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The Vine: July 20, 2011

Submitted by on July 20, 2011 – 10:24 AM37 Comments

I'm about to graduate from grad school, which is great, but I've got a bit of a problem.

I've been commuting between two cities (4.5 hours apart) for almost two years, every week, because when my husband and I moved from City A to City B for my graduate program, he hated his job in City B and wanted to move back to City A in order to go back to his old job. When there was an opening at his old company in City A, I took a breath and suggested that maybe we should move back to City A, and I would commute between the two cities. He took me up on it. Maybe I shouldn't have offered, but I did and we got through it.

Unfortunately, the job that he took back in City A came with some problems — namely, a truly awful boss (independently confirmed by people other than my husband). She's recently suggested that he look for another job. He pretty much feels awful about how this has all played out.

So now we're looking for work in City C — all the way across the country. It's the epicenter of my industry, and I've wanted to try to live there for years. However, my husband's industry was very, very hard hit in the recession, hasn't recovered, and probably won't recover for at least two years. He's sent out about 40 resumes since January, many to this area, and has gotten no nibbles at all.

My friends are concerned for me; they are all moving out to City C, they know this time has been very, very hard on me, and they're upset with my husband for not finding work in City C. They know that he's been reluctant to move there in the past; he's worried that he won't fit in and that he'll hate the climate.

I guess my question is twofold: How do I get my friends to give him the benefit of the doubt? He's doing the best he can in an awful economy. And my second question is how do I get past this myself? I'm frustrated and I love him. City A isn't terrible for my industry, but I'm honestly really resentful of the entire situation. I want to get past it, though. Any thoughts?

Rocks, Hard Place, Caught Between

Dear Rocks,

The first one is pretty easy…and kind of hard at the same time, because the answer is, you can't. You can't really "get" your friends to do anything; they'll think what they think, and you can't control it. You can choose to view that as maddening and insulting — and this is how I myself tend to view things I can't control (heh), so I don't judge you — but you can also choose to let that set you free. He's your husband, not theirs; it's not their married life, it's yours; if they want to draw conclusions based on incomplete information, they will, so assume they mean well by doing it and don't let it inform your decision-making.

So, it's time for the old Thanks For Your Concern, Now We Discuss Popular Reality Programming. Ready? "Well, he's doing the best he can in an awful economy, but it'll work itself out one way or the other — and speaking of 'making it work,' WHAT is going ON with the product placement on Runway this season?"

I know it's frustrating when friends don't Get It with the S.O. and you're getting the skepti-brow at cocktails, but…that dovetails nicely with your second question, because I suspect part of your frustration here is that you kind of agree with them about the situation, and you feel guilty about selling out your husband even if you never verbalize it, and then in turn you feel more resentful about having to defend him when what you'd actually like to do is tie him to the top of the car like a canoe and just move to City C, end of story.

The two of you need to discuss your fears and resentments honestly, I think, because I think maybe he doesn't know how far the commute has worn you down, or how you worry about his career as well as your own. And I think maybe you don't know the full extent of his anxieties, because…he knows it's getting to you, and he's really worried about it, I bet. I bet he's terrified that he's going to let you down, or lose your respect, and it's coming close to paralyzing him because he knows it's your "turn" but he's seeing City C as a minefield instead of an opportunity.

All of that is normal, but you have to speak about it honestly to each other, because the whole situation is scary and stressful for you both, and you can't partner up and power through it together if each of you is isolating in your own neuroses. So, tell him you how you feel; stress that you want to team up in the situation as a couple instead of kind of working at cross-purposes; listen to what he has to say in response; and — this is key — let the choice to commute "for him" go. You chose to do it; it didn't work out as well as it could have; it's done, and you can't undo it. You can talk frankly about how it's been a hassle, but even if it's your instinct to use it as leverage on the City C thing, don't. Don't talk to him as though he's your adversary here. Clear the air of all of that so that the two of you can become a stronger team.

Hi Sars,

I live in a neighborhood that is overrun with stray cats. I adopted one of the friendlier boys, got him vaccinated, and gave him a collar and name tag. He was fixed by a trap-neuter-release program. He stays outdoors during the day, but he usually comes in late at night and spends the night inside. He is well fed and very affectionate.

