Dear Short Answers >> How do you handle relatives who don't use email? It makes it nearly impossible to plan family get-togethers when a few "older members" take two or three days to respond to any question (whenever they get around to listening to their messages on the ancient answering machines). Do I just forget about them in the planning stage and tell them when the event is going to be and they can just show up or not?
DEAR MEL >> Family get-togethers present many challenges and we suggest you don't get your knickers in a twist right out of the gate. We assume you want them all to come — old and dotty, young and irritating.,That's what makes families a joy. Resign yourself to calling everyone several times. Or even better, delegate it to another family member — and you concentrate on planning the party!
Dear Short Answers >> A close friend of mine asked me to contribute to a charity that she is very involved with. It wasn't something that I was personally interested in, but I made a contribution as a personal favor to my friend. Shortly after I sent the money, I heard the charity had gone out of business due to financial problems. I asked my friend if I could get my money back and she said my contribution went to pay for debts that the charity had incurred. I am beyond furious. Don't you think my friend should pay me back the $1,000 I sent to HER charity?
DEAR PISSED >> We get it, but ultimately, the choice to contribute was yours. Sorry.
Dear Short Answers >> My next door neighbor is an artist who lost her husband about five years ago. She has become very close with her gardener who suddenly seems to be living with her. I am afraid he is taking advantage of her money and her loneliness. How do I stop this from happening? I don't think he means to harm her — but I fear he might be stealing from her. I tried to "hint" with my friend that he was trouble, but she defended him and refused to discuss it. Do I wait until something horrible happens? Or do I call some authority? I am at a loss.
DEAR WOULD LIKE >> There is nothing you can do that won't cause harm or embarrassment. It may be that he is taking advantage of her — or he could be a very good friend and an appreciated distraction at a crossroads in her life. Stay out of this.
A Dickensian tale
Dear Short Answers >> My boyfriend has been living in my home for the past three months and I just started to ask him to share some of the expenses. He gladly gave me half of what I requested and I am wondering how soon can I ask for the rest without appearing to be cheap?
DEAR $$ >> Get "even" as soon as possible before inequality becomes the habit. Remember Oliver Twist: say "more please, sir ..." and nothing else. If he doesn't get it — he doesn't get it.