23 July 2010

SHADDAP! You Gonna Take That?

(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

Well, regular readers of my nonsense already know, but here it is for the world: The Boy and I are now American citizens. That's right, kids! No longer will I have to tolerate the "what do Canadians know?" nonsense the *certain* people pop out with when I make sweeping, nonsensical political comments! No more will I have to endure the "you just don't get it" that I get when I crap all over Sarah Palin!

Quake in fear, fellow bloggers! I'm a Yank now, babies!

Now from time to time, I urge people to listen to a song that I think embodies the answer that ALL of the LWs on Dear Prudie need to hear. Something like this . Yes, if only we could solve our problems like Malcolm!

It's going to be 100 degrees here in the City of Wind today, and The Boy and I have pretty much decided that anything involving outdoor activity is just not going to happen. It would be cruel and unusual for us to make ourselves walk on concrete on a day like this, so here we go....

1. (Everyone is taking it easy on this LW. I get it. With an unemployed verbally abusive husband, she doesn't need any crap raining down on her. Really.....I get it. I'm trying to understand, I am. Ok. I can't, not completely.)

Ok. I gave a smidge of a synopsis above, but I have to ask, what is your major malfunction, kid? You're married a MONTH, your husband is showing his abusive side and you're sticking around? What in blazes for?

SHADDAP! How long are you going to take his crap?

I have to wonder what went into this "marriage" from the start. I suspect that you dated this guy four times, he love-bombed you and convinced you that you and he are "soul mates" (a bullshit designation that really means 'get a room') and married him without a single thought in your tiny, pointed brain.

See, I tell everyone that there are a bunch of conditions EVERYONE should meet before they decide to marry. They need to see their partner:

a) Interact with their family.

b) Sick. With the flu or something really nasty.

c) Ungroomed, as in unshaven or no makeup.

d) Interact with pets and children. Even if you aren't planning on either, this is an excellent character test.

e) Deal with money. Do they pay their bills? On time?

f) After a very bad day at work. Do they blame others for their problems?

g) On at least one major holiday.

h) Drunk.

i) With a hangover.

None of these are negotiable.

Even if someone passes all THAT without completely disillusioning you, you should STILL not marry until you've known that person for a full year. If it's true love, believe me, a year is NOTHING. I'm deadly serious here, folks. If the person who wants to marry you wants to do it instantly, that is a massive red flag. Waiting harms no one and it gives you both a chance to make a rational decision. And for those of you that think rationality shouldn't come into it - your life will be (or already is) a train wreck.

But you didn't do that, did you? Now you're finding out exactly what kind of person you married, and trust me on this, it is only going to get worst. You say "...I'm starting to feel like a martyr because I have to apologize for every little transgression.", what he hears is, "I'm sorry I'm sorry, please dominate me and tell me what to do! Treat me like a slightly mentally impaired toddler because I agree with you that I'm too stupid to live!"

Are you hearing me? Every time you apologize, you are giving him permission to shit on you. This is how he makes himself feel good. It has nothing to do with him being suddenly unemployed. If he had kept his job, this would have happened anyway, but he might have waited for you to have children that he could threaten.

You say that "...he said I can't fault him for my faults."

Are you paying attention to what that really MEANS? It means that in this relationship, you are not human. You are a servant, a dog to be beaten, a non-human. So how long are you going to take it? Are you going to wait until he hits you? Are you going to let him force you to quit your job because of stress? Do you think you deserve this? If so, why?

Get the hell out of that house. RUN, don't walk to a therapist to find out why your self-image is so crappy. The man you married TARGETED YOU because you are willing to be abused. Don't let him make his fantasies come true at your expense.

2. (I'm going to catch hell for this one. I've already run contrary to most peoples' opinions on it, so feel free. I still think I'm right.)

Right. You are a happily engaged 20-something, looking forward to a long, happy and prosperous life with your soon-to-be husband. Congratulations. But you can't just let that lie, can you? No, you have to hunt for trouble. I get that you went through a depressive stage in college. Most college students do at one point. It's a big adjustment, big decisions are being made, and most college students are at the exact age when everything, no matter how trivial isn't just important, they're LIFE AND DEATH.

