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The future groomsman taken by surprise

Dear Amy: My wife’s sister “Georgia” and her fiancé “Jon” are getting married in March.

As the wedding draws closer, their Save the Date cards have been sent out with a wedding website listed on the card.

As my wife and I were browsing the website, I was surprised to see my name listed as a groomsman. I have yet to be invited by the groom or the bride to be part of their day.

I feel like I shouldn’t have to contact them, but now I also feel compelled to be part of their day.

Am I petty?

— The little groomsman

Dear Groomsman: Your internal reaction to this surprise doesn’t seem petty (to me), but even if your reaction is actually and objectively petty — so what?

I’m giving you official permission to throw a full-fledged little party. I bring the cupcakes.

Once you’re done, I suggest you react to this frankly and with good humor.

If you don’t want to take on this honor/obligation, you absolutely must let the couple know – as soon as possible.

If you’re undecided about this, reach out to them both (via email, phone, or text) to say, “I hope your wedding planning is going well. Marcia and I were looking at your website and I was so surprised to be listed as a groomsman! I guess that was an oversight, but I think you forgot to ask me to be part of the wedding party. I’m completely in the dark about this, so please educate me.

Remember this: you will never regret being polite, even when you react to what you perceive as rudeness.

Dear Amy: My wonderful grandmother would be almost 120 today.

She was an artist and trendsetter who lived to be 97. She was one of the first women to graduate from Oberlin College and earn a master’s degree from Columbia.

Gram was a part-time teacher and a prolific painter. She never sold much of her work, so when she downsized, her family took a few pieces and the rest sat in a heap in my parents’ garage.

When my parents downsized, they gave some of Gram’s paintings to grandchildren and great-grandchildren who requested them. The rest is now in a heap in our house. And to stack it (literally), my father (his son-in-law) spent his last years making paintings.

Last month, my mother moved to an even smaller place. We have their collection.

Back home we have over 50 paintings in stacked frames filling up any empty space we had. Each extended family member has the photos they want. These are the extras. What to do with them?

We can’t just throw away Grandma’s or Dad’s paintings. My husband thinks we should treat them like the flag, with respect, and have a scorching party.

I’m not sure my mom or I could handle that. We’ll probably take the photos out of the frames and roll them up so they take up less space.

But one day we will have to do something with them.

We welcome any suggestions you have.

— Drowning in art

Dear Drowned: Before throwing a worthy burning party, I suggest you at least try to find new, appreciable homes for your paintings.

There are many sites online where you can list these coins for sale. You can check out eBay and Etsy and search for other art-centric sites online.

Your grandmother’s work, in particular, might attract attention because of the personal history of this accomplished woman. (You can also contact the Oberlin Art Department to see if they would like to receive a given work.)

Dear Amy: “Clean up, please!” feared living with her boyfriend in his extremely dirty apartment. I was with you until you suggested that he could pay his girlfriend to clean: “He (not you) could offer suggestions on how to solve this problem (get his life together, hire a cleaner or maybe even compensate you for the cleaning).”

No no no!

It would create a permanent dynamic where he wouldn’t take responsibility for her mess, and she would become his de facto maid.

There are many possible solutions, but this should not be one of them!

– I do not agree!

Dear disagreement! : I realize this is an extremely unusual suggestion. I happen to know a couple (long married) who have differing standards when it comes to cleanliness.

The dirtier spouse compensates the cleaner spouse for the time spent keeping the house clean. I agree that it wouldn’t work for everyone.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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