Forced assholery, goose problems, threes, an area where I fail to consider the feelings of my baby.

You know what I hate? (“Everything!”) (That’s not true, Internet.) I hate when someone puts me in a position where I have to be confrontational, and not only that, a position where I am automatically the bad guy for saying anything. So my choice is either to sit and silently deal with something that is bothering me OR be the asshole, and neither of those is a good option FOR ME.

This usually happens when someone decides, of their own accord, that they’re going to do something nice for you. Except, you never asked them to do this nice thing for you. See, you already think I’m the asshole, but it’s not like it hasn’t happened to you.

Once is no big deal, but sometimes someone gets it in their head that they’re going to do an ongoing nice thing for you. Or they’ve set up some kind of… system or whatever… that will repeat the nice thing for you. I’m saying, maybe they do a nice thing one time, but maybe they do this nice thing OFTEN, either with effort or through some kind of set up that repeats the event without any maintenance, effort or money or anything on their side. I’m trying to give you a wide description here so that you can think of a situation in your own life that fits, so that I get a little sympathy over here on the asshole side of things. So take a second, and work yourself into this mindset.

Anyway, person is doing something nice for you – or something that they think is nice, if that makes sense. Something they have assumed you will appreciate or enjoy. And you didn’t ask for it – not because you didn’t want to impose, but because it’s not something you really appreciate or enjoy. It’s a basically harmless something, though, so maybe you can ignore it for a while, but eventually, it just GETS UNDER YOUR SKIN.

OKAY, MY SKIN. IT IS UNDER MY SKIN.

Why should I have to ignore it? Maybe I would like for it to stop, you know? But you basically HAVE TO IGNORE IT, because the person is being nice. If someone does something with the intention of being nice, you have absolutely no choice but to just accept it FOREVER, unless you want to be the asshole.

“I was just trying to be nice” is basically an inarguable defense. You hear that and you’re the asshole. No matter what.

So it can’t just be a simple matter of asking the person to stop, because they were trying to be nice. To indicate that their unrequested niceness is not 100% appreciated makes you the asshole, no matter what. And who wants to be the asshole? Either because you don’t want other people to think you’re an asshole, or because you don’t want to be perceived as an asshole by the person who was just trying to be nice to you, you know? I mean, you don’t want to HURT FEELINGS. You just want the thing to STOP.

And you know what ends up happening? Resentment gets all built up. Against the person who is just TRYING to be NICE. Because by being nice, they are forcing you to accept their niceness or be a total ASS PANDA, when you’re probably not an ass panda at ALL. By being nice, this person is forcing you to submit to something you DON’T WANT, or to be something that you don’t really think you are.

But you see, no matter what I say here, half the people reading are thinking, “You sound really ungrateful. Someone was just trying to do something nice for you.”

“Hey, do you mind not doing that anymore?”
“Well, I was just TRYING to be NICE.”

“You know, I’d really rather do that myself.”
“Well, I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE.”

“Can you stop stabbing me in the eye?”
“BEING NICE.”

YOU CANNOT WIN when someone is “JUST TRYING TO BE NICE.”

*****

Sometimes I feel like my entire day is one of those problems where you’ve got a goose, and a goose eater, and a pile of whatever geese eat, and for some reason, you can only fit one at a time in your boat, and you want to take them across the river instead of just leaving the whole damn lot to fend for themselves because, come on, they don’t have geese or goose food on the other side of the river?

What I have, though, is not goose-related. I have Penny, I have two dogs, and I have laundry, and sometimes I also need to use the bathroom.

I have to wait until Penny is asleep or at least content someplace secure before I go hang the laundry, because I can’t hang the laundry and carry her, and I’m not strapping her into her wrap for a two minute trip. And I need both dogs to come with me while I hang the laundry, because while I have NO CONCERNS about my dogs and the baby, I don’t leave them alone together, ever, because that is just how it’s done here.