You made a half-assed suicide attempt, failed, recovered, and are determined that it will never happen again. So what's the problem? You say you think you should tell your fiance?

SHADDAP! Stop listening to the 70s "reveal" freaks!

See, I have a different take on this. A lot of people think that when you marry someone, that person is entitled to know about your every burp, fart, sexual escapade and mistake. They're all in favor of telling that person about the time you nicked yourself with a razor trimming your pubic hair in high school, the one and only time you threw up because you were THAT drunk, the bad dye job you did when you decided to be blond, the time you went under the bleachers with Billy just because you wanted to see what an erection looks like up close, the time you got detention because you called one of the mean girls a bitch and someone overheard....

It's all bullshit. No one needs that level of detail. If you don't want to talk about your suicide attempt, YOU DON'T HAVE TO. It would only be fair to let him know about that depressive episode, but something as personal and upsetting as that episode is something that you're allowed to keep private if you want to. He doesn't need all the gory details.

See, good marriages are built by people who are both a couple AND individual adults. We all need a little space, a little privacy from time to time. Revealing your every dream, wish and sexual fantasy (no matter how odd) is something that successfully married couple just don't do. They love each other. They share the big things. They understand that they are separate people who have inner lives of their own. A good partner will NEVER try and force you to reveal everything. NEVER.

Prudie is right about one thing. If you're afraid to tell your fiance because you think he might leave you if you do, then he's an asshole that you don't want to be married to in the first place. In fact, I would add that little tidbit of advice to LW #2s list. While you don't have to reveal everything that you'd sooner keep private, if you're do decide to tell and that person reacts badly, then you need to find someone you can trust.

3. Ah, cubicle wars! It's been awhile since we've seen one of these. I'm assuming that you are a detail-oriented person who's in some sort of technical field. You need to concentrate on your work. But wait! There's a hitch! YOUR cubicle has become the Social Center in the office. People stand over you and blither away all day long while you're trying to work!

SHADDAP! Are you going to let a bunch of yappy idiots decide how you do your job?

Yes. I understand that your boss is one of the culprits. It sucks that you can't even hide in a meeting room without being snooped on. So DO something about it!

Your boss seems to be a nice, social person. TELL him/her about this. Let them know that you need a quiet place to work in. Everyone is telling you this, it's true, so listen up! Don't sit there seething. Don't be a timid twit trying to drown out the noise. Don't ASK if people will be quiet.

Go to your boss first thing in the morning, explain your noise issues and offer a couple of suggestions. You could ask to work at home one or two days a week. Tell him/her that you'd like to take over a meeting room from time to time and put a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. Ask if there's an empty office you can borrow.

See, going to a higher-up and whining isn't going to get you anywhere unless you can add some concrete solutions as well. If you really want to solve this problem, you're going to have to get proactive and deal with it instead of whining to the Internet Lady.


4. This is an easy one. You live as "green" as you can, but draw the line at suffering through intense heat with no air conditioning. That's reasonable. Many, many people do exactly the same thing. There are limits to what you can live with, and life is compromise.

However..... I love these "howevers"..... you have a so-called "friend" that goes to your home once a week, accepts your hospitality - along with snacks and beverages, no doubt and "...always manages to lecture me about how I'm killing the environment because of my own selfish wants."

SHADDAP! How long are you going to take that crap?

Some "friend"! Why the hell are you asking what you should do about this? Hell, even if it were a family member who never saw you without berating you, I'd recommend the same thing!


Is that so hard? You could say some snappy things to her as quid pro quo, like spraying her with room freshener and remarking about how she smells like a homeless person fermenting in the heat, but why would you go there?

Do you waste time on the religious freaks that knock on your door? Befriend telemarketers because you don't want to be rude? Have you ever hurled your body over a puddle so that someone could walk on you? How about letting a stranger hit you with a stick because you can see he just needs to vent? No? Gee, I wonder why?

Grow the hell up! This person is TRYING to make you feel bad for reasons of her own, so why are you letting her do it? Do you LIKE being treated like garbage?

This idiot is not your friend. Stop being her doormat.

15 July 2010

SHADDAP! Paddle the Prats Edition!

