Go Ask Aunt Becky

Go Ask Aunt Becky is a purely useless advice column I’ve been running for years (although I’ve been on a recent hiatus). You ask me a question – I try to find you a better answer than “pants are bullshit.” You may always submit your questions through the link at the top. Be warned, I am not a professional – I don’t even play one on TV.

(insert more disclaimers)

Driver does not carry cash.

Dear Aunt Becky,

How is a person supposed to live the rest of her life and maintain her Tiny Tower? Balance is… Hang on, gotta stock the shoe store… Where was I? Oh. Right. How can I keep this game from consuming my soul?

Love,

Me.

—————–

Dear Prankster,

In order to best explain how one can go about living a life while playing Tiny Tower, I have made you a Venn Diagram. It took me an embarrassingly long time to make it, but let’s pretend I just “whipped it up for you,” like those creepy Pinterest people who are all LOOK AT MY HOMEMADE GOODNESS, YOU LAME ASS SLACKERS! HOW DARE YOU NOT CHURN BUTTER WHILE I GROW MY FANCY ORGANIC SHIT (can you pick up a pizza on the way home, honey? I was too busy pinning healthy shit on Pinterest).

So I “whipped up” (lie) this Venn Diagram for you in order to best explain how one balances life and Tiny Tower:

I hope that explains it, Prankster. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to stock my Balls On Ur Face Racquet Ball Court before I fly my Pocket Plane to such exotic destinations as “Detroit” and “Seattle.”

—————–

I know that my site is still janked up – you can blame the WordPress update for that (all together now: “THANKS WORDPRESS!”) and I’m hoping to fix it on up soon.

I have some other stuffs to write about this week – I’m nowhere back to normal yet, but I wanted to thank you – each of you – who has bothered to leave me some love. You don’t know how your words have buoyed my soul and shone a light in the darkness.

So, thank you. Thank you, Pranksters.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Go Ask Aunt Becky is a purely useless advice column I’ve been running for years (although I’ve been on a recent hiatus). You ask me a question – I try to find you a better answer than “pants are bullshit.” You may always submit your questions through the link at the top. Be warned, I am not a professional – I don’t even play one on TV. (insert more disclaimers)

Driver does not carry cash.

—————-

Dear Aunt Becky,

I so need your help and advice.

I was being sexually harassed at work.. This man stopped once other people were aware of the situation.

But my company? Made me work with him him. I walked into work yesterday, saw him, had a massive panic attack. 911 was called, and I ended up in the ER.

I LOVE my boss but the company is not looking for me. I’m so worried about losing my job. I am so lost.

At this point, I actuality want to kill myself.

Help, Aunt Becky!

———

Dear Prankster,

This is bullshit! I wanna punch this fucker in the gonads (assuming, of course, that he has any, which I’m beginning to doubt.

Please, don’t ever consider suicide as an option – what suicide leaves behind…well, let’s not go there.

If you are truly feeling suicidal, please call, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Also, please visit Band Back Together’s Suicide Resources – we have a lot of help over there.

That said, I know people. People who know people. And I spoke to my anonymous friend (not to be confused with Anonymous) about your situation. This is what my anonymous friend suggested:

It sounds as though you’ve reported it to the company and so the harassment has stopped. According to most states, that’s all that is required by law. As long as the behavior does not continue, the company may not be required to move one of you to another position. However, if it is considered to be a hostile work environment (and it certainly sounds like it is) then the company is required to take action. 
 
Go straight back to HR and file another report. It is federal law that retaliation harassment or termination is illegal. They cannot legally fire you for reporting a hostile work environment even though the initial harassment has ceased. 
 
At this point it will be viewed as your comfort based on his past actions. By law he cannot continue to be punished by the company for past actions that have been dealt with and have ceased. It may mean they will move YOU to another position because he has ceased what is deemed inappropriate actions. Depending on where you work, this could mean a job description change if they can’t simply relocate your desk. But if it means keeping a job and gaining a level of comfort back, a job description change is a small compromise.
 
If I misunderstood and you haven’t filed a formal complaint with HR, do so now. There is typically no set timeframe for reporting harassment in the workplace. Even if the actions have ceased, it still occurred and has residual hostility that you feel when working with him. They will launch a formal investigation and may interview coworkers who are knowledgeable on the situation.
 
Best of luck! And know that the law is on your side. If you have to, get a lawyer who specializes in employment law. You can also ask HR if they use an Employment Assistance Program (EAP) which can help you find a therapist to deal with these emotions, and help you find a lawyer as well. EAPs are free programs to employees. 