The trouble is, the clothesline is around the corner of the yard, and Sheldon jumps the fence when he feels like no one is looking. We have not yet purchased an electric fence, but it is on our list, so slow your scroll, there, comment jumper. I take the diapers to hang on the line, and I need to wait for Sheldon to do his business, and then somehow convince him to stand next to me while I hang diapers, without knocking me over or stealing any diapers or think that me hanging them out of reach on the line is a FUN CHALLENGE.

And I have to be fast, because as soon as Penny realizes that my eyeballs are not fixated on her, as they should be even as she slumbers, she will LOSE HER GODDAMNED MIND.

I’ve got using the bathroom down to a 36 second science, saving anything elaborate for when Phil comes home, because alone time in the bathroom is a luxury I do not want to squander by sharing it. If Penny is awake and feeling needy (often), I tuck her in the Bumbo and set her on the bathroom floor. If she’s asleep, I leave her where she is, which leaves me with the dogs. Sheldon can usually be convinced to stand in the bathtub, because he’s an idiot, while Brinkley will do anything for a scratch on the head. We need a bigger bathroom.

Construction of Pennysylvania begins next week, and will be a completely baby-proofed safe zone, gated off from the rest of the house, that will keep her and the dogs separate without me having to put her in a cabinet for safe keeping while I just try to go without an audience.

*****

You know what else I hate? (“Everything?”) (Let it rest, Internet.) I hate when something breaks, or doesn’t work the way it should, or is unnecessarily complicated, and you SAY as much, and someone tells you a workaround, as if you hadn’t thought of it. I mean, maybe sometime you HADN’T thought of it, but most times, you’re just saying, “Hey, it should work this way.”

It’s like if you walked into your office and said, “It’s so annoying that Big Main Road that leads to the office is still closed! It’s been forever, this is really an unreasonable amount of time for a road to be closed, especially a large highway such as that!”

And someone says, “Well, you can go the back way. It’s only 10 minutes more.”

And you’re like, “… I’m here. I got here, to the office, where you are speaking to me. I know there’s another way. I used it. TO GET HERE. I’m just saying, I shouldn’t HAVE to.”

Or an example on Twitter. If you don’t use Twitter, let me quickly explain that your timeline can be public, for all to see, or locked, so that only those you allow can see your timeline.

If you come across a locked account and you would like access to follow that person, you send a request for that person to approve or deny.

When someone follows me, I check out their timeline to see if they’re a real person and someone who looks enjoyable to me. If they are, I follow back. Well, that’s how I used to do things, and my new way presents even more problems, but ANYWAY.

When someone who has a private account follows me, I can’t check out their timeline without requesting to be allowed to follow them. You’re forced to follow someone to find out if you even want to follow them.

I understand why some people want to have locked accounts and I’m not going to argue with them. But I think that if YOU, with a locked account, follow ME, it SHOULD COUNT as approval for me to see your Tweets. I shouldn’t have to go through the approval process. You wanted to follow me, so it should be assumed that you’d like me to follow you back so we can talk.

If you mention this issue on Twitter, three things will happen:

1. Some people will agree, because THIS MAKE SENSE.
2. A bunch of people will get all huffy because they don’t read well and assume you’re campaigning against locked accounts in general.
3. Someone will say, “Well, you can just request to follow and then unfollow right away if you don’t like them.”

I KNOW I CAN DO THAT, THREES. I just SHOULDN’T HAVE TO.

I get tons of spam Twitter followers, just like everyone else, and some days are worse than others and my inbox is just flooded with “new follower” messages from Twitter. I’ve started to ignore them. When someone talks to me, I check to see if I’m following them, and if I’m not, I follow back. If I’m not following you back on Twitter, it’s probably because you followed me and then never spoke to me. Your perogative, but I’m just explaining.

Anyway, if you follow me from a locked account and then you talk to me, I can’t see it. Even if you @ me. Because your account is locked. That is why I think that if your account is locked and you follow me, your account should become visible to me. It just makes sense.

Shut up, threes!

“We were just trying to be helpful.”

I fucking hate you, threes.

*****

NOW HIRING: STYLIST
Must demonstrate concern for dignity of baby.

“What… what is going ON here?”

“Is she KIDDING me with this?”

“What the shit IS THIS? I don’t remember buying ANY of this.”


