DEAR HARRIETTE: I travel a lot for work. My co-worker who travels with me is has always driven for all the years I have worked at my company. On the last trip, he asked me if I would drive this time. I was shocked. I begged off, saying that I had forgotten my driver’s license. The truth is that I got a DUI a while back and do not have a valid driver’s license right now. I don’t want to tell anybody about this as it could cost me my job, or at least make me look bad. My boss has never asked me to drive. How can I get out of this without causing a stir? -- No Driving Privileges, Atlanta
DEAR NO DRIVING PRIVILEGES: If you have not ever been responsible for driving at work, consider that a blessing. The expectation is not there. If asked by your co-worker again, you can tell him that you are not driving right now. Apologize, but make it clear that you do not have your driver’s license with you. If your boss ever asks you to drive or pick up a rental car, apologize, but say that you cannot as you do not have an active driver’s license. Only if pressed for information from your boss would you have to reveal more information.
Be mindful of drinking at all during your work trips. Should your boss or anyone else learn of your DUI, you will want your behavior after that revelation to be beyond reproach. You are not obliged to tell your boss about your DUI, though. Instead, follow any protocols given to you. If you are able to reinstate your driver’s license down the road, do so. Do not announce that either. Just be prepared to drive.
DEAR HARRIETTE: For the first time ever, I have not been able to host a big birthday celebration for my daughter. My husband and I are strapped for cash, and we simply do not have the money to pull out all the stops. She is a teenager, so she is old enough to understand, but she is also at the age where she cares about her party more than she has in the past. We told her she could pick a few friends to have an outing with, and that’s what we are doing, but I know she is disappointed. I feel awful. Is there anything else I can do to make a nice celebration for my daughter? -- Time to Celebrate, Seattle
DEAR TIME TO CELEBRATE: Focus on the positive. Plan the smaller birthday party with the same amount of zeal as ever. Get creative with your limited budget. Figure out what you can do to design a fun gathering. The reality is that what people appreciate the most is being together. This includes teenagers. Figure out an activity that is affordable and fun. Make sure your daughter feels good about the plan. Her enthusiasm will be infectious, and her friends will naturally have a good time.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)