“This Stall Is Occupied!”

by admin on March 24, 2015

I work in a large law office. We have a cleaning staff on retainer, and the lady who cleans on our floor is very sweet, but this morning I saw a side of her that left me feeling very weird, and I don’t know whether I should say something to our facilities manager or not.

I was in the ladies’ room, in the stall farthest from the entry door. The cleaning lady came in (I actually do know her name but would rather not use it here), checked the first three stalls for whatever reason (stocking toilet paper, probably) and when she reached the stall I was in, she pulled on the door handle and of course couldn’t get the door open because I had locked it. I am certain she saw me go into the ladies’ room, because I saw her get off the elevator and head toward the restrooms just as I arrived there, and we waved to each other.

Now, most people would either (a) assume someone was in the stall and just go away (and like I said, she saw me enter the restroom), or (b) bend over and look under the door to see if the stall was occupied. Not this lady. She actually peeked between the door and the wall and saw me sitting there!!!!

Seriously??? Who does this??? Am I overreacting, or should I mention it to someone who can quietly advise her to look under the door next time? I just feel really creeped out over this! 0323-15

The first time she pulled on the door handle I would have said (and have said in real life), “Hello?   This stall is occupied!”    Then if the person peeks through the cracks of the door or peers under or over the stall door, that is intrusive and rude.   And I don’t think it is wrong to stare them right back with a sharp, “Mind your own business!”

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Feel Good Friday – Saved By Her Calling

by admin on March 20, 2015

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My best friend is child free and doesn’t really like children. She has always felt like this even growing up. When I got married she wouldn’t interact with the children in the wedding party at all. So when my husband and I became pregnant, we rarely talked about baby related topics unless she brought it up first. When given enough notice, my husband and/or myself would go to most of her engagements. She has met our daughter several times and doesn’t mind her as much now that she’s no longer a baby/toddler. (Those are her words, I’m not assuming things.) But I stress the fact that our daughter doesn’t really interact with Friend, unless it’s indicated by Friend.

One day Friend dropped in and conversation led to Friend talking about how she was taking her parents on a Disney Cruise and how we should come. My daughter (4) got really excited about the idea. Friend started talking with Daughter about various attractions on the cruise that they could do. Fast forward about two weeks, Husband and I were out to dinner with Friend to discuss/clarify the topic of the cruise. Friend stated that it was going to be so great for us to get away from Daughter for a while. Husband and I were a bit shocked. Even though we knew she didn’t really like children, Friend had talked about the Disney Cruise with Daughter and made it sound like she was invited. When I clarified with Friend about the fact that Daughter wasn’t invited she just said children (well, not “children” but a very unpleasant term for them instead) weren’t invited on her vacation. We declined her invite stating we wouldn’t leave our daughter for a week, and had a talk with her about using hateful language around us. We didn’t mention that it would be really cruel to go on a Disney Cruise without our Daughter.

When she got back from her cruise, she said that there were so many children on the ship that she couldn’t leave her room. We don’t socialize with Friend any more. It’s not because we didn’t try, but Friend decided she couldn’t be friends with people who had children. 0304-15

I’m not child-free yet cruising on the Disney ships is about the last thing I would consider doing due to the child centric nature of the cruising.  There are other cruise lines that cater solely to adults that would have been more appropriate to someone with an aversion to children.

Yes, “Friend”, and I use the term loosely, made a huge faux pas discussing details of a trip with a child who presumed she was to be included from the context of “Friend’s” explanation of all the cool things they could do on the ship.   It’s one thing for parents to travel sans kids for adult oriented vacations such as the young married couple of my acquaintance who recently left their three kids in the care of grandma and grandpa for the weekend while they flew to New Orleans to celebrate the wife’s birthday.  It’s entirely another “thing” when the person doing the planning/inviting hypes the child(ren) with tales of the exciting things that can be done on this trip all the while knowing that the child is not to be included.   “Friend” should have phrased the possible opportunity to share an adults only vacation thusly:  “I’m taking my parents on a cruise of the Caribbean.  Want to make it an adults only cruise and come with us?”   No mention of Disney and if the child asks, you explain, “We are going to do big people fun stuff for a week. You get to spend a fantastic week with grandma!”   The Hubby and I traveled several times out of state without the kids when they were little and they loved it when Grandma came to take care of them…it was party hardy time!   It’s all in how you present it to them and how much information you give them.

