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  • December 01, 2015, 08:07:43 PM

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Family and Children / Re: The Host gets the best seat?
« Last post by sweetonsno on Today at 05:09:36 PM »
Having "bad" chairs was a definite misstep. However, I'm surprised that the guests had so little regard for their hosts, who had clearly put a lot of work into preparing a nice meal. Did it really not occur to any of the people they invited to save a "good" seat for the hosts?

Also, to respond to a question that came up more recently, the "host at the head" seems to be conventional in the parts of the northeast, midwest, and northwest that I've been to. That said, I can't recall off the top of my head a situation where the head/foot of the table wasn't also near the entrance to the kitchen.

It's possible that the guests did not consciously take the "best seats" and did not consciously go through a calculation in which they thought "a-ha! I can have free food AND take a good seat away from the hard-working host!" That is to say, it may very well not occurred to them that there were 'good' and 'bad' seats, or not in a way that they gave any actual thought to.

I definitely don't think there was a conscious calculation along those lines. I am simply surprised that it didn't occur to anyone to make sure that the hosts got comfy seats. Perhaps this is a regional or family thing, but I was taught to not take the "best seat in the house" when I was a guest. If the host came out of the easy chairs and spots on the couch were taken, I would move to the footstool. To me, it's in the same category as offering to bring something and offering to help clear. It's just a part of being a good guest and making things as easy as possible for my hosts.
I'd consider having the next conversation with her either in person or on the phone rather than via text.  Tone can be so hard to convey/interpret accurately in texts, and I'd hate to have that interfere with resolving this. 

If I were you, I'd be pretty ticked right now so I might not respond at all right away.   If possible, I'd wait at least overnight before calling so I'd have a better handle on how I wanted to approach it. 

Other posters have some good suggestions.  I might go with something like, "B, I hired you to look after the cat, and that's all.  Everything else is under control, and not your concern.  I don't appreciate being scolded by you; please don't do it again." 

I don't think I would contact the homeowner about it - I think that might make it seem like a bigger deal than it is.  If the homeowner brings it up with you, I'd address it then. 
Entertaining and Hospitality / Re: Help on Christmas party issue
« Last post by Lynn2000 on Today at 04:57:51 PM »
I don't think you should attend at all. You know that SILs house is going to make you sick, and you know FILSpouse is going to wear a heavy scent that will give you a migraine on top of that. I can't think of a logical reason for you to go. If these people care about you at all they will understand. And if they don't care about you, why waste your time and health with them?

I say send DH with your apologies.

I think this is also a reasonable option. Right now, it's probably too late to change anything for this party; but in the future, again, I suggest the private room at a restaurant, where at least the environment will be relatively allergen-free, even if FIL's spouse wears heavy perfume. None of these people have (I assume) made any choices to harm you intentionally, but it's just an unfortunate confluence of events that the location accepted (to avoid the noisy restaurant that bothers FIL) is not a location that works for you. I probably wouldn't say flat-out why you were declining this time, as the hostess is already aware of issues; but rather, later on, as the next party is being planned, I would make a suggestion that works for you and explain why (phrased as, "This place is better for my allergy issues," and not, "Your place makes me sick").
Entertaining and Hospitality / Re: Help on Christmas party issue
« Last post by SamiHami on Today at 04:50:29 PM »
I don't think you should attend at all. You know that SILs house is going to make you sick, and you know FILSpouse is going to wear a heavy scent that will give you a migraine on top of that. I can't think of a logical reason for you to go. If these people care about you at all they will understand. And if they don't care about you, why waste your time and health with them?

I say send DH with your apologies.
Agreeing with Celany--I would focus on the fact that B's job (that she was actually paid to do, so there's no excuse about "just trying to be nice") was to do X, Y, and Z. You did not ask her, nor want her, to do N. You are the client in this case and she exceeded what she was contracted to do. That will not happen again or you will not be using her services any longer.

I would try as much as possible to keep emotions and history out of it, which I know is really difficult and she will probably want to go there herself. So I would keep repeating, "No, I am the client. I paid you to do X, Y, and Z only. You were out of line to do N at all, let alone chide me for not doing it."

(I am assuming this is not a situation where she could claim some kind of safety/health thing. Like if someone found food slopped on top of old food for several days in the cat's bowl. Even then her approach would not be justified, but mentioning it somehow might be. I would shut that down if she tries to pull it. "No, it was not an extreme enough situation to justify you interfering.")