In the last two weeks, he has brought NINE decapitated birds to the exact same spot in my backyard. I know cats will play with their dead prey, and I thought that was how the birds had lost their heads. Yesterday, I saw him come into the yard with a dead bird that still had its head. He took it over to the same area as the others and ATE THE HEAD. Just the head — he seems to have no interest in the rest of the body. I now believe that he has eaten the heads off of the other birds. I am on the third mass grave in my yard.

Why is he doing this?

Do I have to put a bell on his collar?

What should I rename him?


1. He's hungry. 2. Maybe. 3. Hannibal.

Kidding, kidding. First off, good for you for taking little Dahmer on, and I don't think the behavior's anything to worry about, really; he's a young cat, and they hunt. Still, why not call your vet (if you have a regular vet — if not, the trap/release program no doubt has one to recommend) and ask if this kind of compulsive head-eating is indicative of a nutritional deficiency, or any other problem you might have to worry about.

The other concern, of course, is rabies/fleas/anything else he — and/or you — might pick up from the birds. Please wear gloves and try to use a shovel or other tool to, um, inter our fallen avian friends.

And until you get word from a vet, try 1) a bell, and 2) feeling grateful he's not catching chipmunks and releasing them, still alive, in your house to rocket around your kitchen while you chase them with a broom and he sits there washing his ear like you've never met before.

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  • HielanLass says:

    @Amy, you might try the Birdsbesafe collar ( or the Catbib (

  • attica says:

    Amy, my cat used to catch birds and rodents, and bring them, not quite dead yet, inside to present to me on the bedspread. So your guy's little backyard sacrifical sounds so nice! (Once presented and congratulated, he'd proceed with the carcass for a little privacy behind the tv, whereupon I'd hear the crunching of wee bones, and have whatever was left/whatever got upchucked to clean up later. Ugh.)

    Oh, and he was belled. So maybe not too much help there. The clever ones find work-arounds.

    If it's not nutritional, I'd bet it's just trophy taking. He's caught the thing, about which he's psyched, he's not particularly hungry since you're feeding him, but he can't in self-respect just leave it there, so, off with its head!

  • Emily says:

    My dad cleaned out our garage one time when I was growing up and found a cache of desiccated squirrel tails under his power saw. I believe there were 10 or so (our strictly outdoor cat used the garage as his home base). It was like a tiny serial killer's lair under there.

    Eating birds is pretty natural, though. I once saw my mom's HUGE FAT LAZY cat sail through their barn and catch a bird OUT OF THE AIR. Seriously, this cat barely leaves the couch during the course of an entire day and he caught a bird. From the air. It's apparently the one cat-like activity that speaks to him.

  • Hellcat13 says:

    Heh, I'd consider a whole body to dispose of a treat (although admittedly a disturbing treat, of course). My old kitty (who stayed with my parents in the country when I moved out) likes to leave a little pile of viscera on the porch. She's in hog heaven right now because the hay field was cut the other day and the mice are easy prey. Nothing cuter to me than her little grey head popping out of the rows of cut hay as she hunts.

    My own kitties are indoor furballs, so the worst I get these days is the odd Junebug carcass.

  • Lily says:

    Amy – I had a cat that did the opposite, with gophers. She'd eat the whole thing except for the head and the front feet, leave the feet outside by a damp spot on the patio, and bring the head inside to play with. Did this for a few months and then stopped. Maybe she got bored, maybe she killed all the available gophers, I don't know. She also wore a collar with a bell, but had perfected the method of gopher hunting in spite of it. Your cat may loose interest soon, or you may need to start turning him into an outside only with supervision kitty. Always good to check with the vet when a cat's behavior changes suddenly, though.

    Rocks – Definitely sit down for a long chat with your husband about the whole situation. Has he tried job searching in City C? Maybe it's not the right time for a move across the country? Whatever the specifics of your situation, hopefully the two of you can work out something that's best for the both of you.

  • Tylia says:

    I have nothing useful to add except that this: "feeling grateful he's not catching chipmunks and releasing them, still alive, in your house to rocket around your kitchen while you chase them with a broom and he sits there washing his ear like you've never met before." made me have the church giggles. The visual alone had me grinning ear to ear.

  • Pam says:

    There is no guarantee that you can find a job in City C, right? Especially with "all your friends" moving to the same city in potentially the same field/job market. Perhaps Cities D-Z could also enter the conversation? My husband and I had to compromise on a city where both of us could gain employment following law school. We both made some career sacrifices (salary, area of practice), but it was exciting for both of us to start fresh together.

