23 September 2010

Sucks to be You!

(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved)

It's 90 degrees here in the City of Wind today, which is very, very odd. It's just not supposed to be this hot at this time of year. I'll take it, though. This is one of those days I'll be grateful for in February, when I'm all cranky about the cold, right?

Everyone at Dear Prudie is feeling very sorry for themselves this week, so I've had to change the name of the entry. I have never seen such a bunch of self-pitying whiners!

1. You had a teacher that was a bully. I feel for you. I do. I had one of those in third grade. She used to slap a couple of carefully selected kids on a regular basis and she was just...mean. I hated the woman. Other kids used to draw pictures of her falling off cliffs and such. Several of us complained, and like you, we were told that if we behaved ourselves better, we wouldn't have a problem. HAH!

But that's NOT your current problem, is it? You have a brand new MEd, and you need a job. In your old district. Where the same appalling woman is STILL being nasty to little kids and you just don't want to work with her. Hmmm.

Sucks to be you. 

Listen kid, I don't know how old you are, but  allow me to give you a life lesson. You are not going to adore every human being that you ever work with in your life. You don't have to, either. No one expects that of you. What they DO expect is civilized behavior and that you learn to be polite to EVERYONE, not just your buddies.

Sure, I see where you're coming from. Every time you see this woman, the little kid that she spent a year crapping on shivers a little. Probably she's doing the very same thing to another kid right now, and has been doing it to other kids all along. You want to tell on her, but you know you won't be listened to....


You don't have the job yet. If you do get the job, what you will have to do is keep your mouth shut and your head down and do whatever it takes to keep that job. Right now, you need to put food on the table and pay off student loans. You don't have the standing, the authority or the money to make a stand right now.

I have one question for you, though. Why is this the only place you're looking for work? Education systems across the country and being revamped right now and they are screaming for young people with your qualifications to go and work for them. If the only answer is that you're afraid to move, then you'd better re-think that, kid. In this economy you don't get to confine your job search to three square miles and then whine about the choices you have to make.

2. This sounds like something people dream about! Three colleagues throw off the traces and go to work for themselves. You have a dream job that's the perfectest perfect situation in the whole wide world except for one teeny little thing....

Which I have to agree with you about. Going without a bra, particularly if she really needs one, is really unprofessional and rude of your colleague. Why she would do this, after having reined in the girls for her entire adult life, is anyone's guess. It's her problem anyway, not yours. You just don't know how to tell her what you think...

Sucks to be you!

So what's the big deal? Why so tentative? Are you frightened of this woman? Do you think she might throw something at you if you mention the obvious wobble? Does she pack iron? Or are you just afraid you might blush, so you're looking for an excuse not to bring it up?

This is a beef that I have with a LOT of people who write to advice columns. I assume that the three of you are friends, right? You'd have to be, to survive in a three-person company. You all know each other pretty well, you all know the business you're in, so what's the big deal? Quit pussyfooting around and


You have to call a meeting either at the beginning or the end of the day and say something like, "Shirley (or whatever), this new habit of yours of going bra-less has got to stop. It looks unprofessional and it's not the way we want to attract business. We can't afford to have you undermining our appearance by not taking care of yours."

OR.... you could just call her into your office and say, "Shirley, cover your tits. It looks sloppy."

See? Easy! Save yourself the angst! TELL HER!

Geez, what an idiot!

3. Ok chickie-boo. I'll grant you that it must have been nice to have your husband around the house for ten months, especially with the baby. No doubt it made your life easier to have another body around 24/7 to help maintain the house and take the kid when you wanted to go somewhere. I'm sure it's been an adjustment dealing with him working again....

Sucks to be you!

Let me get this straight.....you wrote to the Internet lady to bitch about your husband HAVING A JOB? Where the hell do you get off with that crap? What are you, made of money that you can afford to have both of you home full time? And what were YOU doing while he was job-hunting? Why weren't YOU working at some stupid retail job or something?

You claim your son is "hysterical" and you're demanding that your husband change his work hours, even though he's brand-new and this company and no doubt people with his qualifications are a dime a dozen and ALL willing to take his job right now....


You silly bitch! Your husband is working those long hours to feed you while you choose not to work and all you can do is whine because he's not home for dinner? Do you have any idea how lucky you are right now? Do you understand that people are ending up homeless because they just can't find work?

Here's my advice. When your husband gets home tonight, you will be wearing a pretty apron and nothing else. You will be by the door, with a martini or alcoholic beverage of his choice on a tray, waiting for him. When he has finished that, you will tell him how grateful you are that he is willing to work those long hours to support his family.

You will thank him and you will apologize to him for being such a bitch. Because that's what you're being right now, a whiny, entitled bitch. Deal.

4. Ah, other people's kids. Your kid's best friend sleeps over and won't eat what you cook. This has become a Big Deal and the focus of your life right now, because naturally, what someone else's kid eats or doesn't will probably destroy The World As We Know It.

