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Holiday Food Restrictions Guests Have

by admin on December 1, 2016

Two related stories today… Story One:

My best friend (BF) related this conversation she had with her mother about meal arrangements for their upcoming trip home for Christmas. I have opted to laugh at the absurdity of it all because I can’t think of another response.

BF has Lupus which has led to some pretty sever dietary restrictions. She is always polite about this when visiting others homes for meals, if they ask she lets them know options that she can enjoy, but if there isn’t anything, she has her own snacks on hand but is never obnoxious or abrasive about any shortcoming in the food department. BF has a younger brother who is serving in the Navy and has been stationed overseas for years, he is going to be home for Christmas so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to visit Mom and Dad and catch up with brother. BF called her mother to discuss the trip and in the course of the phone call asked what the plan was for meals during the holidays. As I am sure you are aware there is a high level of importance placed on having certain foods during holiday celebrations. Mom outlined what she was planning on serving for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. BF said, “Mom, with my Lupus I can’t eat most of those dishes. Would it be okay if I brought some things I can eat and prepared some dishes at your house?” (BF and Mom live multiple states apart so preparing food at home and bringing it along isn’t really an option) Mom’s response was, “Oh, honey, you and some of my friends have so many different restrictions I can’t keep them straight, but everything will be made from scratch so you should be fine”. BF calmly explained that no that wouldn’t work because even from scratch there are ingredients she can’t have and asked again if she could please just prepare some alternative food options in Mom’s kitchen. “Well, honey, I really want to keep the kitchen tidy during the holidays. Maybe you could come the week before Christmas?” At this point BF just said “Okay, Mom, thanks, we will think about it.”

BF is laughing about this, as am I, but I was also shocked at the callousness of her mother’s dismissal of her request. I know it is her mother’s house and therefore she has the right to call the shots, but to place her need to control her kitchen and the holidays above her daughter’s ability to fully participate in the holidays feels extremely selfish and callous to me. I personally don’t have any dietary restrictions, but I have numerous friends and family who do. As such I always ask when I am inviting people to my home if there is anything to be aware of for meal preparation.

I would just like to know if there is any other response my friend might have given to her mother. As it is I felt she handled the situation gracefully.   1116-16

And Story Two:

I have an extended family member (who is single) who comes to my house for a lot of holidays with my own family, in fact, pretty much expects to be asked over. We don’t live in the same town. I always enjoy this person’s company (I’ll call said person Dale), but I have a problem that I hope E-hellions can help me with.

Dale is always on a special diet, and it will change fairly often. It will be all organic with homemade bread, any veggies and beans featured prominently, then in two years, it will be Paleo, then three years later, it will be no sugar, no beef or fish, no dairy, no grains of any kind, then another year later it’s fish and dairy are allowed but no pork or bread, no high GI veggies….. you get the picture.

So Dale is coming over to spend a few days, including the holiday. I really don’t know how to cook for Dale, although certainly, I’ll ask what Dale can eat. Which is worse, though – to just try to keep a few dishes “Dale-approved” and have Dale purchase the rest needed for the stay, or Dale asking me to cook for yet another restrictive diet that often eliminates nearly everything on my holiday table? I don’t want to be rude about this, but I don’t feel like jumping through hoops, either.

Let me add that in no case has Dale been advised by a doctor to try these diets. This is strictly Dale deciding to eat this way, because of the newest diets on the internet or in books. 1116-16

I believe very much in accommodating people’s dietary restrictions that have a basis in a medical need such as being gluten free.  So, the BF in Story One has a valid medical need to have her dietary needs accommodated by her mother allowing her to use the kitchen to prepare food she can eat.

However, dietary preferences are a whole different plate of food, imo.   Some diets are extremely restrictive, very time consuming to do properly, have specific preparation, not to mention very expensive (like a Keto diet), and while I appreciate the devotion some people have to maintaining that dietary lifestyle, I have no interest in joining in the fun.   I expect guests with that level of diet to provide their own food and meals.   So, Dale needs to suck it up and not expect his hosts to feed him according to his diet du jour.

