Ask Aunt Chelsea, Week of Feb. 6, 2013
Oh, my. Has it really been four months since Aunt Chelsea put down her trusty feather duster and slipped the surly bonds of early retirement to work “Advice Columnist” into her crowded third act agenda? Indeed it has, my dear readers.
To mark that milestone (and in the spirit of Chelsea Now’s “Progress Report”), my tough but fair editor simply insisted that I revisit a few people who’ve written in, and see what difference (if any!) old Aunt Chelsea’s advice made in their problem-filled lives.
I hope you enjoy catching up with them as much as I’ve enjoyed chasing the monkeys off their backs! And remember, you can always reach out to me through the modern miracle of email (at firstname.lastname@example.org). I love all my readers, and I answer all of my letters! Now, let’s get down to business:
In our October 17 issue, “Freaked Out” wrote in with an alarming situation: His long-term girlfriend arrived at that comfort zone stage of their relationship where she “started to only get out of her PJs after noon.” What’s worse (his opinion, not mine), she “is quickly becoming my mother-in-law.” It seems her behavior, speech patterns and jokes “are evolving into those of her mother.” I advised Freaked Out to lighten up, and take it as a compliment that his girlfriend “sees you as a dependable presence for which she no longer has to put on a show.” So here’s what Mr. Macho (who, one suspects, protests too much when he complains about having a gal like the one who married dear old dad) had to say about my advice:
Auntie: I asked you for advice a few weeks ago — and while at the time, I was not entirely happy with your suggestions, they did in turn prove to be correct. Darn you; and bless you. Thanks Auntie…and keep up the good work.
What a relief! Now, here’s an update from The Bothered Bather. In our November 28 issue, she wrote about living on the second floor of a building that’s recently been renovated. “The ceiling above our bathtub is leaking,” she said, noting that repeated attempts to get the attention of her super were getting her nowhere. I advised her to be persistent with the super and “introduce that leak to the business end of some duct tape and enjoy a long, hot soak courtesy of your own determined efforts.” Well, it turns out our beloved bather is bothered no more! She wrote:
Dear Aunt Chelsea: Your advice on dealing with my leaking bathroom ceiling saved my sanity. When I wrote my complaint, it was just before Sandy blew in, and after all of that, I realized just how grateful I was to have hot water at all. A cold drip from the upstairs shower was the least of our worries. In the meantime, a quick, duct tape fix (it really does solve everything!) kept the leak from getting worse. And, per your advice, I badgered my super constantly about it. I don’t think we’ll ever be friends, but the ceiling is patched, the hot water is back on and I am enjoying my evening soak sans chilly drizzle.
The No-longer-bothered Bather
The holidays have a way of plunging even the best of us into a seasonally depressive dither — as was evidenced by “Gifted in Chelsea,” who in our December 12 issue, wrote: “I’m confused by this notion that regifting is a no-no.” I advised the less-than-generous letter-writer that regifting was indeed a no-no…and a sign of passive aggressive recycling that was to be frowned upon. Why not, I advised, bring your unwanted items to a holiday party (assuming such a cheapskate was invited anywhere), then put it under the tree as a freebie? “This is regifting in its most pure and noble form,” I correctly asserted, “because one person’s unwanted fruitcake is another’s tasty treasure.” Well, will wonders ever cease? It seems my harsh tirade sunk in, because “Gifted” recently wrote:
Dearest: It’s so fun to hear from a woman of a certain age. Being one myself, I often feel invisible. Aunt Chelsea, you are a treasure. You are a gift that I gladly regift and regift. After reading your column, I realize that regifting is just another way of recycling — plus, it’s the law. You continue to inspire me to speak from my heart and say what’s on my mind. Thank you for giving me a voice and a platform. Thank you for your ever-so-clever sass, Aunt Chelsea.
Well, I don’t know what “Gifted” expects in return for that flowery assessment of my skills…but whatever it is, she’s gonna get at least two of them! And now, in the spirit of humility, we end on a sad note.
In our last issue, “Hot for Tso” wrote about a “MAJOR” problem with the Chinese delivery guy refusing to deliver all the way to this terse letter-writer’s fifth floor walkup. I advised “Hot” to cool down, stop writing letters peppered with ALL CAPITAL WORDS and make amends. Well, as a wise person once said, “Pobody’s Nerfect” — because apparently, my advice (which I thought was right on the money) was way off target. “Hot,” who clearly has no intention of breaking off that love affair with capital words, wrote:
I don’t know who you think you are, but you pissed off the WRONG sister! I tried taking your ‘advice’ about befriending my dear old Chinese delivery boy, going out of my way to bring him his over-due tip and trying (ever so sincerely) to make amends. From what I can understand, he seemed genuinely pleased (or surprised, I couldn’t really tell) by my peace offering. So the following week, I resumed my usual routine, all the while looking forward to the return of my good ole Monday ritual.
Well honey, when the time was at hand, and I called the for-mentioned joint, they had the nerve to claim that they still will not deliver to my neighborhood. It is as if I have been branded with the scarlet letter C (that’s for CHEAP), with no signs of redemption. I even TRIED those other Chinese joints, but they simply do NOT compare! So I will NOT be thanking you for your so-called-advice, my dear auntie, because now not only am I out $20 in undeserved tip money, but I am STILL without my General Tso Chicken!
Mad for Tso