I would also let A, the homeowner, know what happened. It's not urgent or anything, but I would want to send her a calm email, something like, "As we agreed, I had B stop by on Monday as I was unavailable at work. She took it upon herself to clean up the kitchen and later chided me for leaving it dirty. I just wanted you to know that it was not in any way excessively dirty or hazardous, and I'm not sure why she decided it needed to be cleaned up right then. Just in case she mentions it to you." You can add that you've talked to her about it and straightened it out, or that you've talked to her about it and she still seems upset, so you're not going to use her as a back-up any longer, or whatever the outcome is.
Time For a Coffee Break! / Re: Special Snowflake Stories
« Last post by kherbert05 on Today at 04:40:46 PM »
I am not overly looking forward to the SS parents and family members who seem to frequent the school programs this time of year.   I go to my niece and nephew's programs, and the SS behavior is prevalent: parents who do not remove/quiet down noisy younger siblings and/or not keeping tabs on them, parents/other adults who hog the aisles when snapping pictures and/or capturing video, people who do not silence their electronics even though the musical director asks ahead of time and the program asks people to do so among other things. 

At my DD's school (magnet for the arts, so these people should know better!) they had the amazing shrinking audience. The kids were supposed to go to the band room after their performance, and wait for the end before they left. Instead, as one group finished and another started, the parents of each group would, for the most part, sneak out the back (pretending to be quiet, but really not quiet at all). It got to the point that one teacher actually told the kids that if they weren't there at the end of the performance to pick up a 'ticket' saying they had stayed, they wouldn't get performance credit!

Always was a shame that the parents of the freshmen would sneak out at the beginning, and so have to only 'suffer' through their kid's first performance - and missed the actually quite good performances of the upper classes!

Now that my niece and nephew are in high school, all the school band students perform together when they are doing concerts.  Some concerts will have some students doing the jazz or ensemble doing stuff between numbers done by the concert band students (all of the band kids do marching band in fall, winter & spring is for concert band/competitions as they rarely march in spring unless its a parade or special sports event).  They usually have 3 or 4 performances they must come to that count for their grade. With the setup of all together and/or mix of jazz stuff, it ensures the kids stay, and the parents stay so they miss nothing.  My niece and nephew say part of the 1st trimester exam is attending and playing at the holiday concert they had a few days before Thanksgiving.  Then they are asked after to carry back the chairs then the stands to band room from the auditorium before going home.

I know a dance school that does something similar - they mix the company performances between the younger students performances. The main reason is to teach performance manners.

A small part is about 5 or 6 years ago there was an attempted custodial kidnapping during a recital. A "father" who's rights had been terminated for abuse tried to get backstage with an armed "cop". The staff knew about the rights being terminated physically blocked the path, while a volunteer got an off duty cop* that was hired for security. Father and his "cop" were arrested and charged with a bunch of crimes attempted kidnapping, forged court documents including passports, weapons charges, and a bunch of charges about impersonating a cop. Now they have an off duty cop outside the backstage entrance. No one but students, staff, and volunteers backstage. It might sound like an overreaction - but off the top of my head I can think of 4 similar events in the same neighborhood.

*You can hire off duty cops for security/traffic controll through a certain procedure here it is legal.
"I am not one of your staff, in fact in this situation I hired you to complete a specific job - I was the client.  I was actually very upset when I got home and saw you had cleaned up the kitchen as this was not what I hired you to do and was a bit insulting. I didn't hire you to clean anything.   However, I thought perhaps you were just trying to do something nice for me.   But then you actually had the cheek to criticize my domestic skills!   I am very offended by your condescending attitude.    Honestly, I am rethinking our friendship if this is the judgmental way you are going to treat me."     

Keep calm and avoid saying things like "you're not my mother" as this can come across as childish.   You want to come across as calm, serious and in control so she doesn't just dismiss what you're saying.   Because she clearly already has a condescending attitude towards you it's important to make sure she takes what you're saying seriously.

POD , if you don't want to I don't think you need to include the "rethinking the friendship." bit.

I might even say "What would you say to one of your staff who sent "We need to talk about domestics..." to a customer."  Because thats exactly what I was a paying customer , you told off like a child." and pause.