Prankster, I sincerely hope this helps. And remember, we are none of us alone.

————-

Other Pranksters, do you have any suggestions for this writer?

Aunt Becky’s OCD Guide To De-Cluttering

Hey Auntie B!

How ya’ doing dollface? Since I gather you are as OCD as me, I wondered what you do to de-clutter the house when the sheer amount of shit you have makes it look filthy? (Of course, I already know the throw-away-one-thing-for-a-year thing, but hubster out-voted me on doing that.)

Hey, did you get that monkey butler yet? If so, I SO want him to deal with my shit! Can I borrow him?

Thanks for the advice! I’ll let you get back to cussing out your whore pants!

Love always,

Buried under a mountain of shit (not literally)

Hi Prankster!

If you were to visit my home – especially today – you’d say to yourself, “Now THERE is someone who needs to watch Hoarders more often,” and you’d be right. Except there are no more episodes on Netflix which means that I switched to a show called “Obsessed” where (in different episodes) someone was:

a) afraid of an El Camino, yelling, “Oh FUCK! An El Camino” whenever he sees one. This has caused The Guy On My Couch, The Daver and I to randomly scream “El Camino” while the other two cower in “terror.”

b) afraid of eating her own poo*. THIS has lead to The Guy On My Couch, The Daver and I to randomly step out of the bathroom and say, “WHEW, thank GOD I didn’t eat it. It was a close call, though.”

Mental illness, who says it can’t be entertaining?

(not me, and I’ve got a doozy of a case of PTSD)

This is how I clean my house:

Step One: Cut A Hole In The Box

Step One: Look around the house angrily and wonder how three children plus three grownups can amass so much crap.

Step Two: Watch a video about snails.

Step Three: Grab 2 garbage bags and begin to either throw away or donate the shit on the floor and/or anywhere else it’s not supposed to be.

Step Four: Wait for someone to notice.

Step Five: Keep waiting.

Step Six: Continue waiting.

Step Seven: *hum the Jeopardy song*

Step Eight: Watch a video about dancing frogs and/or hamsters (time depending)

Step Nine: Realize no one, in fact, cares about the shit I’m dumping, so begin a massive purging of the home, until I have at least two garbage bags full of stuff to donate.

Step Ten: Allow sufficient bags to accumulate in the garage until Daver drives them over to Goodwill, where they remark, “HOLY FUCK” as he unloads the bags.

And when I’m trying to decide whether or not I should keep an item, I go through these Choose Your Own Adventure Style Questions:

Is it useful? If yes, go on to Question 2.

Is it useful to ME? If yes, go on to Question 3.

Is it REALLY useful?  If yes, go on to Question 4.

You’re not crafty. If still yes, go on to Quest 5.

Place item in DONATE bag.

Or this:

What IS this? If you know the answer, go on to Question 2.

Will they notice if I dump it? If yes, place passive-aggressively on pillow. If no, go on to Question 3.

Do I care if they notice it? If no, go on to Question 4. If yes, place passive aggressively on toilet seat.

Place item at BOTTOM of DONATE bag, then feign ignorance and/or discuss the whereabouts of robot monkey butler Mr. Pinchey until person whose item is now gone is so annoyed that he stalks off, ready to leave the toilet seat up in retaliation.

Plus, I try to get rid of ONE thing each day. It doesn’t always work when short people bring home rocks and sticks that they claim to love, adore, and cherish…until Max and Ruby is on. Then I wander off singing “Max and Poopy” under my breath, while I figure out a way in which I can murder a cartoon bunny rabbit for being so. fucking. annoying.

Also, Prankster, I’m planning to get a Roomba and label him (with my label maker!) Mr. Pinchey. It’s not as awesome as my imaginary camel named Mr. Stompy and it’s not as cool as a REAL monkey butler, but Daver tells me that PETA will throw fake dead fetuses** at my door if I get, then train, a monkey to be my butler. EVEN IF, I was sad to note, I bought him a wee tux.

Damn PETA, holding me back from living mah life.

*Coprophobia, I think.

**probably.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Pranksters,

We’re having a hearts! and love carnival on Band Back Together tomorrow, showcasing broken hearts, heart issues, and, my personal favorite, love. I’ll have a post going up tomorrow over there – I’ll link you.

If you’d like to read, write, contribute, or do a Snoopy dance, go ahead on over. We’re totally getting the Band Back Together.

xoxo,

AB

P.S. Last day to vote for Bloggies. Somehow, I’m up for a couple. So is Band Back Together.

