DEAR MISS MANNERS: I love to cook and bake, and am told I’m quite good at it. My husband, who means well but is completely oblivious to common sense, found out that a friend of his was getting rid of her stove and buying a new one.
That she might be getting rid of it because it’s a complete junker didn’t occur to him. I came home from work to find that he had surprised me by replacing my perfectly fine stove with the stove his friend had gotten rid of.
I don’t know why he thought I needed a new stove when I liked the old one. The new one is horrible. The oven has only two settings: too hot (things burn on the outside and are still underdone on the inside) and too cold (things don’t finish baking). None of the burners fits right and they all tilt, which means that it is impossible to cook evenly on the stovetop.
After only a month, I’ve come to hate cooking, and dread going into the kitchen to try to make a salvageable meal on that piece of garbage.
Obviously the solution is for me to buy a new stove for myself, which I’m going to do, annoyed though I am at having to spend the money.
How do I do so in such a way that I don’t convey to my husband that I hated his gift? Do I need to wait a certain amount of time?
What do I say if he asks me why I bought a new stove so soon after he gave me one? Do I raise the subject, and if so how, or do I just quietly replace it and hope he doesn’t say anything?
GENTLE READER: There is a difference between the surprise element that comes with a personal present and that of a major shared household item.
Miss Manners gives you her permission to replace the oven openly, telling your husband, “I can see why Mandy got a new stove. I am afraid that this one was on its last legs, and we’ll have to get a new one.” She further suggests that you take this opportunity to request that your husband confer with you when it comes to replacing crucial domestic appliances — if not, perhaps, charm bracelets and coffee mugs.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: On a grandchild’s birthday, would it be inappropriate for a grandparent to post a message that talks of their late spouse and how they “wanted you to know they are watching over you”?
I personally feel that a child’s birthday celebration is not the time to grieve the loss of your husband. Your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: That you are less than thrilled about Nana’s post on Jaden’s 5th birthday announcement.
However, there is a difference between grieving and acknowledging. If Nana was diverting attention from Jaden by posting a page-long eulogy in lieu of a birthday message, that would be one thing. But Miss Manners sees nothing wrong with acknowledging that Pop Pop might be thinking of him as a way of reminding him of his grandfather — as long as that acknowledgement is kept brief and doesn’t scare the celebrant, as in “Happy birthday, Jaden. Miss Manners is watching you.”
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, [email protected]; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.