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Advice & More June 2016

Ask Miss Nora

Episodic Anguish

Instead of seeing this as an awkward situation, perhaps you should recognize that your husband actually relishes in the election year hullabaloo. Maybe he feels vibrant only when he’s engaged in intelligent dialogue with people he’d otherwise not have motivation to talk to.

Dear Miss Nora: I have sent my grandchildren Christmas gifts every year since they were babies. I take the time to check with their parents that the gift is something they want, wrap it accordingly and get it in the mail in time for them to open Christmas morning. But the last five years my grandchildren have stopped calling or writing to say thank you. Now I get an email of maybe one sentence and last year I didn’t even get that as my daughter called to thank me for them! Is it asking too much that they call or even actually write me themselves?

I recently spoke to my daughter about this as I feel it is the parent’s fault for not teaching their children to be appreciative. My daughter said I was being old fashioned and that today’s kids just email or text – no one writes and calls any more. I feel unappreciated and disappointed but I still want my grandchildren to have gifts from me. How do I get them to show the proper gratitude? Sad in Seattle

Dear Sad: It’s true that kids today are completely unacquainted with the art of correspondence. Social sites and mobile communication devices have relegated language to symbols and deliberate misspellings – even adults are caught up in the abbreviations of communication. Sadly, I doubt correspondence will ever go back to the days of handwritten letters or proper replies.  

However, you want to remind your family that you are from an era where manners mattered. Elders were respected (despite modern fads or techniques) and that since you have expressed your displeasure at their lack of appropriate gratitude, it is impolite to ignore your feelings – especially since they are happy to accept your gifts.

I suggest that you send each of your grandchildren a lovely stationary set, complete with pen and stamps well in advance of Christmas. Let them know that you will be sending their gifts on time this year but caution them that next year’s gifts rely heavily on their appropriate gratitude for this year’s gifts!

If nothing is forthcoming from this not so subtle hint, then you have to make a choice to either go with the modern flow (like it or not) or stick to your guns and send nothing but a Christmas card the following year – teaching them that etiquette is important, if only to you!

 

Dear Miss Nora: I know the news is full of politics and political party infighting these days and I know it’s all important but every time my husband and I are in company, he starts sounding off about who he is voting for, why the other person should vote for his candidate too and whips the conversation into an argument if he isn’t agreed with. I have asked him repeatedly to stop discussing such hot topics since he is unable to have a civil discussion but he ignores me and does it anyway. Typically, he’s a nice man but politics turns him into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! Signed, Embarrassed

Dear Embarrassed: You only have one option – the minute your husband gets up on his soapbox, leave the room. This way you won’t feel compelled to curtail his lecture, nor will you feel embarrassed if the conversation becomes heated. However, instead of seeing this as an awkward situation, perhaps you should recognize that your husband actually relishes in the election year hullabaloo. Maybe he feels vibrant only when he’s engaged in intelligent dialogue with people he’d otherwise not have motivation to talk to.

Just be grateful that your husband has chosen to focus his energy and devotion on an event that only happens every four years!  It could be worse; Walt can go off on a tangent over the price of lumber in our local DIY store! I’d be thrilled if I only had to explain every four years to the gathering crowd that my ranting, arm waving, raging bull of a husband was actually quite harmless, just incensed over the communist plot to deprive the western world of wooden planks!   Nevertheless, all things considered, it’s a good thing to be engaged in current events. It’s healthy to remain involved and informed – just so long as you stop short of being arrested for threatening a staff member with a 2x4! 

 

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