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When I get up in the morning I am rather drowsy, but as often as not, my spouse insists on asking me important and weighty questions just as I am inserting my toothbrush into my mouth. Sometimes their questions have to do with our finances, or an important work decision, or even, god forbid, politics, but whatever the topic, it requires me to think, and I just can’t do it before I get some coffee in my system.
I don’t want to be rude and I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but can I ask them to please please please leave me the f**k alone for a few minutes?
Hell yes, you can! We all have different internal clocks….some of us are bright-eyed and bushy tailed before the sun comes up, and some of us don’t go to bed ‘til 3 a.m. I’m a little surprised that your partner hasn’t deduced that you are in no mood for important conversations before caffeine has hit your veins, but maybe that is just how good an actor you are. Hello, Oscar!
It is perfectly reasonable to sit your spouse down and say, “Tootsie, I adore you 23 1/2 hours a day. But the first half hour after waking, I feel like my veins are filled with sludge, with breath to match. I would love it if I could reserve that time for the only thing I love more than you, caffeine. Once properly infused, I will be my merry self and can tackle the finances, the Middle East and global warming. But ‘til then, danger zone!” I think that should do it. Hopefully, the better half will heed the warning. Or die trying.
I don’t know how it happened but my five-year-old will only eat hotdogs. I mean literally—ONLY hotdogs. I know hot dogs are bad for you, but I figure it’s better than starvation.
Also, I know my mother-in-law is judging me about this.
It’s a dog’s life
First, let’s address the mother-in-law issue. Simple solution. Arrange a sleepover with grandma (hopefully over many meals) and see how well she fares! My guess is, no better. Of course, if, by some chance, your five-year-old eats fruits and vegetables and whole grains and legumes at grandma’s, I see a possible permanent sleepover solution.
As for the nutrition of living solely on encased meats, I would say there is enough preservative in those to ensure your five-year-old a very, very long life. However, this is a question for your pediatrician. My bet is that they will say that a hot dog is better than starvation but, moreover, kids who are that picky when it comes to food, grow out of it eventually. They also often say that you have to offer children something seven or eight times before they try it, so fill their plate with the aforementioned, colorful foods and see what happens. There are a hundred ways to make a smiley face with berries, carrots and a slice of cantaloupe, so you can always try that. Shredded cheese makes for lovely hair by the way. Of course, chocolate chips make for good everything! Even the vegan ones. Pretty soon your little one will be eating the Mona Lisa, and she has no nitrites whatsoever.
I am in a circle of five women who have known each other for 25 years. We get together once a month for wine and conversation. One of the women tells the SAME STORIES all the time. Even when we say, “Carol, we’ve heard that one,” she KEEPS talking! It’s like she just can’t help herself. We love her but we have had it up to here!
What do we do?
Deaf by now
Boy, do I share your misery. This is a pet peeve of mine and I have many, many serial repeaters in my life. SO frustrating! What I have come to understand is that many, many people do not have the memory skills to differentiate who they have told what to. I happen to be married to one in fact. I get desperate after a while and have been known to shout, “unlike you, I actually listen to what my spouse says, and I do not need to hear it five times!” But that was probably not my most diplomatic moment, I admit.
However, if Carol continues to keep talking after you bluntly tell her you’ve heard the story already, Carol is either feeding a need to be heard no matter what, a need to bring the conversation back to herself (another pet peeve. Hate it!), or a need for an appointment with a neurologist.
If she has always been like this, I would chalk it up to Carol being Carol, in which case, you gals may have to be a little MORE aggressive (I know, it borders on rude) and say, “you told us that one but we’d love to hear another story,” and if that doesn’t work, you can keep saying “Carol, I could really use some help in the kitchen, would you mind joining me?”
If this is new behavior for Carol, you may want to gently make her aware of it (though that doesn’t always go well) and/or talk to her partner to see if they’ve noticed the same thing (also doesn’t always go well). Pick your poison!
Dear Gabby appears in the RoundTable every Friday. Yes, Gabby is an advice columnist – but not just any advice columnist. Because that would be boring! Gabby combines wisdom with wit. And a pinch of snark. She is not a trained therapist by any means, but has seen and loved many in her day. Her aim is to make you think while she makes you laugh. Gabby welcomes all questions and queries and is only too happy to hear your opinion, no matter how much it may diverge from hers. Write to Gabby at email@example.com.