This is no different than blabbing to people who are not invited to parties, weddings, graduations, etc about what a wonderful time will be had by all….except them.    Years ago a mother did this over the phone to my youngest child by excitedly telling DearDaughter2 all about the extravagant party plans she had made for her own daughter’s birthday and all who were invited to this party of the decade.  Except DearDaughter2 wasn’t invited and there was no mistake.   Afterwards that mother and I had a civil, calm, “come to Jesus” meeting about the damage she inflicted in her cruelty.   So, in my opinion, it’s not cruel to go on a Disney Cruise without the daughter; it’s cruel to hype her up as to all the cool things you’ll be doing, particularly if those activities involve Disney characters, when you know she won’t be going.

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This week’s Feel Good post is not like others. The embedded video has a primary mission to educate women about the warning signs of gynecological cancers. You know, “those” cancers down there below the belt in a part of the body no one really likes to talk about.

Two years ago this past February, I had a total hysterectomy removing a cancerous uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and the cervix. I was fortunate in that my cancer was not aggressive and it was caught early resulting in no further treatment other than the surgical removal. My body was bleeding irregularly and a new pain deep in my groin were the only symptoms. Dr. John Boggess, who appears in this video, was and is my doctor. He’s also the lead singer in a band of six gynecological oncologists called No Evidence of Disease (or N.E.D.).  I saw him yesterday for my every-3-months follow up and if you have a rock star for a doctor, playing air guitar for him as he walks into the office is a must.

An award winning, hour-long documentary film by Emmy award-winner Andrea Kalin about N.E.D. band and their mission to educate women through music can be viewed on PBS stations, screenings, etc. Check broadcast times at www.nedthemovie.com.

 

Get those Pap smears, ladies!

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The Lone Male Guest In A Sea Of Women

by admin on March 12, 2015

I’m trying to decide why exactly this is bothering me and wondering if there’s anything I can do about before the event takes place, and hoping I haven’t already botched it!
A month or so ago, a couple of girlfriends basically told me,”We know you’d rather not have a baby shower, but we’re planning one for you anyways.”  (I love to plan parties but feel shy being the guest of honor at one).  Since I know them well enough to know their minds were already made up,  I thanked them for their generosity, said please don’t trouble yourselves too much, and at their request, put them in touch with my mom so she could assist with some of the details (first baby/grandchild, long awaited). I was asked to provide a registry, which I made an effort to keep modest and limited to the necessities and a few ideas for those cute/fun baby items, and a guest list. Based on talking with my mom and the history of showers with this circle of friends, and the fact that my husband wasn’t really interested in a co-ed event, the guest list was all women—girlfriends from a couple different circles who had all met previously, a few in-laws and relatives, and a few mothers of the girlfriends, who had known me since high school or even earlier. It’s been hard for me to not try to interfere, since I have worked as a professional event planner in the past, but I’m really trying to adhere to Etiquette Hell’s rules governing parties celebrating one’s own milestones.

One invitee, with whom I am close, is a newlywed and still completely in a honeymoon phase—she’s rarely gone anywhere without “Stan” since they met a year ago. This same friend, “Millie”, is having surgery today, about two weeks before the baby shower.  She’s understandably nervous and with her tendency to over-analyze and dramatize, has been reminding us for months that she can’t commit to any plans for at least six to eight weeks following her surgery because she’s not sure how her recuperation will go. Again, I completely understand that she’ll need to take it easy, but I’ve only asked Millie to save the date for two luncheon-type events over the next two months, and assured her that if needed she’ll be able to rest on the couch with pillows if needed—I’m hardly asking her to compete in a triathlon or anything!