  • LizzieKath says:

    Hi Rocks,

    Just wanted to add that things might actually get easier for your husband on the job hunt market once you are in City C. It's easier for a recruiter to ignore a resume coming from out of town; it's easier to pound the pavement when you're in town. If you guys do head to City C, your husband can call up every recruiter he's sent the resume to, ask if there's any chance he could come by just to talk to them, offer to take the recruiter to lunch to see if he can chat about what kinds of things they are looking for and in what time frame, etc. etc. The kind of honest pushiness that seems necessary in this economy can be more easily achieved when you're in town! Not that jobs will magically fall in his lap as soon as you've unpacked, but I think one is more likely to get an interview if one can say, "I'll be over in an hour if you like."

    Anyway, I hope this is encouraging to you and Mr. Rocks that maybe what you both want can happen and won't be as hard on him as you think! And best of luck with the job hunt – having a supportive spouse is a huge blessing, and he already has that.

  • caffeine72 says:

    My indoor cat didn't have rodents, so she'd catch brown recluse spiders (really old house + upper floor) and spit them, twitching onto my bare chest or neck while I was reading in bed. Live chipmunks? No problem.

  • ferretrick says:

    I have no advice to add this week, just a request for Sars' to write the full story of the chipmunk in the house.

    Oh, and Dahmer for the kitty name. Definitely Dahmer.

  • Robin says:

    @Rocks, when you're having The Talk with husband, make it real clear that continuing to do a long commute is not a good option for you. I'ts your turn to be where you need to be, and since he isn't getting job offers near or far, he might as well be out of work in City C with a happy wife as out of work in A or B with you getting resentful. Maybe he could pick up some other kind of work in City C while waiting for the Right Job.
    @Amy, it could be worse. On 2 separate occasions with 2 separate cats, I've had to deal with the cat acting all deprived because their prize bat was taken away. Which, both times, the bat flew into the house and the indoor cat(s) got the chance of their lifetime(s). I learned my lesson: keep the doors and window screens shut, and keep the cats indoors. Is there any chance that your little monster might be willing to adjust to an indoor life? It would not only cut down the carcass count, but also protect him from accidents and diseases that could carry him off quicker'n ya can say "Hi Birdy". If things continue as they are, you can name the cat Birdy. Or Birdman of Al-cat-raz. Really weird about him just eating the heads, though.

  • Crabby Abbey says:

    @Rocks – I think you have several issues going on here (obs) but the most pertinent may be that whole "I'm about to graduate from graduate school" thing. Does your husband have an advanced degree? If not, being unemployed on top of being less educated than you may really be giving him a case of the "I'm-not-good-enoughs" which is usually sitting right on top of clinical depression. Men truly do identify themselves through their work primarily, so being out of work sucks balls for them like nothing else (other than ED). And to be out of work but married to an up-and-comer whose whole professional future is ahead may just be demoralizing and scary. It sounds like he wasn't completely supportive of your going to grad school as he made you do the commute in order to both stay with him and stay in school. I hope this all works out for you, but having been through grad school, I also know things change once you have that experience, perspective and the opportunities that arise. Maybe you should be the proactive one chasing a good job and just go to City C and let him commute if necessary. But control your own destiny. :)

  • There's also this: 40 resumes in 6 months is not a lot, not in this job market. And when you're job-searching long distance, there's an added challenge. But more importantly, he needs a better strategy — networking, etc., not just sending resumes to companies where he doesn't have a connection in.

    I agree with the person above who said it'll get easier once he's actually in the city he's applying in. Long-distance job searching is very hard right now. But he shouldn't just rely on a strategy of sending out resumes; he's got to network and use connections and so forth. Believe me, I hate doing that myself, but it will significantly up his chances.

    Also, he should make sure his applications are actually effective — he should read some of the advice out there (including on my site!) for writing compelling resumes and cover letters. As a hiring manager, I can tell you that 85% of what I see is crap. If he does it well, he'll stand out in that crowd.

    Good luck!

  • MizShrew says:

    Amy, as a kid we had a cat that would leave little piles of dead birds and rodents on the front porch for my dad. She'd sit by them until he came along and praised her for her hunting skills. Kitty was quite perplexed when she did the same thing with my sister-in-law next door, who started screaming instead of praising. hee. Anyway, eating just the heads is odd, but not totally insane.

