Feel Good Friday – Marble Machine

by admin on May 26, 2017

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Cringe-Worthy Party Exit

by admin on May 25, 2017

My whole family was invited in May of 2010 to a high school graduation party. My younger sister and I spent several years competing on a privately owned dance team, and the girl graduating had been our teammate. The two sets of parents also became friends through dance company events and competitions. My sister is a year younger than this girl, and I was 20 at the time this story took place.

The graduation party invite was for a BBQ-style get-together in the backyard of the family’s home from 5 to 7pm. The event also served as a sort of family reunion centered around our friend’s graduation; many of her family members from across the country came to support and congratulate her, and there were very few non-family members in attendance at the party. We felt honored to be considered close enough friends to be invited to the intimate, family-oriented event. The party was enjoyable, my sister and I had a great time catching up with the graduate, and our parents enjoyed the opportunity to catch up as well.

Around 8 or 8:30, when some family group pictures started to be taken and the party began to noticeably wind down, my family decided it would be best to make our exit. It was well past the end time specified on the invite, and though the party had comfortably and naturally carried on longer than expected, it was beginning to slow down and we felt it best to head out. The etiquette breach occurred as we were saying our goodbyes to the graduate and her parents, and was committed by my father, who dragged my sister and I unwillingly into the flames of etiquette hell with him.

My father is substantially lacking in social graces, but more or less manages not to be too terribly appalling in public; this was, unfortunately, not one of those lucky blunder-free instances. He announced to the graduate’s parents, with her standing right there, that my sister and I both had plans for that very evening with our respective boyfriends and thus we all needed to be leaving. My sister and I were mortified and stood there in stunned silence, probably with mouths slightly agape and eyes wide. The gracious hosts thanked us all for coming and suggested that we would all have to get together again soon, on a night when there were no upcoming plans with the boyfriends. My sister and I, and my mother too, later agreed that we were horrified by my father’s tactless transition into party exit mode.

While my sister and I did in fact have plans scheduled for later that evening, that is nothing we would have ever revealed to the hosting family. No awkward, tacky explanation for leaving the party was needed when the event was clearly ending and it was perfectly appropriate to excuse ourselves politely, thank the family and congratulate our friend, and leave. Why my 50-something year old father couldn’t grasp this, but his 17 and 20 year old daughters could, is beyond me. I only hope that the family forgets all about the incident and that my sister and I don’t burn in etiquette hell next to my father! So embarrassing! 0227-11

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Wedding Wednesday – Dye That Red Hair!

by admin on May 24, 2017

We haven’t seen a Bridezilla of this caliber here on EHell in a long time. The bride and her bridesmaids are all brunettes…except one who has ginger colored hair. Normally, for sane people, this would not be a problem but this bridezilla considered her bridesmaid’s natural red hair to be “attention-grabbing” which would “take away from the cohesiveness of the group”. What to do? Why, what any selfish bridezilla thinks she can do….insist that your bridesmaid color her hair to match the others in the wedding party.

 

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This is late coming, but thought you might enjoy it.

On Valentine’s Day, I was room mother in charge of the party and the refreshments.

There were 5 other moms who said they would help. In plenty of time, I called each one and put each in charge of something: one mom in charge of games, one in charge of paper goods, one in charge of a take home favor, and me in charge of the refreshment (which where we live still consists of something gooey like a cupcake and chocolate!) One mom I could not get in touch with at all.

On the day of the party, I got there early to set up. Already there was 2 dozen cupcakes sent by the mom I could not get in touch with. There was one huge tray of cookie-store decorated theme cookies (think wildly expensive) sent by another mom, a new child in the class had also been sent to school with 2 dozen cupcakes, and yet another had sent in the right number of chocolate something -or-another, in addition to the 2 dozen cupcakes I had brought and the special suckers I had gotten for the group.