Dear Aunt Becky,

our son is nearly 6-1/2. he was dx’d with autism back when he turned 2. he has a large, flat head, is close to non-verbal, is sensory and cognitively affected, has apraxia, and lots of gut issues… we finally did the mri, looking for craniosynotosis and/or chiari. we got back a 3/8″ encephalocele on the base of his skull. we sent mri disc to ch-boston, they said it was insignificant. we want a second opinion.

who do we go to?

Well, FUCK, Prankster. I’m so sorry. Every time I hear about someone new with an enecphalocele, like my girl, Amelia, my heart drops.

I know we’ve spoken privately, but I’m throwing it out here on my blog so that any of my Pranksters can chime in.

So, Pranksters, do you know anyone in his area that can help his son with his encephalocele?

Dear Aunt Becky,

I feel like a jerk, but there’s this girl that does everything I do online. She signs up for the same sites I sign up for. She becomes active in my communities. She’s nice, but it’s irritating. I feel like a jerk for being irritated. However, she even sometimes takes credit for my work, and even recently landed a pretty big opportunity, mainly just copying everything I do. Again, she’s always sweet. I know I should be flattered and all, but is there anything I can do besides vent? Am I a total jerk?

–Copied from North Dakota 

Sighs.

Prankster, I wish I had any good advice for you. I’d like to offer you some bullshit platitude, but it’s never helped me to hear, “imitation is the highest form of flattery.” In fact, I’d like to counter it by saying that anyone who as offered that as a consolation has never truly been copied when it matters.

Because sometimes it DOES matter.

I don’t give a shit if people take terms I use as their own. I don’t care if people riff off my blog posts. It’s only when it’s something I’ve poured my heart and soul into that I get upset.

And that’s about all I do. Sure, I could run around, doing some sort of weird smear campaign, but in the end, it would only make me look like an asshole. And while I can be a huge asshole, I’d prefer it to be for something else, like kicking kittens or mooning a full moon.

So I’m going to offer you my apologies. And my empathy. Because it really, really does suck.

Any advice for her, Pranksters?

Hi Aunt Becky!

I’ve been a follower for a while now and I have to preface this with the “omgwtfbbq,yer so awesomez!” I know that you are the ringleader here and at Band Back Together, so I have no doubt you’ll be able to answer my question. I have a cousin-in-law who recently tried to commit suicide.

This evening I stumbled upon my uncle-in-law’s wife talking to the cousin and being very awkward because he was talking about actually finishing himself off. I jumped in and tried to help and while I have extracted a promise from him to try the therapist in the morning and call me and let me know what happens,

I am not too sure that is enough.

I, of course, directed him to the suicide prevention hotline and its crazy website, but what else can I do? I told him if he felt that bad he could call 911 and they would bring him into the hospital and said that he should be able to commit himself.

I wonder if you know what the general laws are regarding being committed versus committing yourself.

I don’t have his address so I’m not too sure I can call the police and have them do anything. I’ve let other members of his family know what happened so they can help too and texted back and forth with him so he knows that I really am willing to talk. So, to recap, what’s the deal with commitment? Is there anything else I can do and if he does do something and tells me, is it possible to call the cops and have them intervene?

Thanks Aunt Becky!

Oh Prankster, you have a heart of gold – you know that, right? Because you do.

Anyway – you’ve done all the right things.

I’m sending you these links, not to pimp my (almost) non-profit, but because there’s more information that may be more valuable than the piddly words I can offer you here.

Suicide Resource Page

Common Motivations behind Suicide

Suicide Survivor

How To Cope With A Suicide

(see, I don’t watch cat videos all day long!)

First things first:

If you are feeling desperate, alone or helpless, or know someone who is, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a counselor at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Listen, really listen to them rather than offer solutions and help. People who are suicidal do not want help, they want a safe place to talk about their feelings. Really shutting your mouth and listening is very hard, but it is important.

Let them know they can trust you.

Let them know that you do care about them very much.

When someone is feeling suicidal, they must talk about their feelings immediately. Sometimes, just letting those feelings out can help.

If someone is actively talking about suicide, offering plans up about suicide, call 911.  STAY with the suicidal person while you wait for help to arrive. This is an emergency. Period.

THIS is what I know about involuntary commitment:

Involuntary Commitment is the act of admitting someone who is a danger to him or herself (or others) to a psychiatric hospital for 3-5 days. Laws for involuntary commitment vary from country to country to state to state.