    Anyway, as someone who lives in Milwaukee and is currently enduring extended coverage of "Dahmer: 20 years later," please, please don't name your cat Dahmer. Ick.
    If you want to go for another Wisconsin serial killer then name him Ed for Ed Gein, or Norman — Ed Gein was the inspiration for the Norman Bates character in Hitchcock's "Psycho." Or how about Dexter?

  • Andrew says:

    @ Amy: My environmental-scientist buddy says outdoor housecats can actually do serious damage to local bird populations. It's not just the regular old Circle of Life business because housecats aren't a native species in any environment, and the birds haven't evolved along with them. I'd say taking just one cat out of the game wouldn't make that much of a difference since there's a large feral cat community in your neighborhood…but seeing as how this one's averaging a decapitation every day and a half, it might be worth considering making him an indoor cat for the good of your ecosystem.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:


    A)Have the honest, airing of issues but no blame engine attached discussion(s). (You'll probably need more than one.)

    B)Go see Horrible Bosses. Midnight showing if possible, then get drunk (if you indulge in the Devil's Nectar.)

    C) Burn your husband's H.B. in voodoo doll effigy on the BBQ.

    D)Pack up, move to city C, and acknowledge that you've made compromises before and you'll make them again.

    The Compromise Pants always itch and chafe, even if you tell yourself it's for the best/only for X amount of time/because you love him–especially then, actually. So don't beat yourself up for being human and not especially loving the commute years, just as he doesn't have to endlessly feel bad for wanting to work in City A.

    Things do work out. It will be a thousand percent easier for both of you to find work once you're established in City C, whether it's in jobs in your respective fields or not. Not because C is the magical land of Oz and you will never have problems again ever, but because you've decided, mutually, that you've had crap in the past that you got over, and the crap in the future will be gotten over too. Then, CHAAARRRRGE!

    Also, Sars is, as per usual, dead on with the "thanks for thinking of me/and now we move on in this conversation" advice. You aren't trying to escape an abusive man or being held down/back/underwater by your marriage. And your freinds may not be as 1000% together as they want to seem and may be doing a tad of projecting onto your problems so they can feel better about their decisions; not because they're horrible but because humans do that all the time. You don't have to be their Porta-Movie screen.

  • Kay says:

    My big male ginger tabby used to catch adult squirrels, murder them, and then lovingly hold and lick them, like a baby, for some time. Then he would eat the head, and when anyone would get near him to get rid of the damn disgusting thing, he would growl like a Satanic beast. Thank god there are no squirrels around the new house, although he still loves catching and releasing live mice into the house.

  • Kristen says:

    Uck! The visuals from these comments! For once, Tomato Nation is not the best lunchtime reading. :o)

  • Amanda says:

    This is probably not all that helpful because it was not a cat, but I have to share the story of my own murderous animal: my female GSD used to catch and kill live animals in our yard all the time. We would find the carcass, whole, with a single puncture wound through its skull. It was mostly squirrels, but sometimes it was birds, and, on one occasion, a possum. We just kinda let her do it. Being a GSD, she was bred to be crazy anyway. It was in her blood like it's in little Dahmer's, I bet.

    (Best story that didn't end with death would be the time a Husky jumped over our fence into our yard. He must have thought he was a badass. GSD was not pleased and when she went after him, he tried to escape. Well, he didn't get that far — she had him by the tail, over the fence. I have no first-hand recollection of this as I was probably four or five at the time, but my parents tell me the Husky was screaming in pain and the GSD just was not letting go. This dog is the only reason my mother let me and my sister play in the backyard as little kids.)

    We have owned five dogs since then and it appears that the fifth one, Akita #2 (sixteen-week-old female), is going to be our first serial killer in nearly fifteen years. She's been catching and killing June bugs since we brought her home, and she can grab flying things out of the air. Whether this will develop into killing mammals and birds, I don't know, but I would not be shocked.

  • Dorine says:

    @Rocks: I second/third advice above re: networking — my husband and I have lived in our current city for 14 and 13 years, respectively, and we've each been through several jobs in our fields in this time. Combined, we've had 9 jobs, and 8 of those came about because of someone we knew who could help us get past the initial resume filter-er.

    Also, it sounds from your letter that you are harboring some resentment for him for not yet finding a job, and unless you know he isn't trying, that's really not fair — this job market is miserable. Even in good times, it's hard to get a job in a new city, but right now? It's hard to get a job in a field in which you are an undisputed expert and willing to work for %50 of what you're worth. So please don't assume that just because he hasn't found a job in City C that it means he doesn't love you as much as you love him.