(Photographs copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

News! News from the Messy household! Today, we passed our citizenship tests and we're being sworn in as brand-spanking-new U.S. citizens next week! Holy cow! Woo Hoo! That's right, they'll be taking away our Green Cards and letting us get passports instead.

We've lived here for ten years. It took five to get the Green Cards and another five to be allowed to apply for citizenship. We started the process April 1. I expected a wait. Others told me that it would probably be six months or so. But no. Either Canadians (or maybe it's us) are so boring that they just shove us along, or Homeland Security isn't as backed up as we thought. Either way, we're out for dinner tomorrow night to celebrate.

However, our humble accomplishments are as nothing in the face of the dim-witted, weak-minded, cowardly dumb assedness of this week's letters! It's true, all true! And remember, you heard it here/> at Dear Prudie first!

1. Wow. Lady, you've got a problem here, and I don't mean the size of your boobs. How did you manage to get to the age of 30+, have a career, buy a home, raise a daughter and STILL wonder if you should get a boob job so your boyfriend will like you more?

What kind of wimp-ass idiot are you, really?

SHADDAP! You prat!

Ten days of sex only ONCE a day for being a patsy!

All men watch porn. ALL of them. ALL men masturbate. Even if they are getting it twice a day, believe me, they all do it. MOST men like looking at big boobs. I'll give you that this is only a straw poll based the opinion of one guy (The Boy), but I'm willing to take it.

Are you with me here? Men (for the most part) like big boobs. At least to look at. Men are visual creatures.

Now here's the problem, and this is where you should pay attention. MOST WOMEN DO NOT HAVE BIG BOOBS. Haven't you noticed that in your 30+ years on the planet? Better yet, can you not tell the difference between the real and the fake? If not, why not? Fake ones are usually screamingly obvious.

Not only that, natural and unenhanced monstertitties are usually headed downward in a pretty serious way by the time they're your age and especially if the woman has had kids....like you. And that ain't pretty. There's no way you can dress it up to look good when your 36DDDs have become 36 Extra Longs. In fact, you can take it as a given that if you were suddenly to appear with balloon boobs, you would be fooling NO ONE. That is never going to look natural.

So, now think hard. That's right, I want to see steam rising from those little ears of yours..... ready?

If you think for one millisecond that spending several thousand dollars to buy those bogus/phony/fake beach balls that will hurt your back and make you look stupid will change your boyfriend's porn habit, you are dreaming in Technicolor, sugar.

You're already having sex once or twice a DAY according to your letter, so I'd say it's pretty obvious that your boyfriend is not only not regarding your B cups with revulsion (Did you read the part where I said men are visual creatures? Or were the words too big?), he likes them just fine.

He doesn't have a problem. You do. You need to look into why you're such a prat that you would consider major surgery based on the passing remark of a guy who clearly loves you, but was a little embarrassed when you noticed him having a chat with Mr. Happy on his own. Talk to the man, tell him you need to be spanked a little next time, and enjoy all of that extra whoopee you're getting.

2. This is almost as common a letter as the "My boyfriend is perfect but, ..." idiocy of the above letter. Seriously. It seems that there are people all over the place who are incapable of saying "no" to...well, anyone and everyone. You're killing yourself to accommodate people who don't seem to give a damn what you think and for what?

SHADDAP! You sissy!

And fifty cardboard tubes from toilet paper will be tossed at you as punishment for being such a prat!

Egad woman! How have you managed not to get eaten by bears or something by now?

Yes. It's got to be hard for your husband's aging parents not to be as active as they were. You say that for them to travel alone is difficult, and that's fair. But...but... That doesn't mean that you have to haul them along on your every vacation for the rest of their lives!

Oh, fertheluvamike! How did you get started on this spiral? I have no doubt that your husband finds it disturbing when his mother calls every night demanding 100% of your time and attention. No doubt at all. Probably his parents ARE lonely. But have you really LOOKED at their situation lately?

Are these people living on their own? Do they get out at all? Do they have any friends that they see on a regular basis? Are there activities that they participate in? Do they spend all day, every day alone in that house together making each other crazy?

See, a lot of people are wondering if there's Alzheimer's in the offing here. I doubt it, but you might want to make sure your in-laws see a doctor soon. I suspect the REAL problem is that they're desperately lonely, never go out, and that their only contact with the outside world is ... you.

