Avoid­ing a big ‘grab fest’

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions for Amy Dick­in­son to askamy@tri­bune.com.

Dear Amy: My hus­band and I are scal­ing back on our per­sonal pos­ses­sions. We plan to have an es­tate sale in a month.

My wish is to do­nate the pro­ceeds from the sale to a lo­cal char­ity or to our late son’s alma mater.

We want to in­vite our many cher­ished nieces and neph­ews and their adult chil­dren and grand­chil­dren to at­tend a “pre-sale” so that they can have first choice.

My hus­band says that this will make our ex­tended fam­ily feel ob­li­gated to pay for what they choose. I don’t see why that is a prob­lem. Many of our pos­ses­sions have con­sid­er­able value and I don’t want to host a “grab fest.”

Please give us your un­bi­ased opin­ion to help us de­cide how to pro­ceed with plan­ning this project with­out a feud.

Try­ing to De­cide Well

Dear Try­ing: If your goal is to sell your things and raise the max­i­mum amount of money to do­nate to char­ity (a great idea, by the way), then yes, price these items at fair mar­ket value and of­fer your fam­ily mem­bers the chance to buy early. Many peo­ple would ap­pre­ci­ate this early-bird op­por­tu­nity.

Your char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the idea of giv­ing (rather than sell­ing) items to fam­ily mem­bers as a “grab fest” re­veals a rather dim view of these fam­ily mem­bers, how­ever.

Down­siz­ing is an im­por­tant process of let­ting go. I hope you and your hus­band are truly ready to do this.

I sug­gest that you two choose one fam­ily-re­lated or oth­er­wise spe­cially se­lected item of mod­est value to give to each fam­ily mem­ber, in­clud­ing young chil­dren. Tag these things with their name and a sen­tence of why you want them to have this spe­cific item. Give these things to them at the fam­ily pre­sale and stand firm on your choice to sell the rest of your col­lec­tion.

One of my hap­pi­est mem­o­ries from child­hood is re­lated to dis­pers­ing my grand­par­ents’ pos­ses­sions af­ter their deaths. The sto­ries spilled out! I like the idea of do­ing this with your fam­ily while you are able to con­trol and en­joy the process.

Dear Amy: I am 21 years old and have been openly gay since high school. I have been dat­ing a 27-year-old man whom I love with all my heart. We’ve been to­gether for two years.

He is a clos­eted “bi­sex­ual.” I know he cares about me and loves me, but we are con­stantly ar­gu­ing be­cause he has to keep me a se­cret. I know what I want in life and what I want in the fu­ture, but he does not.

He says he might want kids or a wife in the fu­ture but that he’s very happy with me and loves me. He says he’s go­ing to try to be more open but hasn’t changed much for the last year.

I hon­estly don’t know what to do any­more. I need some­thing set in stone, some­thing more real to show me how se­ri­ously he views our re­la­tion­ship.


Dear Dis­traught: All prom­ises are empty — un­til they are ful­filled. Your boyfriend is 27 years old. Leav­ing his clos­eted sex­u­al­ity out of it, you are with some­one who is stat­ing, “I might want to have a fam­ily one day, but def­i­nitely not with you.”

Be­ing on the down-low is death to your self-es­teem. I hope you find some­one who will love you out in the open, and ex­actly as you are.

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