Dear Amy: My wife’s sister is getting married in March. The save-the-date cards were sent out with a wedding website listed on the card.
As my wife and I were looking through the website, I was taken aback by seeing my name listed as a groomsman. I have yet to be asked by the groom or bride to be part of their day.
I feel like I should not have to reach out to them, but now I also feel obligated to be part of their day.
Am I being petty?
The Petty 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 give you official permission to have a full-on petty party. I’ll bring the cupcakes.
Once you’re done, I suggest that you react to this frankly and with good humor.
If you don’t want to assume this honor/obligation, you should definitely let the couple know — sooner rather than later.
If you are on the fence about this, contact both of them (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 assume this 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 do fill me in.”
Remember this: You will never regret being polite, even when reacting to what you perceive as rudeness.
Dear Amy: My wonderful grandmother would be almost 120 years old today.
She was an artist and a forward thinker 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 pile in my parents’ garage.
When my parents downsized, they gave a few of Gram’s paintings to the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren who asked for them. The rest are now in a pile in our home. And to pile on (literally), my dad spent his last years making paintings.
Last month, my mother moved to an even smaller place. We got their collection.
At our house, we have over 50 framed paintings in piles, filling any empty space we had. Everyone in the extended family has the pictures they want. These are the extras. What are we to do with them? We can’t just throw Gram’s or Dad’s paintings away.
My husband thinks we should treat them like the flag, with respect, and have a burning party. I’m not sure my mom or I could take that.
We will probably remove the pictures from the frames and roll them up so they take less space. But someday, we’re going to have to do something with them.
We welcome any suggestions you have.
Drowning in Art
Dear Drowning: Before hosting a dignified burning party, I suggest that you at least try to find appreciative new homes for your paintings.
There are many online sites where you can put these pieces up for sale. You could check eBay and Etsy, and research other art-centered online sites.
Your grandmother’s work, especially, might attract attention because of the personal history of this accomplished woman. (You might also contact the art department at Oberlin to see if they have any interest in receiving a donated piece.)
Dear Amy: “Clean, Please!” was worried about cohabiting 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 for how to address this (get his act together, hire a cleaner, or perhaps even compensate you for cleaning).”
No, no, no! This would create a permanent dynamic where he doesn’t take responsibility for his mess, and she becomes his de facto maid.
There are plenty of possible solutions but that should not be one of them!
Dear Disagree!: I realize that this is an extremely unusual suggestion.
I happen to know one (long-married) couple who have divergent standards about cleanliness. The messier spouse compensates the cleaner spouse for the time spent keeping the house clean.
I agree that this would not work for everyone.
You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.