The No Boundary Mom?

by admin on October 7, 2015

I would love everyone’s thoughts on a situation that happened to me this weekend, if I handled it well, and what I could say next time should it happen again. Let me begin by saying that I do not believe the woman in my story had any sort of neurological or social disorder, but instead, a lack of boundaries.

Some background – I live on a military base that is small and extremely isolated by distance from the nearest town. Most families with kids live on the base, where the kids attend the one elementary school. There is one commissary, one department store, etc. Also, it is not uncommon for the service members here to work long days, or be gone for training for weeks at a time. The spouses here really stick together and form fast friendships, and generally help each other out.

This past Saturday evening, since my husband had been working all day, I took the kids to the only food court on the base for dinner. At the food court, there is Fast Food Burger Place, and Fried Chicken Place, along with, in the middle of the room, an indoor playground and televisions. I generally sit in the middle, facing the playground and tv’s, so I can watch my kids. This particular evening, there were two other families there. At the table in front of me was a mom with her two kids. The mom in front of me initially was seated straight in her chair, watching her kids and the tv.

It started when we sat down. My toddler girl was being loud about something, so the mom turned around and I caught her giving me a sympathetic look, and then she said, “Aww, I remember that age!” I think my response was a polite half smile and a “Yeah”, before going back to my daughter. The lady stayed turned around facing me, giving me a sympathetic look (for what, I don’t know…), and smiling in an almost condescending way. I kept praying she would turn back around, as I don’t care to be watched, but she never did. She stayed turned around, unnecessarily facing my direction, for the entire rest of the meal.

It wasn’t that she was content with just watching us. It was also that she was very obviously looking for me to have a conversation with her, while I was trying to eat my dinner! I tried not to even look at her, which was hard since she was straight in front of me. I didn’t want to answer her questions, but I didn’t know if I could say, “Please stop talking to me” without being rude. At one point, she asked if my son went to school on the base. I said yes, (I didn’t want to lie and have that come back to haunt me), and she acted like that was the MOST AMAZING THING ever, because so did HER kids! (Shocking, since there’s one school.) She clearly wanted me to be amazed too, and I tried to be polite and not rude, but I was extremely uncomfortable with the way she had intruded into my personal space. She then made a big deal about how familiar I looked, and how OMG, she must’ve seen me at the school’s open house!!! (Our kids aren’t in the same class, so yeah, she could’ve seen me in the hallway, I guess?) To this my response was a polite nod, half smile, and “Yeah, maybe…I was there.” I continued with my half smiles, trying not to look at her, praying she would take the hint, and wondering if it would be rude to pull out the book I had in my purse and hold it in front of my face.

(And just to be very clear: She asked all questions. I gave very short but polite replies, no details. Lots of small nods, and half smiles. I’ve never had anyone else misunderstand that as a clue that I did not want to have a conversation with them.)

At one point, my husband called and said he was coming to have dinner with us. It was only when he got there and sat with us that she stopped talking. She was clearly still looking for an “in” into our conversation but finally resigned to turning back around and watching the tv, until her own husband came in and her family left.

I told my husband the story. We laughed. I was annoyed at her, but that was the end of it. Or so I thought.

A few days later, I was dropping off my son at school. You can either walk your child to the playground gate and let them go, or stay in your car in the carpool lane, and a teacher will get them out. I do the latter, since I have my younger one with me. While I was in line waiting, I noticed a woman in a loud green shirt at the playground fence. It was the mom with no boundaries! Being in my car, I didn’t think she could see me, and in a few seconds, my son would be dropped off and I’d be heading home.

As my son was being helped out of the car, and the teacher was about the shut the door, I noticed the mom’s green shirt passing by on the sidewalk. She must’ve recognized my son, because I then saw her stop, and start to peer down to see into my car! As soon as the teacher shut the door, I drove away.

So, now I feel like I am faced with a dilemma of having to acknowledge and have conversations with a woman who, at best, seriously annoyed me, and at worst, really creeped me out. Since our kids go to the same school and are in the same grade, it is very likely I will one day run into her again, and I don’t want to be rude, but I also don’t want her to think I’m her new best friend. Any thoughts?   0916-15

Other than continuing to give the woman the cold shoulder, I don’t think you have more options. You could give her the cut direct but that appears to be more draconian than the situation deserves and you would appear to be a rude, hateful curmudgeon. She may simply be lonely and is taking the initiative to reach out to try and make friends which I find far more preferable than the women who sit at home expecting the world to come to them and whine incessantly about how lonely they are.


EHell Wants Your Holiday Happy Stories

by admin on October 6, 2015

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and if you hadn’t noticed before, the stories published to the site during the weeks prior to significant holidays are themed to that particular holiday. Or at least I try to theme them. Sometimes there are not enough submissions to do that which brings me to the point of this post. I have exhausted the inbox of all its holiday themed story submissions and I would really like more. But this year instead of focusing entirely on stories of Holiday Hell, I’d really love to balance it out with heartwarming stories of great holidays spent with family and friends or acts of kindness/generosity or the best meal you ever ate as a guest at someone’s house or the best holiday vacation you ever took or the best gift you ever gave/received.

