DEAR AMY: I have a myriad of health problems. The long and short of it is that I am often in pain and have difficulty walking, sitting and standing. That said, I do not use a wheelchair yet, and while I walk slowly, I don't always limp.
However, at my newborn's day care center, none of this matters. There are only two handicap spaces, and they are almost always taken by healthy moms who resent being asked to move to other spaces for someone who "obviously isn't disabled."
I try being polite, but some of the moms are incredibly rude. One even threatened me after I asked her to move her SUV. (She was parked across both spaces with the motor off and talking on the phone.)
Honestly, I wouldn't have asked if there were any spaces within range or even if they got in and out quickly. When there are no spaces in the lot, I have to park illegally in front of the building and block the moms who parked illegally to begin with. Guess who they think is the jerk in that scenario?
I have asked the head of the center to please post a sign reminding parents that they shouldn't take up the disabled spots but she won't do it. I feel awful about causing trouble.
Should I just suck up the pain and park far away, or in some cases, wait 10 minutes for a space? Finding another day care isn't an option. — Disabled and Distressed
DEAR DISABLED: You have tried asking people nicely to please respect the handicap space, which is there by law. You have gone to the head of the day care center and asked her to post a reminder, and nothing has worked.
If you don't want to make waves, you will need to continue to accommodate these rude mothers.
There is also the nuclear option: If you have a valid and visible handicap permit and these jerky mothers routinely park in handicap spaces and won't move their cars when you ask, then you can park behind them, trapping them in — and (after everyone has taken their babies in), call the police and ask their advice — and then wait until police arrive to ticket the other drivers.
DEAR AMY: A close relative's son, who is 16, failed three classes last year.
Despite attempts to get him to go to summer school, he did not go. Being concerned about this child, I ordered a behavioral intervention program advertised on the radio. I offered it to his mother free of charge, but she refuses to look at it.
After having listened to some of the program myself, I believe it could really help this boy take responsibility for himself.
I have tried emailing tidbits of the program to my relative, and she does not reply. I am sick with worry over the boy's future. I love them both, but I feel the mother is denying that she could impact the situation with assistance and is letting her pride get in the way of accepting my help.
Can you offer any suggestions? — Concerned Sister
DEAR SISTER: You can send your relative all of this material along with a note saying, "I realize this is overstepping boundaries, but I want to offer this to you in hopes that it will help." After that, do no more.
It is kind of you to try to help this child, but you must realize that being an "armchair parent" will not endear you to parents struggling in the trenches.
DEAR AMY: "Geezer" was concerned about dating a much younger woman.
I'm a 64-year-old man and my life partner is a 32-year-old man. For us, it works. In all of my years, I've never "clicked" with another human being so well.
His parents, who are younger than I am, are super supportive. So are many other people in our lives — gay and straight — acquaintances, friends and family.
My life partner and I make each other very happy. If Geezer and his lady friend find happiness together, more power to them. — Another Geezer
DEAR ANOTHER: I agree. Thank you.