The teacher and I had a good laugh about it, and was able to bundle up all the extra food and send home with the kids, along with keeping an extra set of cupcakes for snack time the next day. We did double check to make sure no other classrooms were short on goodies, and even shared a lot of the goods with the office and janitorial staff. While I was kind of perturbed that as the head room mom I had put in lots of time trying to get things sorted out reasonably as far as supplies and food, and the other moms had just sent things without asking, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Until, I started hearing from the other moms. The “cookie-store” mom was really upset because her child was upset that she had’t been able to pass out her cookies and have the class eat them.Apparently this had been a long standing tradition for her child and everyone (but me) knew about it and it was wrong that she hadn’t gotten to pass these out. The mom of the new child was also worried because her offering was meant as some sort of ice breaker for her child and was upset that her child hadn’t gotten to pass them out and get to know the other kids (sounded like a popularity thing to me). The mom whom I hadn’t been able to contact wanted to know what had happened to her cupcakes if the kids hadn’t gotten to eat them? I got a number of phone calls from both mothers and the teacher, who had also been getting calls from the mothers. Even after explaining about the tons of food that moms had sent in (without checking with the teacher, or me) they just kept venting to me about it.

That was the last time I volunteered to room mother. 0214-11

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Tacky Tourists In A Strange Land

by admin on May 22, 2017

Several years ago, my sister’s husband was stationed in Germany with the Air Force. He was born in Austria, so spoke perfect German. They and their 18 month old baby were living off base in a small town, where most of the residents spoke only a little English, so my sister became fluent in German within a very short time.

My mother and I went over to visit one September while they were there. My brother-in-law had to spend a few days on rotation on the base, so the rest of us took a trip to some surrounding areas. These included a small castle that gave several tours each hour. These tours were mostly in German, with one tour per hour given in English. There was a sign posted at the ticket office that explained this and stated that no other tours would be given in English, just the one each hour. We arrived shortly after the English tour had left, and would have had to wait another hour before the next English tour. However, because my sister spoke German rather well, we decided to join one of the regular tours and she would translate for the rest of us.

Another American couple also joined this tour. We assumed, and so did the tour guide, that this couple also spoke German well enough to understand the basics. However, the guide had barely started the tour and was getting ready to move to the next area when the man from the second couple started yelling that she needed to give them the tour in English. The guide explained, in perfect English, that this was not an English tour, she could not give the tour in English because most of the rest of the tour could not understand her, and the couple was invited to wait for the next English tour. But the man continued to yell that he needed the tour in English, that they had paid good money for a tour now. If I remember correctly, my sister even offered to include them in her translation, but that wasn’t good enough for the man, he wanted the information from the guide. The guide then said that she would give them a translation after she had given the German rendition, which the man accepted. However, we soon realized that she was giving the man a very abbreviated version of her German rendition, because she still had to get the tour moving at the proper speed, which didn’t allow for two full renditions. There were still a couple of times when the next tour had to wait for us to finish up with a room and move on before they could come in.

After the tour, we gave the guide her tip, thanked her very much for her patience, and apologized for the actions of the other Americans because we didn’t want her to think that all Americans were like that. She appreciated that, and even gave us a little souvenir in return. 0201-11

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Odd Mom Behavior

by admin on May 18, 2017

When I was 7 or 8 I became very good friends with a girl named “Mary”. She was a year younger than me, and her mother was somewhere around her mid-thirties. We were often at each others’ houses whether on weekdays or weekends. Our mothers, while not friends, were friendly and trusted each other. If Mary was at my house and my mother was going somewhere, she’d take us with her. If Mary’s mother was going out, she’d do the same. If one of our mothers saw an item of clothing or other item that was unique or useful, she would pick one up for the other child. If we went out to eat, the other child came along. If we had dinner while one was at the other’s house, they would have dinner too. It was a nice setup, and many happy memories were built around my time with Mary. I should add that these were the days before play dates and helicopter parenting.

When Mary’s mother took us out, we’d always be home by 6 or 7pm at the very latest. Usually 6pm for dinner reasons. These were all car trips, and most of them were on school nights. However, one weeknight during the school year, we didn’t get home by 6pm. Or 7. In fact, as the evening rolled around, we kept going and ended up at one of Mary’s relatives houses. I was okay, but as the clock ticked, I started to feel a bit weird. I assumed that Mary’s mother would ask me for my house number so she could phone my mother or grandmother to say we’d be late. She didn’t. This was in the days before cell phones, so a payphone or a house phone was the only chance to make a call. If I recall correctly, all I had said to my grandmother was that I’d be at a friend’s house, so I wasn’t even sure my family would have figured out I was with Mary without their making calls to my friends’ houses. Mary’s parent’s were separated for a while, so no one would have answered their home phone if my family called. I hoped they’d figure things out from this.

I was too afraid at that age to ask what was going on or why Mary’s mother wasn’t calling my family. I also was very hungry as we hadn’t eaten. This was out of character for her to keep me so late, and I was confused. She was visiting with her relatives while Mary and I chatted to other children, and remember, I trusted Mary’s mother. I didn’t want to upset her by questioning her.

