Saturday, January 31, 2015

Let Mom Decide If She Wants A Celebration

Dear Tazi:

My Mom will be turning 90 this spring. My brother wants to throw a huge party to celebrate "this milestone birthday", and would like me to pitch in with the cost. I would not have a problem with this if I felt Mom was up to a party, but I think a huge party will be too much for her at this advanced age. Her health is good, for a 90 year old, but she does like to take a nap during the day and tires easily with any excitement. I would like to observe my mother's birthday simply, with a small luncheon.

My brother feels that not having a party will disappoint a lot of people who would want to come "offer their congratulations and respect" to Mom, which has me thinking he only wants to have a party in order to collect the cash gifts that people are all but certain to bring. He has a history of doing this with his children's milestones. I am disgusted with this way of thinking and told my brother so. He replied that he will put "no gifts" on the invitation, but if people bring cash offerings he will not insult people by refusing them.

Tazi, what can I do? If I refuse to assist with the party it looks like I am ducking out of my mother's celebration. I know she will not be up to having both a big party and a luncheon, so it will have to be one or the other.

Older Sister

Dear Older Sister:

Why not ask your mother how she would like to celebrate her birthday? It is her party, so she should be the one to decide what type of gathering is planned. Some nonagenarians are not up to the rigors of a huge party; others are like Betty White - still working at 93 (a belated Happy to you, O Hero to the Animals!)! [Ed. Note: Ms. White turned 93 on January 17th].

Simply bedazzling! 

While I personally do not like your brother's idea of using your mother's birthday as a fundraising occasion, many people - and entire cultures - see nothing wrong with this practice. Again, the decision to accept gifts or to politely refuse them should be left up to your mother. It is her birthday and the last time I checked, the title "Mother" indicates that she is the one in charge! As her children, you should respect her wishes - no matter how grown you are!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bigotry Does Not Belong Inside A Church

Dear Tazi:

I will be getting married this summer and it will be a church wedding. My problem is that my future brother-in-law is gay and he is refusing to attend the ceremony if he cannot bring his life partner with him. While I understand his position I am in no position to try and accommodate him. I have no problem with him attending the ceremony or the reception with his partner, but his parents have never fully accepted his sexuality and are making a huge deal over it, saying a gay couple “should have enough humility before the Lord not to flaunt their sins in His house”. Wow, yeah, I know, right?

It is not as though “Chip” and “Dale” are a couple of drag queens, nor do they “flaunt” their sexuality. In fact, if you did not know they were gay you would think that they are just good friends, like any two other guys. My fiancé would like to ditch the idea of a church wedding and hold the ceremony in the same hall as our reception. I was raised and baptized in our shared faith, and I would like for us to get married proper – in a church; one that reflects and practices our church traditions. Besides, the church is already booked and has been for several months now.

My fiancé says I am being unreasonable and that an unwillingness to compromise on such an important point is no way to start married life. I believe that important points should not be open to compromise; that agreement should be reached before a decision is implemented. My future brother-in-law is being extremely understanding and has told me that he understands my position and principles, and he would never ask me to compromise my principles in order to accommodate his. Unfortunately, by not being at the ceremony he will be unable to stand up for his brother. I forgot to mention that – Chip and Dale would not even be sitting together at the ceremony because Chip would be in the wedding party while Dale sits in t he congregation.

My wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of my life and yet all I am feeling is stress. Who among us is being the unreasonable one? Is it me?

Bride To Be In Bensenville

Dear Bride To Be In Besenville:

A woman’s wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of her life so far; if it was the happiest day of her life (period) she would not have much to look forward to from that day on, now would she? Also, as you are discovering, celebrations that require any kind of planning can be very stressful. If you expected your wedding planning to be completed without a hitch I am wondering just what you expect for married life!

Who is being unreasonable? Let’s look at all sides of the equation:

There are your parents-in-law, who do not wish to allow a gay couple into their church because they consider their son’s sexuality to be sinful. They think the mere presence of his partner will be disrespectful to the Lord. Personally, I find this view unreasonable. Did not Christ surround Himself with those whom society rejected? Did He not accept water from the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)? While I find your in-laws intolerance to be a reflection on them, I think they are reacting more out of fear of being disrespected by others for showing acceptance to those that their community rejects. They need to ask themselves WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)? How would you act in a situation where you were afraid of being harshly judged? I do not know what denomination you are, but to quote Pop Francis, "If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" So I ask, who are your in-laws to judge? I, for one, can only pity their shortsightedness.

Next let’s look at Chip’s position, as it is a difficult one: he does not wish to enter a building where he and his partner are not welcome as a couple, yet he and his partner will not be attending the wedding itself as a couple; Chip will be on the alter with the rest of the wedding party and Dale will be seated in the congregation. More importantly, it is not the church leaders who are refusing him admission to the ceremony, but his parents. Is Chip’s refusal to attend the wedding ceremony – and therefore his refusal to stand up for his brother – an issue of principle or an issue with his parents? If the church leaders have expressed a refusal to allow Chip to attend the ceremony, then please – for the love of all that is holy – find another church! This is one way in which you could accommodate Chip, in spite of your protests that you are "in no position" to do so. There are many churches that are accepting of people regardless of their “sins”, be they homosexual or heterosexual in form, if you catch my meaning. (If you don't, try and remember your church's teachings on premarital sexual relations!).

Last but most importantly you need to look at how you and your fiancé are handling this matter: he believes in compromise, you believe in a united front. I believe that without the desire or ability to compromise your marriage is completely doomed to failure. The issue of a church wedding versus a reception hall wedding is an area where compromise will be essential. If getting married in the church is important to you, would you consider a Unitarian church? They are welcoming to all who believe and, unlike a reception hall, offer hallowed places for your ceremony.

In the end, I think that everyone involved is being unreasonable in one way or the other. We are all God’s children, and all are welcome in His house. Those who refuse to extend that welcome are the greatest sinners of all.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beautiful Friend Needs To Develop Her Talents

Dear Tazi:

I have a friend who is outstandingly beautiful. This woman could be a Miss America if she competed in pageants, that's how pretty she is. However, her looks are all she has going for her. She has zero brains and little talent. She works as a receptionist for an office in a busy downtown area, and that is about all she can handle intellectually.

