laplumeDear L. A. Plume,

            There is a woman with whom I went to school; she has more money than I can even understand. When we go out, she orders wine or food, takes a taste and then sends it back after she has sampled it and deems it unacceptable. I guess it is her way of not paying for anything, but it is really embarrassing. What can I do?


Dear Joann,

            Seriously? This has happened more than once and you’ve gone out with her again? Enough said.

            L.A. Plume

Dear L. A. Plume,

            An extremely self-sufficient cousin came to visit me a couple of weeks ago to stay for a day and a half – i.e. 2 nights. With my mother as tutor, I’ve become a great hostess. So I cleaned the house, put fresh flowers in the guest bedroom, planned a few activities that could be optional, and filled the fridge and larder with enough tasty food to keep a guest’s tummy from rumbling. I even asked what she liked for breakfast and she sent a short list. However, she arrived with a cooler containing most of her listed items, plus duplicates of fruits I’d stocked up on, so the fridge was burgeoning. For both mornings – and lunches – of her stay, she ate only her food (she did agree to my cooking supper one night) and even grabbed breakfast out one morning when I was on a long phone call. After she left, my fridge was still full with way more food than I could consume. She usually visits once a year. Any suggestions on prepping for next time?

            Fatigued by Family

Dear Fatigued,

            Yes; next time she is visiting, remind her that she previously and generously brought her own provisions and simply ask her what she would like you to have on hand for her so that you don’t duplicate your efforts and waste food.

            L.A. Plume

Dear L.A. Plume,

            I called a friend of mine and asked her if she wanted to grab a cup of coffee or tea. She said yes. We met and I asked her where she wanted to go. She asked, “You really want to know?” I said, “Yes.” An hour and half later we were in a quaint little town in a quaint little restaurant. Needless to say it was a lot costlier than a cup of coffee – especially when she said she didn’t have enough to cover her part when the check came. I know she is going through some very rough financial times. I would venture to say that she might even be on the verge of a collapse. But, I can’t help but feel a little used. She said she’d pay me back. Should I accept the payment or just let it slide?

            Moving On

Dear Moving On,

            It sounds to me like she needed your good counsel and your friendship so I’d say – let this one slide.

            L. A. Plume


Dear Ms. Plume,

I’m visiting a friend at her summer cottage and when I went to get in bed tonight I found that I had company in the form of mice and their droppings. It’s icky and I can’t sleep there. She’s already gone to bed – what do I do; can I just sleep in the other guest bedroom?


Dear J. H.

Yes; go quickly before the mice find you.