I know that children of aging parents will scream and yell that elderly people need to stay in their homes forever. I also know that many elderly people will be utterly miserable and house-bound and STILL insist that they like it that way. That's not necessarily true. Often ( and I've seen this in action), moving out of their house and into an apartment with other people their age changes everything. Suddenly they have peers again! People to talk to that can understand them!

It can be magical. You and your husband need to talk to his siblings about this. Kick their asses to get their attention if you have to. There will be turmoil, but point out that none of them are around to see their parents deteriorating.

No, you are NOT considering slapping them in a nursing home and abandoning them. You'll be helping them set up an independent life where they don't have to be afraid of isolation, where there will be people around them all the time. Change is good, especially for people as lonely as your in-laws. Many of these places also arrange vacations, too!

Now. Quit being such a wimp and deal with this situation. You don't have to cave to the demands of a lonely old lady all the time. You are not being selfish. What you want is normal. You and your husband DO deserve to take a break on your own sometimes. Stop letting yourself be bullied and deal.

Yeesh. How have you managed to work for all these years? Do I have to tell you how to use the bathroom next?

3. This is painful. Seriously seriously painful. This is yet another example of a grownup acting like a whiny toddler. How do you go on? No, I mean that. How do you manage to get out of bed in the morning if you can't manage to stifle a baby intern when she acts like an asshole?

SHADDAP! Ya big wimp!

No dessert for you for a week!

Ok, I get that you work in some sort of social services setting and that such environments tend to lead one to overshare. It must be the touchy-feelie thing going on with people like you who take these jobs in the first place. I get it. I also get that you're proud that you've gotten your bipolar disorder under control. Congratulations, by the way. It can't have been easy to get where you are.

So what's the problem? Bipolar isn't stupid! Neither are you, or you wouldn't be doing the job you are now. I understand that everyone in your office knows about this, and I think it's admirable that you see yourself as an advocate for people who have your condition.

Given all that, why are you letting some jackass intern with a bachelor's degree push you around like a bully on the playground? In fact, why didn't you shut that silly bitch down the first time she opened her mouth?

You SAY that you and she disagree a lot. She's a know-it-all, she's obnoxious and she's not shy about telling you off. She engages in that cheapest and nastiest of ways to shut you up, too. Diminishing you as a human being by claiming that any protest you make to her assholery is about your mental illness is discriminaton.



You are supposed to be the adult here. YOU are supposed to be training HER. She only pulls this bullshit because YOU permit it.

Now that you've finally gotten in through your head that you don't want to take her crap, you don't know how to shut her up? Here are a couple of things you can say when she claims you're an idiot because you have an illness:

a) Wow. You argue just like a little girl. Oh right. You ARE a little girl. Shut up, little girl.

b) Are you on the rag?

c) What's the matter, you can't come up with some facts, so you resort to bullshit?

d) There's a soap dispenser in that bathroom. Fill your mouth and swish, bitch.

e) This is a ball peen hammer. Use it on a finger whenever you're tempted to act like a bigot. Or I will.

All of the above will shut her up, if you use them correctly. Only (c) will keep you out of serious trouble if she screams discrimination. The others would be more fun, but I assume you want to keep your job. Of course you also know that you should have come up with that the FIRST time she tried to crap on you, right?

Then... you have to make sure that you never work with her again. I assume you have evaluation forms to hand it. Tell your boss what you told the Internet lady, you silly ass. Here, I'll write it for you:

"X is a nasty, bigoted, ugly-tempered know-it-all who has somehow faked her way in to this job, where we are supposed to be helping others. Her snotty attitude, lack of real knowledge of her subject (because if she DID know her subject, she wouldn't resort to insults) and complete unwillingness to learn lead me to conclude that she has a sterling career ahead of her as a fire-tower ranger or one-man submarine captain. Night watchman at a lead smelting plant is another brilliant career option that would suit her personality to perfection. She should never be in contact with other humans."

Oh, and talk to your boss about her NOW. Duh.

4. Ah families! Gotta love them, right? NOT! This is something I've said for years - you don't have to put up with crap from your family that wouldn't take from a total stranger. You need to have that tattooed somewhere where you'll see it every day. I suggest upside down on your stomach, so when you shave your legs in the shower you can't miss it.

