Slowly simmering over cooking club
Dear Annie: I am part of a cooking club that meets the second Tuesday of each month. Each member buys food and we cook a recipe chosen by the host. There are 15 members. Each has to host once every 15 months. We are all females in our 50s or 60s.
There’s a handful of members who always attend and a larger group that rarely (like never) attend. The ones that attend would like to get rid of the ones that never attend.
Annie, how do we diplomatically get rid of the nonattendees? We’ve tried asking in email and face to face if they want to be a part of the group and they always enthusiastically assure us that they do, but still they do not RSVP, or they RSVP with a yes and then don’t come.
It’s very annoying, and we are just ready to drop them. For what it’s worth, these ladies do host when it’s their turn. — Bakers’ Dozen
Dear Bakers’ Dozen: The key ingredient here is communication: Communicate to these women the concrete ways in which their spotty attendance impacts the rest of the club. For example, maybe it makes it impossible for the month’s hostess to anticipate how many stations to set up; or maybe it means those who do show up need to bring more ingredients, and costs go up. Write out an email explaining these factors. Then say something along the lines of, “For these reasons, we’re asking if everyone can commit to coming to 10 meetings per year, and RSVP for each meeting a week in advance,” adjusting those specifics to whatever is acceptable to your club.
There’s a good chance some of these women had never thought through the inconvenience they’d caused and, now that they’re aware, will make amend their behavior.
Dear Annie: My husband reads your column every day so I thought you could address this issue. He is retired but doesn’t have much interest in any hobbies. We’ve had many discussions on things he can do, including volunteering. Nothing seems to motivate him. He has started drinking daily at the neighborhood bar with the other retired guys. It is interfering with any plans we’ve made. Talking about it only causes more arguments and problems. I’m spending more time with my gal pals, which also adds to the problem. This should be the best time of our lives, not the worst. Help! — Worried Wife
Dear Worried: You can’t control your husband, and the more you try, the more desperate you’ll feel. I highly recommend checking out a support group such as Al-Anon (http://al-anon.org), Families Anonymous (https://www.familiesanonymous.org), or SMART Recovery Family & Friends (https://www.smartrecovery.org/family).
I know you might think, “It’s not so bad that I need to join a support group,” or that you’ll wait to attend one of these meetings if your husband’s drinking gets worse. But the fact is that there’s never been a better time to go than now. Take a chance. All of the meetings are free. You have nothing to lose and peace of mind to gain.
Dear Annie: I have been an organ donor all of my life. But now that I am 88 years old, I wonder if any of my body parts are still of use. If so, what can be utilized, please? — 88-Year-Old Organ Donor
Dear Organ Donor: You can be an organ donor at any age. According to the U.S. government’s official website for organ donation information, one of the oldest organ donors in the U.S. was a 92-year-old man whose liver saved the life of a 69-year-old woman. So rest assured that it’s never too late for you to save a life. Visit OrganDonor.gov for more information.
Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.