My problem with "Jasmine" is that she is skating through life on her looks. Doors open for her - literally and figuratively - on her good looks. She dates rich guys who buy her whatever she wants, regardless of the cost; she never has to pay for drinks when she goes out somewhere because there is always a line of guys looking to buy her one; and she always gets a good deal on stuff she has to buy herself because her looks make an amazing bargaining chip! I had to pay near sticker for my car while Jasmine got hers for near cost (the salesperson told her she would be "good advertising" for the dealership if she was seen driving one of their cars).

The worst part of all of this is that Jasmine has a heart of gold. After a recent upset regarding her looks, she told me not to hate on her because she is beautiful; that once her looks go people won't give her a second glance while I will be just fine because I am smart and charming. I don't think she meant to give me a backhanded compliment, but that is how it sounded to me. Is there anything I can do to get over my jealousy of Jasmine - short of dreaming that she has a disfiguring car accident by crashing her brand new convertible?

The Plain One

Dear The Plain One:

Wow, you really put a lot of emphasis on looks, don't you? While it is obvious that Jasmine is using her looks to get ahead in life, it is as she points out - looks are all she has; once they go, what will she have left?

Although I cannot say that it is fair, it is a reflection of nature that the more attractive beings get the most attention. Even among animals, those who are found to be the sexiest (like me!) get the most attention from the opposite sex, while those who are the cutest and cuddliest (also like me!) get the most attention period. Lucky for me, I wake up looking this fabulous. Humans have to work at it.

I tend to force Mommie to take the extra 15 minutes for cuddles!

I am certain that Jasmine does not roll out of bed looking picture perfect. I am also sure that she invests a great deal of money, as well as time, into looking as amazing as you claim. I doubt she goes to Supercuts for a trim and a highlight, or to the little Korean place on the corner (the one that looks like a bomb hit it) for her manicures. Do you think she uses Suave or Paul Mitchell hair products? Or maybe a Flowbee? How much do you think her makeup costs? Looking beautiful is like cooking or baking: if you start with top of the line ingredients you are going to make something amazing, even if you aren't a very good cook. Have you ever seen a picture of Pam Anderson without her makeup?

Yup. This is her sans warpaint!
Now you have, and are probably wishing you hadn't since it spoils the fantasy she likes to create. The next time you get to hating on Jasmine for her looks, try to imagine her as she wakes up in the morning - bad hair, bad skin, and bad breath. Feeling a little better?

Since she is a friend of yours, rather than hate on Jasmine for her looks, why not encourage her to develop new talents? A receptionist is a position that requires a remarkable speaking voice. Might Jasmine look into using her voice professionally, as a voice-over artist? Encouragement from someone that she sees as "smart and charming" may be what Jasmine needs to depend less upon her looks and more upon her professional talents to become more than just a pretty face. This, in turn, will show you that you are more than just "The Plain One" when reflected against Jasmine's beauty. In fact, you may see what Jasmine sees - a smart and charming career woman who she admires.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Unlocked Bike Borrowed Without Permission Is Stolen; Who Is Responsible?

Dear Tazi:

My brother had a brand new bike that he bought with his own money. It cost a lot of money, and he was planning on using it to bike ride across the country this summer. He keeps it in an unlocked shed in our backyard, even though our parents keep telling him he needs to lock up the shed or the bike so it doesn't get stolen. He did neither.

I decided to teach him a lesson by borrowing the bike to go to the store. Since there was no lock on it and I was only going to go inside for a minute or two, the bike was unchained but in full view of the store windows. I must have looked away at the wrong moment because when I came back outside five minutes later my brother's bike was gone! Someone had stolen it!

I walked home from the store with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and when I got home I discovered that my brother had found his bike missing and called the cops to report it stolen. Now, technically the bike was stolen, just not from the shed in our backyard. Our parents have told my brother to "chalk the loss up to experience" and to learn to lock up his valuables. My brother's summer plans are toast, since he would have to spend the money he has saved for his trip on a new bike and then would have no money for the trip anyway.

I want to offer my brother some money towards a new bike, but even if I did it wouldn't be enough to cover both the cost of a new bike and the trip he wants to take so I haven't yet. If I tell my family that I took the bike from the shed and that it was stolen from the store I would be on the hook for the entire amount of a new bike, which I don't have, plus my brother would kill me and my parents would ground me for life. All I wanted to do was teach my brother a lesson, not ruin his whole summer. How can I make things right?

No Wheels

Dear No Wheels:

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive! I can understand your motivation, but it was not your place to teach your brother a lesson; in doing so, you have both learned one. Your guilty conscience is not going to disappear all on its own; you will have to come clean about your part in the bike theft for several reasons, starting with the fact that it is the ethical thing to do and ending with the possibility that the store from where the bike was stolen has security cameras that recorded the bike being stolen. By keeping quiet you are are leading the police down the wrong path.

You do not say if your brother's bike was insured under your parent's homeowner's insurance policy, but it would be worth finding out if the loss is covered. Again, in order to make this inquiry you have to admit your part in the wrongdoing. There is no easy way out of what you have done, so suck it up, buttercup, and go directly to your parents with the truth. You will have to pay for a replacement bike for your brother. Summer is still several months away, and there is a lot of snow shoveling and/or yard-work that can be completed between now and then, as well as other odd jobs where you could earn the money to compensate your brother for his loss. You may have to ask your parents to loan you the money until you have earned enough to pay for the bike if you cannot earn enough on your own by summer.

As for your brother, he is not going to kill you; a murder charge would surely ruin his summer plans worse than a stolen bike ever could. He will be very angry with you, and that is his right; however, I believe he has learned the importance of locking his bike at all times. It appears that he has also learned that he cannot trust you. This will be a lesson that is hard to unlearn; you have a lot of making up to do for him. I suggest that you start now by coming clean!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Parents Love For Adopted Child Not More Or Less Than For Biological Child

Dear Tazi:

I am the proud mother a beautiful six-year-old girl who I adopted as a baby. Her father (my husband) and I love her more than words could possibly express; I may not have borne her inside of me, but "Lucy" is my child, and I will have words with anyone who tries to convince me otherwise. My husband feels the same, and actually has told off well-meaning people who oafishly suggested that he would feel differently if she was "really his".

I suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome and always thought I was infertile, so I was quite shocked to discover that I was pregnant when I went tot he doctor a few months ago because I was experiencing flu-like symptoms! My husband and I are very happy that we are going to be parents again, and have been preparing Lucy to become a big sister. Up until recently, she has been very excited about the baby, but I am afraid someone might have said something to her about the fact that she is adopted (which she already knows).

Finally, after three weeks of making comments about how we will love the baby more than we love her, I sat my daughter down to talk with her and explain that we will not love the baby more than her, that love is not like a box of cookies that will run out if shared among too many people. Lucy got very upset and said that I was lying, that we would love the baby more than her because she is adopted and the baby is not. She said you can't love someone else's child as much as you love your own, and that she came from "a different Mommy's belly".

Tazi, my head stated to spin as my little girl confided in me! Obviously, she overheard such vile words from an adult - no child would think to say something like that! Holding back tears, a hugged my daughter until she squirmed and told her that my words were not lies, that Mommy would never lie to her and that she should not listen to those mean words because they were not true.

I do not know who my daughter is protecting, but she will not tell me who said such cruel things to her. She says she doesn't remember who said it, but I have a few ideas; some of my relatives do not believe in the beauty of adoption. If I find out who spoke this way to my daughter or in her presence I will handle it. Right now, I am wondering how to handle my daughter's crushed spirit? I am not certain her father and I have been able to convince her completely that we love her more than life itself, and always will.

Mom and Mom-To-Be

Dear Mom and Mom-To-Be:

First, let me congratulate you on your newly expected family member!

It's not you; the bear really is moving!

A new baby can be a cause for angst among young children regardless of their birth status. Whatever clod decided to fan those flames deserves a Paw Slap Of Disgust. Feel free to print one out to carry with you to serve once you find out who it is.

You say that your little girl knows that she is adopted, and that she came from "a different Mommy's belly". I suggest you tell Lucy that she may have come from a different Mommy's belly, but that she is yours now, and  that nothing will ever change that - not even a new baby.

I like your analogy about love not being like a box of cookies that will not out if shared with too many people. This is something that a child can understand - to an extent. While a child understands how cookies work, love is a little more complicated than that. I suggest you try explaining the many types of love, and how you can love someone the same amount but in a way that is unique to that person.

When you get the chance, sit Lucy down and tell her that you love her in her own special way - not more than the new baby, not less than the new baby; just differently. In terms a child can understand, the love you feel for someone is like a snowflake - different from any other, which is why it is so special. Explain to Lucy some of the qualities that make her a unique person and therefore your love for her unique. Make her feel special by telling her that you could not possibly love someone else exactly the same way as you love her – that she is far too special – but that you most certainly could - and do and always will - love her the same amount, which is more than words can say and why you show her you love her with the things you do to make sure she is happy and healthy and safe and loved. Do not allow others to jump in and suggest that you and her father could have chosen a different child to adopt but you chose her - adopting a child is not like adopting a pet from the shelter, so make certain that Lucy understands that.

Once the new baby is born, try to include Lucy as much as possible in the ever-adjusting schedules and events that will be occurring around the house. Once she realizes that the new baby has not replaced her and that she is still very much an important and valued member of your family, her tensions about being loved less should ease. If they do not, talk to her pediatrician about a few possible solutions.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Postponement Of Dreams Not The Same As A Loss (But It Can Feel Like One!)

Dear Tazi:

I will be graduating high school in a few months, but am no longer looking forward to it. Even though I was accepted by my first-choice school, I did not receive any offers of scholarship money to help me pay for it. My parents are middle class, but are not about to start taking out loans to pay for my tuition and do not want me to do that either.

I would rather skip college and work full-time to save money until I can afford to go to my first-choice school, but then I would feel like a complete tool watching all of my friends go off to school while I am stuck here working full-time. My parents would prefer that I get my degree at the state college (my safety school) and apply again to my dream school for my graduate degree. I want to leave this state, not set down roots here, which is what I am afraid would happen if I went to the state university.

Tazi, these last few months of high school should be some of the happiest, most care-free of my life (if I am to believe my teachers), so I would like to figure out my direction now so I can enjoy all of the cool stuff planned for my senior class - especially my senior prom. Should I just give up on my dream of leaving this state and go to the state university? Work for a year or two to save money to go to my dream school? Throw caution to the wind and take out a mortgage sized loan to pay for it all?

Disappointed Senior

Dear Disappointed Senior:

How about none of the above? While you have my sympathies for the devastation you must be feeling, this is not the end of the world. As my Mommie's mentor likes to say, when you receive bad news you should "cry about it for 10 minutes and move on with your life". He says this with a smile, so you can see that he is trying to tell you not to wallow in hurt while other opportunities pass you by.

Did I mention that my Mommie's mentor is a Chemist? 
Signing up for a few hundred thousand dollars in loans at the age of 18 is never a good idea. I realize that will be the only way you would be able to go to your dream college right now, but is it really worth the cost? If your dream school really, really wanted you they would find a way to make sure it happened. Don't be the desperate young woman trying to get a man's attention by doing anything it takes; like her, you are only selling yourself short. Let them chase after you by improving what you have to offer academically.

The way to improve your chances of making your dream school financially feasible will not be to go to work full-time for a few years. Once you have started working full-time it is very difficult to give up that paycheck - and the wonderful things it can buy - to return to school and pay for something that you will not be able to use for three or four years, while all the while you must concentrate on studying and sacrifice to attain it. My Mommie wanted to return to school for 10 years before a twist of fate pushed her into doing it. Can you see yourself waiting 10 years to return to school, by which time you may be married with children? The more complicated your life gets, the tougher getting an education becomes.

Now that my lecture is over, I will advise a compromise between you and your parents and your dream school:

First, ask your dream school if they will postpone your acceptance for two years while you attend your state college to complete your general education credits, and then accept you as a transfer student. Colleges - especially those big, brand name ones - love accepting transfer students because they help boost the school's retention rate. By junior year, the year most students transfer, the original freshman class has lost a large percentage of its members; transfer students help to fill this gap and make it appear that the school is retaining more students. Furthermore, transfer students have proven that they are capable of doing college level work, something colleges discover only after students start at their school; sometimes, they are disappointed to discover that the brilliant high school student is an abysmal college student.

