laplumeDear L. A. Plume,
I have a Valentine’s Day dilemma; I have a wonderful partner of many years who loves to give gifts at the drop of a hat BUT he is a really bad gift giver. It seems that absolutely no thought whatsoever goes into his gift giving process. Last year for Valentine’s Day he gave me a set of six pink camo beer coozies and a matching pair of rubber boots.

Ah, well, you might think, what’s so wrong with that? And perhaps nothing would have been wrong with it IF I drank beer. Soft buttery white wine is the only alcohol that passes my lips. And camo pink rubber boots? Seriously? I’m a stiletto heels girl; let’s not even discuss the very thought of pink camo. I hate for him to spend his hard earned money on gifts that I simply will not use. I’ve tried dropping hints the size of bulldozers about what I would like that I know would fit his budget but apparently he likes to be creative. What can I do?

Dear Lilly,
Chanel #5 is a lovely and classic fragrance; try giving him a bottle and see what happens. At the very least, you might get to use it.
A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
My cousin has come to stay with me for an undetermined period of time until she finds a job, or a man, or some opportunity that I can’t quite identify. It started by her asking if she could visit for a couple of days to get a glimpse of this part of the country. Well it seems that she likes it better than the northern hinterlands from where she came. My mother says I must be nice and accommodating, but my mother isn’t here and this cousin is a bit of a mess, literally. She’s been here for two weeks now and shows no signs of leaving, or paying for anything, or contributing in any way. She blithely eats whatever she wants to out of the cabinets and refrigerator, leaves dishes in the sink, and leaves post-it notes all over the place asking for favors (can you buy me some xx at the store, hope you don’t mind I used all your xxx so buy some more for me next time, I’d like xxx for dinner tonight . . . ). How can I get rid of her?

Dear Crazed,
Are you sure she’s your cousin? Do you have proof? Because I swear she’s my old college roommate who was here for two weeks. Has she been wearing a really pretty blue cashmere sweater with pink stripes? If so – grab it if she ever takes it off and send it back to me. I am so tired of the bad guest issues that I’m thinking it takes a stronger solution: wait until she goes out – and not in your car with the garage door opener in it – change the locks, flip the main circuit breaker, and turn off the water at the street. Go visit some friends you must have in Florida or someplace nice. Take lots of wine, flowers, chocolates, and don’t answer your phone.
L. A. Plume

Dear Ms. Plume,
Is there anything wrong with good old-fashioned tradition? Whatever happened to handmade Valentine’s Day cards, candy hearts with messages printed on them, and a handful of wildflowers in a jar as gifts? It’s not that I’m cheap, I just don’t see much romance in using other people’s words to express what I want to say, much less paying a couple of dollars for a card to do so and store bought flowers at this time of year don’t seem to last but a couple of days and have no real fragrance. Am I missing the point of something?
Not Fancy

Dear Not Fancy,
You’re not missing the point of anything. Could I give you my address??
L. A. Plume