DEAR AMY: I am a 60 year old full time musician. I have played and taught for many years.
My much younger second cousin contacted me via text and asked me to play for his upcoming wedding.
I told him I was available. He never mentioned fees of any kind, and neither did I.
I didn’t mean to sound greedy. We have no regular interaction of any kind.
Should I just accept the invitation and not expect an honorarium because he’s part of the extended family?
I feel a little uncomfortable asking to receive payment for my services.
What do you think?
– Meditating pianist
DEAR PIANIST: If you don’t ask to be paid or discuss payment, you probably won’t get paid.
This payment should not be viewed as a “fee” but as an exchange of money for your hard work and professional service. Fees are offered for services for which no price is provided or set. You’re a professional musician, and it’s a gig.
You must be very specific and professional in your response to your first cousin. This will eliminate stress and confusion later.
Here is an example of wording (you will fill in your own details): “For weddings, I will play before and during the ceremony – if you wish – and for two hours during the cocktail and dinner hour.
If you hire a DJ, they should take over after dinner and during the dance. My normal fee is $XXX plus meal and travel expenses. I’d be happy to give you the “family discount” and charge $XXX for the evening. Let me know if this is acceptable and I’d be happy to discuss music choices with you. Congratulations – I’m honored to be invited to play at your wedding.
DEAR AMY: We have just learned that our beloved eldest pup has a brain tumor that will end his precious life in the next few months.
Sad preparations are underway to have her euthanized at home and for someone to prepare a grave.
I informed people I know who will want to say goodbye (like my grandsons, whom my pet adores) and other family members.
I hesitate to tell my sister.
When my last pet passed away, she wanted to be there when we buried her.
When the time came she was nowhere to be found, and when I called her she said she was running an errand and she would be there.
I waited over an hour, then decided to go on without her. When she finally arrived, she was beside herself that I didn’t expect, and sobbing as if her pet had died. She admonished me for not waiting and I told her to come home.
I don’t want to spend the last few weeks I have with my pet dealing with my sister’s drama. It’s not like she spends a lot of time with us; I rarely see her unless she needs something.
It will be all I can do to stay together the day we have to commit this horrible act, and I don’t think I should have to comfort her.
My husband and I want privacy in our bereavement.
But there won’t be a win-win situation, because she’ll backfire if I tell her afterwards.
How should I handle this?
Heartbroken Pet Parent
– DEAR BROKEN HEART: I’m so sorry you’re going through this. But keep in mind that euthanizing your pet at the end of a long illness should not be considered “a dreadful act”.
It’s a final act of loving your pet – all the way.
Compared to the importance of this tender mercy – your sister’s flip-out, these are small potatoes.
I say, do exactly what’s best for your pet, your family, and you.
DEAR AMY: Have you ever received letters from different people with different perspectives on the same event?
For example, a letter might say, “My niece rarely responds to text messages. I have to contact her again and again if I want an answer. The worst part was when we were planning my mom’s 90th birthday party…”
Another writer might say, “I’m a very busy young professional. I can’t drop everything to answer every text that comes my way, but my uncle doesn’t seem to understand. The worst was when my grandmother was 90…”
DEAR QUEST: I am not aware of this happening, but your example illustrates how important perspective is.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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