If, after 3-5 days, the person is still determined to be a threat to him or herself, a court order may be obtained to detain the person.

Let me know if this helps, Prankster. I love you and your big gorgeous heart.

——————–

Pranksters, please fill in where I left off in the comments. And, as always (now that I’m off my ridiculously large ass and back to posting), send me your most important questions. I will answer them as uselessly as possible.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Hey Becky,

Just wanted to check in and see how you’re doing…you sound down.  

Trust me I know how you feel.  Seasonal depression much less clinical depression sucks!  Add to that the fact I was off my Lexapro for 5 days and I was a step below Charles Manson..LOL!  If you need to vent, I’m here! 🙂

Hang in there & take care!

Oh Prankster, my Prankster, you’re making me cry here. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? I get all, “whatever,” whenever someone says something shitballs to me, but the moment someone is kind, I do the Ugly Cry.

The answer is somewhere in the middle – I’m up and down.

It’s January – my daughter’s birthday, which is always a massively triggering event for me. I feel so stupid to admit that, like I don’t have the right to be upset. She’s the girl that lived! I know in my head that she’s fine, but I see her disfigured head and the scar that grows each time she does, and my stomach drops – I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I’m left panting and panicking, my throat tight. The nightmares I can’t quite shake.

On the other hand, I’m beyond happy that I’ve made a teeny step – she’s getting the birthday celebration I’ve always wanted to give her. I’m having more fun putting together a Sweet Shop themed party than any adult should….but that PTSD monster is always lurking close at hand.

I’ve wanted so badly to come here to my own space and tell you all about it (you are, after all, my family, Pranksters) – but it all comes out a random jumble of letters and words that lead to nowhere, and I’m more frustrated that I can’t seem to do what I love most – write. The words don’t come. The sentences make no sense. The paragraphs don’t flow. It’s just gone.

I know the words, the words will be back – but there will still be this gigantic pile of things I can no longer speak of. I hate feeling like this whole host of things I need to share most must go unspoken. Someday it won’t matter. I know this, too. And yet, it’s been all I can do to breathe. And keep breathing.

This too will end. I know.

But tonight, tonight I am decidedly not okay. Thankfully, tomorrow is another day. It will, perhaps, be better.

I have hope. Indeed, it is all I have.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Aunt Becky,

I’m writing to you for advice because you seem like a good advice-giver in general, and because you are awesome and it’d make my day to hear from you.

See, I want to do a Masters degree in Social Psychology, but at the same time I keep thinking I’m not good enough, or the course is a bad (read: fluffy) choice. And I know those self-doubting thoughts are wrong, and that I acquired them from a person who was in retrospect never a friend to me, and yet they bother me.

I worry that the subject is a bad one in the first place, that I’m settling for a masters degree rather than a phd because I’m not good enough to get a phd (never mind that I think a masters degree would be adequate for my purposes), that I’m not hardworking enough or creative enough to do a postgrad degree, that I’ll be wasting my dad’s money (he really wants me to further my studies and is willing and able to pay for it all, so on top of everything I feel like I should be grateful and shut up and stop worrying already), that I don’t have a suitable background to continue in academia because I didn’t do research assistantship or tutoring in college and am (horror of horrors) doing a job that has nothing at all to do with my psych degree whatsoever.

I know I’m being silly and insecure, but I don’t know how to snap out of it.

Do you have any advice that could help me?

Love,
your niece in a small tropical country

Dear Niece of Mine,

First and most importantly, can I come visit? Because this weather? BLOWS ASS.

Secondly, here’s my thoughts on your dilemma – if you want to get your degree in BASKETWEAVING because it makes you happy – fucking go for it.

Most people (read: Your Aunt Becky) have a degree in a subject they do not use very much. See, I’m a nurse. Last time I practiced nursing? 2007. Part of that is because I hated it and part of it is because I hated it. So really, when I tried to be practical and shit (I should get a degree in something that pays RIGHT OUT OF COLLEGE), I ended up miserable.

I would ask yourself why you want this degree, what you plan on doing with it, and if your answers make sense? Fucking GO for it.

(if your answers are like, “so I can sign my name with cool initials afterward, I’d reconsider. The work involved is a bit much for a few initials).

You can do whatever you want to do. Kick those self-defeating thoughts in the taco and get thee to school.

Love,

Your Aunt Becky, RN-BSN

———————

Aunt Becky-

I’ve pretty much been an avid reader since the beginning of time..and I am just *now* realizing that we have (at least) 2 things in common. Migraines and thyroid BS. This isn’t a very exciting or cool Ask Aunt Becky question..but I’d like some advice from someone who has been there.