76 thoughts on “Forced assholery, goose problems, threes, an area where I fail to consider the feelings of my baby.

  1. Diane

    I speed-scrolled to the comments to tell you how much I liked “slow your scroll, there, comment jumper”.

    (I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE.)

  2. TUWABVB

    As a holder of a locked account, I agree with yoru statement about being able to see the Tweets of people you follow. I also think that if a locked accout purposely @ replies to someone, that person should be able to see it regardless – I should have to have American Airlines follow me in order to enter a contest, etc. where you have to send a reply.

    And sorry about the “nice” issue – I hate it when people “are just trying to help” and it’s something you need/want done a certain way. Go “help” by painting my house because I don’t CARE how that’s done.

  3. Diane

    THE LOCKED TWITTER ACCOUNT FOLLOWS. SUCK. HATE.

    But! The other day I got an @-reply, and it was a fairly friendly @-reply that also seemed sort of maybe spammy? I couldn’t really tell. So I clicked through to the account, but the account was locked. So … maybe you CAN see @-replies from locked accounts when they are sent to you? Or maybe they locked it SUPERFAST to throw me off? Oh, Twitter. I hope you never lose that air of mystery about you.

    stephanie Reply:

    I also thought that if you @-reply someone from a locked account (which I have for various reasons), they could see the @-reply, but not the rest of your Twitter stream. (I’m pretty sure I’ve received an @-reply from locked accounts before.) (The same is not true for direct messages — you have to follow them back to receive a direct message.) Either way, Twitter should obviously allow the people being @-ed to see what is being said to them. Kind of defeats the purpose otherwise.

  4. Linnea

    I want to say words, because I really enjoyed this post, and have similar feelings (especially since I’m a person who frequently thinks up 1,000,000 ways to “be nice” but never really implements most of them, because what if it’s only nice for me & not for them?), and the locked account thing didn’t bother me until it happened to me, and then I was 100% on board with you, and also…

    Your baby is adorable, but… yeah… how do moms do stuff like pee and leave the room? It’s a giant, baffling mystery to me.

  5. Melissa

    “I hate when something breaks, or doesn’t work the way it should” AMEN. I do not CARE about the workaround, the workaround means the thing is BROKEN and no one acknowledges this. Like the workaround is some new FEATURE and why wouldn’t I just use that. Some people suck.

    Also, just ask the NICE doer to stop it. Someone that truly knows you would know that they’re being annoying with all the NICE by now. So being the asshole in this case makes no difference and you can get what you want.

  6. Metacognitivethoughts

    This paragraph here:
    I’ve got using the bathroom down to a 36 second science, saving anything elaborate for when Phil comes home, because alone time in the bathroom is a luxury I do not want to squander by sharing it. If Penny is awake and feeling needy (often), I tuck her in the Bumbo and set her on the bathroom floor. If she’s asleep, I leave her where she is, which leaves me with the dogs. Sheldon can usually be convinced to stand in the bathtub, because he’s an idiot, while Brinkley will do anything for a scratch on the head. We need a bigger bathroom.

    made me choke on my spit from the laughter.

  7. PinkieBling

    BABY LEEEGGGSSS!! (That’s what those are, right?) Her outfits are ridiculously cute. She has plenty of time to be Goth or whatever. SLOW DOWN, Penny!

    “I was just TRYING to be NICE” = “But NOW I’m being PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE.” THEY are the ASS PANDAS here.

    Other favorites: Pennysylvania: I used it. TO GET HERE; I fucking hate you, threes; and the entirety of the Penny captions.

    Andrea Reply:

    I wondered too if they were baby legs! I love those things and every friend omf mine who has a baby gets a pair :)

    Natalie Reply:

    Oh, so Baby Legs is a thing? I admit I was kind of squinty, like, of course they’re baby legs. Who else’s legs would they be??

    Now I get it.

    melissac Reply:

    Natalie,

    You made me laugh aloud (at work). Thank you for the smile.

    Vogt Reply:

    Yup, I laughed too Natalie. Couldn’t have expressed my thought process better if I’d tried.

