≡ Menu

I’m not sure how wide-spread Teacher Appreciation Week is, but that time has arrived here in the United States. I am absolutely in favor of showing teachers they are loved and respected, but I always get apprehensive when the time comes to send gifts (if desired. No one is required to send gifts or even a note of thanks). I’ve always been a nervous gift-giver, as I wonder how many coffee mugs or other trinkets a teacher can really stand to receive over the years. I tend to give small food items that they can eat and enjoy or pass on if desired. I try not to give physical objects because I don’t feel I can possibly know enough about them to get something that they wouldn’t just consider clutter.

This year has brought a new conundrum in my gift giving apprehension. My youngest goes to a daycare Montessori school. This is not a required school grade as he is only 3 and we pay for the services out of our own pockets. We did not do this with my eldest and I have no idea if daycare providers, if they happen to have some curriculum, are considered teachers. In the end, I decided the best course of action was to give something, even if in doubt, and planned to get some food treats, when I received the following email:

Dear parents,
(School Name Removed) will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week on Monday. We would love to be able to give all 14 teachers a monetary gift to show our appreciation. I will collect money until next Wednesday and present gift cards to the teachers on Friday. Last year we collected 700.00 and we’re on way this year with 200.00 collected so far. Please leave cash or checks in the designated folder at the sign in table or if Venmo if more convenient. Thank you so very much!!

I’m not sure it is appropriate for someone who runs a daycare to request money for their employees. Also, while it does indeed solve my gift conundrum, my contribution would be lost amongst everyone else’s.

I would love to hear thoughts on how to best show appreciation to my children’s teachers, and whether daycare employees are teachers too. Is food really the way to the heart, or should I expand my horizons? 0507-18

That is odd that the daycare center owner is the one initiating the collection of money for her employees rather than a parent taking the lead in organizing that.

{ 83 comments }

I was recently invited to a wedding of an acquaintance who I had previously been close to, but we had drifted apart over time so I was surprised to get an invitation considering I’d never met the groom.

This wedding will be the bride’s third and groom’s second and due to blended families, custody arrangements and holiday time will take place the week between Christmas and New Year. The wedding will also be at the same venue where I got married 3 years ago where the bride was a guest. I thought that was a bit strange but they say imitation is the highest form of flattery.

For a number of reasons I was going to politely decline. The time of year and the cost involved vs my relationship with the couple were big factors. E-hell has taught me an invitation is not a summons. The invitation included a RSVP card but no return envelope so I was planning on sending a wedding card with the RSVP inside.

Three weeks before the RSVP date, the groom created a Facebook messenger group chat (the bride added me as I’m not friends with the groom) and for the purpose of chasing up RSVPs. A mutual friend and I were not impressed with this because it presumed we would be rude and wouldn’t RSVP and a group ‘conversation’ wasn’t really the place where we wanted to respond.

This also caused problems for the happy couple as the conversation thread had responses where some people confirmed they would be coming along with their children. The bride had indicated to me it was just DH and I invited, not my kids. The bride then had to write a response hoping not to offend anyone but that only the children of interstate guests and the bridal party were invited due to high travel and accommodation costs at that time of year. She also hoped that local guests would be able to find a babysitter for one night but if it was a problem then we could ‘work something out’. At my wedding the bride’s children were fed and looked after in an adjacent room by a babysitter I’d organised.

I didn’t respond to the group message and sent my RSVP in a congratulatory wedding card as originally intended. 1117-17

It can be controversial as to the appropriateness of tracking down missing RSVPs.   You shouldn’t  have to track down invited guests who did not RSVP. The assumption is that they are not coming to the wedding and tracking them down can be viewed as manipulative or pushy.   On the other hand, too many of us have seen weddings where guests who did not RSVP and so catering and seating were decided based on the assumption.  And those guests show up exclaiming, “I thought you knew I’d come.”  As if hosts are psychic and can read minds.

The egregious faux pas in this story is the creation of a Facebook chat group thus exposing everyone on it as being the rude wedding guests who havn’t RSVPed yet.   If you have track them down, do it privately either private message, email or phone call.   Three weeks before the wedding is probably too premature to be tracking down RSVPs.  Caterers need a week’s notice of guest numbers, typically, so starting 2 weeks before the wedding is usual.

{ 45 comments }

Not so much a question, but a query for the readers and of course, our dear Dame of Manners:

Recently, during an online discussion, someone brought up the fact they wore leggings to a funeral (leggings of course being a tight leg covering more often equated with casual wear or work outs, usually tighter than pants). Now, they discussed this in terms of the leggings tearing, leaving them ‘exposed’, so I gathered from that it wasn’t as an ‘accessory’ clothing item, such as under a skirt, dress or shorts, but just the leggings themselves.