    Also, what Sars said about you two being a team is spot on (of course!). My husband and I have taken turns bringing home the bacon while the other suffered through job searches — and it's been very important for us to remember each time that it goes both ways, and eventually the other spouse will be the one providing support when it becomes our turn to job hunt.

  • Jessica says:

    Can husband do informational interviews once he gets to City Next?

    The other thing that's possibly lurking, but not quite addressed, is that Rocks and Rocks' friends seem to share an enthusiasm for City C that Husband doesn't share, and maybe Husband is feeling left out and/or defensive because of that? But that's a different issue than whether or not he can get a job in City C. Related, but not identical.

  • Rebecca says:

    Oh man, since this has turned into what-my-cat-killed fest, I have to share that two nights ago, I got a middle-of-the-night call from my roommate (I work night shifts) to tell me that the cat had woken her up by bringing a half-dead mouse into her room and playing with it. What should she do?? We decided she would see if the cat would finish it off, then dispose of it. Turns out a few minutes later the cat…lost it. Yup, just disappeared. The room was torn apart looking for the mouse…no luck.

    Then last night I wasn't working, but still up late 'cause that's my schedule, and the cat suddenly tears downstairs and starts going nuts hunting something in the living room under the chaise. I'm praying "Let it be a cockroach, let it be a cockroach" because she'll sometimes give chase to those (we don't have many but where we live you just can't avoid a few in the summer). Then I'm telling myself "That's not squeaking you hear, that's not squeaking you hear." Then I see her prancing across the room with a mouse in her mouth. THEN she puts it down under the laundry rack (WITH MY CLEAN LAUNDRY ON IT) and starts a little hide-and-seek game. Another roommate consultation ensues and we decide to close our doors, ignore it, and see what the morning brings.

    When I got up today, I came downstairs to find my laundry bags serving as makeshift shrouds (apparently my roommate was not up for corpse duty, or corpse viewing). Also the cat's food dish was almost empty. Apparently she works up quite an appetite mousehunting and can't be bothered to actually EAT her kill.

  • sachi says:


    I kind of just went through this with my husband. In our case, we moved so I could go to school and in 2 years he went through 4 jobs which all sucked for various (legitimate) reasons after being with the same company for 10 years. First, the question of where you both want to be needs to be addressed – is he okay with city c? Regardless of how far you have been commuting, you both are presumably going to be living in this new city for several years, so you both need to be okay with it. Have you been there? Researched it?

    The next thing is the job question. Can you afford to live on one salary(I'm assuming you will have a job before moving)? Is there something he can do besides his career choice? How would he feel if it were several months before he could find a job? Thinking outside traditional bounds for his job could help open up other posibilities.

    Not having a job is especially hard on men, who are often raised to believe that they should be able to support their wives, even if its not something they really think about. And it is natural to feel upset with your husband for not being able to find a job – I did, especially because we have a toddler and I was going to school full time, working part time, and here's my husband not doing anything. Not his fault, he didn't like it, but I still resented it. I kept thinking if only he tried harder, was better in interviews, etc, but you have to have faith in your husband that he is doing his best. You need to talk and you need a plan before you decide where you are moving.

  • Amy says:

    Hello everyone, this is Amy with the brain eating zombie cat.

    We are now up to 16 dead birds, mostly sparrows. I think the lazy bastard actually found a couple of nests and just camped out under them until each fledgling took its first flight…which is why I don't think a bell would be much help. I know how house cats are destroying the native bird population – I do wish I could train him to go after pigeons though.

    I keep him indoors at night with the goal of eventually making him a full time indoor cat, but he isn't very cooperative. He comes in at night but cries and demands to be let out first thing in the morning.

    TN readers, thank you for the perspective. Piles of entrails? Injured rodents hiding in the house? A cache of tails? I see it could be much worse.

    His full name is Little Brother Tucker (get it?), as I already have two geriatric indoor cats. Lately we have been calling him Bird-Murderer, Zombie-Cat, or Asshole. When he isn't munching on brains, he is a perfectly sweet kitty.

  • Sam says:

    What strikes me about the first letter is that she says her husband doesn't want to move to City C because….he doesn't think he'll fit in or like the climate.

    You guys tried living in City B but he hated his job there so you guys moved back so he could get his old job back, and you end up doing a huge commute. Then the job he gets in City A sucks too. And you could get a job in City C but he doesn't want to go because of the climate and stuff. And this is despite the fact that his industry isn't going to recover in the next two years. Which is a long damn time the bet on the best case scenario, imo.

