Dear Phillip,

I live in Chicago, where our spring and summer months are slowly contracting into a three-month period. I know you can’t do anything about the weather, but the invitations to Saturday graduations and birthday parties are using up those long-awaited summer weekends to the point they have almost been monopolized. Working full-time Monday through Friday, I look forward to my weekends, especially in the summer, but I keep being invited to Saturday afternoon celebrations. I own a lake house. Some neighbors have boats, and I’d love to spend the majority of our weekends there. As much as I want to celebrate these life events, I also want to enjoy my summer. If they would have them on a Sunday, it wouldn’t intrude on too much of the weekend. What is your advice?

Signed, Phillip
From Chicago, Illinois

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Dear Phillip,

It is not fair that people are forcing you to abandon your quiet time. The best advice I can give you, is anyone that attempts to monopolize any part of your weekend, you should treat them like a rabid animal that must be hunted down and destroyed. Here are my suggestions. Tell the person that invited you, that you damaged your phone, you had to replace it, and you lost all your contacts. Add that you wanted to come, but you didn’t know how to contact them for the directions. Or, since you own a house on the lake, tell them where they can jump… after you fit them with some cement shoes. Or this idea. If you get one invitation to a function, try to get a second invitation to another function, which conflicts with the first. And then tell both “inviters”, rather than risking showing favoritism, you think it’s best not to go either. And this last idea. Tell the person that invites you, that you have some major gastronomic issues. And if you show up, every person near you will be “fuming”… and you will be too, but using a different definition of the same word. I hope this helps.