While I’m more…casual about etiquette rules than my Grandmother (who taught me my manners and was born in the 1930’s, so quite ‘old school’), the idea of wearing leggings to a funeral short circuited my brain for a moment as I tried to figure out how someone could think this was appropriate (I know, very judgmental of me) and made me want to question you guys, my fellow etiquette practitioners…was I wrong in thinking leggings were not appropriate funeral attire? And again, I don’t mean as a simple leg covering with another garment of clothing, I mean just leggings, hanging out there. I was taught you dress nicely, modestly and subdued as an honor to the deceased and their family, maybe with a splash of colour if the deceased would have appreciated it, but never less than full pants/shirt, skirt/blouse or dress.

Have I fallen into the trap of not ‘updating’ with the times (dear lord, I’m only thirty-six, I hope not!)

Thanks! 0408-17

When I think of leggings, I think of those LulaRoe leggings in the outlandish colors and patterns.   Great to wear in certain contexts but not something appropriate to wear to a wedding or funeral.   On the bland side, I did see a woman wearing what I first thought was a pair of panty hose and only realized on better scrutiny that she was wearing flesh toned leggings.   Frankly it looked like she had walked out of her house forgetting to put her skirt on.

{ 97 comments }

Feel Good Friday – Ke Kai O Kahiki

Why this video this Friday?

1. O’Brian Eselu’s halua won first place in the Men’s Kahiko (ancient hula) division in the 2009 Merrie Monarch Festival (basically the Olympics of hula) so you should acquaint yourself with a knowledge of the best of the best different cultures have to offer. This is about as good as it gets.

2. To expand your knowledge of other cultures. Hula was nearly wiped out and is enjoying a huge resurgence. Further, hula was originally the sole domain of men, often warriors, contrary to the stereotype that only women dance hula.

3. Not to mention that these men are mighty fine looking and dance very well.

{ 3 comments }

This is a bit of a long story; I’ll try to keep it as short as possible without omitting anything relevant.

I met my husband eight years ago. We were on a work trip, it was as if we’d known each other forever, and we just clicked. He took a transfer to my city six weeks later and we were engaged within five months.

My mom is a miserable person. She’s got a drinking problem and a (undiagnosed) narcissistic personality disorder. She’d left my dad for another man and was incredibly bitter at the fact that my dad moved on and remarried while her new relationship was unstable at best.

Now DH is a very attractive man and I’m pretty and I’m plus sized. My mom was absolutely convinced that this guy couldn’t actually love me and my then size fourteen hips. He must have been a shady character who was using me as a place to stay while he settled into his new city and found someone “better”.

Our engagement lasted two years and, during that time, my mom could never decide whether she wanted to be our biggest supporter or our worst nightmare.

I’d found my dress already and had put off buying it because I wanted my mom to see it first. She was in my city for another family event and she grudgingly agreed to come along if she could bring my aunt. Now my aunt was great! It turns out that my cousin had gotten her dress from the same shop and the same saleswoman and we had SO much fun! My mom suggested that I ask my aunt to help with my train once I’d walked into the ceremony and my aunt was thrilled! She threw her arms around me and happily agreed. And then my mom hugged me and whispered that there was “no f**king way” my aunt would come near my dress. Ummm what?

We’d decided to have a slight vintage theme to our wedding and people kept asking what they should wear. We’d made a wedding website with information about things to do in the city, places to eat, wedding menus, etc. After numerous “what do I wear” questions, we added an attire section. We basically said to have fun, wear whatever struck your fancy (as long as it’s not jeans and a t shirt hahaha). My mom threw a fit over this. Apparently her BF always wears jeans and denim shirts and he would be gravely offended if he knew that we had a “dress code”. A comment like that would make him feel personally uninvited. At this point, I knew this guy well and I don’t doubt for a second that he would have dressed appropriately. DH and I both tried to reason with her and explain that this was a semi formal, evening wedding. No one would be wearing jeans. We thought this was the end of it.

One day, about eight months before the wedding, my mom called to ask if DH had ever been bankrupt. I said no and asked why she wanted to know. She said it was just idle curiosity and ended the call. I called her back and asked again why she wanted to know and she said that it was nothing. DH and I were both a bit perplexed but we soon forgot about it.

A few weeks later, I got a text message from my brother demanding that I call off the wedding. According to him, I was marrying a liar. He refused to tell me what this was all about and insisted that I just trust him. DH called him and he told DH that he “had no respect for him at all”. All he would say is that our mom told him the truth about DH.

It turns out that my mom had found a website that allowed users to search provincial (Canadian) court documents by name. She’d found bankruptcy papers with DH’s name on them. When I’d told her that DH had never been bankrupt, she sent the full report that she’d actually paid for to my brother. Only she’d misspelled DH’s name in her search and the report she’d gotten was for someone else. We tried to explain this to her and she refused to believe us. We pointed out that he’s got a very common name and that, yes, the odds of someone in his former city sharing a similar name were high. She still didn’t believe us. I asked her why she hadn’t just come to me directly instead of playing games and involving other people and she hung up on me.