I’ve suffered from migraines since 2004. I had one a day for 3 months then, and they’ve been off & on since then. Now, since having my daughter (in Jan.) I started have 2-3 a week, then 4-5 a week and now I’m up to having one every day. My PCP started me on Topamax, but it doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. As bad as it might sound, the only thing that keeps them at bay is Percocet and I know there aren’t unlimited refills on that bad boy. But seriously, if I miss a dose, if I go more then 4 hours, it hits like a ton of bricks.

I’ve taken Maxalt in the past, but it just took the edge off and made me sleepy. And I know about rebound headaches,and I’ve actually stopped taking the Percocet to see if  that was the problem. It wasn’t.

So, any helpful hints or suggestions? I’ve got to get them under control and I feel like I’m losing my mind when I have them.

Also, thyroid BS. Apparently I have a multi-nodular goiter? During my pregnancy everything was fantastic, but now, everything is whack-a-doo. I’m not cycling, and I just feel run down. I’m scared to go see the specialist because I don’t want a biopsy or any of that. Can you advise me as to what is going to happen at my first visit and what kind of treatment there is?

I’m sorry this is so long. I looked for an “actual” email address, and did not find one. I’ve been wanting to ask these questions for a few weeks, but felt like you were so out of my league that I couldn’t, lol.

Thanks in advance for listening.

Oh, Prankster, it’s like we’re twinsies! And not in a matching-shirt-kinda-way.

First and foremost, get thee to a neurologist. If The Max isn’t helping, fuck The Max. There are a zillion other drugs out there that can help control migraines. I now take Carbitrol, and frankly, it’s not working well. My migraines have become a daily thing. CLEARLY, I need to call my neuro for another drug. You may have to play around with various drugs to find out which works for you, but there will be SOMETHING. I promise.

As far as the thyroid goes, my endocrinologist is the best doctor I have. My thyroid goes balls out after I have babies, and doesn’t go back to normal. It’s like hey, motherfucker, you’re an asshole for having a baby!

So seeing an endo has been one of the smartest moves I’ve made. Been seeing her since after Alex was born, and I’d send her a Christmas card if I wasn’t too lazy to send such things.

Let me know how it goes. And good luck, Prankster.

Love,

AB

———————–

Sometimes, I get around. I wrote about 5 Things Not To Do With Your Kids This Winter.

Your turn, Pranksters! What advice would you give these brillz Pranksters? Fill in where I left off in the comments.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Hey, Aunt Becky,

I have a problem. All of my life I’ve thought of myself as straight, but now I’m starting to doubt myself. I still want a husband and to have babies, but I’m also thinking about girls too. I don’t want to say anything to my Mom because even though I know she wouldn’t care, I’m so unsure I don’t want to upset her if it’s not really necessary. I just don’t know what to do or who to talk to to find out what I’m really feeling.

Confused

Here’s the thing, Prankster – sexuality exits on a spectrum and we may feel anywhere from completely straight to completely gay. Sexuality is also something that doesn’t have to be labeled – you might be bisexual, homosexual or straight, but you can also fall somewhere in the middle. You like who you like.

So my advice is this: explore your feelings (SAFELY) and see where it takes you. Maybe you’ll end up married with a wife and babies. Maybe you’ll end up with a husband and babies. Maybe you won’t. You don’t have to decide right now.

I wish you luck, mah Prankster. It’s going to be an awesome journey for you!

Hi Aunt Becky,

I don’t really have a question I just need to get this out. My five year old  told me tonight that a classmate has been grabbing my child’s butt while they wait in line at school. My child hasn’t told anyone but me because they aren’t allowed to speak while they are in line.  

I feel sick for my child but also for the other child involved.  What the hell is this poor kid exposed to that grabbing ass at school becomes okay?  I need a drink but at this point I’ll settle for a (nice, clean) hug.  🙁        

Sincerely, 

Heartsick

Dear Heartsick, first things first: HUGGGGGGGS!

Now, onto the depressing bit. You need to report what happened to the teacher and/or principal. Like you said, you don’t know what’s going on at home – maybe it’s nothing or maybe it’s something. Either way, this should be reported.

Here is the Band Back Together resource page for child abuse and the page for child sexual abuse.

Child abuse is rarely faked, so it’s important to take any allegations of abuse seriously. If a child comes to you with claims of abuse, call 1-800-4AChild to report abuse or get help.