Second, talk to your parents about paying tuition at your state university. Will they be willing to assist with the bill so you can work less and concentrate on your studies more? Studies have shown that students who work more than 20 hours a week show less engagement in campus activities, which can adversely effect their grades. (Students who worked 10 - 19 hours a week excelled, presumably due to a stronger sense of responsibility). Between a part-time job and some financial help from Mom and Dad you should be able to make the Dean's List every semester which will lead to scholarship monies, along with invitations to join academic honor societies (which can lead to even more scholarships).

Third, lose the impression that "all" of your friends will be leaving the state to go to college. While some of them may be attending out of state schools, a lot of them will be at the state university with you, as will other students from high schools around your state who will become new - and probably lifelong - friends. Remember that the nest the bird flies away from sits in a tree that is well-rooted. Wherever you fly to in life, your roots will remain, so try not to pour weed-killer on them.

I will leave the last word on the matter to the great poet, Langston Hughes:


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Today's Tattletale Is Tomorrow's Gossip

Dear Tazi:

My nine year old daughter has developed the terrible habit of snitching on others. I am embarrassed to say that the girl could put Cindy Brady to shame! Whenever she sees someone doing something they should not be doing, she tells on them. At school she will report whatever she sees to the school bus monitor, the teacher, the playground monitor, or whoever else is in charge. At home, she has ratted me out to my husband for cheating on my diet and has told me that she has caught my husband doing unsightly things like picking his nose, scratching his privates, and other things that men do when they think nobody is looking.

I realize that my little girl thinks she is doing the right thing by reporting bad behavior, so I do not want to discourage her, yet I would like her to temper her reports with consideration for others. She is developing a reputation for being a tattletale and it is affecting her friendships with other children. Am I wrong in thinking that something should be done to teach my daughter to take a step back from the constant monitoring and telling of other people’s behaviors? I would hate to give her the impression that bad behavior is acceptable, while at the same time feel that her constant tattling is bad behavior in and of itself.

Hearing Too Many Tales

 Dear Hearing Too Many Tales:

There is a difference between taking an interest in a person’s life and trying to find out the gossip on them. At nine year’s old your daughter is a little too young to gossip, but in essence this is what she is doing – gossiping about those she observes. I believe this may be why you feel uncomfortable with her extensive updates regarding what is going on around her. Today’s tattletale is tomorrow’s gossip, the person who tells tales about others – which tells people not to trust that person.

I suggest you sit your daughter down and talk to her about appropriate telling and inappropriate telling. Explain to her that while it is appropriate to tell on someone if they are hurting someone or hurting themselves it is not appropriate to disrespect someone’s privacy. Teach your daughter that the idea of “see something, say something” should only apply if the situation is – or could lead to – danger or someone getting badly hurt. Mommy cheating on her diet or Daddy picking his nose is not something that is going to lead to physical danger or emotional abuse, and news of such should be kept to herself. Witnessing a child bully or beat up another child most definitely deserves a tattle.

What do you mean I am "an annoying little nit" when I tattle?
Encourage proper behavior by enlisting your daughter’s teachers and school aides to work with you in short-circuiting her tattles. As she approaches you (or one of them) with “news”, hold your hand up, palm outward, in the “STOP” signal and ask her if what she has to say has to do with someone hurting someone else or possibly hurting themselves. If she says yes, hear her out and decide if her news does in fact warrant adult intervention. If it does, thank her for bringing the situation to your attention. If it does not, explain this to her and explain (in terms she can understand) why it is a tattle, and why it is wrong to tattle. Before too long, she will learn the difference between imparting important information – and the praise it brings – and tattling, and the disapproval she receives for it.

While it may be difficult at first to break your daughter of her habit (because at first everything will be urgent news) in the long run you will be doing her a huge favor. Unless she is corrected now, he tattles will surely morph into gossip and rumor-mongering.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Emotional Blackmail Is Still Blackmail

Dear Tazi:

My maiden aunt passed away last year. She was a spinster, as she liked to call herself, with no children of her own, and only my brother and I for nephews and nieces. We were both very close to “Aunt Carol” until about 15 years ago, when my brother realized she wasn’t going to pass anytime soon and stopped coming around to help out with the yard work and other house chores that needed to be done. Not wanting to leave these jobs to an elderly lady, I sent my then teenaged son over to mow her lawn, rake the yard, weed the garden, change the oil in her car, and other jobs that helped shape him into the fine young man he has become (if I do say so myself!).

I share all this so you will understand what comes next: Aunt Carol left her entire estate to me – her house, her investments, the rental properties left to her by my grandparents (her parents) after they passed. I was quite surprised at the inheritance that I received; I thought that she would leave everything to her church. I never did what I did for her out of expectation for repayment; I did it all because she was my aunt and I loved her.

My brother is very upset that he received nothing from Aunt Carol’s estate, and feels that all of his years of yard-work should have been rewarded. After her death, he contacted a lawyer and tried to contest the will, but Aunt Carol’s will was airtight and he had no standing. Since he has now struck out twice in his attempts to bilk Aunt Carol’s estate he is now trying a third pitch – emotional blackmail.

My brother has threatened to stop speaking to me if I do not share Aunt Carol’s estate with him. Tazi, my brother has always been the type to attempt get-rich-quick schemes (from car accidents to slip and fall injuries) so I am hesitant to share Aunt Carol’s estate with him. On the other hand, I am afraid if I don’t I will never see him again, and he is my brother after all. Then again, I am afraid if I give into his demands he will go through the money and then demand more, issuing the same threat of never speaking to me again. What to do?


Dear Stymied:

The problem with blackmail – emotional or otherwise – is that once the perpetrator realizes their methods are working the demands get larger and larger. You are correct in thinking that giving into your brother will only result in future demands. I realize that he is family – and close family at that – but that does not change the fact that your brother’s get-rich-quick tactics are incomprehensibly void of any morals. To offer to assist an elderly woman with her yard-work in an attempt to secure an inheritance is soulless.

