Dear Donnie,

My daughter-in-law is way too creative with baby names. Her boys are named Mustang and Bronco.  If they choose a professional career, those names will be a handicap. Now, she and my son are expecting their first child in a few months and I’m afraid she will go off the charts with the baby’s name.  How can I convince my son to pick a name that is more suitable?  Am I too traditional?


No-nonsense Name Nana


Dear No-nonsense,

I understand your concern, but it is their decision, not yours. Many people don’t like their birth name and change it to a nickname or even initials. Your job is to love the children no matter what their names are. Some famous people do well with odd names such as Tiger Woods, Shaquille O’Neal and Lady Gaga.  You could try calling them an endearing name like “Honey” or “Dear.”

Dear Donnie,

We recently flew to Florida to take the three grandchildren, ages 4 to 11, to Disneyland. Our travel agent made sure that either my husband or I was seated next to one of the children, but the airline was so full that we didn’t get our assigned seats and we were separated on the plane. Two of the children had to sit with strangers. The hostess refused to change the seats. Fortunately, the other passengers saw our predicament and helped us keep the children with us. Travel is no longer fun. What recourse do we have?


Grandma Hen


Dear Grandma Hen,

First of all, you are to be commended for taking your grandchildren on this adventure. Your experience is all too common now that the airlines overbook all the time. Ask your travel agent to file a complaint with the airline. It might have more effect since that agent books many flights.  I would follow up with your own complaint. With all the inconvenience at the airport, we don’t need more aggravation once we are on the plane.  Maybe the airline will compensate you in some way.  Be sure to mention how rude the stewardess was, and how the other passengers helped. Few of us want to sit with other people’s children anyway.  Some can get cranky and restless or fearful. Perhaps if you checked in early there would be a better chance of sitting together.

Dear Donnie,

My husband buys every new gadget and device there is. The problem is that he is too impatient to learn how to use them. We are surrounded with useless stuff.  How do I put an end to this waste of money? He does not need a Fitbit to record his daily steps since he barely gets out of his recliner.


Mrs. Appliance Guy

Dear Mrs. Appliance Guy,

Ask him to either hire a tutor or take classes to learn all these new things. Teenagers seem to catch on quickly. Save all the shipping material and receipts so that you can return anything he won’t learn how to use. Maybe he won’t even notice. It sounds like he is bored. Maybe he can learn one thing at a time. Adult Ed has classes all the time. This will keep him too busy to order anything else. Quit nagging. It rarely helps.

Dear Donnie,

I recently sent a personal message via email to a family member and the message was sent to the rest of the family without my consent.  I am really angry because the sender knew it would upset the rest of the family. Now everyone is mad at me for expressing myself. Isn’t it common courtesy not to share a message marked personal? How can I restore peace in the family?


Exposed by email

Dear Exposed,

I understand your feelings because the same thing happened to me. Of course, the email can be forwarded. I consider sharing to be a breach of confidentiality, but young people think it’s OK. Best to keep thoughts to yourself that you don’t want shared unless they are complimentary and harmless.

Dear Donnie,

My grandfather recently moved into an assisted living facility. He thought that his long-term care insurance would cover most of the cost. The insurance company is being very difficult in approving his request for benefits because he is not getting nursing care. Medicare won’t pay either. How do I help him get the benefits that he is entitled to?


Concerned Grandson

Dear Concerned,

Be sure to read all documents and contracts to understand exactly what it says. That goes for leases, credit cards, banks, loans and car payments. With lots of fees or exclusions, almost all favor the institution or business, not the consumer. Buyers beware. Not all assisted living homes are the same just like not all policies are the same, but if the doctor writes a letter stating that it is medically necessary for your grandfather to live there, then most insurance companies will honor that. Good luck!

After a busy involved life in Carpinteria, Donnie Nair is embracing carefree living near family in Paso Robles. Her column appears the third Thursday of the month. Questions are subject to editing, and not all will be answered.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.