To recap:

Your step-brother died. (Sorry about that, BTW.) Your sister asked you to get flowers. As a former florist and Master Gardener, you made a lovely arrangement with flowers from your garden, which your stepmother loved. Good on you, kid.

But wait! Your sister pitched a fit and called you cheap! Your stepsisters joined in! Oh, the horror! The drama! Whatever shall you do?!?!


You are hereby sentenced to leave ONE dandelion in your lawn alive for THE ENTIRE SUMMER. ( I can't think of a worse punishment for a Master Gardener, because I'm one, too.)

Ok. Do you get that you're not the villain here? Has it penetrated your skull that your sister looked like a mentally unbalanced idiot by pitching a fit at the funeral? She's the one that made a complete ass of herself. YOU did what was asked of you, you did it well, and that should be the end of it.

But no. And here's where I have to wonder what the hell is the matter with your family. Not only are these three ladies are calling you and haranguing you about it EVERY DAY, but you are LETTING THEM DO IT! What is that?

There are some very obvious ways to shut this down, you know. You did know that, right? Hmm. Apparently not. Ok. Here goes.

a) Use your call display, dippy! If you see their number, DON'T PICK UP. See? how hard is that? Why are you making yourself available for them to abuse? You know what they're going to say, so don't let them do it.

b) If you are so foolish as to pick up the phone, then before they have a chance to say anything, tell them, "Gee, you must have a really fucking boring life if this is how you entertain yourself." THEN hang up. Repeat as needed.

c) (And let me add here that I'm feeling pretty clever about this one.) Send them a bill. Fercyinoutloud, YOU know what flowers cost, don't you? The prices are insane, you don't always get what you order and they aren't always that fresh. A large arrangement can run into HUNDREDS of dollars!

You provided a service for that funeral that saved someone a LOT of money. Your sister's ranting that you were somehow "cheap" for doing it yourself only goes to prove that she's an idiot, and it makes her look even MORE foolish than before.

Now. Sit down and put on your thinking cap. Think about how you're a grown-up now (or look just like one). Think about how grown-ups don't generally bend over so someone can hit them. Try hard to figure out why you're willing to take crap from mental defectives. Now go tell them to piss of, talk to the family members you like and forget this whole mess.

Good girl.

08 July 2010

SHADDAP! Want some cheese with that whine?

(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

For those that are interested, the cat on the far left of this photo (Charlie) is only a seven month old kitten. The girls are two years old. Charlie has a lot of growing to do. This DOES make me nervous, because he's over ten pounds right now.

Right. To work.

I want to start with a whine of my own. Here's me, whining: I have a hideous head cold that has me wishing my eyes would just pop out to relieve the pressure. The fever that I had all day yesterday is finally gone. I think my brain is melting, though. I'm so clogged that the drugs are barely making a dent. I lost my voice three times yesterday. Woe is me. Woe! Woe! Woe!

How's that? Actually, I DO feel better today, but I was overcome with guilt because when The Boy had this cold, I wasn't as sympathetic as I should have been. When I told my beloved that I was sick, the answer I got was... let's just say pretty sarcastic and leave it at that, shall we? I figure we're even now.

Ok, off to the letters! Find them here .

1. Oh, you poor darling! I bet you're wishing you'd had that brain upgrade in high school instead of that shoe shopping spree! Oh. You don't get how stupid you were?

Let's review. On the very first day of your dream internship, you got sloppy, disgusting drunk, thought going to your boss's home was somehow a good idea, you barfed all over his living room and you're wondering if you should punish HIM for trying to kiss you?

You have problems, little girl, and sexual harassment is NOT one of them.

SHADDAP! No more wine for you!

When are you going to realize that you acted like a pinheaded moron from the sticks whose social skills include embroidery and pegging rocks at frogs in the woods? How stupid are you, anyway?

You got drunk. Very, very drunk. Sloppy, disgusting, vomiting drunk.

You got into a strange man's car (you only knew the guy for one day, even if he IS your boss) and went home with him and you think HE behaved badly? What did you expect? (For those of you who are going to get on my case about how no one deserves to be smooched against their will, you're right. She still acted like a complete ass.)