I’d put my mom on my cellphone plan ages before to help her save money and she didn’t realize that we had detailed billing. I began to notice odd numbers and I just knew she was up to something new. I ran the numbers in my system (I worked for the phone company). She was calling other men who shared DH’s name. I confronted her with all of this and asked why she was behaving so horribly. She explained that I’d acted like her BF wasn’t good enough and she wanted to show me that DH “wasn’t so great either”.

A few weeks passed and she sent a huge floral arrangement to my office for my birthday. She didn’t apologize but she asked to still attend the wedding and said that she would even stand in a corner in the back as long as she could see me get married. We forgave her and told her that she would be welcome. She told us not to bother inviting her BF because we’d insulted him terribly. Ummm OK. We’d go along and focus on having a beautiful day.

A few more weeks passed and my mom began to ask questions about my dad and his wife. Now they have a pretty awful relationship because my mom loves to antagonize my dad’s wife. My dad had made one request: that he and my mom not be forced together at any point and that he be able to keep his distance from her. I completely understood. We agreed that he and his wife and SD would sit in the front row on the “bride’s side” and that my mom would sit in the second row with my aunt. Our venue was tiny – four seats to a row and two rows.

My mom lost her mind when she heard this. Apparently this was HER day and she absolutely needed to sit in HER spot because I am HER daughter. She had been putting in all sorts of efforts to look “hot” and she wanted to be seen. We explained that my dad didn’t want to sit with her and that, since he was walking me in and he’d always been completely supportive of us, he was sitting there. End of discussion. She threatened not to come. OK. And then she relented. I explained to her that my dad would get the “good” seat (her words) at the ceremony and that she’d be sitting at the table closest to the head table at the reception.

A week before, she suddenly decided that her best friend absolutely must be in attendance. Our wedding was small but we could make room for one more. I rushed an invitation to her, changed the seating charts, made another wedding favour, etc. And then she also wanted her friend’s son to attend. Hmmm. This was a guy I’d grown up with and nearly dated. Apparently he still had strong feelings for me. But he wanted to be there so I and made more adjustments. And then found out that neither of them were even in town and would not be able to attend and my mom knew this already.

We got married in a large hotel. Most of our guests opted to stay there and I booked rooms for my parents. I specifically requested that their rooms be kept as far apart as possible. The hotel staff were great and they booked a room for my mom on the top floor and one for my dad and his family on the lowest floor. I didn’t tell my mom about these arrangements and I did tell my dad. He was very grateful.

We had arranged to have a large family dinner at the hotel the night before the wedding. DH’s parents and brother would be there as would my dad, his family, and my mom. Imagine my surprise when we walked in to discover that my mom and dad were sitting together and chatting! My dad’s wife looked upset and my dad looked awkward. Apparently my mom had arrived at the dinner early and had directed people where to sit. My dad and his wife thought that we’d overlooked something. I also discovered that there had been a problem with my mom’s room and she had desperately needed to be moved to another room . . . right beside my dad’s. She acted surprised but, after a few glasses of wine, she told me what she’d demanded from the desk staff. The list of requests she had (lowest floor, no corners, etc) made it nearly impossible to place her anywhere but close to him. Ugh. My dad’s wife was livid.

The day of the wedding, my mom disappeared to have a spa day to herself. OK. She refused to spend any time with me or my ladies while we got ready and opted to be alone.

I’d asked a BM who my mom knew and liked if she would help to keep an eye on my mom at the wedding. I also asked my aunt and uncle to watch out for her. She gave a lovely toast (and gloated that she’d gotten to speak before my dad did) and then proceeded to get absolutely wasted. She spent the evening loudly saying that my dad and his wife needed to get a room when they danced and hitting on our best man in front of his fiancé. Thankfully, they both just thought she was a hilarious, drunk cougar and didn’t take her seriously.

The next morning, she woke us up early to insist that we needed to get our gifts out of her car before she left. She had offered me a set of my grandma’s china and I was thrilled! At one point, she’d asked if I wanted two large pieces of framed art; one from her home and one from my grandma’s. I thanked her and declined because our home was small and they didn’t go with our decor at all. These were never mentioned as potential gifts. But lo and behold! She’d wrapped them and presented them as our wedding gifts! We couldn’t decline gifts, right? I didn’t know that gifting was a method of weeding out unwanted household items that were bought from the Home Shopping Channel a few years earlier; apparently one just calls them heirlooms?

Last year my mom’s antics proved to be too much and we finally needed to sever ties with her when she began drunk dialing me at work. Her response? She began prank calling us. We finally needed to ask for police intervention.

Thank you for letting me vent. 0417-18

{ 46 comments }