So, fire up those fingers and start typing. Submit via the story submissions link on the right panel, not in the comments section.


Some People Aren’t Worth The Powder

by admin on October 6, 2015

Below is a scene from the “Horatio Hornblower” mini series where Mr. Simpson and Hornblower are dueling. Mr. Simpson gets off his shot first, unethically I might add, misses and then begs to not be shot.  Horatio gives the ultimate insult by firing his dueling pistol into the air and telling Simpson he is not worth the expenditure of gunpowder to kill him.

I enjoy this scene because it highlights a fundamental principle of etiquette, that is while one does have the right to be profoundly offended and to take lethal remedies, it is best to walk away, be the bigger person and not waste your “powder” on the dishonest, low  class creeps you happen to stumble upon in life.   Besides, the Mr. Simpsons almost always get their comeuppance.


Ehell’s Charitable Giving

by admin on October 5, 2015

Throughout the years EtiquetteHell LLC has invested in charitable giving using the revenues from advertising that appears on the site.  While annoying, the ads do serve several purposes such as funding the existence of this site as well as providing a means to be generous.   Over the years the recipients have included Heifer International, Hope For Paws (Eldad Hagar’s videos have appeared in Feel Good Friday posts), a walk-a-thon to raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and the Red Cross.

In addition to this corporate “behind the scenes” giving, Ehell members have participated in more hands on projects over the year such as raising funds for a rural fire department that desperately needed new equipment,  making scarves for cancer patients, making/donating mittens and scarves to the children of an orphanage in Mexico, and giving financially to an Ehell fan who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.   Ehell fans have risen heroically to the challenges and been very proactive and generous over the years.

This year  I have focused most of Ehell’s charitable giving to funding buying books for libraries for a children’s home, school and community in Guatemala.   I have a heart for giving children everywhere access to good literature because learning to read and to love to read opens doors of the mind and expands the opportunities to further their education.   The more education a child receives, the better the chances to escape poverty.   Every child should have the opportunity to meet and fall in love with Stewart Little, Charlotte of “Charlotte’s Web”, Misty of Chincoteague, the Indian in the cupboard, Ramona the pest,  King Arthur, the Pevensies and many other iconic characters of great children’s literature.

If you’d like to partner in creating three libraries for the children and residents of an impoverished community and tangibly assist in remedying Guatemala’s very high illiteracy rate, you can go directly to Aqua Viva Library Projects Amazon page  and buy the exact books you wish to donate.  The private shipping address is not mine, btw, but I do personally know the person who is collecting the books and I know Misi, the coordinator of the project, very well.

The other project this year directly benefits a longtime Ehell fan whose eldest daughter was diagnosed with  Spinal Muscular Atrophy several years ago and now needs expensive renovations to the house and a handicapped van.  You all know I’m not a big fan of the GoFundMe site because it seems to be populated by people who use it to beg other people to fund their often frivolous “wants” disguised as needs.    The issue has always been *who* initiates the fundraising and in this case, the GoFundMe account was created by friends of the family who were aghast at discovering how much money was needed to provide basic mobility freedom for a seven year old in a wheelchair.  I confess that I do know Jillian in real life and her parents never asked me to donate or to promote their daughter’s need on Ehell so I am comfortable using Ehell resources to fund as well as promote the campaign to provide her with better options to improve her mobility because I choose to take the initiative to do so.   If you would like to donate to some needed bathroom remodeling or a wheelchair van, you can go to .



I was predicting this would happen years ago. And while this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of AWOL wedding guests being sent invoices for missed meals, this is the most newsworthy to date.

It was a couple weeks ago, Jessica Baker was getting ready to go to a wedding with her husband when she got a call from her mom.

“She called at the last minute and had something come up and said I can’t make it,” said Baker.

Her mom was supposed to watch their kids. And since the invitation said no children, that meant no wedding. But then this week, she received a bill for the dinner they were supposed to have enjoyed.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” she said with a smile. “It listed, we would have had two herb crusted walleye and there was also a service and tax charge.”

The total came to $75.90.

Read the rest of the story HERE.


Playing Footsy With The Armrest

September 30, 2015

I am submitting this story both to rant and for advice should something similar happen again (as I expect it will). I regularly travel between the UK and the Netherlands. Approximately once a month I take a 1 hour flight between these 2 countries. I always take these flights alone. Due to a change in […]

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September 29, 2015

I was reading through the “Neighbors” story archives when I came across the story of a party guest who was ambushed by a candle selling event. This reminded me of my own “sales party” horror a few years back. My friend “Alice” invited me to a Tupperware party at her home to be thrown by […]

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