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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?

I’ve been in a sorta downward spiral. I don’t want to get all Debbie Does Downers or anything, but things have been…not easy. But that’s hardly worthy of a blog post, because eh, things always turn themselves around. I was reminded of a lesson I learned many moons ago.

Let’s step into the Wayback Machine, shall we, Pranksters?

*cue a couple of wavy lines*

After I’d popped Ben out of my girl bits (read: had him yanked out with forceps) and gone back to work, I found myself in an odd predicament: I was twenty-one, 60 pounds heavier than I’d started out, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. There’s nothing like going from a nubile young thang to waddling around, wearing granny sweaters and wondering about this whole dating-with-kids shit.

My all-nighters were spent with a single man, a single Chubbers little guy who appeared to be wearing a toupee and I couldn’t fathom that any other 21-year old guys would be all, “YES! I LOVE DATING CHICKS WITH KIDS! IT MEANS THEY PUT OUT!”

My friends were as supportive as they could be, considering they were crawling the bars and having wild, untamed sex, while I tried to understand how a baby could be so…crabby.

One afternoon, my friend Ashley – who’d been as awesome to me as sliced bread – decided that it was high time that we get our shop on. I had the cash. She had the car. It was time to get our SHOP ON.

(insert random pillow fight reference)

Maternity fashion around the time I’d had Ben was one of two things:

A) Circus Tent Chic

2) Circus Tent Chic

(this changed by the time I had Alex and Amelia).

So I hadn’t bought or worn anything that made me feel, well, GOOD, since I realized my maternity underwear could double as the mast of a very large sail boat.

We started with purses. Ashley had a penchant for fancy purses which, through the process of purse osmosis, I inherited. I ended up at the sunglasses counter at Nordstroms, because I needed a new pair, and I wasn’t about to drop major cash on clothes that ran into the double digits. I picked out a pair of Ralph Lauren shades and bought them while Ashley tried on size -2 pants (while she was super-skinny and adorable, she never made me feel like I was Jabba the Hut and/or Pregnasaurus Bex, something I am still grateful for).

“What’d you get?” she asked, carefully hiding the size from the pair of pants she was about to buy.

“These,” I whipped my new shades out of the bag and displayed them proudly.

“Holy shit, dude, those are expensive!” She said, a mixture of both awe and delight. “I’d never considered buying nice sunglasses before!”

I sorta shrugged. It was the first thing I’d done for myself in months and it felt fucking great.

We picked up a few other things here and there – a new bra and some undies, a purse or two, talking shit and being girly. It was the most fun I’d had in years (the years before I’d gotten knockered up with Ben were not particularly…kind to me).

And I’m sitting here today, no longer BFF with Ashley, feeling slightly mopey and a little Debbie Does Downers, sorta sad I’m missing my girls at Type-A this year, and realized something: I needed to lounge against the machine. I needed to do something just for me.

So I did.

Not one, but two pairs of new boots.

Why?

Because I’m worth it, dammit.

And so are you.

Now go do something kind for yourself – JUST FOR YOU – Pranksters. Because you’re worth it, dammit.

On Friday, the bomb fell.

“Hey Becky, did you know (insert name of preschool teacher) is gone all next week?”

Whaaaaaa?

No. No I HADN’T known, although that was likely due to the holes Topamax left in my brain. I’d remembered hearing rumblings of a “summer vacation” but when I realized that it was, in fact, now June (rather than the March I’d been convinced it was), I shit my pants. No, not literally – I have excellent bowel control.

WOAH. That got awkward fast.

Anyway.

Me + 2 squirmy kids + no back-up plan + Mysterious Oregon Trail Disease = copious amounts of vodka and a wagon wheel.

It’s not that I don’t love my children fiercely – I do. I’d do just about anything for those tiny germ-infested crotch parasites. Anything except stay at home day in and day out with them. It’s not that I don’t find them charming, amusing (insert your own positive adjective here), it’s that after three rounds of playing Princess Pinkey Pie, I’m ready for several drinks and some private time in the bathroom.

I wasn’t cut out to be a stay at home parent, however, since I work at home, when childcare gets fucked up or someone gets sick, it’s my ass that has to stop what I’m working on and shove my parenting hat back on.

But a whole week? While I’m coughing up what appears to be small tree frogs every other minute? Sleeping 18 hours a day WITHOUT Green Death Nyquil cocktails? Feeling as though I’m wandering around through a sea of orange Jello? I’m probably not up for the whole parenting three kids for eleventy-nine hours a day; even if I can manage to postpone my work*.

I loathe admitting that I cannot do something, but in this case, the Mysterious Oregon Trail Disease has left my brain full of holes one could probably drive a truck through, should they be so inclined. When I told Daver I wasn’t quite up to parenting the crotch parasites, I expected a lot of teeth gnashing, hand-wringing and other such behaviors. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

“I’ll take them up to my parents house!” Dave practically cheered, as I sat back, aghast. His enthusiasm was as though I’d offered him a night of hookers and blow, which, while it can be found in Milwaukee, would probably not sit well with my uber-conservative in-laws (although, to be fair, I do not know this for a fact – they could have a meth lab in their basement for all I know).

This morning, they left for my in-laws. Probably not to manufacture meth, but that’s speculation on my part.

The house, it’s eerily quiet.

I realized, while sitting here drinking my coffee while trying not to choke on my own spittums, that this is the first time I’ve actually been sans children for more than a couple of hours.

I used to laugh at people who got all, “OH MY BAY-BEE IS ALL GROWDS UP!” not in a cruel way, but because my children had temperaments that would make even the most seasoned of parents lose their hairs. If you look up the textbook definition of a “difficult” or “slow-to-warm up” child, you’d see photographs of my children. They’re wonderful people, but they require a metric fuckton of patience. Most kids do.

And I’m not going to lie and say that I’ll be up all night prostrate (not prosTATE) with grief, but you know what? It’s been 3 hours and already I miss those little buggers.

Rather than sit around moping, I’m gonna grab one of Daver’s bizness shirts, some sunglasses and go all air-guitar to some Bob Segar.

Why?

Because I fucking can.

*Real work, not the dancing slug videos.

—————

How’s summer treating YOU, Pranksters?

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