This doesn't apply here but I once told someone who dropped by unexpectedly and then commented "Are you going to clean." (snotty tone and tons and tons of history) "Uninvited guests are not welcome to comment ,especially if they every want to be invited guests again." 

I would also address the other unrequested favor she is doing , IMHO this is something that you have to put a stop to if you ever want healthy boundaries no matter how helpful the favor. 
I love the lights. I like all the other Christmas decorations, but sitting in a room with just Christmas lights makes me so happy.

When my husband started his job 20 years ago, he requested the two weeks of Christmas off (and got them!) He continued to do so every year. Now he is the boss, and everyone knows that December 31 deadlines are really December 20. I love having him home for the entire school break.

Peanut butter balls. And our "traditional" Christmas dinner - shawarma and pitas.

I love that my children associate Christmas morning with delivering goodies to the fire station and ER.

What I wish I could change - I have 25 people to buy for. I actually love to buy gifts, but it gets expensive and overwhelming. "Gifts" seems to be a hereditary love language; there is no chance of doing away with gift exchanges in my family. And I wish we had outdoor outlets so we could do lights on our trees and fence.
Dating / Re: Is it ever ok to ask your partner to drop a friend?
« Last post by Thipu1 on Today at 04:35:14 PM »
There's a big difference between asking a SO to 'drop a friend' and asking the SO to 'rethink the situation'.

During the first year of our marriage I could see a possible problem developing.  Mr. Thipu had several women friends.  I doubt if there was any romantic interest on either side but Mr. Thipu was regarded by them as a sort of safe sounding board for the angst in their lives.  We would get two or three phone calls from these women a week.  The calls would last up to half an hour while they unburdened themselves.   

The problem was that I was never acknowledged if I answered the phone when one of them called. I'd say something along the line of, 'Hi, Jane.  How are things?'. In response I'd get a clipped, 'Is Mr. Thipu there?'

It was as if they were talking to the receptionist at his office instead of his wife. In my experience, even if you were talking to a receptionist you knew, you'd exchange a pleasantry or two.  That never happened with this bunch.

After a few months of this I sat down with Mr. Thipu and told him that this had to stop.  I had no problem if he wanted to maintain contact with these women.  My problem was that they refused to acknowledge me as a person let alone as his wife.  He must have done something because, Soon after our talk, the calls stopped
I understand why the woman's fiancÚ is upset about the lady's ex.  She has to make a decision about who means more to her. 

I do think the Cut Direct is an etiquette-approved, but nuclear, option for a grievous offense. However, to me it's something where your first line of defense is to avoid the person. A friend invited to a mainly-family holiday part at Shishimai's MIL's house? I think it's pretty obvious Shishimai might be there, so if I felt so uncomfortable with her that I wouldn't respond if she spoke to me... I would decline to attend entirely. Get together with my friend MIL another time, rather than go and potentially make everyone uncomfortable.

That's how I feel about it.  I mean to attend someone else's family get together, and give the CD to a family member is beyond rude. To me that would also be an insult to the host who was your MIL.  H knew you were part of the family.  If he saw you there he could have made an appearance, then excused himself.  To me H was in territory he shouldn't have been in.

POD. And also, I would think that if Betty did something so egregious that Carl refuses to speak to her when spoken to at a holiday gathering, Carl would also be snubbing Betty's spouse, or at least not actively suggesting they get together. I know that a lot of people feel like they can be friends with one spouse while disregarding the other, but I don't see how that's actually sustainable, at the level of literally ignoring the Cut spouse when they speak. As Betty's spouse I would find that way too hurtful and disrespectful, even if I knew Carl's reason and thought it was a good one. Either I would try to facilitate them making amends, or I would write Carl off as a friend. I would not appreciate him basically saying, "I hate your spouse so much I refuse to acknowledge her existence, but you could still come over sometime."

The way to do it, I think, is to finagle 90% of get-togethers so that the disliked spouse isn't there. But during those 10% when you both happen to be present, you are distantly polite, and don't do anything overt or disrespectful, even if you feel you have cause. If you can't handle even that, then you have to consider that you're going to lose your friendship with the liked spouse as well.

So I think there's a case to be made that even if H is giving the OP the Cut Direct, and feels he has good reason to do so, he's not doing it correctly. For what that's worth.
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