I saw Millie and Stan two nights ago (she asked my husband and me to join them for dinner to “share big news”, ( the news being that her surgery had been scheduled), and she again said she hoped to attend my baby shower but it would depend on her recovery. She then dove right in and said she may need to bring Stan with her to the shower to “help her walk” and prevent anyone from “bumping into her.” Being put on the spot, and again, not having any of the planning information since I’ve forced myself to stay out of it, I kind of stammered and said she should talk to the two ladies hosting and planning the shower since I’ve been kept in the dark… I like to think that I brushed it off elegantly but my husband told me later he could see I was flustered.

Several things are bothering me about what’s happened:
1. Having hosted many events myself, I would be put off by someone inviting another guest to this type of party, though at least she’s kind of asking first.
2. I can understand Millie’s potential need for assistance, but she is well aware that her own mother has been invited as well as several other women with whom she’s very friendly—if it were me I would have asked someone already on the guest list if they could help me to and from the car, on stairs, etc.
3. I’m uncomfortable with the way I was put on the spot in front of Stan—it’s not that I don’t like him, but Millie didn’t give me a chance to prepare a response.
4. Given that the shower has been planned to be a women-only affair, I’m a bit bothered by the idea that if she brings Stan he’d be the only male there—he’s a great guy but if we were including men I’d have wanted my husband, father and grandfather to attend.

I gave my mom a heads-up about the conversation in case Millie approached her with the same request/FYI, and I’m debating whether I should let the two hostesses know—I don’t want to be in thee middle of it but I don’t want them to be caught off-guard the way I was. Further complicating things is the fact that Millie has been resentful of the two hostesses for the last few months stemming from their behavior at her and Stan’s wedding.

I certainly don’t want to come across as a diva or try to control the guests’ behavior but is there anything else I can do to steer Millie towards alternatives that don’t include uninvited guests? Thank you for reading my vent/questions. Please help me stay out of Etiquette Hell! 0309-15

You are putting too much thought into this tempest in a tea pot.  You are not philosophically opposed to men at the shower and I very much doubt anyone else will see Stan and wish their own husband could have been there, too.  The most likely person to be embarrassed and awkward will be Stan who will stand out like a sore thumb amidst the sea of estrogen.    And for all you know, Stan could stay long enough to get Millie into the house and happily ensconced on a comfy sofa at which point he leaves with a promise to return in a few hours to retrieve Millie.

You didn’t mention your mother’s reaction to this tidbit of information and I suspect she just doesn’t see it as a problem worthy of much consideration.  When we love people we make accommodations for them and if Millie needs the security of her husband helping her after surgery, then it is a no brainer that friends facilitate the need being met with little to no regard as to how this might change the look of a party.   And for the record, I’ve been post operative twice in the past five years and would have never presumed upon my mother or female guests to a function to be my personal assistants to “help me to and from the car, on stairs, etc.”   My husband is the one who was intimately involved in my healthcare issues and knew exactly what I could manage or not, whereas even my closest female friends may not have been aware of specific areas of weakness.

Millie could be a drama queen who is taking the doctor’s recommendations to rest and recuperate 6 to 8 weeks post surgery too literally.   But  once the surgery is past, she discovers that recovery isn’t as bad as she thought!

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My older sister and I have always been very close, but unfortunately we do not get the opportunity to see each other face to face very often due to college and now work. However, we continue to relish the few times in the year when we get to spend time together. Recently, I started a new job out West that took me even farther from my family, so I was afraid such opportunities would become even more rare.

She also recently started a new job on the East Coast, but her new job involves some travel. To my delight, a few weeks ago she called to tell me that she would be visiting my town on a two-day business trip! She mentioned that it would be impossible for us to meet up on the first day but that she was going to ask her boss (who would be accompanying her on the trip) if she could have permission to have dinner with me on the second night before heading back to the airport. I tried not to get my hopes too high, but I became excited at the prospect of seeing her and catching up on some quality sister time.