  8. Melissa

    This made me laugh out loud: “Sheldon can usually be convinced to stand in the bathtub, because he’s an idiot”

    And then I got to Penny looking at her outfit, with commentary, and I died. HA!

    Amanda Reply:

    Ditto! The Sheldon comment got me too.

  9. Swistle

    I have to use Coping Thoughts to deal with the feelings of anxiety and confusion I get with locked accounts. Here is my Coping Thought. …Oh god, wait, is this OFFERING A WORKAROUND?? It IS, isn’t it!! It totally IS!! Never mind! Forget it! Because I SO AGREE with the workaround problem. If I say, “I get an XB-48 error EVERY TIME I click this,” I don’t want to hear, “Yeah, just click alt-E and it’ll take you out of there.” What I WANT is to NOT GET the STUPID ERROR. Or if I say, “The grocery store is almost always out of the salsa I like!,” I don’t really want, “You know, you could just stock up when they DO have it.” Yes, thank you, I have thought of that solution and have employed it—but what I WANT is for them NOT to almost always be out of salsa, so that I DON’T have to lug home twenty bottles of it every two months.

    I can totally understand the niceness problem. I’m imagining how my grandparents raved and raved and raved about the grapefruit they loved on their annual visits to Florida, and I always found it just as bitter as the grapefruit I could get at home. And what if they started sending me a huge box of it monthly all winter long? It’s NICE, it’s REALLY NICE, and at first I’d be like, “It’s no big! I mean, too bad they wasted their money, but we can…donate it…or something…I guess…” but after the tenth box of grapefruit the food bank won’t take because it’s perishable I’d be like OMG STOP PLEASE STOP.

    Swistle Reply:

    (Except I never WOULD actually ask them to stop. Instead, I’d think, “Well, they’re most likely to die BEFORE me, and at THAT point the grapefruit will stop. There is an end in sight.”)

    PinkieBling Reply:

    HAHAHA. Oh, Swistle, I love you.

    Meghan Reply:

    This? The dying before me? I CLING TO THIS DAILY.

  10. Katie

    I go back and forth between locked and unlocked. and I switch up my twitter handle more frequently then would like to. but this is only due to the fact that my husband likes to see what divel I put “on the twitters” and then endlessly make fun of me for it.

    I just realized how pitiful that sounds.

    rsngphoenix8 Reply:

    Aww *hug* tie all his shoe laces together or something!

  11. Saryiel

    Know what I hate? When I’m dying to BE a comment-jumper but hold off just long enough for someone to CALL OUT comment-jumpers, and then all trains of thought are instantly lost. I need to start taking notes on your posts for when I get to the end; there’s just too much funny (and blatant head-nodding on my end)for me to keep track of, seriously.

  12. Sally

    Sometimes I feel like having kids is just a fast track to making your whole life a workaround situation. Stuff like the going to the bathroom alone problem, or getting them to eat, or sleep, or whatever. Like, I know that if I swaddle him in this kind of blanket for twenty minutes, sing two songs, unswaddle him, and let him cry for five minutes, he will sleep. But I SHOULD be able to just put the baby in his crib and have him fall asleep. GRR.

  13. Maggie

    The just being NICE problem happens to me all the time with my in-laws. They really are great in-laws and I like them, but they so frequently do things that are supposed to be nice, but in fact are not something I want/need/want someone else to do/buy/get for me that I am constantly feeling like an ass panda.

    Usually their MO is to get something very nice for us (that I have no desire for) that ends up costing us money. For example, there is absolutely no way not to feel like a bitch for complaining that my in-laws bought us an iPad, but my husband insisted we pay to upgrade it to the fanciest iPad (I am not great with the tech stuff so have no technical term for this) which cost us $200. So boom, there goes $200 I really could have used for something else being used for something I didn’t want or need that my in-laws got us to be nice. This same type of thing has happened with sheets sets, home improvement projects, you name it. I want it all to stop, but there is no way I can do this without seeming like an ungrateful hag and having a huge argument with my husband who consistently fails to see the problem.