Since I have a feeling that you are going to give into your brother’s demands regardless of what I think or say, I will advise you to compromise. Set aside an amount of money, property, or what have you that you are comfortable with giving to your brother and put it in a trust for him. You can establish the guidelines of the trust to ensure that he will not run through it and need more money. Whether you want the trust to mature upon a significant birthday (say 62 or 65 or some other retirement age) or to allow for a monthly stipend is up to you. An Accountant and/or Tax Attorney will be able to assist you with the specifics of such a trust; just make sure that the tax liability is your brother’s to pay, not yours. Just remember the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished, so do not be surprised if your brother decides to take the money and run in an attempt to punish you for not following his demands to the letter. Enter this matter with your eyes wide open: there is a good chance that you will not be seeing your brother until he needs money.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Co-Worker With A Clean Fetish Could Be Mentally Ill

Dear Tazi:

I have a co-worker who I will swear is obsessive-compulsive. "Alfred" is constantly cleaning around the office. I don't mind when he cleans the common areas (our lunchroom microwave is spotless) but I do have a problem when he comes over to my desk when I am not around to "straighten up" the area. More than once I have had to hunt for important notes and files, only to discover that Alfred threw them away because they were not written neatly, and therefore looked like "doodles and scrap". Yesterday, Alfred threw away the iced coffee I had just bought on my lunch hour because it upset him that the cup was "sweating" onto my desk and making a ring on it.

I have tried to talk to HR about Alfred, and they in turn have tried to correct his behavior, but apparently Alfred has a disability, and the law requires he be given reasonable accommodations. The company is afraid to censure him for his behavior, which makes me think it is related to his disability.

I am ready to completely lose it on Alfred! His presence makes me anxious, and I am afraid to even get up and use the ladies' room out of fear that my important projects are going to disappear! Can you think of a polite way that I could deal with Alfred? Overall, he is a very sweet gentleman and I realize that he means well, but he is driving me batty!

Frustrated Slob

Dear Frustrated Slob:

Your signature tells me that your desk must look like an eye-sore to Alfred. While it is your business to keep your desk in a way that you can manage to get your work done, it is businesslike for your desk to look like a hurricane just hit it. While this does not excuse Alfred's behavior, it does explain it. For the sake of sanity for the both of you, I am going to suggest a compromise.

If there is any form of paper or notes that are important to you, put them in a clearly labeled folder (you might even ask Alfred to make this folder for you, so he will recognize it when he sees it). Make it clear to Alfred that anything that is in this folder is not to be thrown away! The next time Alfred is unable to resist the urge to clean your desk while you are at lunch, he will understand that the contents of the folder are important; he may try to organize the folder, so if you have the contents in a particular order let Alfred know that everything is in place and the most he is allowed to do is align the edges of the papers.

If there is anything else that you do not want Alfred to touch - your iced coffee, for instance - let him know. Explain to him that rather than throw out your coffee he could wipe down the sides and create a coaster out of napkins or paper towels. While Alfred probably cannot overcome his basic urges to clean and tidy things, he can redirect these desires into healthier and more appropriate reactions. Please understand that Alfred does not mean to drive you "batty"; mental illness - if that is what is affecting his behavior - can be extremely difficult to overcome. Patience, understanding, and instruction are what is needed.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Picky Eater Will Eat When She Gets Hungry

Dear Tazi:

My four year old daughter is a picky eater. She will only eat carbs! Her favorites are macaroni and cheese and french fries, but she will also eat spaghetti, white bread with butter, cereal, and of course sugar. Her pediatrician has said that she is healthy, but that I need to vary her diet in order to avoid problems like malnutrition and excessive weight gain.

I have tried putting vegetables in "Jennie's" mac and cheese, but she just picks them out. She does the same thing with the fruit I put in her cereal, and she will not drink milk unless it is chocolate milk - something I added to try and get her to drink milk in the first place. My husband is of no help in trying to get Jennie to eat a healthier variety of foods; he just suggests that we let her eat what she would like to eat, and as she gets older her tastes will change and so will her eating habits. His eating habits are just as bad - he will eat nothing but pizza and steak! I am at my wits end with both of them, Tazi! My husband can be responsible for his own heart attack, but I do not want my child to grow up thinking her eating habits are acceptable. Do you have any ideas on how to get my little girl to eat, Tazi?

Frustrated Mom

Dear Frustrated Mom:

I suggest that instead of catering to everyone's tastes, you plan a weekly menu - and stick to it. Be sure to incorporate some of the foods your family likes, like macaroni and cheese or pizza bites; rather than make these foods the main course serve them in a smaller portion, as a side dish. This will satisfy their desire for the special food but leave them with other, more nutritious selections to fill their bellies.

If your daughter refuses to eat anything on her plate except for her favorite carb-laden foods, do not offer her more of them. When she makes it known that she is done with her meal, take her plate away from her - even if most of her meal is still on it. If later in the evening she complains that she is still hungry, offer her the remainder of her dinner (reheated, if required). If she refuses it, play along by telling her that she must not be all that hungry. If she throws a tantrum, suggest that she must be tired and that it is time for bed - then follow through with the choice she makes: dinner or bedtime.

A hungry child will not choose to remain hungry for very long. Sooner, rather than later, they will come to the understanding that if they do not eat what is being served than they will not be eating at all. Once your daughter makes this connection, offer her a reward - like a dessert treat for eating some of each item on her plate. Up the ante each time by requiring she eat a little more nutritious food at each meal before she can have dessert. In time, she really will be full and not just pretending to be full so she can have room for dessert.

I have to add that these ideas are not my own, but the ideas shared with me from mothers of picky eaters - and every single one of them had the picky eater on a healthier track within a few weeks. I hope that these ideas work for you, too!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Choosing To Move On Does Not Mean Forgiveness Is Not Sincere

Dear Tazi:

I had been dating my now ex-boyfriend "Greg" for not quite two years when he was arrested for drunk driving. The passenger in the car he hit was seriously injured and almost died, and Greg was criminally charged. I was completely disgusted with what he had done and had no desire to stay with a man who was probably going to end up in jail, so I broke up with him.

Greg assumed that I was breaking up with him out of an immediate sense of anger, and surprisingly respected my decision. I should have known it was too good to be true, because as his trial date approaches, he has been calling me and emailing me, asking if we could try again. He has told me that he recognizes that he was at fault in the accident, and that driving drunk was a foolish and irresponsible thing to do and that he is ready to accept whatever punishment the judge gives him. He is planning on pleading "no contest" to the charges, on the advice of his lawyer, who tells him that pleading guilty will look worse on a criminal record.