Sucks to be you!

Sure, you know how to handle a picky eater if it's your own kid. So what's the big deal with this one? No parent ever wins this fight if they allow it to become a fight, and the kid you're complaining about isn't even yours!


Have you even considered calling the child's parents and ASKING what you can do about this? Did it even cross your mind that you can conspire with whoever normally feeds this kid and come up with something that will work on the nights she stays over?

Seriously, how is it that this never crossed your mind before? It's such a no-brainer!

And here we are at my latest pet peeve AGAIN. TALK TO THE OTHER MOM. Duh, fucking duh!


Now here I have to interject on the picky eater thing. Lots of people on The Fray are dispensing a lot of "wisdom" about how to raise a kid that will eat whatever you put in front of it. They are all missing the point that the kid in question isn't the LWs kid! Her pickiness is her parents problem!

That said, my Cool Niece is now 3 1/2 years old. She is not terribly picky. In fact, her mother never gave her the option of having anything but healthy food, so I can't see her ever becoming "the kid who will only eat white food" or whatever.

She does get some choice in her dinners, though. The protein is a set item - say turkey burgers or whatever. THEN her mother will ask if she wants (for example) broccoli or carrots. The kid chooses one. There are no other options. The same goes for dessert - blueberries or peaches? And so on. It works.

I have never seen her throw a fit at the table - which is a good thing. According to her mother though, upon being presented with a bowl of Spaghetti-Os at a friend's house, the kid leaned over and told her mom, "Mommy, I don't like this," in a stage whisper.

That is the moment my friend was quite willing to say, "Who let that kid in here? Because I've never seen it before in my life!"

02 September 2010


(Photograph copyright 2010, all rights reserved.)

Labor Day is this weekend, and so I have to ask.... Does summer feel like it's over to you? We've still got 80+ degree temperatures, and even though it finally cooled off a bit, we know that's not going to last. It's been one of the hottest summers on record here in the City of Wind, and no matter how many people I hear whining for cool weather, I don't want it yet. The Boy is one of the whiners, but he gets to work in California during the week. He'll only experience snow on the weekend, and probably won't even have to shovel, so I'm ignoring him on this point.

A lot of people use Labor Day as a dividing line. People with kids send them off to school, so the kids definitely feel that way. I'm just relieved that the student drivers are all in classrooms where they belong. There are fashion rules about Labor Day - like no white shoes or gloves afterward. Some people start wearing boots and jeans the next day, even though they WANT to be wearing shorts and sandals. That strikes me as pretty silly. Why sweat if you don't have to?

I'm not going to acknowledge it. I will be wearing shorts until I risk turning blue with the cold. I'll wear shorts with sweaters, boots, jackets, even wooly hats - all because somewhere in my head I sincerely believe that the mere baring of my legs will prevent winter from coming. I'll drink margaritas, I'll use the barbecue, I'll eat outdoors, all until I'm forced to go indoors. I know I'll look pretty ridiculous in shorts around Hallowe'en, but that's all right. I'm willing to look like a complete goof to prove my point. I figure I can kid myself at least until there's snow.... whereupon I will embrace sweaters and excavate the long underwear. I'm a summer person, but I'm no dummy.

What a crop of letters today! From the dumb to the desperate, Prudie covered them all. Find the letters here .

1. You have everything you ever wanted and more than many people dare to dream of. You've got a loving husband who will stay with you until death. You have stepkids that adore you, and that you get along beautifully with. It sounds as if your lifestyle is just what you like - I assume both of you have good jobs and financial stability - or as much stability as you could have in this economy, anyway.

Life is good. Very good. In fact, you have it better than probably more than half of the people around you do....

...but it's not enough, is it?. No. You have fixed on the idea that you absolutely MUST, at all costs, have a baby. NOW.


You jackass! You AGREED when you got married to this paragon of a man that loves you to distraction, that you would not have kids. He made it excruciatingly clear to you that HE DID NOT WANT MORE KIDS. I think the vasectomy makes that pretty clear, don't you? You weren't a kid when you married this man, so you don't have the "young and dumb" excuse.

What are your reasons for wanting to spawn now, anyway? Hormones? Whoopee freakin' ding, sugar. Women who already HAVE kids feel like you do just before menopause. Most of them are smart enough to realize it's a bad idea. You even acknowledge in your letter that the ONLY reason you want to have babies is that the clock is running out. That's a lousy reason for having a kid, moron.

What do you think is going to happen? You say that you "...want to parent with a partner", which is all very well and good, but you know that THE MAN WHO LOVES YOU (idiot) will not be that person. All right. Let's say you leave your husband, who loves you, and your step-children (who you will have no right to see later) who also love you, and your home, which you love, and the relatively affluent lifestyle that you enjoy..... What will you be left with?

