuses to build them a million-dollar house. In addition to your suggestions of volunteering, I would suggest that he look into a retirement community.

We moved into one three years ago. It has become the ideal place to live out our remaining years with excellent social interaction, caring staff and innumerable activities. We have seen many widows and widowers move in and adjust easily. Everyone is friendly and sociable. We live independently, but each of our apartments comes equipped with emergency buttons if we need help.

There are many types of these facilities to meet most all income levels. I would highly recommend "Grandpa" look into one, and also rewrite his will. — Happy in Holland, Mich.

Dear Holland: That's a lovely testimonial to retirement communities. We hope "Grandpa" will look into one when he's ready.


Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.