Dear Carson: My siblings and I are settling our mother's estate. The gifts each of us gave her through the years are a concern of mine. Should we get them back? Should we have to pay the estate for them? How should this be handled? Is there a common way this has been handled in the past? - Doubting Daughter
Dear Daughter: I know of no legal precedent for such a thing, but an attorney could best answer your question on that issue.
I suggest, however, talking to your siblings to find out their thoughts on the matter. My feeling is that the gift should be returned to the person who gave the gift. The estate should be settled after that detail has been taken care of. Good luck, because issues such these have caused many problems in the past.
Dear Carson: A teacher at the school where I teach talks way too much. She constantly interrupts those of us who are having conversations about pupils, families or whatever to share her infinite knowledge on that particular subject. It is very irritating, but we don't want to hurt her feelings or make her angry because we do have to work with her.
When I was growing up, I was taught not to interrupt other conversations unless invited to do so. What do you think? - Interrupting Interrogation
Dear Interrupted: People who interrupt the conversations of others can be very annoying. It is rude and irritating. One way that I have handled interrupters in the past is to say, "Just a minute, Janie, I want to finish my thought," or "I really wanted to hear what Susie has to say." They might or might not catch this clue that they are butting in, but it is worth a try.
Dear Carson: Are chargers to be removed from the table as guests begin to eat, or do they remain throughout the whole meal? - Charger Challenge
Dear Challenge: People love to use chargers because they set off the table so well and enhance a place setting. Technically, they should be removed before the main course is served, but remain under the appetizer or soup course. The reason they are removed before the main course is that cutting meat or chicken causes the dinner place to slide around on the charger.
At Christmas dinner, however, I used gold chargers under my china. At the request of my daughters, I left the chargers on the table, knowing that it was incorrect, but they wanted them to remain because they looked so pretty.
Dear Carson: When monogramming a married woman's initials, is it correct to use her middle name, first name, maiden name or married name? - Initial Inquiry
Dear Inquiry: Her new married surname goes in the middle; her first name on the left and her maiden surname to the right of center.