Tazi, I believe that by pleading "no contest" to avoid admitting guilt is not accepting responsibility for his actions, and I have told Greg this. When he asked me to wait for him, I flat out refused, telling him that we do not have a future together. I thought this was the end of things, when Greg's mother called me. Apparently, Greg has decided to plead guilty in order to prove to me that he truly accepts responsibility for his actions that night. She is angry with me and has accused me of leading Greg on, implying that we could have a future together if he is willing to plead guilty. This was not my intent.

I emailed Greg to tell him that regardless of his plea we do not have a future together and that he should not be making decisions based on how he thinks I will react. I am strongly against drunk driving on both legal and moral principles, and cannot see myself building a future with someone who has committed this heinous crime. My email did not go over very well, Tazi.

After what I hoped was the final word on the subject Greg's mother called me again and told me that Greg was pleading guilty and "hoping for as much jail time as possible" because he could not see himself living his life without me and that if he was locked up it would make the pain of losing me easier to bear. His mother is now demanding that I tell Greg that I will wait for him - even if it is a lie - so he does not throw away his entire future over our break-up.

Tazi, am I punishing Greg too harshly for his behavior, as his mother claims? Is my refusal to lower my personal standards tantamount to a refusal to forgive Greg his sins? Am I being a hypocrite, as his mother claims, or am I right in my decision to move on with my life and to search for someone who shares my morals?

Confused Christian

Dear Confused Christian:

I think you need to take a giant step back from the situation and try to look at it through clearer eyes. Greg's mother is dumping her fears and frustrations on you in an emotionally abusive way. I cannot say I blame her for blaming you - she is upset, and it does appear that her son is dumping responsibility for his bad judgement onto you. This does not mean that his mother's actions are excusable, just explainable.

I suggest that you stand your ground on not getting back with Greg, and not appeasing his mother by lying to him and giving him false hopes that could come back to hurt you in the near future. I think that until Greg'd legal issues are settled one way or the other, you need to keep your distance from him. Greg would be smart to accept his attorney's counsel - that is why he is paying him - and not try to prove a point to you by pleading guilty and accepting a harsher sentence for his crime.

From what you have written, it appears that Greg wishes to plead guilty to prove to you that he is willing to accept full responsibility for his crimes (and make no bones about it, drunk driving is a crime); however, by doing so he may incur a harsher punishment at sentencing - and beyond. It is difficult enough for someone with a felony conviction to rebuild their lives post-incarceration; a plea of "guilty" over "no contest" can make this process even more difficult. In your desire to take the moral high road, do not blind yourself to these facts.

Are you judging Greg too harshly for his behavior? Perhaps. Has Greg apologized to those he has hurt? Has he asked for their forgiveness, and offered to do penance by them? If his actions speak as loud as his words, than yes you are being too harsh. I am not saying you must get back together with Greg, but you must be willing to accept his apology if you wish to call yourself "Christian". Your place is not to judge the sincerity of his remorse, but to work on overcoming the anger you feel towards him.

To answer your second question, I do not feel that a refusal to lower your standards is a refusal to forgive Greg's sins. You have the right to move on with your life and to search for someone new, but I suggest that you unload the emotional baggage you are carrying before you attempt a romantic relationship with someone new.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sensible Or Scrooge? Sibling Refuses To Assist With Emergency Financial Help

Dear Tazi:

I have always lived my life debt free. I started working at age 16; rode a bus until I had saved enough money to buy my own car and pay for the insurance; attended a community college before transferring to a state university; and financed my education through a payment plan, not student loans. My current goal is to purchase my own home for cash, so I do not have to pay a mortgage. I live at home with my parents, who refuse to accept any money for room or board.

I have a pretty good job, and I manage to bank more than half of my take-home pay every week. By living frugally, I have managed to save over $100,000 in the past ten years. My problem is my sister. "Sue" is my polar opposite when it comes to money. She has very little savings because she took out thousands of dollars in student loans to attend her first choice school, and she now struggles as she follows her dream to make it as an actress. Admittedly she is very talented, but so are a lot of struggling actors and actresses; talent does not guarantee success. Although she has done well enough for herself, she is no where near being a big name star.

Our parents help Sue out whenever she asks for money, which is rare, but I have always been unable to shake the feeling that the big request for cash is the elephant in the room. Last month, the elephant trumpeted. Sue was in a terrible car accident. The driver who hit her car was uninsured so they are unable to pay for the damages, which are severe. Sue was in the hospital for a week, and her health insurance isn't the greatest so she has a 20% co-pay, which is thousands of dollars. Sue is going to be out of work for several months, and does not have any kind of disability insurance. Her car was only insured for the minimum her state requires, so her policy doesn't even pay enough to cover what she owes on her car, which was totaled and had more owing on it than it was worth in the first place. In summary, Sue is now over  $50,000 in debt with no way to pay and is looking at a long stretch of disability. Without some kind of assistance, she is looking at declaring bankruptcy.

My parents have nowhere near that kind of money to pay Sue's debts...but I do, and they have asked me to pitch in and assist her. I refused, reminding my parents of my dream to own my own home free and clear. My parents reminded me that I have taken advantage of their assistance to follow my dream, living with them rent free my whole life. I don't think it is fair for them to hold that fact over me, since they insisted I put the "rent" money towards my goal.

My parents own their own home, and are both retired. They have offered to deed me a portion of the house equal to what I would be willing to give to assist my sister, but this is money I will not see until after they have passed - unless I want to force them to take out a home equity loan to buy me out, and I am not that big of an [anal opening]. Am I being selfish, as everyone claims I am? Or are my sister's financial issues the result of her own poor choices?

Secure and Happy...For Now

Dear Secure and Happy...For Now:

Are you certain that you are not that big of an [anal opening]? Did you get tested? It seems to me that you sold your humanity and your soul in exchange for a few extra dollars in your savings account. Throughout your entire letter, all you do is praise your own choices and criticize your sisters. I had to do some heavy editing out of these criticisms just to keep your letter on topic.