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I’m in a quandary. I’m in my mid 20’s an a college student. The night before last I attended an event for a favorite author. There were lots of young teens there but I managed to find a few people around my age. Two of these people I met very late at night. The event was ill-organized and did not go as long as promised. The event ended at eight, and around ten I met these people. In the dark, at night, we were really bonding. Especially me and the one person who I’d describe as a character. Very different than your average sense of style, loud personality. We bonded over the author,  the miss-organizing of the event,  and the fact that they are from a country I would one day like to study in.  We took pictures together and they also took a lot of video. I normally wouldn’t be okay with that but they told me it was like a diary for them,   although they do have a channel on a popular video sharing site.

Long story short: In the light of the day and after more research into them I started to feel a little uncomfortable. They texted me on my way home, and I tried to nicely end it saying it was nice meeting them. They wanted to quote me everything their friend I met at the event said about me after. (Luckily nice stuff). Yesterday, the day after the event they texted me promising to get me the pictures we took together and spinning a long story about why they hadn’t. More than five texts. I replied saying it was “no problem.”  They then continued texting me. I tried to end it to no avail then told them, “I’m in class now.” …my phone called them when I set it down.  And they texted me again. I had to explain it was an accident. We also exchanged twitters which was a mistake.   I use this twitter for privately discussing things I enjoy, like the author we saw. They tweeted a picture of us and tagged me. I direct messaged then on twitter and said “Hey. That’s a very cute picture of us. I’m not ready for my image to be out on social media though. I don’t mean to offend you or anything but I’m not comfortable with it”, then I decided I’d lay low for a bit and not use social media or engage with them.
This morning they message me with, “My aunt sister passed away.”

I have no idea what to say, or whether an aunt or sister passed away,  but I know this is too much for a person you just met. I don’t want to block them as they have video of me talking candidly. I’m worried that if I do, with the way they are acting they might do something.

How do I politely get myself out of this? I don’t want to enter the depths of etiquette hell. 1116-16

My best advice is to simply cease communicating with these two people.   When trying to extricate oneself from potentially ugly relationships, the less said, the better.   The reason behind this is that you never, ever want to provide further ammunition to those you seek to disassociate from.   I’d lay low on Twitter, too, for several weeks so that it appears you are simply too busy for anyone, let alone two new “friends”.

If they share the video on their channel, you have grounds for invasion of privacy.   One would think the biggest legal hurdle Ehell has is copyright infringement. Nope, it’s privacy protection of people who submit stories and the characters being written about in those stories.  It’s easier for someone to seek legal redress for invasion of privacy than it is for copyright infringement so I sometimes use substantial editing to hide identities of people.   The vast majority of web publishers have no idea what their legal obligations are.

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This happened a few weeks ago, but I still get upset thinking about it. My sister suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, coupled with severe rheumatism, and has been retired for many years now due to her poor health. It is important to my story to emphasize that my sister is a real trooper, probably the toughest person I know. Despite all her pain and countless afflictions, she doesn’t complain and is rather focused on being there for others. I love this about her, but it can be problematic at times when she fails to be honest about how she feels so as to not cause any inconvenience for people.

Like many people with Cystic Fibrosis, she’s been having problems with coughing up blood due to perforations in her lungs. The rule of thumb is to observe the course of the bleeding for a couple of days and, if it persists or is abnormally strong, go to the emergency room since there could be a rupture, for example. Several times I’ve urged her to go to a clinic and have it checked out when it would not subside, so have other family members and friends. But, as mentioned before, she doesn’t want to be trouble, so she would always wave it off and deal with it.

This time, however, the bleeding went on for over a week and got heavier by the day, so FINALLY she got worried and decided to go to her local clinic and have it checked out. It was a Friday afternoon, and the reception she received there was icy. She had to wait for a long time, even though there wasn’t really anyone else there from what I understood, but she didn’t mind. When the doctor finally came, he made it a point to show her how annoyed he was by her presence. She was, as he admitted, his first ever patient with Cystic Fibrosis, and he told her point blank that there was nothing he could do for her, as he had no idea how to treat such bleeding. So he asked her why she had even bothered coming (the next CF clinic is 2 hours away by train). And then he added: “And just a little advice for the future: you don’t make friends here when you decide to show up on a Friday afternoon”, and sent her home.

