Saturday, July 07, 2012

Ask Mrs. Linklater "GRUMPY GRANDPA" Edition

Oh, how it pains Mrs. Linklater to discover that it's still illegal to dip vindictive grandparents in hot tar and coat them with chicken feathers. But that's why nursing homes were invented. Meanwhile, before setting Amy's whacked-out-wisdom up in flames, Mrs. L must first unstick her butt from the plastic beanbag chair she recently rescued from a dumpster she was diving. Ever the accommodating hostess, she will graciously step aside to allow Amy to display her latest miscarriage of advice, right here in public. 

June 29, 2012 • Ask Amy/Chicago Tribune
Dear Amy: I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check. My father knows all of this. My daughter graduated from law school last fall and is also into competitive boxing which takes a lot of time (my fault).
She crams 40 hours in a 24-hour day. Lots of things go undone in her life.
However, my father will not cut her any slack.
I love my daughter very much and we are very close.
When a gift is given, an official and timely "thank you" is required.
I'm on good terms with my father but don't know how to deal with his bullheadedness on this issue.
My sister and I take turns taking care of Dad (taking him to doctor's appointments, etc.).
If I abandon that duty, my sister will be overwhelmed. What to do?
— Loyal Daughter and Mom
Dear Loyal: Rather than cut off your relationship with your father, how about you suggest to your daughter that she needs to step up?
All of your excuses are running in the wrong direction.
You should say to your daughter, "Look, your grandfather is older. He might even be a little bullheaded. But for goodness sake, cut the guy a break and just say thank you! It is rude, tacky, ungracious and wrong not to thank someone for a gift. And it takes two minutes."
Your message to your father should be, "Dad, I'm embarrassed about this. I can't offer excuses. I wish she was different, but it seems like she's stubborn — like you!"
After that, both parties should be responsible for their relationship.

Sit down, Amy, you missed the boat. Mrs. Linklater thinks this whole sad episode went off the rails with Mom's first sentence:

         "I have a 26-year-old daughter that my father has decided to disown because she forgot to thank him for his $25 Christmas check."

         So this is all about a $25 Christmas check? Really. Twenty-five bucks, Grandpa? For what? Bus tokens? Extra tampons? Five gallons of gas? $25 ain't exactly Donald Trump money, considering you're going to "disown" your allegedly ungrateful granddaughter for not saying "Thank you" in a manner you deem appropriate for a man of your supposed stature. Seriously, $25 is not even one dollar for each year of her life. Mrs. Linklater's own frugal grandma managed to pony up that much for seven grandkids out of her tiny Social Security check. 
         Not that Mrs. L thinks one should ignore anybody's gift. But American grandchildren have been ignoring their grandparents for generations. It was a national pastime until Grandma and Grandpa got SKYPE and starting tracking down their thankless loved ones. 
         So, join the crowd. 
         But wait just a frickin' minute here, you chintzy old fart. Disowning your granddaughter implies that she could be one of your "heirs." And the last time Mrs. L looked, it's hard to qualify as an "heir" unless there's considerably more than $25 to inherit.
         Which makes you one helluva stingy bastard in the Christmas check department.
         And speaking of stingy, there's no mention of you sending your granddaughter ANYTHING for graduating from law school. Did you even call to congratulate her? Or take her out to dinner to celebrate? 
         If your $25 Christmas check is any indication, chances are you didn't donate a penny to offset her $100,000+ law school costs, which she probably paid for herself with scholarships, loans and endless jobs waiting tables. So your $25 may have left her in shock. Because it was such a thankless amount. 
        Perhaps it's time to cut her some slack instead of sitting there, steaming like the miserly pile of shinola that you are. Get over it, or get somebody else to drive you to your doctor's appointments. 
        Who knows? Maybe a note of thanks will arrive tomorrow. With your check inside. And a message from your granddaughter, "No thanks, Gramps. You need this more than I do."  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ask Mrs. Linklater "PARTY POOPER" Edition

At the request of Homeland Security, Mrs. Linklater has been keeping her opinions to herself lately. Staying out of trouble becomes a full time job when you're sixty-eight and living on borrowed estrogen. Just keeping her new hips bright and shiny can waste most of the morning. [Amazing who keeps asking to take them out for a test drive.] Meanwhile, the silly siren calls of the yadda-yadda sisterhood [plus Dr. Phil] have been making so much noxious noise lately, Mrs. L feels compelled, once more, to revisit her old haunts and hand out some serious bitch slaps. Time to restore order around here. Needless to say, she's rounded up one of her usual suspects, that madwoman of monumentally annoying advice, Dear Abby herself. So put on your Spanx, Abarama, and LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!

DEAR ABBY: I just celebrated my 80th birthday at a party with 22 of my dearest friends. I also invited my daughter-in-law, "Sydney," and her mother.

The problem is, I didn't invite my 8-year-old granddaughter. I explained that I felt she wouldn't enjoy herself with all of us senior women. Sydney disagreed.

I then suggested perhaps it would be better if I had a dinner party for the entire family the following evening (on my actual birthday) at a fine dining restaurant. In retaliation for my not inviting my granddaughter, Sydney declined the dinner invitation, although all other family members attended. My "punishment" was not to receive a birthday present from her.

Was I wrong not to invite my granddaughter to a party with my 80-year-old friends? -- TRIED TO BE CONSIDERATE

DEAR TRIED: I don't think so. You were being considerate of your granddaughter's feelings. Had she attended, she would have been bored, and one of your guests or her mother and grandmother would have had to entertain her. Frankly, it would have been a distraction from the celebration. That your daughter-in-law would be so petulant as to "punish" you for making the intelligent choice you did indicates that she has some growing up to do. You owe no one any apologies; Sydney does.

Just a minute, Polident breath. Mrs. Linklater knows in her heart of hearts that the rest of the world thinks you've struck a winning blow for the rights of a bunch of 80-year-old biddies to sit around and drink Baileys until they're falling off their walkers -- without having any annoying grandchildren around to witness the frightening spectacle. 
           On the other hand, Mrs. Linklater will bet her granny pants that this little episode has NOTHING to do with a child being bored. And everything to do with a grandmother who can barely tolerate children. Which is why Mrs. Linklater is so sorry that this selfish, mean-spirited senior citizen couldn't invite her granddaughter to one of the few birthday parties she has left -- especially if the young girl's mother was also invited to provide adult supervision. 
          Unless this eight-year-old girl is tattooed and pregnant, Mrs. L is thinking she would have made a charming addition to the occasion. And considerable entertainment for the guests. 
          In fact, the generous, kind, and always caring Mrs. Linklater would have bought her own granddaughter [if she ever has one] a lovely new dress to wear, perhaps some new shoes, a cute little purse, and a pair of darling white gloves, with a special request that she be Mrs. L's personal helper on this momentous birthday. 
          The experience would create a memory so wonderful, it would last all her life. [Mrs. Linklater almost made herself cry with that one.] 
          How fun for the little girl to bring the guests their plates of cookies or pieces of cake in between their endless Irish coffees and Long Island iced teas. Seriously, what grandparent wouldn't be thrilled to show off a young granddaughter of any age to her friends!! Apparently, not this one. 
          From where Mrs. L sits, snooty old grammy can take her friends and shove it. Sorry, Abs, the "family party" sounds like a lame attempt to keep the kid away from the really meaningful birthday gathering. Mrs. L sides with Sydney, the granddaughter's mom on this one. Even though Sydney sounds like a royal bitch in her own right. But that's for another day.