Let's see....oh yeah! You'll be a single mother at an age when most people are starting to look forward to retirement! There are precious few men your age that will be willing to take on a stranger's kid. Plan on being alone. YOU won't be able to retire, though, will you? No, you'll be raising a baby and working your tail off to make the money to do that because you won't have child support to rely on. There won't be any college fund.....no retirement for you, either. No, just because you feel a wagging uterus NOW, you'll be working at a job LONG after most of your contemporaries are napping at the beach between rounds of golf (or margaritas).

In the meantime, you will be devastating the people who love you. You will destroy THEIR lives and THEIR security, just because you have to act like a stupid teenybopper who thinks babies are toys. Sure. You can leave. You have every right to do that. You can say "damn the consequences" and bugger off into the great unknown if you want to. You'll be throwing away everything of value that you already have, but hey, it's all about you, right?

Marriage is NOT just fun and games. Anyone who's been married for any length of time knows that. Throughout your life, there are decisions to be made, and you don't get to take the selfish route every time. Those vows you took come with obligations. You are obligated to think not just about YOU and what YOU want, you also have to consider other people. Part of not being alone means accepting that the person you married is just as important as you are. That's MARRIAGE. Both people benefit, but both people compromise, too.

Trying to force your husband to accept a baby now is a betrayal. You knew what you were getting into with this marriage, and you accepted that kids were not part of the picture. You won't think about this. You're too self-centered and idiotic. I would advise that you get your hormone levels tested, because I think about 95% of your problem is that you're already well into menopause....

2. This is a stupid question, kid. Why did you write to the Internet lady? It's a no-brainer!

You found out that a student a year ahead of you plagiarized the paper that your professor gave you as an exemplar. Why are you agonizing over what to do?


kid, and listen...

Make a copy of the paper. Highlight the passages that were plagiarized. Then put a sticky tab in the spots where those passages are in the book. Hand it to your professor. Get another copy of the paper, another copy of the book, and do the same thing. Give that to your dean.

See? Easy!

Why would you let an academic fraud prosper because you can't make a simple decision? Has it occurred to you that YOU will look like a flaming idiot if anyone ever discovers that you KNEW about the plagiarism and did nothing? YOUR integrity is on trial here, kid. You already know that the fact of the plagiarism proves that your professor's golden boy has no moral compass.


3. Your daughter asked you a technical question, you knew the answer, her boss is thrilled with the answer....and what's your problem? A co-worker accuses you of "cheating" somehow?


Your daughter did the absolute right thing. She asked an expert. That's what she SHOULD do, right? Why should she have to struggle through and reinvent the wheel every time she needs an answer? How stupid would that be? It's the equivalent of inventing the computer from scratch when you have a software issue. You'll get the answer, but by the time you do, it's not relevant and it will cost the company a fortune.

So here's the only thing you need to tell the silly ass who's got a stick up her ass about this:

SHADDAP! (Add invective as needed. For example, "Shaddap, dumbass!" is acceptable.)

4. I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how devastating it was for you to lose your husband at such a young age. I don't know if anyone had told you that, but someone should. It's bad enough to lose a spouse, especially when your children are so young, but to have to deal with his obnoxious relatives is just too much. YOU need time to handle this, you don't need to put up with any extra crap right now. Tell them all to


and leave you alone right now.

One of the first things obnoxious relatives do is look to blame someone for a death. You seem to be their obvious choice....which is stupid, but there you go. The only thing you can tell them to do is ask for an autopsy on their own. It's just barely possible they can get a judge to order an autopsy, but they'd have to have a good reason for it. These things can be done. Probably if they tried this, they'd be told to get lost.

You aren't obligated to give these people anything. Clearly they have a grudge that is entirely irrational, and by attacking you, they're making themselves feel better. They don't CARE what you're going through, and they don't care what they're putting your kids through. It's obvious that "revenge" and petty bickering are all they're capable of. Don't waste your time or energy discussing anything relating to your husband with them. They've decided what they think and you will never convince them otherwise.

See, here's the thing. YOU were his wife. YOU are the one who has the authority to do as you see fit when it comes to funeral arrangements and so on. YOU and his children are more important than anything right now. They don't have to like that, that's the way it is. I'm sure that if they had at least tried to be decent to you, I'm sure you would have reciprocated. It's unfortunate that you had to learn what his relatives are really like now, when you're least able to do something about it. Beware, too. Given the way his relatives are behaving, you might have some of them demanding money - be it from your husband's estate, or his life insurance. They aren't entitled to a damned thing.

You say at then end of your letter that you're about to cut ties with these folks...and I give Prudie a big, fat, hairy F- for her answer. She yammers on about how kids "need" their grandparents. Take it from me, you don't want your kids anywhere NEAR these assholes, and YOU have the right to make that decision. They may be related, but they are NOT acting like family.

Oh, and don't ever agree to let them see the kids, but not deal with you. You and YOUR children are a package deal. Respect the group or be banned from it, you are the most important person in your kids' lives and never forget it. No one else matters, especially now.