She is coming to stay with us to work for a year and establish residency in our state, which is awash in good quality public universities.
We are excited to have her come live with us. I want the experience to be positive, but I know clear expectations are important.
My husband and I drew up a list of things that we expected from her: Getting a job, taking care of her bedroom and bathroom, learning to drive and to use public transportation, no male overnight guests, house sit when we take short trips – things like that.
We do not expect her to pay rent; we are doing this because college is insanely expensive, and we want to help.
Dear Grammy: I lived with family members during my first year of college, and I will always look back on that time with extreme gratitude. I also wonder if I did enough while I was with them to ease their burden for housing, feeding, and basically taking such good care of me.
All of your expectations are reasonable, but I suggest that you take them in reasonable stages. Focus on the transportation issue first, because that will enable her to get herself back and forth to work.
After she moves in, negotiate a reasonable nighttime curfew, and emphasize that she should contact you if she is running late (this is an extremely important safety issue for a new commuter who might be working shifts).
Communicating about these practical matters is vital; and you and she should also have regular “family meetings” where you can all bring up matters relating to the household.
Don’t only raise those issues where there is room for improvement, but also acknowledge the important transition she is making.
However, during my Christmas get-together with the five of them, all we heard was what they got for their wives’ parents: New TV’s and dining room sets.
Dear Slighted: My main reaction is to your choice to cash in your savings and “retire” at the age of 50. By cashing out early, you’ve already lost a percentage of your savings through a penalty.
You and your husband are at least 12 years away from the possibility of receiving Social Security. Even if he is receiving disability compensation, this is an extremely short-sighted choice to make.
My second reaction is to your choice to give a portion of this money away to people who don’t need it or – it seems – want it.
I will happily leave 20 percent or more to a server who is pleasant and attentive. However, a server who slams a dish down on the table and never even makes eye contact during the whole meal will be lucky to even get 15 percent.
Ask Amy: Grown sons got generous cash present for Christmas; ‘We didn’t even get a Christmas card’
(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook.)
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