However, you are a very, very lucky little girl, aren't you? Granted, you're too much of a thick headed dolt to understand this, but your boss is TERRIFIED right now. Of course he doesn't want you to quit, moron, he's terrified of a lawsuit! You think he doesn't know the implications of sexually harassing an infant intern?

Are you underage? He could get in some serious trouble just because he let you go to that party at all! Oh, and in case you missed it? HE WAS DRUNK, TOO. Otherwise he would NEVER have let you in his car in the first place. Everything that happened after, including letting you sleep it off on his couch, was motivated by pure, unadulterated fear.

Take this as a lesson learned, cookie. You don't get to drink on the job - and ANY company-sponsored interaction, even if it's at a bar, IS on the job. A company get-together is NOT a goddamned frat party! A large part of being an intern is so that you can learn to behave like a professional with something to contribute. Wastebaskets full of vomit are not the contribution I'm referring to here.

You do realize that you will never work for these people again, right? Even though you'll be able to work there this summer, they've taken your measure and you came up lacking. Everything you did the first day on the job was so unprofessional, so childish, and so stupid that no one is going to want to risk being around you any more. If you complain about the "harassment", you're guaranteeing that you will never work in that industry again.

It ain't fair, but where is it written that life should be fair?

Pray that no one took pictures of your drunken revelling, kid. Because if they did, the vision of you acting like a jackass at work is going to follow you for the rest of your working life and might even keep you from working at the local Pup'n'Taco in whatever Podunk town you grew up in. Where you apparently belong.

2. Hoo boy! Lady, you got issues. Somehow you managed to raise a smart, pennywise young man who is considerate of others AND manages to keep his eye on the bottom line. Any five-year-old that manages to save half the price of a $250.00 gaming system by himself is bloody brilliant. Reselling to get an upgrade is even smarter.

Ah, but you aren't happy with that, are you. No, his uncle missed a payment and MUST be punished, right?

SHADDAP! Have a drink and chill!

If your son can manage to set up a payment plan so his uncle can have his old gaming system, then he can figure out that his uncle can't afford to finish paying right now. If the kid is upset - and I don't think he is - tell him that Uncle Gamer hasn't got a job, is one step away from ending up on the street, and sonny-boy will have to wait for his twenty bucks. Easy.

But no. You aren't happy with that, are you? You want that money, dammit and to HELL with Uncle Gamer!

What were you planning on doing? Catch your son's uncle in an alley and beat him with a Nerf bat until he antes up? Put a dead squirrel in his bed? Tell his Mommy? Steal his Teddy bear? Tell all the girls he has cooties? Spread a rumor that he still wears tightie whities?

Grow the fuck up, lady and stay out of this. Your kid is smarter than you are. Hell, my kitten is smarter than you and he's only got about three brain cells right now! Or do you WANT your son to learn from Mommy how to be a bullying whiner?

Leave the kid alone.

3. Gotcha. Gay exec, good job, fun people to work with..... It's all good. Are you sure you aren't a certain relative of mine? You SOUND like you're in an identical situation...but then he doesn't waste his time whining!

To recap, you went out with a group from work, the conversation turned to a same-sex smooch on TV and one of the women you THOUGHT you knew threw a fit and burst out with a homophobic rant that shocked the crap out of you. I get it. It's upsetting to find out just what some people are like, and this was especially shocking. She apologized, you accepted it, but you aren't comfortable with her any more.

I get this. I really do. I wouldn't want to be buddies with someone who pulled something like that either. So why are you having so much trouble with her now?

SHADDAP! No drinking with the staff!

How the heck do you succeed in your job and not know how to handle this? I'm guessing that a lot of what you do is manage people, and that requires the ability to be objective and just a tad cold-blooded when it comes to managing their expectations, too.

I'm certain that this women is sincerely embarrassed by the (possibly) booze-induced loosening of the tongue and subsequent rant. No doubt she's heard about it from other people who were there that night. She may be a genuinely nice person who likes puppies and kittens and gives money to orphans, even. It's not wrong for you to find her bigotry towards gays disturbing, though.

You DO have to talk to her. It's only fair. She's going to keep bothering you about this unless you set her straight anyway, so bite the bullet, pull off that Band-aid, um..... whatever cliche you can think of about getting your shit together.... and TELL HER. Make an appointment with her, sit down in your office, and tell her exactly what you told Prudie.

