Dear Carson: My sister-in-law is planning a party for my in-laws' anniversary. She basically planned everything herself, up to who is invited and where the party will be held. She now expects each of her siblings to pay for the party in equal shares. Some of the grandchildren are grown, with their own incomes and families. Shouldn't they, at least, pay their own way? Also, we were never consulted on a budget for this celebration.
My husband and I aren't wealthy, and we have two children to support. My husband's brothers are millionaires, and his sister is married to a surgeon. Am I being petty in thinking this is lopsided, as far as who pays for what? How can we diplomatically decide who pays how much? I adore my husband's parents, but I don't want to land in the poor house for throwing them a party that I didn't even help plan. - Poor House or Protocol
Dear Poor House: How does your husband feel about footing your pro-rated share of the bill? First of all, have him speak to his sister to find out the amount of your actual share and then decide if that is something in which he wants to participate. After all, these are his parents and his sister. If at all possible, I would discourage your becoming involved in this discussion. You are correct in that she should have asked the two of you if you wanted to pay your share. The deed is done, however, and if I were you, I would not make a big to-do about it. One other thought is that you pay what you can and offer to do something additional, such as handling the responses, having the invitations printed and addressed, or selecting colors and type for the cocktail napkins with his parents' names. Any way that you can work this out amicably is for the best.
Dear Carson: I would be interested to know how others felt about your response to the writer who wanted to know about sending sympathy cards addressed to just the person who had lost a sibling or to both the husband and wife. Both my husband and I have lost sisters and I was touched by the cards that acknowledged that we each felt the loss. After all, after nearly 30 years, each other's family was like our own. I felt a little slighted when my husband received cards addressed only to him, as if I did not feel the pain of the loss as well. Did others feel the same way? - Sorrowful Sister
Dear Sorrowful: I don't know; let's ask the readers to let us know how they feel.
Dear Carson: My husband and I have been invited as house guests for the Masters Tournament. What is our obligation, if any, as house guests? Do we take a gift, do we pay for our tickets to the tournament, and do we help out with household chores? I really have no clue as to our duties. - Guessing Guest
Dear GG: First of all, offer to pay for your tickets. Take a hostess gift, such as a ham, a cake, etc. Keep your guest quarters neat and write a gracious thank-you or "bread and butter" letter.