    I'm not an advice-giver by nature because I don't usually know the best way of phrasing things like Sars does. The only people I give advice to or take it from are my sisters. And if the letter-writer was my sister I'd tell her this: he needs to suck it up. Men feelings the need to bring home the bacon is all well and good, but he can't make it work within his industry because of the economy which is not something that's probably going to drastically improve anytime soon. Your industry is apparently doing much better. If the two of you can do well financially with you being the breadwinner then I don't see the issue. Is it better for the two of you to stay in a city where he can't get a job and isn't especially good for you rather than the two of you going to a city where you can get a job? I'm not even trying to imply he's a bad guy or a lazy guy, btw, I'm saying this is about what works and what doesn't. City A doesn't work. City C does.

    Congratulations on graduating, btw.

  • Emma says:

    ~Perhaps Cities D-Z could also enter the conversation?~

    I second this, for a reason mentioned in the original letter that hasn't been addressed yet:

    ~he'll hate the climate~

    If I were in Husband's shoes, this would be a bigger concern to me than the job-hunt, which sounds as though it's going as badly in City A as it would in City C.

    But if, for example, City C is in California and he hates the thought of not seeing snow for the rest of his life, or something similar, I can sympathize.

    So consider Cities D-Z, or suggest that you two give City C a trial run for a year or two and see where it goes.

  • MelShoe says:

    I second the requests for a longer version of the chipmunk in the kitchen story, or any update on the felines.

    No cats but two dogs. One is lazy, slovenly and generally immobile (she refuses to sit on the couch without at least two additional cushions under her tiny, lazy ass) The only thing that motivates her is birds. We take them to a local oval on weekends, knowing that the middle section will be full of birds trying to dig up worms.. hence lazy butt gets some exercise. Last week there was a car accident near by and she was on her hind legs trying to bring down the medi-vac chopper (shes about 8 pounds, tiny)

    The other dog is active, but a sook. Last week we came across a kitten, she was petrified and hid behind my legs

  • Ipomen Scarlet says:

    Rocks, Hard Place, Caught Between,

    I really, really agree with Sars: getting through such a tough situation with each of you isolated in your own resentments and misery can only make you both more resentful and more miserable.

    I'm also with Pam: maybe look into other cities.

    A new city kills a few birds with one stone (sorry, Amy).

    1) It removes the direct tension between you and your friends. It's a lot easier to change the subject when you're not seeing them constantly.

    2) His self-esteem must be shot to buggery from his job horrors. Being surrounded by a bunch of your censorious friends will make it that much worse.

    3) With buggered self esteem, he's going to find it much harder to muster the enthusiasm to get a new job, and to perform at his best in job interviews.

    4) In a city that's new to you both, you'll have to team up. You'll need each other and it'll be a great opportunity to bond.

    5) It's a fresh start for you both to remake yourselves and enter into entirely new friendships with no preconceptions.

    Whatever happens, good luck!


    Amy, I feel for you!

    Half devoured prey is so much worse than in-tact prey. My cat enjoys leaving *just* the mouse tails. I wish she spoke English, because I'd ask her:

    "You eat plague ridden vermin, and you find a *tail* disgusting?"

    I'd ask her other questions, but she's an idiot. Lucky she's cute!

  • Jenak says:

    My folks have indoor cats in South Texas. They hunt for, trap, and present (gulp) scorpions. Good times!

  • Rocks says:

    Hi all–

    This is Rocks, the letter writer in the first request; the industry I'm in is film. The industry my husband is in is government. City A is New York, city C is Los Angeles. Both of us, now, have graduate degrees, and you understand why I can say with blanket certainty that it's going to take a while for my husband's industry to recover in California.

    We actually did follow most of Sars's advice, but a lot of what all y'all have said did crop up in my thoughts and discussions with people, ranging from "suck it up, husband" to "lots of competition for me"…it's been a very long series of conversations, is what I'm saying. Husband was able to find another job in New York City and loves it, and I've decided to try to figure out how to produce/direct my first feature length from here…which will definitely take two years. We'll readdress things at that point.

    Thank you so much for your advice!

  • Rocks says:

    Blah…my last comment sounds kind of cold and snippy! What I'm trying to say is that we're happy together and pretty much feel like we made the right decision. And thank god my commute is done–I actually feel like I have a marriage again.