While I commend you on your sound financial choices and your ability to save, not everybody chose the path you did. Your sister chose to take risks, to strike out on her own; she may not have yet hit a home run, but she was safely running the bases when fate threw her a cruel curve-ball. Your judgmental attitude is doing nothing to alleviate her pain or your parents concern.

While I am not going to advise you to assist your sister - the choice to help or not to help must be yours alone - I will suggest that you look at the bigger picture. You say that your parents have offered to deed you a portion of the house equal to what you would be willing to give to help your sister. This may not be a bad idea. You claim that you pay cash for everything, so I am guessing that you do not have/use credit, which means you have no credit history and your only asset is your large bank account. This could come back to bite you in the rear when the day comes that you need some kind of credit history. Credit is not only used to grant loans; it is also used to gauge the quality of a person's reputation (fairly or unfairly). Many auto insurance companies use credit in deciding premiums; many employers run a credit check as part of the interview process; and even the telephone company requires a credit history before granting a contract for a mobile phone account.

Another point to consider is the fact that the housing market is starting to bounce back after bottoming out. A percentage share of a house (rather than a flat dollar amount) will continue to grow over the next few years; a $25,000 investment could increase to $40,000 in only a few years; a $50,000 investment now could easily increase to $75,000 or more by the time you are ready to reclaim your investment and purchase a home of your own. What other investment do you know of that will pay a 33% dividend over such a short period of time? These are details that you could work out with your parents before giving a firm yes or no answer to their request. Furthermore, if your goal is to pay cash for a home, depending on where you live you may have to save for several more years, during which time interest rates on investment savings remain low. Again, I am not telling you that you must assist your sister; I am simply telling you to consider all of the angles before shutting the door on your parents request.

Regardless of your desire, a refusal to assist your sister may result in your parents requesting that you start paying rent or even the demand that you find a place of your own now, rather than when you have enough saved to pay cash. After all, you are now in your thirties; have a sizable nest egg; and still live with them rent-free. Just one more angle to consider. I strongly suggest you talk to a financial planner or attorney who specializes in real estate law.

Perfunctory Snuggles,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

In Retirement, Hobbies Can Be A Lifeline

Dear Tazi:

I recently retired after a long, fulfilling career in business, and I am afraid I am being a pain in my wife's derriere. "Joann" spends her days cooking, cleaning, running errands, and doing a myriad of other things that I never knew since I was always at the office or traveling for business. Her days are quite full without me, but I know if she did things with a little more efficiency she would have time for the two of us to do things together.

Lately, whenever I see Joann doing something around the house - vacuuming, dusting, polishing, etc. - I try to think of a better way to do it; one that would require less time and energy to complete the task. When I think of a way, I let Joann know so she can try it my way. This is getting on her nerves, and she has told me so. She tells me that she has been cleaning our house her way for 40 years and she knows what she is doing; that she never told me how to do my job and that I should not tell her how to do hers.

Tazi, I never thought of being a housewife as Joann's "job"; I always saw it as what she did to help care for our family. I tried to explain that I was only trying to lighten her load so we could spend some time together, but she replied that my being bored does not mean that she should have to reconfigure her entire schedule. Tazi, I was quite hurt by her words! I don't want to spend more time with my wife because I am bored, I want to spend time with her because I love her and want her by my side now that I have the time to be by her side. How can I help her to see this?

Retired in Sioux Falls

Dear Retired in Sioux Falls:

Since you believe you have discovered a better, more efficient way to complete the housework, why not prove this to your wife by actually doing the housework for her - your way? This will not only show Joann how much better your way of doing things is, it will give her a much deserved break from house chores!

The fact that you realize that you are becoming a "pain in the derriere" is the first step to changing your behavior. The next step is to formulate a plan that will work for both you and your wife. Since you worked in business, and seemed to enjoy it, why not make a business arrangement with your wife? Ask her to try doing things your way, and if she does not find it more efficient and less time consuming, you will stay out of her way while she cleans. If, on the other hand, she discovers that your way is better she will agree to do the housework your way and spend the extra time on her hands spending time with you. This, however, puts the onus on you to be good company, and to plan activities that will be of interest to the both of you! Are you certain you are up to this?

Another idea - one that occupies your time while leaving your wife to do her own thing - is to develop a hobby. What are some of the things you always enjoyed doing but never had the time to do because of work? Whether you enjoy fishing, bowling, playing cards at the senior center, or playing in a bowling league now is the time to indulge in your personal interests. You could even invite your wife to join you - you might be surprised to discover that she is waiting for an invitation to get out of the house and among other people!

Whatever you choose to do with your time, work on communicating your wants, needs, and feelings to your wife. Tell her that you are feeling hurt and alone, that you miss spending time with her as a couple. Let her know that you love her and want to spend time with her because you love her - not because you are bored - and see how her attitude changes.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Teenager Wants To March To The Beat Of His Own Drum

Dear Tazi:

I am 16 years old and in a rock band. My band is made up of mostly older guys over the age of 18. They have finished school and are now concentrating full-time on the band. The plan is to try and get some local gigs while we earn and save money to go on tour next year, and hopefully get signed to a recording contract. My problem is that my mother will not let me do this!

Mom insists that I need to concentrate on my schoolwork and forget about the band. She says there is no point in continuing with them since their goals are obviously not in line with mine; that I need to finish high school and either go to college or get a full-time job. Tazi, if it were up to me I would quit school and go to work full-time so I could go on the road with the band. I hate school and it is a complete waste of my time.

My band-mates have all told me that they like me, but if it comes down to it they will replace me if I can’t go on the road with them; that this is their dream too and that they are doing all that they [must] to make it happen. It’s not fair, Tazi! This is my one chance to make it big! Why can’t my Mom see that?

Student For Now, Drummer For Life

Dear Student For Now, Drummer For Life:

Is your name Rick Allen? I didn’t think so, so please do not think that your life will turn out as his did. [Ed. Note: Rick Allen is the drummer for Def Leppard, who quit school at 15 to tour with the band. He later lost an arm in a car accident, and learned to drum one-handedly!].

If your band is able to stick with their planned schedule, you will have one year of high school left by the time they are ready to start touring; that one year of your life can mean the difference between having completed your education or having to write “dropped out” on a job application. Also, just because your band has a plan does not mean that paid bookings to play will follow. My advice to you is to stay in school and finish your high school education; your band may still be there when you finish. If the band replaces you than it means you were never meant to be a part of it, which may be a good thing; what band would abandon one of their mates like that? Def Leppard did not abandon Rick Allen when he lost his arm! Rather, they waited for him as he learned how to drum with only one arm (incidentally, they say he plays better now than he did when he had two arms!).