We left the relatives after 10pm and I thought we were finally going home. By this point I was very worried and starting to feel shaky. However, since I thought we were finally going home, I thought all was well. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

At 11pm we ended up at a restaurant where a number of people that Mary’s mother knew or were related to were gathering (maybe 10 or so). It was just a casual get together, nothing more. However, I was starting to become so nervous that I started to feel sick. I started worrying about being yelled at, and about school the next day. At 8 I was thinking these things but too afraid or unable to vocalize it. So it came out as illness instead. I started to have bad stomach pains and other worry related pains that I couldn’t understand at that age. Near 11:30pm it became so bad that Mary’s mother got flustered with me and told one of her friends what to order for her so said could take me home. I have a very clear memory of Mary comforting me, but her mother acting as if I was a pest.

When we got in the car, I realized Mary’s mother was angry. Very angry. She took me in the car alone to my house (not very far, but at the time I had absolutely no clue where we even were!). She stayed silent the entire time and had a face like stone. I got home and my family was relieved, but very confused by Mary’s mother’s actions. I remember them chatting about it and not understanding why she did what she had.

The next time I saw Mary, she told me her mother was very angry at me and that she would NEVER take me anywhere again. I couldn’t believe it because even at that age I knew she was at fault. When I saw her mother later that day, she was very cold to me, but I figured that would fade as she was angry at herself. I felt she had to be! I don’t know if my mother spoke to Mary’s mother about this or not, but I know she didn’t tell Mary’s mother I could no longer go anywhere with them as she would have told me the same thing and told me never to get in a car with her again.

The next time Mary and her mother were going to go somewhere while I was over at their house (within a week or two of the late night incident), Mary’s mother told me they were going somewhere so I had to go home. I did so, feeling very hurt and very much like I was guilty of something. I felt ashamed almost, as if she wanted me to feel guilty for something I knew was not my fault.

This continued and Mary’s mother would send me home when they went somewhere and was always cold to me. It hurt me horribly. Strangely, I started seeing less of Mary. She wasn’t there at our usual times as much. I don’t know if that was done on purpose by her mother or not, but I knew something wasn’t right and it hurt. The next year when Mary turned 9 I was invited to a party at a roller rink, and they did take me in their car (along with a number of other children), but Mary’s mother was still cold despite a few happy words to me due to it being Mary’s birthday. By this time Mary didn’t seem to be that concerned with me as a friend since we didn’t see each other much anymore. Unfortunately, for a short while after the birthday party I was praying that Mary’s mother had forgiven me due to having driven me to the party, and that things would return to normal. I recall trying to see Mary a bit more than usual, but things didn’t snap back.

I saw Mary sporadically (it was harder and harder to catch her!), and only found out that she’d moved when I went to her house one day and someone else came out saying that they were the new owners. I later went to a little store Mary’s mother had owned so I could find out where they went, but she had apparently sold it and none of the new employees knew who she was. That was the end of things.

I did see Mary once more years later. She was a late arrival at my high school and spotted me (she was a Freshman, I was a Sophomore). We said a few words, but I felt funny and uncomfortable around her. She was so different to me by this point and I still felt shamed by her mother. Strangely, despite it being a school of only about 400 students, I never saw her again after our brief re-introduction!

I’ve often wondered what was going through her mother’s mind that day we were out all night, but I’ve never figured it out. The fact that she punished an 8 year old girl due to her mistake and ruined her daughter’s friendship due to it boggles me. She was never somebody who seemed to be excessively prideful, but somehow this incident hit a nerve of hers. 0109-11

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Wedding Wednesday – Sologamy May Be The Hot Trend In Weddings But You Won’t Be Getting A Gift From Me

May 17, 2017

In the new trend called “sologamy,” women are committing themselves to themselves with their own wedding ceremony. These women, such as self-styled “sologamist” Erika Anderson, throw on a white gown, invite their close friends and family and marry themselves in a legally nonbinding way. “I would describe it as women saying yes to themselves,” Anderson, […]

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Counting Photographs

May 16, 2017

I’m not sure if this even qualifies as an etiquette breach, but it’s certainly strange. My SIL used to be a relatively normal, fun lady. We were close. Over the years, she’s become more and more like my MIL, which means that her brother (my husband) and I find less and less that we have […]

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