I wish you the best, Prankster. I’m so sorry.

—————

Pranksters, it’s time for YOU to help! What advice do you want to leave for these posters?

Also: feel free to submit any questions so I can poorly answer them. The link is at the top of the screen!

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Aunt Becky,

I drop in on your site from time to time, but usually from an aggregate site that has become toywithme.com. Anyway, my question is, what happened to the blogger whose picture showed her in old-fashioned curlers? I can’t remember her name and for some reason this is driving me crazy.

Thanks for your help and for your exquisite sense of humor.

Well, Prankster, thank YOU for the kind words! They’re much appreciated!

The blogger I think you’re thinking of is my good friend Jenny, The Bloggess. She’s full of the awesome.

Evening Aunt Becky!

While checking out the questions and comments on BnB to comfort and convince myself that I’m not the only one who doesn’t always really get motherhood it popped up with a link to your blog in the side bar! I was pleased to see it as I’ve been enjoying your blog for ages and hope others have been clicking through.

Laura

Dear Prankster Laura,

While I thank you kindly for your kind words and the referrer, I’m afraid that I have no idea what BnB is. In fact, I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to figure it out. And yes, yes, I AM compulsive.

Does it mean?

Bed and Breakfast?

Bread and Butter?

Banana Nut Bread?

Black and Blue?

or

Bad News Bears?

I simply do not know. So, Prankster Laura (or others), what, pray tell, does BnB mean?

P.S. I like to imagine it to mean “Black and Blue.”

Dear Aunt Becky,

I have no question but go have a look at what I found. Bob Ross finger Puppets  😀

..tonya cinnamon

Dear Prankster Tonya,

O.M.G. How have I not SEEN these before? I feel like my whole life has been a lie!

P.S. I require these for Christmas to be happy.

Hello, Aunt Becky!

Here’s a faithful viewer of your awesomesauce blog, asking for advice. I’m an 18-year-old girl, and I have a mother who’s been through a helluva though life. Born to a poor family, many of her best friends dying when they were just teens, two stillborn children and a divorce, just to name a few. She’s ultimately the strongest woman I’ve ever known. However, she never talks about those happenings in her past – only offhand mentions and some things I remember her telling me when I was just a tiny crotch parasite, asking everything about my mommy that could ever enter my tiny mind.

I would like to be as open with her as possible – after the divorce, the two of us lived together for 8 years, and despite living in different cities these days, we’re really really close – and would also like her to be able to talk about her past with me. Even though we’re so close, I sometimes get the feeling that I don’t know my mother at all – all we talk about is my life, my tiny problems. I’m not sure what I’m actually even asking for, just maybe some advice, on how to deal with her? How to bring up difficult subjects? Or should I never mention them at all?

Ever so thankful,
Elisa

Dearest Elisa,

I hope that my daughter will grow to be as wonderful a woman as you. Your mother is beyond lucky to have such a lovely daughter as you. I just had to say that to start off with, or I might burst from your awesomeness.

Honestly, I’m getting teary.

Anyway, enough about my hormones. I’d simply go ahead and ASK your mother about those subjects. Tell her what you just told me: that you’d like to know more about her and feel like you’re as awesome a daughter as you (obviously) are. I’m sure that even if she doesn’t wish to talk about it, she’ll appreciate knowing that her daughter remembered her stories. That way the door is open for her to talk about herself, too.

See, Moms, well, we’re used to NOT talking about ourselves very candidly to our children. We can’t be effective parents if we’re always whining about our own shit. It’s not that I don’t want my kids to know me – even the ugly bits – but I think it’s easy to be caught in the rut of “my child is more important than I am.” Because that’s what parenthood is – putting someone else ahead of your needs most of the time.

But I think if you tell her what you told me, she’ll not only be touched, but know what an amazing job she’s done as a parent. Because she has.

Love to you,

Aunt Becky

————

Pranksters, please fill in wherever I left off. Especially the part about “BnB.” Seriously, I’ve been up all night long (alll niiiiiggghhhht longggggg) trying to figure it out.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Hi Aunt Becky!

Is there a way to subscribe to your blog via email?  I didn’t see it, but thought I’d ask on the off chance I missed it.

Best,
Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for pointing that issue out. Like my blogroll, which has gone missing, I think the email subscription is now back in black. Er…no. But it’s back. Go to the bottom of my sidebar and you’ll see it.

See?