Soon before she was set to leave, she texted me saying that she was pretty sure we could meet up and she would text me on the first day of her trip to confirm the final plans. Day 1 of her trip came, and as promised she texted me with “Hi! My boss has given me the go ahead! I’m so excited about seeing you tomorrow! Why don’t I text you tomorrow at 6 pm when I’m wrapping up my work?”  That worked out perfectly for me, and we agreed to meet at Restaurant A, which was only 10 minutes from my office. Her boss had made alternative dinner plans and told her to have a great time.

Everything seemed to be working out, and I got increasingly excited. At 6pm on the dot the next day, my sister texted with “I’m just finishing one last thing. It should take ten minutes. I will text you in when I head out.”  Then ten minutes later, I got the following text from her.

“AAAAAAHHHH. So, my boss has changed his mind. He told me I’m only allowed to have dinner with you if he can come along, too. Also, he wants to go to Restaurant B.”

It took me about a minute to pick my jaw off the floor. Clearly sensing my sister’s distress and not wanting to add more, I texted her back telling her to please decide what she’d like for me to do, and I would be happy to do that. She responded that having dinner with me with her boss there would be ridiculously uncomfortable, and that it would defeat the purpose of us catching up. She asked for a rain check for the next time she was in time, which would hopefully be without her boss. I was disappointed but completely understood. I, too, was not particularly excited about the notion of having dinner with this boss.

I promptly caught up with my sister when she got home on Skype, but I felt robbed of an opportunity to see her. I don’t blame my sister; I blame her boss. It was clear that his dinner plans had fallen through, and he found himself incapable of eating dinner alone for one night. For a grown man to behave like that is just sad. Misery clearly likes company. I was furious that he felt he could take advantage of his employee, who was new and felt nervous to stand up to him. He probably knew she could not say no, and therefore, inserted himself into a dinner to which he knew he was not wanted (actually more like he pushed me out of said dinner). While I have no real opinion on his motives (I should mention here that my sister is very attractive), it was just terrible form! Unfortunately, there was not much I could do in this situation but be grateful that my boss was nothing like this and have a good laugh with my family about the ridiculousness later.   0302-15

The circumstances of this situation gives me a major fit of the creeps because no boss, especially a man in a supervisory position over a younger female employee, should *ever* have that much control over her private life.   Even on business trips, there is still personal time that an employee is entitled to have and it is absolutely none of the boss’s business what an employee does once off the clock as long as it doesn’t bring ill repute to the company.  A dinner date with one’s own sister doesn’t qualify as scandalous behavior.    I am flabbergasted that your sister felt she needed to ask her boss’ permission to have dinner with her own sibling after the work day was over.   And I don’t think your sister is aware that a test just happened and she failed it.   Her boss pushed to see how far he can dominate her private life and instead of politely informing him that she could not accommodate his change of plans (“Oh, I’m so sorry but we made special plans and I was really looking forward to catching up with my sister.”), she submits to his rather intrusive and exploitative insertion of himself into her private life.  To save her job she probably felt she had to because there are employers who exploit those in subordinate positions.    Her best course of action would have been to decline to have dinner with the boss as well citing a desire to retire quietly to her hotel room and order room service which he is not allowed to partake in whatsoever.   Having ruined her dinner with her sister, it would have been counterproductive to have rewarded the boss’ bad behavior by actually acquiescing to his demands.

Your sister needs to find a new job as soon as possible.   Her employer is not a man of his word, he has created a work environment in which your sister feels compelled to ask his permission to have dinner with people of her own choosing during her non-working time and he is a domineering thug who must have his way by changing the restaurant location.   Huge red flags all over this one.  Run, sister,run!

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Feel Good Friday – Downton Funk

March 6, 2015

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Feel Good Friday – KLove’s Unsung Hero Awards

February 27, 2015

Someone did an outstanding job rearing children who have each other’s backs. Click to share:

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