As for your mother’s ruling that you must go to college or work full-time after graduating high school: If you are able to support yourself and wish to move out of her house and into your own place, you have my blessing to follow your heart. However, if you are still living with Mom at that time and are dependent upon her support it is her rules you will have to follow. Welcome to life!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Superficial Reasons For Break-Ups Could Point To A Deeper Issue

Dear Tazi:

I am good friends with a man that reminds me of the character that Jerry Seinfeld played on his show, Seinfeld. "Arthur" is the pickiest man I know when it comes to women! He has broken up with some very nice women over the nitpickiest details. Examples? One woman refused to grow her hair long again after cutting it short; another wore the wrong brand of sneakers; a third put on five pounds after breaking her leg and being unable to exercise; and he left yet another because he found out she wore push-up bras and that her cleavage was "not natural". His latest break-up was with a good friend of mine (I warned her not to date him).  The reason Arthur left her was because she liked to watch football on Sunday afternoons and he is not a football fan.

After every break-up, Arthur comes to me and complains about how he cannot find a good woman; how they all seem nice at first, but once he gets to know then he discovers some fatal flaw and he has to end the "relationship".  Tazi, I put that word in quotes because Arthur's relationships rarely make it past the one month mark!

After his latest break-up (from my friend) Arthur asked me if I had any other friends that I might set him up with; he tells me that he is looking for a serious relationship, and since I know him so well I should be able to find a woman who is perfect for him. I told him I would think about it, but Tazi what I would really like to do is tell Arthur the truth: that he is far too picky, that he is rejecting women over superficial things that have nothing to do with who they are as a woman, and that he has idiosyncrasies that would make him break-up with himself if he were a woman he was dating! The only reason that I haven't said anything so far is because Arthur is a sensitive guy, and I know his feelings would be hurt. Do you think critiquing his behavior would be helpful? Or should I just continue to beg off every time he asks me if I have found a girl for him yet?

"Elaine II"

Dear "Elaine II":

There is a difference between criticizing and critiquing. The first is hurtful and serves no purpose other than to speak your mind; the second offers beneficial advice on how to improve the situation. If you can find a way to constructively criticize Arthur's dating criteria, I say go ahead and have that sit-down talk with him. I suggest you start by asking him how he would feel if a woman left him for any of the reasons he has left women. It could be that there is something in Arthur's past - a bad break-up over something superficial - that has Arthur running from the very thing he seeks: a serious relationship.

Since Arthur's last break-up was with a friend of yours, I suggest you not try to set him up with any other friends lest you end up in an argument with the friend who has already dated him. This is not an excuse, but a reason to beg-off Arthur's requests. Any reasonable man should be understanding of this reasoning; if Arthur refuses to accept your situation as it is and continues to put pressure on you, I suggest that you limit your contact with him - unless you want to join the list of women he has left for superficial reasons. One does not have to be a romantic partner to get dumped.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Tangled Web Is Woven When One Family Member Blackmails Another

Dear Tazi:

I own a lucrative rental property in a popular skiing town. I have owned it for many, many years and it has been in the family since before the town became fashionable (I inherited it from my Mom, who inherited it from her father). I have kept the place in good repair and kept up on the ever increasing taxes, using the rental income to reinvest in the property through home improvements and additions over the years. I hope to someday leave this income property to my only child, and I wish to leave it to her in the condition I have kept it.

My friends all understand that my property is a rental, and not something that I give away for free; my family is another story. I do not ski, so my cousins who do ski think that I should allow them the use of the property free of charge – because “after all, it is a family property”. They have absolutely no connection to the property! My grandfather, the original owner, was their uncle who turned down the opportunity to share ownership – and expenses – of the property when Grandpa first bought it. I have explained to them I several different ways that the property is not a “family property” nor is it free to use.

This week I received a “Save the Date” card from the daughter of one of my skiing cousins, informing me (as well as everyone else these cards were sent to) that she will be getting married on New Year’s Eve. I developed a sense of unease when I saw that she included the location as the ski town where my rental property is, and completely flipped my lid when I saw the accompanying note telling me she would appreciate if I gave her the use of the chalet and property for the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s – free of charge – as a wedding gift, because her plan is to have the wedding in the same town. Tazi, even if the place was not already booked for that week, I would not give it to this woman as a wedding gift! It costs $2,000 to rent for that one week and quite frankly I am not particularly close to this woman’s mother.

I immediately dashed off an email telling my cousin’s daughter that she would have to make other plans for her wedding venue because my property is booked. She wrote back a tirade of how terrible I have been to her family over the years, refusing them the use of my property. She also sent me a copy of my property listing on a review site, trashing me as a landlord and my property as an “overpriced dump”, adding that the 5-star reviews the place received were either old or fakes. I am positively livid, as the start of ski season is upon us and I still have available bookings to fill.

I would rather prevent any financial loss from occurring than sue for damages, but my cousin’s daughter outright refuses to remove the false and slanderous review unless I give in to her wishes. I will not be blackmailed, Tazi, but what else can I do? Is there any way to prove to the world her review is a fake?

Worried Out West

Dear Worried Out West:

Your cousins sound like a treasure; I would love to bury them in my litter-box.

My junk is valuable!

To answer your question, yes; there is a way to prove to the world that her review is a fake. You should contact the Customer Service Department of the review website and explain that the review is a fake and an attempt to blackmail you into offering someone a free week at your chalet. Once you have a contact name, send them the emails as supporting documentation. The review will be removed, although the damage it has already done cannot be undone.

Your next step should be to contact your local authorities and report this attempt to defraud you and your property. Blackmail is a crime, and your cousin’s daughter has provided more than enough evidence in her emails to you to make the charges stick, should you decide to file any. You may want to try and reach a civil agreement first, wherein your cousin’s daughter will be responsible for any financial damages you incur from her preposterous stunt. I realize this woman is young, and she sounds like a spoiled brat, so the threat of a criminal record could be all the lesson she needs to improve her attitude.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.