Dear Aunt Becky,

Lately my best friend has been analyzing my relationship with my boyfriend and has deemed him unworthy of my time. I strongly disagree with her as I know for a fact that her idea of a relationship is vastly different than mine and that I am QUITE happy in my relationship.

See, I believe a relationship is a two-way street, we both give and we both take. My boyfriend is wonderful and always gives more than takes.

Her view of a relationship is that the female (aka herself) is the end all be all and if it isn’t her way, then it’s the highway. Her current boyfriend has bought her a car, paid for her school’s tuition, let her room in his house for 8 months without doing anything for the household and currently buys her and her family food. I cannot think of one thing that she has given him besides her time.

Because my boyfriend does not do all of this for me (heaven forbid that he works and makes money that he saves so that we can own a house one day!) she believes I am unhappy.

She’s so convinced that I need a new bf who will do this for me that a few weeks ago she told me about a guy who wants to take me out for coffee and she told me I should do it – while I’m still with my bf!

Now, I know our ideas of relationships are different, and I know she is looking out for the best of me but how do I tell her that I value our friendship but I want her to back the fuck off of me so that I can be happy with my bf?

Dear Prankster,

I would tell your best friend exactly what you think, since she seems to have no trouble telling you what she thinks. There are no two relationships that are exactly the same – nor should they be. That’d be like expecting that every brunette is brilliant or every blond is ditzy.

If you’re not unhappy in your relationship – which it sounds like you’re not – tell her so and if she insists that you are, ask her politely to drop the matter. There’s no reason to debate this. You’re not unhappy. Period. Back off. Period.

You don’t have to be a bitch about it, just tell her the truth.

Good luck, Prankster.

Dear Aunt Becky,

Let me start by saying that I love my husband.  

We’ve been married for almost 15 years and have 4 kids.  He is my best friend.  Truly.  But.  There’s always a but, right?  I have had this on and off contact  (via mail or email only – no phone, no face to face ever) with my high school boyfriend for oh, the last 20 years.  This isn’t a “reconnected on facebook now want to dump my husband” thing.  This is an, “I have loved this guy for over half of my life, what do I do now” thing.  

I have always been a very private person. I have always kept a lot to myself.  My husband was aware of the deep connection I had with my HS BF, even knew that we kept in touch for several years into our marriage.  He was not threatened by this, as the HS BF lives about 2000 miles away.  There have been times when we wouldn’t be in touch for a couple of years, but then, with a random email or a text – we pick right back up where we left off.  I have never physically been unfaithful to my husband.

This feels unfaithful though, and I am horrified.  I feel like within the past year, the (virtual) relationship with the HS BF has taken a turn, and we’ve become much closer.  

He wants to see me.  

Can you be in love with two people?  I know you are going to say I am a terrible wife, mother, friend.  I know you are going to say that there is a reason we broke up in the first place, I KNOW all of that in my heart.  But I cannot seem to let this guy go!  What is wrong with me??  I KNOW that seeing him can only hurt someone that I honest to God love deeply, my best friend, my husband.  And my kids.  I’m so lost.  I feel so selfish.  I think about my HS BF constantly.  We chat (virtually) every day.  It’s like I have compartmentalized these two relationships, and I am afraid to make any decisions. I do not want to lose my HS BF.  Please, please just be mean to me and tell me I’m scum.  I’m so ashamed.  But I can’t walk away from either of them.

I don’t know what to do…

Dear Prankster,

I don’t think you’re scum. I don’t even think you’re mean – I think you’re confused. And understandably so.

However, you need to take stock of your virtual relationship with your high school boyfriend and decide what it is, really, that you’re getting out of it. Is it an escape? A friendship? Someone who makes you feel special?

Once you do some deep soul-searching, I think you need to come clean to each of them. Yeah, I know, it sounds scary as fuck, but you don’t have much of a choice. Let me tell you that living a life of duplicity isn’t exactly easy or fun. So stop doing it.

Take some time off to just think. Don’t contact your high school boyfriend, take a weekend away to a nice hotel WITHOUT HIM IN IT and just THINK. What is it that you want? What will make you happy? What do you need?

Once you can answer these questions, I think you’ll be able to see what it is you must do next.

Go Ask Aunt Becky

Dear Aunt Becky,

So here’s the problem.  I’ve been writing a blog for a few years now. It has a decent following, with regular commenters. My issue is that one of my commenters is going overboard.  In a bad way.  Everything I say, she feels the need to one-up. Her comments are often longer than my posts.  And they are all about her.  It’s as if she’s writing a blog–she’s just using MY blog to do it.