Prudie's advice on this sucks, by the way. You should NOT just put up with this nonsense, and you do NOT have to listen to some idiot rant nastily about your sexual orientation. What this woman said was reprehensible to you and the fact that she apologized does not mean that her attitude has changed.

Try this:

"I understand that you're uncomfortable about the comments you made. You should be, they were very upsetting to me. I accept your apology, but I feel that our friendship should be strictly professional and limited to the office."

That should do it. Oh, and take a lesson from this. Work friends and personal friends are different creatures. Keeping those two arenas separate from each other is sometimes necessary. Don't be afraid to say this.

4. Ooooh! I LOVE these. Bridezillas, Momzillas, Knocked-up-baby-sisterzillas....

I have to say that weddings, parties and babies are probably the most revealing events in the world. Want to find out a friend's REAL character? Pay attention to the way she acts when she's planning on of these events. THIS is where you separate the women from the girls and the girls from the assholes!

This one is a doozy, too! I agree with you. Four goddamned baby showers is three too many. Registering at TWO stores for the entire contents of each is tacky and greedy beyond all measure. Your sister either has balls the size of coconuts or is dumb as a bucket of rocks for allowing this to happen.

But that's not what you asked. You want to know how to tell her how cheesy this all is. I'm going to have to tell you to

SHADDAP! Drink her booze and let it go.

I can't believe your sister's friends are falling for all this bullshit, but that's their problem.

Yes, it's a shameless, tacky and manipulative grab for presents, and since she's registered for things like cribs, strollers and beds, then I have to wonder if she and her husband are perhaps too broke to be having a child anyway. Did they register for a minivan, too?

The etiquette on this says that parents are responsible for the necessities of a baby's life. Furniture is their responsibility, and if someone is going to buy it as a gift, it should be a close family member that does it with no fanfare at all. Simply put, you don't hit up friends for the big stuff.

There's not a bloody thing you can do about this, though. You know your sister won't listen. The way you describe her, she'd probably have a screaming fit if you even suggested she's acting like a greedy three-year-old. So do nothing.

Go to ONE shower. Don't get anything on the registry. Get something useful and pretty or whatever, and skip the list. I suspect a lot of people are going to do that anyway. Say NOTHING if your sister whines about your gift and don't cave and obey her when she embarks on a tantrum about it.

Oh, and relax. You aren't the only one that's noticed your sister's grabby behavior. She may end up with a few nasty surprises when she opens the presents at the baby showers. Not everyone is going to fall for this bullshit.


Practical suggestions for prosaic shower gifts:

1. A dozen onesies or tiny t-shirts. Seriously. Babies, as cute as they are, are also grubby little critters that need to be washed and tidied up on a regular basis. Having clean things on hand is important.

2. A dozen bibs. Babies drool. A LOT. Many clean bibs are good to have.

3. The monster pack of newborn diapers. Did I mention that babies are grubby? They need to be changed a zillion times a day, too. Diapers are not only expensive, running out is a tragedy of epic proportions.

4. A Costco-sized package of baby wipes. Again, grubby.

5. A couple of dozen white terry-cloth hand towels or restaurant side towels. These are to be used for general clean-up, burping and whatever else one needs them for. No matter how ghastly they get and no matter what manner of goo and grossness gets on them, you can bleach them and they will always look nice and white.

6. Baby bath gels, shampoos, etc. Running out of that stuff is really annoying.

7. A gift certificate to a spa for Mom that includes hair, facial, and a massage. She's going to need it.

8. An IOU for a couple of nights of babysitting. Weirdly, babies are not so entrancing 24/7 as you might think. Even if the parents need a break to walk around the block three or four times so they can use their adult voices, that's important, too.

9. A stack of trashy, no-brain-involved novels for parents that aren't going to sleep even when the baby IS sleeping. Magazine subscriptions are good, too. Distractions are necessary.

10. A card that's good for ten phone calls where the new parent is specifically allowed to vent with no comments unless they ask a question. Trust me. This is another necessity.


That's it for this week! Have a good weekend and remember, when in doubt, SHADDAP!