She ended up laughing about the remark, but also felt guilty for going. I tried to convince her to report this clown, but she would not want to get him into trouble. I’m so angry at how unprofessional he was. From now on, my sister will even be more reluctant to seek help in dangerous situations.   1116-16

I try to not inconvenience people either but there is a line in the sand beyond which I will not go.   It is not being unreasonable to expect a clinic and its doctor to treat patients with professionalism and courtesy without any attending guilt trips.

So he doesn’t know how to treat your sister’s condition. That calls for a referral to a doctor who does so the response should have been,  “So, please me refer me, Dr. Rudy, to a doctor who would know how to treat my problem.”

As for the “advice” that your sister would not be making friends with the clinic staff for committing the heinous act of actually showing up during working hours at the clinic,  to me that sounds like a subtle threat of not receiving proper care for having the audacity to crimp the staff’s expectations of an easy Friday afternoon of work.   It’s “advice” that should be reported to supervisors/bosses since it represents a serious flaw in the staff’s attitudes that threatens to undermine the success of that clinic.   I can bet your sister is not the first person to hear such “advice” from this lousy excuse of a doctor and he needs to find a new profession.

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Quite some time ago  I submitted a story to you (titled “I‘ve got your back against the ‘A’s’ in your life” on your blog) about some trouble I had with a friend of my, at the time, boyfriend.  The story received, to my surprise, quite some feedback, and it felt great to know I had so much support in a matter that made me rather insecure. At the time quite some people gave me the advice to break up with my boyfriend, as he was steadily proving to be rather spineless. I decided to continue the relationship, however…which brings us to this update.

In the half year (or thereabouts) since my last post we had quite some ups and downs, and for the past month or so I had begun to doubt our relationship. Having voiced my worries to my friends and thinking things over for some time, I decided that the best course of action would be to split up, since I was getting to be rather unhappy and felt trapped in a course towards a future that I did not feel comfortable with. As it turns out, my boyfriend had been having the same doubts, and we split on amiable terms, agreeing to remain friends. So, the breakup itself, while of course sad, went about as well as a breakup could possibly go – it’s what came afterwards that took the proverbial cake.

A scant thirty minutes after officially breaking up with me, exbf happily informed me of his plans, now that we had broken up, as he had apparently been working on something of a list of future conquests and was quite eager to get working on it. (I was reassured that he would “take it easy”, however, since he wasn’t feeling entirely up for it just yet; oh joy of joys). In the heat of the moment I didn’t quite know what to say, other than a lightly strangled, “Oh – okay”. I felt like he was already working on replacing me before I was good and well out the door. It was then that he also decided to inform me that in the weekend before (this conversation took place on a Monday) he had been getting on quite well with a female mutual acquaintance of ours – to the point that they ultimately had to take a moment apart when they remembered that he was still quite taken, and they didn’t want to cross any barriers. Of course everyone makes mistakes every now and then, it was a party, there was quite some drinking involved, our relationship wasn’t going very well and they did call it’s quits before things went too far – but to wait until after the breakup to tell me this tidbit of information I thought was rather cowardly. And then came the kicker: “Well, since we’ve broken up now, I think I might contact her again sometime soon”.

It didn’t really register with me until I was well on my way home, but I was glad when it did that I had some lovely roommates waiting for me at home with tea, blankets and an enormous pile of tissues.

About a week later I’m still not sure whether exbf actually does not realize that some things might better be left unsaid or if he is really so much of a villain as to willingly step on my heart like that, and to be completely honest I’m not sure whether to confront him with the fact that he really hurt me; in my mind, since I didn’t really get angry during the moment supreme, I don’t really have the right to get angry now. Ultimately, though, I think I want most of all to leave the whole thing behind me- so much for continuing on as friends but then when has this ever truly worked out for anyone?   1118-16

Do you not realize why exbf said what he did?   Even if this was an amicable break up, it’s obvious exbf has issues with self esteem.  The sub text of what he said is,”I have value and someone else wants me even if you don’t.”   He was informing you in the most bungling and obvious way possible that he’s insecure and he wants it known that at least one person finds him attractive.   I would be inclined to believe he embellished the story to make him sound really irresistible to women.