    Also stuff that doesn’t work the way it should aggravates the hell out of me. I don’t care if there is some other way to do it, the thing should work as it’s supposed to without the burden of making it work being on me. Bleh.

    Naomi Reply:

    SAME. HERE. My in-laws always buy very nice, very expensive things that we just don’t want, and I feel like an absolute a-hole every single time!! I especially have no idea what to do when their expensive kindness ends up costing money. (e.g. Buying us an expensive ac system we don’t want, and being stuck paying for the monthly fee our apartment building charges). If anyone has a way to tell this very generous couple to stop wasting their hard earned money on things we do not want/need/use, I’m all ears. In the meantime, ASS PANDA!!!

    Natalie Reply:

    This sounds like kind of an in-law/husband combo problem.

  14. Jessica

    You know what’s driving me crazy? I set up my Twitter account as a locked account, but unlocked it about a month ago. Then I checked to make SURE it was unlocked (it was. I thought.) So I’m reading your post and thinking, hmm, I @ replied you yesterday (and have before) but you don’t follow me. So I checked again and WTF, TWITTER, IT’S LOCKED AGAIN.

  15. Delicia

    Best photo/caption sequence EVER.

    What I really hate about the Just Being Nice people is when they are doing something for you, that you didn’t ask them to do, and they do it WRONG. Like, they do the dishes but put them away in ALL the wrong places, and you can’t find anything, and your spoons are where your glasses are supposed to be. AAGH. But you can’t SAY anything.

    “Construction of Pennysylvania begins next week” HAAA my brain read this as “Pennsylvania” so I was very confused for a sec.

    “someone tells you a workaround”
    I hate that!!!! They are utterly missing the point of why you said it. Don’t give me a workaround, just FIX the problem itself.

    Nicole K Reply:

    Ohhhh. PennYsylvania! That makes more sense now! Very cute.

  16. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    I’ve been enduring a Nice Thing for YEARS now. YEARS. Because there is NO WAY to say “no thank you” when it is a Nice Thing. It will hurt feelings and prompt the Nice Thingers to not do Nice Things in the future and to always feel like I am ungrateful and unappreciative of their Niceness.

    IT IS THE WORST.

    And this is ALSO a case of The Threes, because if I ever dare mention this to people, if they don’t automatically think I’m an asshat, they recommend workarounds. That I have already thought of or tried. And I don’t really WANT to have to do some sort of workaround – I just want the Nice Thing to stop.

    The goose problem sounds highly frustrating. Especially because I can never remember the solution to the real goose riddle anyway, so trying to come up with it in a time of desperation (ie needing to pee) would be a bad plan indeed.

  17. LizScott

    “Slow your scroll, comment jumper” just made my fricken day.

    (… I know that saying it that way makes my day sound fairly as pathetic, but that kind of takes away from the fact that it’s an awesome phrase so maybe life is the tits and that comment made it even BETTER right? aw fuck it: i’m saying i like the phrase, get off my back)

    rsngphoenix8 Reply:

    LOL I loved “Slow your scroll, comment jumper” too!

  18. Melospiza

    That thing with the niceness? That’s been the thing between me and my MIL for 17 years now. It will not stop. One of us will have to die first. And that’s IN SPITE of me and my husband being fully willing on multiple occasions to throw ourselves in front of the asshole bus.

  19. lenebean

    Curse words follow, so get the eye-bleach and indignation ready, sensitive readers.

    The “nice” thing is like when a creepy guy, typically a complete stranger, starts trying to chat a woman up and then is rude to the woman for either ignoring the creepster or setting a boundary. After all, he was just being nice and wanted to tell her to have a nice day, or what-the-fuck ever. The creep paints the woman as the asshole when the dude is actually imposing himself and intentionally trying to get too close.

    metacognitivethoughts Reply:

    I very much like this analogy. Yes “the nice people” and the creepers can get together and possibly leave me alone.

    LemonFresh Reply:

    Yeah, that’s immediately what I thought of because my mom has had this problem. There’s a guy who was friends with my (late) dad who for a couple of years recently would not stop showing up at the fast food place where my mom usually went for lunch. And he just didn’t understand that my mom wanted to read her newspaper and be LEFT ALONE. And he thought he was being nice and a good friend, and here’s my mom trying things like parking far away and walking there so that he won’t see her car and stop in. UGH.

