One of EHell’s perennial charitable activities is to raise funds/donations for books to stock three libraries in the town of Chimaltenango, Guatemala.   You can read more about our latest book drive in October 2016 HERE and how your donations of books change lives for years to come.

Etiquette Hell.com and EHellions have donated over 130 books since October and I thought you all would like to see a small example of the fruit of those donations.

This is the first, and I believe the only, Human Anatomy book in the entire town.   Ehell sent 3 copies!  Evelyn on the far left wants to be a doctor and the joy of having books that help her towards that goal is evident in her eyes.

In the video and photo below, the girls are reading fiction books donated in 2015.  Consider that Guatemala has an illiteracy rate of 80%, scenes such as this are great to see!

A large shipment of books is scheduled to be delivered this summer and we are SOOOO close to donating 100% of the science books on the Amazon Wish List.  Just 17 left!    We can do it!  Wipe out that Wish List completely!  We can’t change the whole world but we can certainly change a teeny, tiny spot.

You can view the wish list here: https://amzn.com/w/1LO4RMEDV4C5U

When you purchase the book(s), the check out steps should prompt you where to ship them with the option “Agua Viva Library Program’s Gift Registry Address”.

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Row, Row, Row That Boat Gently Off My Land

by admin on April 27, 2017

I have a coworker, “Linda,” with whom I’ve socialized outside of work many times. Her husband and the man I’m dating get along well, and we’ve always enjoyed our get-togethers, although both of us have noticed a tendency to under-contribute on their part. As an example, if we are having dinner together, they will bring a salad and “forget” to bring a side dish or dessert, or whatever they agreed to contribute. We both sort of chalked this up to general frugality and it didn’t matter much until a few weeks ago.

We were invited to their home to celebrate Linda’s birthday. I asked Linda what I could bring, and she requested an appetizer and wine. Her husband “Jack” contacted me separately and asked me to bring a birthday cake as well. It’s important to note that since it was her birthday, I was happy to contribute more than the usual proportion of the meal.

But the ensuing dinner was strange. Our wine was put in the wine rack, and never served. The birthday cake was set aside and we were told that they would enjoy it the next day with their family. We were served leftover chunks of angel food cake drizzed with chocolate, from the previous day’s work celebration of Linda’s birthday. Overall, my friend and I left their home feeling like the “B Team.”

Subsequently, this couple was given a rather rickety boat, by a local church that had received it as a donation. The boat itself and the trailer are in rather rickety shape. I noticed right away that the trailer tires needed to be replaced but Jack said he would take care of it. A few weeks ago, Jack asked the man I’m dating to help move the boat from the church, and see if it is working. After several hours and several trips to local marinas, they mutually determined that the boat is not ready for use without some work, and Jack asked if my friend could keep the boat for a few days until he could determine what to do with it. Jack and Linda recently moved to a lakefront property, and during the past 3 weeks they have requested several times that we “come down for the afternoon,” which we feel is a veiled suggestion to haul the boat the 40 miles to their home. The boat trailer is truly not roadworthy, which is why I feel they are happy to
have it sit in someone else’s yard.

At the risk of inserting myself in the transaction between Jack and my boyfriend, I asked Linda today to please have Jack contact us about moving the boat, as it cannot be hauled the long distance required, and it needs to be moved from my boyfriend’s home. My boyfriend suggested that he would be happy to move it the 2 – 3 miles back to the church, where arrangements could be made at a later date.

Linda exploded with anger and told me that my boyfriend had “no right” to have moved their boat, and that it’s not their problem. I am left feeling taken advantage of and sad to see a fight having ensued over such a trivial issue. It’s too bad that their unwillingness to pay (in this case, for trailer tires on a free boat) means a strained friendship, but I feel that I’m seeing their true colors. 0903-14

I’m baffled as to why Linda thinks the boat is not “their problem” but concurrently believes your boyfriend had no right to move a boat Linda and Jack don’t view as their problem.   Basically your boyfriend is dealing with an abandoned boat with no conclusive owner on his property.   A far as I can tell, it’s his to remove or retain as he desires.

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I have a wedding planning business and have an etiquette dilemma. I would love some advice, please!

As a wedding planner, I find that having good vendor contacts are everything in the business. I am very careful about the vendors that I refer to clients because ultimately, their performance can look good (or bad) on me as well as the vendor if they don’t live up to good business standards.