Now, I don’t much care.  I ignore the comments.  Whatever–I’m busy and don’t have a ton of time for junk like this. The problem is that my readers REGULARLY email me and tell me they want to punch her in the face.  That’s a direct quote.  “I want to punch her in the face.”  They want me to call her out on her inappropriate behavior.  I’ve had readers tell me that they feel like they don’t want to read my blog anymore and they don’t want to leave a comment because of this woman.

So. . .what do I do?  I am embarrassed for her.  I feel bad that everyone is talking about her.  And I’m at the point where I’m frustrated that she can’t realize how inappropriate she’s being.  She’s a grown-ass woman, acting like an obnoxious pre-teen.  But I don’t know what to do without offending her.

Waiting for you to weigh in.

Signed,
Embarrassed For Her

Oh Prankster, that woman sounds like a tool. But, it’s the Internet and tools abound (see also: Mommy Wants Vodka).

The answer isn’t that simple, either. You can:

1) Email her privately and politely ask her to stop leaving such comments (I don’t know the context of these comments, so I cannot speak to how obnoxious or inappropriate they are).

Pros: make yourself look like less of an ass.

Cons: she’s bound to take it the wrong way. Why? Because from your question, she sounds like quite a crotch rocket.

2) Publicly oust her on your blog.

Pros: your readers can join in and help drive the point home.

Cons: You look like an asshole and possibly scare off OTHERS who may want to comment on your blog.

3) Let your readers take care of her.

Pros: You don’t have to do anything to look like an ass.

Cons: She may troll your readers.

4) Block her IP address and/or delete comments.

Pros: You don’t have to really DO anything.

Cons: She may not realize what a crotch rocket she is.

What would *I* do? I’d delete the comments. This isn’t to say that I regularly do (although my somewhat overzealous spam filter does), but I’m not a firm believer in anonymous internet dickwads having the right to fling shit all over my blog. Period.

Let us know what you decide.

Dear Aunt Becky,

I work in a typical office setting with people working in cubicals where you can hear everything everyone does: talking on the phone, clipping nails, ovulating, etc.  It’s just part of life and you get through it through by making silently disgusted faces with your office friends after someone hacks up a lung down the hall.  And by drinking.  That’s the background.  

Now we have someone who sits by the lunch room door and is suddenly very disturbed by all the talking and chewing sounds going on in here that he wants the door to be closed at all time, no matter what.  Apparently the hum of the vending machines is irritating the voices in his head.  

Having this door closed is a MAJOR inconvenience since it requires me to exert energy.  Not to mention nearly impossible if my hands are full carrying in my Hungry Man dinners.  Plus I hate him and don’t want to comply.  He has become the Lunch Room Door Hall Monitor and is up and out of his seat to close the door at the slightest level of ajarness.  

I would guess his work productively has taken a nose dive – but who cares about that.  I am a cordial type and begrudgingly close the door, but leave it open if it’s to just to do something quick, like wash an apple and then close it on my way out.  This is tantamount to mutiny and I have an appt with my parole officer next week for this grievance.  

It’s ridunk.  

I never say that, so you know I’m serious.  I’ve actually mentioned that it’s getting out of control to the highest of ups here and assumed they would agree with me.  Nope.  They say we need to keep the door closed.  For this ONE person, where the whole rest of the building could give a rip and hate it.  He’s getting combative and aggressive about his door patrols and I SO BADLY want to NOT close it or SLAM! it, but sadly that would be unbecoming.  

WHAT TO DO?  

(besides submit the idea to The Office).  

Thanks so much.

Well, I need photographic evidence of this guy. Like, I want a video of this guy being The Door Guy.

Then, I’d suggest a slow, subtle drip-drip method of annoyance. In no particular order:

1) Rip ass as you are walking past his cubicle. Every. Single. Time. If you have no extra flatulence, buy the Fart O Matic app from the iPhone store. It’s beyond awesome.

2) Whenever walking past his cube, make sure to make some really obnoxious noise. I’m talking an AAHHHHHHHH as you drink your soda. A MMMMMMMM as you inhale your undoubtedly delicious Hungry Man dinner. A SNOOOOOOORT as you breathe in. Really, there’s no end of it.

3) Insist that he get the door for you, every time. Make up reasons. Beg that he shut it, too. Just give him the AW SHUCKS face.

4) Give him a tip jar for his desk.

5) Begin storing your personal supplies on his desk. Say, “Oh I’m going to just be a moment.” Then never come back.

Pranksters? Other suggestions for these brilliant question askers?