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Jan. 14 Short Answers

Short Answers

Paula Forman and Jeff Johnson

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Dear Short Answers: 
My parents are getting older and need more and more attention. They refuse to move into an assisted-living facility and seem to expect their children (there are three of us) to help out with things around the house, running errands and taking them to the doctor. Where does my responsibility as an adult child end and their responsibility to take care of themselves begin?
 — Struggling

Dear Struggling:
 Every family crosses these bridges. Kids helping out and assisted living are only two of a variety of options. You need to decide what you are prepared to do and discuss your decision with your siblings. Perhaps hiring a non-family person for a few hours a week would be a relief right now, but these issues get worse over time, and it makes sense to have a plan based on finances, willingness of family to participate in care and your parents’ wishes. It is almost always a difficult discussion that reveals many past resentments, but talking about it is the only reasonable way to proceed.


Dear Short Answers:
 I have a lot of women friends in their 40s constantly complaining that they can’t keep their house warm, or manage their money, take care of their kids or cars, too broke to buy food but too lazy to start a garden, on and on. I just don’t get it. Should I ever say how I feel about this or just back away from these types of friendships? — 
Silent Sufferer

Dear SS:
 Go with your instincts; if you want to say “Get yourself together, girl,” we understand. If you want to say, “Oh, poor darling, sorry you made unfortunate choices,” that’s OK, too. Or, if you feel like putting in the time, say “What part of your problem would you like to work on?”


Dear Short Answers:
 What’s the right age to put your foot down and kick the kids out of the house? My husband and I want our home back! —
Long Suffering Mom

Dear LSM: 
In our experience, adult children living with parents has as many negatives as positives, so you just might be doing your kids a favor by kicking them out of the nest. There is no right age but anything over 21 seems OK to us.


Dear Short Answers: 
I accidentally sent a dinner party invitation to a husband and wife who I haven’t seen in several months. It was only after I had sent the invitation that I found out that the husband had died about two months ago. The wife has not responded to my invitation and I’m wondering whether I should call her to apologize (which will only reinforce my insensitivity) or just ignore the matter altogether.
 — Meant No Harm

Dear MNH:
 Write another note or an email saying you were unaware of her loss, but that you hope she will join you at the dinner party.


Dear Short Answers: 
How do you truly, deeply, honestly, absolutely know if you are marrying the right person? — 
Longing for Certainty

Dear Longing:
 Today, hard to say. In 20 years, you will know for sure.

Life is complicated. “Short Answers” isn’t. Send a question about whatever is bothering you to reflector@shortanswers.net or go to www.shortanswers.net and a psychologist and sociologist will answer. A selection of the best questions will be printed every Sunday in The Daily Reflector.



Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


July 15, 2018


A TV viewer who I’ll call “Joe” recently commented on Facebook about my review of The Prime Smokehouse in Rocky Mount.

“Thanks for the review, Bob, but while I live in Raleigh, I'm a native of Rocky Mount,” Joe said with pride. “It once called itself the…

Bob Garner

July 14, 2018


■ Browns Chapel Holiness Church, 2260 N.C. 33 West, will host a youth service at 6 p.m. today. Evangelist Talitha Stallings will speak.

■ Burney’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church, 2628 VOA Site B Road, will host its annual men’s day service at 11 a.m. July 22.

■ Burning Bush…

July 14, 2018

Mint, sage, rosemary, thyme, horehound, catnip, bee-balm, marjoram, pennyroyal, lemon-balm, hyssop, lavender, dittany and basil (is it BAY-zil or BAAA-zil?): what an aromatic bunch of plants these are! All of these are fragrant members of the widely distributed “mint” family, one of the…


July 11, 2018

The Leroy James Farmers Market vendor of the week is Yates and Bailey Bee Farm.

Yates and Bailey Bee Farm has been a vendor at the Leroy James Farmers Market for almost six years.

“I am a lifelong farmer,” said Bobby Yates, a Virginia native who got his first hive of bees at age 14.…


July 11, 2018

The smell and taste of food can catapult us back to our childhood, to a time when trips to family restaurants were weekly affairs, everyone knew our name, what our favorite drink was and how we liked our steak. The best part was the gleaming, rotating dessert wheel that was filled with every flavor…


July 11, 2018

Q I am trying to get more vegetables into my meals but still am struggling to make my goal. Got any suggestions? W.L., Winterville

A Congratulations on your efforts to improve your vegetable intake. As it happens, Kara Massotti, a new Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with ECU Family Medicine, just…


July 11, 2018

How do you like to eat watermelon? Undoubtedly, it's a summer treat. I remember hot New England summers when the air was so humid you could slice it with knife. My brothers and I would eat thick watermelon-smiles, as wide as our faces, leaning over the grass, while the juices dribbled down our…


July 08, 2018

Facebook back-and-forth can be civil but still confusing. This is a condensed online conversation I had this week.

(Me) Any family-farm Facebook friends know what this is in my backyard? Durn … looks like it will grow too tall to pass as ground cover or natural area.

(Farm guy) Looks to be…

Bob Garner

July 08, 2018

KINSTON — What stands out in Sammy Hudson’s mind after traveling to Philadelphia with a van full of teenagers is the last mile or so before arriving back home.

After a week spent working with the homeless, serving in an after-school program and feeding the hungry, they made their way…


July 08, 2018


Dear Short Answers: A couple of weeks ago, one of the guys I work with was fired. We’re not really friends but we hang out in the same places so we know a lot of the same people. He begged me not to tell anyone that he got fired because he didn’t want any of the girls to…

Short Answers
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