I have a good friend that is a blossoming professional wedding photographer. She actually photographed our engagement pictures as a wedding gift and we paid her a fee for her to photograph our wedding, along with another photographer, a few months back. She did a FANTASTIC job and we were thrilled with the results. She is very detail-oriented, professional and driven AND because she doesn’t have a huge portfolio, her prices aren’t outrageous. In my mind this is a PERFECT vendor to recommend to clients.

I just signed clients that live overseas and will be holding their wedding in my town in December. I was referred to them and we have only interacted via email and one phone conversation. One of their biggest concerns was signing a wedding coordinator that could refer good vendors, as they do not know anyone in our city and won’t arrive until the week of the wedding. I assured them that I have a list of wonderful vendors I can recommend. As this is a small wedding, I immediately thought of my photographer friend. Before I recommended her I texted her to check her availability for that particular date. She confirmed she was free. The conversation then turned kind of odd…..

What I didn’t mention is that my friend just had a baby (6 weeks ago). My friend was very adamant about having her baby in a birthing center vs. a hospital, being able to breastfeed anywhere and anytime she needs to, cloth diapers, organic baby food, etc. She’s a non-traditional mom, which I completely respect, but she kind of has a chip on her shoulder about it and thinks most people are out to criticize her immediately because her choices are against the norm. I am not one of those people and respect her right to raise her child as she pleases. While this is not how I personally would do things, I admire her passion about the subject.

After confirming she was free in December, she mentioned that she would want to talk to the client about some concerns before booking them. As she had not heard any of the details of the wedding yet, I wondered what the concerns were. She then stated that she wanted to ask these potential clients, strangers that she has never spoken to, if she could take a 20-minute break every 2 hours for their wedding to pump her breast milk.

Keep in mind, she would be needed from 2:00 p.m to 11:00 p.m., so this would mean at least one hour’s worth of breaks over the course of their wedding day. I personally think this is a completely inappropriate and unprofessional question. As a bride not all that long ago I can tell you with certainty that if our photographers had asked to take repeated breaks all throughout our wedding to pump milk, while missing photographing the most important day of our lives and paying them thousands of dollars to do so, my immediate and swift answer would have been…NO. I don’t feel it is EVER appropriate to ask a bride for any excuse to miss part of the wedding for any reason, because the bride and groom are paying a lot of money for you to be there for them and make their day special and it isn’t about YOU, the vendor, on that day. It is about THEM on THEIR day.

I will not be referring her to this couple because this will ultimately look bad on me and could also cause an uncomfortable and awkward situation/conversation for the clients.

My question is, should I be truthful with her and tell her why I am not referring her? She is very sensitive about this already, so I’m pretty positive that no matter what I say or how tactfully I say it, it will offend her. I DO want to preserve our business relationship (and friendship) going forward and use her for referrals AFTER breastfeeding isn’t an issue any longer, but for now I’m just not ok with referring her if she has to take that many breaks to pump.

Please, could you give me some advice on if I should tell a white lie and let her know someone else has been booked or should I be truthful with her? 0908-14

I don’t recommend the white lie approach because if she chooses to breast feed for over a year, there will be numerous times you would need to maintain the lie.

This dilemma can be resolved by her hiring an assistant photographer who fills in when she needs to take a break.   Yes, it means her costs to the bride and groom are higher but this is how professional photographers roll.

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Comment Moderation

by admin on April 26, 2017

I notice that there are several new commenters on recent threads.   As newbies you may wonder about the moderation of comments and why your comment may have failed to be approved.

There are not posted rules for this blog, unlike the community forum which does.   I tend to prefer a free for all approach to discussions and presume readers have the maturity to read many different perspectives on an issue.   However,  there are a few issues that can guarantee your comments won’t see the light of day on the blog.

  1. I highly value and respect the readers who are able to articulate their differences of opinions in factual, non-emotional tones.   But if your preferred method of disagreement is to resort to name calling, your comment probably won’t be approved and eventually I will block people who use that tactic repeatedly.
  2. The use of vulgar curse words will certainly be moderated.   I hear and read these words far too often and my preference is to not have to do so on Ehell.
  3. If you appear to be advancing your own agenda using Ehell resources,  I’ll probably block your comments.  Get your own blog and rant away.
  4. Despite #3,  I tend to allow rather strident opinions to be approved in the belief that 1) people will disagree with you and you should be able to defend your position intelligently; and 2) I firmly believe in giving people lots of rope to hang themselves.

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I’m writing to share the story of the last time I will EVER photograph a wedding for a friend. Ever.