And his lack of discretion shouldn’t come as a surprise.  As the original post noted, your exbf had a significant problem with being discrete.   Good riddance!

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A Disastrous But Happy Thanksgiving

by admin on November 25, 2016

I saw your plea for some happy holiday stories and this one came to mind:
Two years ago, my husband and I bought our first house. Prior to that, we had a small apartment that wasn’t really conducive to entertaining. We moved into our new home at the end of October 2013 and immediately started planning our first Thanksgiving. We made sure that the main floor of the house was completely void of boxes and as decorated as possible to be inviting. Being that we hadn’t really entertained in the six years we lived in our apartment, we decided to keep things small. We invited my MIL and FIL and my grandmother and father. I was so nervous because our families really didn’t know each other well and my father can be really eccentric.
The day before Thanksgiving should have been my first clue that a “perfect” Thanksgiving was really too high an expectation. I had a head full of childhood memories of Thanksgiving and wanted to recreate that feeling…and meal…in my own home. On that Wednesday before, my DH decided to clean the light fixture above our dining room table. It’s the type that has five bulbs on a chain covered by glass covers. He took off one of the covers…and dropped it. It shattered on the floor. We looked at the fixture as it leaned to the right, off balance. Without much discussion, we climbed into the car and to the home improvement store. We found a new cover that almost perfectly matched and came home to fix the problem. Crisis averted, right? Well, we were still trying to figure out where all of our kitchen wares were best suited and had overstuffed the drawer under the stove with baking sheets, cookie sheets, etc. I went to close the drawer, not knowing that a cookie sheet had fallen out under the oven. The cookie sheet separated the plug from the outlet as it was shoved back with the drawer. A shower of sparks came from under the stove and the stove went dark (electric stove/oven). I pulled the drawer out and carefully removed the cookie sheet before going to the fuse box, praying that I had just blown a fuse and not killed my stove on the day before Thanksgiving. Sure enough, the fuse was tripped and I reset it. The stove came back on and all was again as it should be.
Thanksgiving came quickly upon us and I had my menu planned and the day scheduled out perfectly…at least I thought I had. Our family arrived on schedule and my husband played host while I cooked. I was chopping some vegetables when the knife slipped and I did something I’d never done before. I nearly sliced the tip of my finger off. Discretely, because I didn’t want to worry anyone and “ruin Thanksgiving,” I went upstairs and bandaged myself up (luckily, my nail caught the brunt of the knife and it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought). Then, my grandmother, who sometimes has problems with “accidents” had one on the way to the bathroom. My DH took her home (a mile away so not far) to get new clothes.
Finally, it was time to check the turkey. I put in the meat thermometer and it came out at temperature and I had everything else done so we got ready to carve the turkey. One side of the turkey came out perfectly. Unfortunately, the other was still rare. In all the excitement of the day, I completely forgot to turn the turkey (not to mention that I was using an oven that I wasn’t quite used to yet). With everything else done and people hungry, we decided to carve the portion that was done and put the rest of the turkey back into the oven. Everyone sat down to eat and enjoy the meal I prepared. They were all so wonderful in their compliments of the food we offered. Conversation flowed and everything turned out exactly as I hoped in the end.
You may be wondering why I’m submitting this story as a happy holiday story, with its comedy of errors. The truth was, this was one of the most memorable (and happy) holidays I’ve ever experienced. Yes, things went wrong. However, my guests were happy and got along wonderfully. We got to spend the holiday with both of our families (which is really what holidays are about). Everyone was gracious and the holiday was full of love and light. Our first holiday may not have gone off without a hitch, but it was still “perfect” to us. 1007-15

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2016

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Wedding Wednesday – Wedding Invitations Can Be Sticky Among Blended Families

November 23, 2016

To Invite or Not to Invite?  This shouldn’t even be a question! Two days after Christmas, my boyfriend proposed, and now we are in the process of planning our August wedding.  Overall, our wedding planning has been drama free.  Both of us come from pretty down-to-earth families, and we both consider ourselves blessed to be […]

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