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The Day – Time and technology change communication between twins

DEAR ABBY: My twin sister moved to another state years ago. We always kept in close contact through telephone calls. But since the invention of caller ID, call waiting, cellphones, texting, etc., things have changed.

Examples: She’ll cut off a conversation to answer another nonemergency call. She frantically texts that she needs to talk right now, then doesn’t call and won’t answer when I try to call her. She doesn’t return calls or texts for days.

When we do talk, she complains nonstop, and if I try to chime in about what’s happening in my life, she cuts off the conversation. Also, we have a two-hour time difference, so when she does call, it’s either super late or the dinner hour. If I can’t talk long, she gets mad and blocks me for days.

I don’t want to be the etiquette police, but something is off. Advice? 

— JUST ABOUT HAD IT IN ILLINOIS

DEAR HAD IT: Has your twin always been this self-centered and rude, or is it relatively new behavior? Do not blame advances in technology for it. Accept that she may have a low level of tolerance for frustration and little interest in what is going on in your life.

If I were you, the next time she blocks you, do not repeatedly try to reach her. Wait until she calls back. If you haven’t already taken this up with her directly, you should, because her phone manners are atrocious.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are elderly. We live in a renovated shack I inherited from my family. The neighborhood is degrading, and I’m trying to decide whether to build a new home out in the country on property I own.

If I do, my family, which needs a better place to live, could live in my current house. But I’m worried about the physical and emotional toll it will take on my husband and me to improve the wooded property. I also worry about issues like potential dementia living nearly 30 miles from town in the country.

No matter how much I weigh the pros and cons, I can’t reach a decision whether to build or not. Because of our ages, it’s now or never. Can you please help me decide? 

— STUMPED ABOUT THE FUTURE

DEAR STUMPED: Allow me to offer a third alternative. You described your husband and yourself as elderly and expressed concern about the physical and emotional toll building a new home far from town could cause. It might make more sense to consider selling your current home and/or the rural property and using the money to buy a place in town in a neighborhood that isn’t degrading and is near medical facilities should you and your husband need them. At this point in your lives, the last thing you need is stress and isolation.

DEAR READERS: This is my annual reminder to all of you who live where daylight saving time is observed: Don’t forget to turn your clocks FORWARD one hour tonight at bedtime. Daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. tomorrow. It’s a ritual I love because it signals the coming of spring, and with it longer, brighter days and warmer weather. 

— ABBY