I’ve been a professional wedding photographer for about 10 years. In that time I’ve seen my share of bridezillas like you would not believe – couples fighting on their wedding day, having people snap their fingers at me, a groom who refused to let my second photographer and I sit down and have dinner until the last 30 minutes of the 10 hour day (my contract was subsequently revised after that), and so on..  but this beast takes the cake.

I have a friend who decided she wanted to get married one month after her fiance proposed (No, she wasn’t pregnant). In one month, her best friend and I, along with her, and whoever else we could rope in, planned an amazing wedding for under $4000. We spent night after night crafting, designing table settings, invitations, favors…

Sounds great, right? Friendly bonding? Nothing could be further from the truth. The supplies were all donated by her friends; yet, she would literally complain about every single one. If the bows on the centerpieces weren’t tied to her specifications (which she never actually told us), she would stay up all night, take then off, and then redo them and later complain to us. She wouldn’t take anyone’s advice on how many sodas and beers she needed for 50 people and yelled at her maid of honor when she took initiative to buy more soda (and ran out after about an hour, as predicted).

Because she was on such a tight budget, her friends really stepped up for her. I offered free photography, a friend of ours offered free makeup (she was a professional makeup artist), another was an officiant, and so on. To top it off, another friend actually paid to have the groom’s mother flown in for the wedding (remember, they HAD to have it in 4 weeks) on his own dime.

Not one of these people were ever thanked. We didn’t do it to be thanked, but if someone really went above and beyond for me like that, I would’ve at least , she pressured me for the photos so she could send thank you notes immediately.

When I came into her room in the morning for pre-ceremony photos, she immediately snapped at me, “I don’t want any of those stupid {expletive} photos. Those are so {expletive} lame.” I paid for a sitter to watch my son because she originally WANTED these photos. OK, maybe she’s nervous. When I complimented her hair, she rolled her eyes at me like a teenager and gave a little snarl (again, like a teenager-she’s 30) She refused to pose for photos, rolled her eyes at everything, criticized her makeup artist (who did a phenomenal job, I have to say), barked orders at her maid of honor that morning (and complained about everything she did; from how she did the men’s flowers, to the type of ribbon she used) and was a general brat, to put it VERY nicely.

On the way to the ceremony site she was still just awful.  Nobody wanted to ride in the car with her. We begged the maid of honor’s fiance to drive her so we could have a few minutes away from her. When we get to the ceremony, she was unapologetically late KNOWING the (free) officiant had to get to work after the ceremony.

By the time the reception rolled around you think she would actually want to help with her own set up (which we had to do with just 4 of us: me, the friend who paid for the plane ticket, the MOH and her fiance – but she was nowhere to be found. and why? Because this woman who was too cheap to pay for anything other than a venue, some fabric for centerpieces, and the cheapest food she could find, stopped to get expensive matching tattoos on the way to the venue.

Now, that MOH is getting married; I’m a bridesmaid, and the original bride is actually surprised she’s not even in the wedding party. Shocking. 1204-14

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Friend Zones

by admin on April 25, 2017

Last year I started to to reacquaint myself with an old colleague (lets call him Nathan) after seeing some rather depressing statuses on his Facebook account. Rather than let them go unnoticed like so many people do I had messaged him and let him know that if he did ever wish to talk then I was available. We had gotten on very well when we worked together so it didn’t feel odd or strange at all to offer my support.

We started to go for coffees semi regularly, every month or so where we would just chat about all sorts, essentially just two friends hanging out, where I would ask how his relationship was going as he’d often said he was having difficulties. Eventually I found out that his girlfriend had called things off. Nathan seemed to take it well and we continued to see each other for coffees.

I’ll admit that every now and then I felt an inkling that he might have become attracted to me, but put this down to the fact that I was a rare female figure in his life who was happy to spend time with him. He started to ask me to go for coffees more regularly or to go over to his house to watch movies. I was determined to nip this in the bud and always politely declined, and whenever the subject of relationships came up I would always comment that it was something I’d not even contemplated for quite a while and that I was very happy being single.

Alarm bells really should have started ringing when I mentioned how much fun he would have at a theme park in Orlando as I now he was a fan of comic books and rides, he jokingly said we should go together and I smiled and carried on talking about the other attractions the park had to offer.

Cut to three weeks later and he texts me to let me know his visa has been approved for travel to the US. I am, understandably, quite shocked as I don’t actually recall finalising any agreement to actually plan a holiday together. I then had the unpleasant honour of advising him that we would not be going to America as I had already planned out the next several holidays with other friends.