  • caffeine72 says:

    I remember a friend had a cat that would leave the headless mouse bodies lined up in front of the front door. The heads would later be found under pillows, in laundry, in kitchen cabinets . . .

    My dog kills stuff too, but usually much bigger. I've had to dispose of two full grown dead raccoons, numerous possums, two feral cats, and multiple field mice and birds in the past few years, and those are all from my postage-stamp sized back yard. Urban wildlife sucks.

  • JenV says:

    @Amy – did you happen to check out the links the first commenter posted regarding the special bird collar, and the Cat bib? Cuz I actually thought those looked pretty effective (especially the Cat bib), if a little dorky. My cats are all indoor only but if they were outdoor cats and were wreaking havoc on the bird population I would totes get a few of those Catbibs, and live with the dorkiness.

  • Kris says:

    When we were kids, our family cat (a smallish, basic tabby cat) wasn’t all that interested i birds. Mammals, however, were another story. We lived on a pond, and it killed at least two decent-sized muskrats, and my dad had no problems with rabbits in the vegetable garden. We awoke one memorable morning to the sight of the cat playing in the backyard with what looked at first to be a stuffed toy. He was tossing it up in the air, letting it drop, and attacking it again. We soon realized that what he was playing with was a dead rabbit. Kitty had nearly decapitated it to the point where the head was hanging on by just the skin on the back of its neck. Apparently that made the rabbit more fun to play with. I don’t think we ate a lot of breakfast that morning.

    And yes, all of our family cats were called Kitty because we never could agree on names.

  • Jacq says:

    Rocks, I really feel for you and your situation. It's similar to what my husband and I have been through, although our moves involved crossing the entire world, and not just going from city to city. We left the UK in 2003 to return to my home country, having been told that my husband would have no problem in getting a job in his (incredibly restricted) field. It didn't work out: there was nothing there for him to do and, after six solid months of searching, he declared that he needed to move back to the UK. I could totally understand his situation and could see how miserable he was, so we did return to the UK and he started a very successful consultancy. It was so hard, though – I really was gutted about leaving my country once again.

    Fast forward eight years and we've been able to return to my home country recently, but this time we didn't make the move until my husband had signed a contract for an awesome job in his field. Now I'm the one having to carve out a career for myself in this country, but I'm sure that I will figure it out. So, it's a happy ending!

    We have known so many couples that have moved countries and have seen the woman in the partnership get work reasonably easily and the man really struggle. And although I totally believe that both parties' careers are important, my experience and that of my friends has taught me that men are far, FAR less equipped to cope with career struggles than women. I don't know why it is, but women seem to be able to roll with the punches a bit more and, if necessary, be flexible, whereas men seem to see it as a personal affront and also a terrible commentary on their entire sense of self-worth if they can't get a decent job. So my only advice would be to consider very carefully how your husband will cope if you do move to City C and he can't get work for ages. That's not to say that a move to City C isn't the way to go, but perhaps hold out until he has something to go to. It sounds like he's trying hard to find something, so perhaps it will work out soon.

    And tell your friends to either support you and your choices (and by 'you' I mean you and your husband), or keep their traps shut. And if they can't do that, and want to give you a hard time about what they think your husband should be doing, I would give them a wide berth. It's great that they're concerned for you, but this situation is only your and your husband's business and your loyalty should lie with him.

  • dallas says:

    I agree that a big part of cats bringing in the prey is to show you how much they love you and want you to be proud of them. I adopted a tomcat many years ago who was always an outdoor hunter and he had a cat door to come and go. It got to the stage where every night I would come home to a bloody bird carcass on my pillow. Then I went away for a few days (leaving him with ample food) and on my return found several budgies in my bed. These belonged to the bird loving neighbour whose mother happened to sit in the next cubicle to me at work. I realised I had to keep Arnie indoors to stop the slaughter but unfortunately after my ex reclaimed him he was let outdoors agian and took on prey he couldn't fight – a rottweiler that severed his throat.
    I have since adopted another cat and keep her securely indoors. She would rather be outside but I try to pamper her with lots of love and fresh meat once a day (with nutrionally balanced kibble in the mornings).

  • LizzieKath says:

    @Rocks –

    Congrats on finding a solution that makes it work! Though, may I just say, California could use some help in the governmental department so please don't let your husband write us off forever. Alternately, you could cast him in your film and in a few years you guys could both move in to the governor's mansion in Sacramento. :-)

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