Nathan takes this in stride as he is suddenly overcome with helping to plan a mutual friend’s wedding (again, both bride and groom were people we used to work with and have been on friendly terms for a while).

I hear all about the plans on the run up and then suddenly three days before the wedding I get an email from Nathan asking if I would be able to go as his plus one as his other friend had let him down. I am a little taken aback by the last minute nature of this request and only agree with the express permission of the groom in lieu of an actual invitation.

I spend the next three days worrying about what to wear and finding a gift etc. The day before I’m still not sure exactly what the plan is as Nathan is one of the ushers and I understand he will be busy in the morning helping the groom get ready. Nathan texts me to say he would pick me up in the morning as I was joining him with the groom and ushers and we would all walk to the church together, (I put my foot down at going along to the Groom’s breakfast).

Cue a very awkward morning as I attempt conversation with the grooms grandmother and relatives whilst the boys get ready and they’re no doubt wondering who this strange girl in their living room was. There were no other ‘plus ones’ there and I found out pretty quickly that none of the other ushers had actually invited anyone as their dates so I’m now a little on edge as to why Nathan made this out to be such an emergency on his part.

The day went off without a hitch, everyone was lovely and kind and despite not knowing many people there and Nathan always being called away to fulfil his usher duties I had a wonderful time and congratulated the parents of bride and groom on such a lovely couple.

But then the evening winds down and the slow songs start to play and Nathan keeps asking me to dance which I keep declining (I should probably say at this point that I have a disability that requires me to walk with a stick and braces, being on my feet all day has naturally left me quite exhausted). I finally relent uncomfortably when he and his friends all start cajoling me so I agree to one dance which is intensely awkward to me as I become increasingly aware that this entire charade has been some sort of attempt at seduction, which I concede might been seen as romantic by someone who actually had interest in the other party.

We break away as the song finishes and the bride and groom announce their departure so I take the chance to congratulate them and thank them again for the last minute invite and that I’ve had a lovely day and wish them well in their marriage. They start to make conversation about Nathan, saying that they were lucky to have his help throughout the planning process and I agree, stating that he is a genuinely nice guy, to which both bride and groom start telling me that I should ‘remember that’. I ask what they mean by that and they reply that I ‘know what they’re talking about, he’s really gone out of his way to make sure you have a nice day, it’s only right you show him you’re grateful’.

The implication was clear. I was pretty horrified that these people who I thought were my friends were quite happy to insinuate that I offer myself in return for ‘a date’.

‘A date’ that I had agreed to as a favour for a friend who I thought was in real need.

Needless to say I excused myself quietly not long afterwards, completely unsure of what to say as I said goodbye to Nathan.

He continued to text me after that day for more increasingly ‘date like’ endeavors (Movies, dinner, picnics in the park etc) all of which I declined until one day I finally had enough and casually mentioned that I had started seeing someone at work.

Nathan has not text me since, and worse than that all mutual friends that have contact with him have deleted me from social media, including bride and groom.

From what I understand now I have done the unthinkable by ‘friendzoning’ him, although to my knowledge I had never lead him on, had never implied that we were anything more than friends. But it seems that by agreeing to attend the wedding of a mutual friend at short notice was enough to ‘seal the deal’. I’m quite upset that by trying to be a good friend to someone I have gone on to lose friends. I’m also very upset that I’ve been thought of as someone that should happily ‘put out’ just because someone shows an interest/makes an effort to be nice to me, to the point where I’ve even received comments about how I should have ‘just gone out with him, it’s only fair’.

I’m not certain what I could have done to make it clearer to him that I was not interested in pursuing a relationship.  1029-14

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Wedding…Um, THURSDAY! Once Those Guests Are Snagged Into Attending, Soak Them For A Grand Reception

April 20, 2017

I recently attended a small, impromptu wedding. The bride’s mother was visiting from overseas, so the couple decided to quickly plan a small wedding. The couple created a Facebook event and sent out invites through that. In the description, they started off saying it was a NO HOST dinner/reception. I didn’t know what that was, […]

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My Hair Is Off Limits

April 18, 2017

Reading the stories about people touching pregnant bellies reminds me of some unwanted touching that is rather common for me to experience. I’ve never been pregnant so never experienced unwanted belly rubs but I have been blessed with thick healthy hair and that results in people wanting to touch my hair. Some will come up […]

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