    He stopped eventually, though. I’m not sure if my mom ever got up the courage to ask him to stop, or if he finally figured it out after being pointedly half-ignored all the time.

  20. Ale

    I want her to think, “We really need to work out some sort of clothing preapproval process,” but really can’t get beyond aww, look at the cute new pictures of cute baby!!! followed by, Is she doing situps?

  21. Tessie

    My mother bought me a subscription to Parents magazine like 3 years ago. I do not wish to receive Parents magazine. I SURE AS HELL do not wish to READ Parents magazine. And yet, I am forced to feel guilty each and every time I throw one directly into the recycling. All because SHE WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE. I keep hoping one of these years she will forget to renew, but with my luck it’s probably autorenewed on a Visa gift card with no expiration date.

    H Reply:

    My mom recently sent me a women’s magazine that I did not wish to read so I called the magazine and had the address changed to the YWCA Women’s Shelter. I thought I’d suggest that, unless you’re trapped because your mom will come to your house and look for the magazine. Then, obviously, you’re screwed!

  22. Em

    For the ‘nice’ person you could say something along the lines of “I really appreciate you doing [nice thing] for me, but it isn’t really something that interests me/that I need.” Hide the assholery behind politeness and compliments.

    Em Reply:

    Just realized, unsolicited advice, dammit. Sorry.

  23. Capn John

    Do you know who the first person was to use “I was just trying to be nice” as an excuse?

    You’ll never guess. Well, maybe you will. It was Hitler. Yep, Das Führer himself.

    * * *

    “Adolf Wilhelm Hitler!” screamed his mother. “Why are the Goldsteins stuffed in my new oven?”

    “Um…they’re Untermenschen?” replied young Adolf, knowing he was in trouble because his mother had used his full name.

    “Gott in himmel!” said Mrs. Hitler. “And this is a brand new oven! That’s it! Go to your room, and you just wait until Papa gets home!”

    “I was just trying to be nice,” sobbed Adolf, as he walked down the hall to his bedroom.

    * * *

    So the next time somebody tells you “I was just trying to be nice”, you can reply, “So was Hitler.” And just like that, they’re the ass panda.

    Oh, if only that worked IRL.

    My Inlaws (actually probably everyone’s Inlaws, and that includes my wife’s) excel at being so nice it’s rude.

    MIL: Would you like some cake?

    Me: No, thank you.

    MIL: Are you sure?

    Me: Yes. I mean, no, thank you.

    MIL: But it’s your favorite. I made it especially for you.

    Me: Thank you, but no thanks.

    MIL: Okay, I’ll cut you a piece and you can have it later.

    Me: I really don’t want any.

    MIL: Here you go.

    Me: I said I don’t want any cake!!!

    MIL: Well. You don’t have to be so rude about it. I was only trying to be nice.

    Me: So was *bites tongue*

    MIL: What? So was what?

    Me: Never mind. Sorry. Um…this cake is delicious. Thank you.
    Me: <——-<<< Ass Panda

  24. rsngphoenix8

    I know just what you mean with forced niceness. When my husband and I got married his mom insisted on throwing me a bridal shower–never mind that it’s traditionally the Maid of Honor’s job. She wouldn’t accept that I didn’t want her to throw me one and started saying it was for the family and friends that we weren’t inviting (mostly because we didn’t know them and because we were having a small wedding). So I spent the night being stared at by people who didn’t know me and everyone talking with the person next to them, but not to me. It was a horrible night.

    His parents also have TONS of advice for how we should be living our lives and they get upset if we don’t follow it. So believe me I get what you’re saying. No judgement from over here!

    Katie Reply:

    I OPENLY hate my in laws. (it started right around the time they stiffed us and left us with having to pay for the rehersal dinner and alcohol at our wedding. Which they promised up and down to pay for. Largest. Bar-tab. Ever.)

  25. Kammah

    Favourite parts: Can you stop stabbing me in the eye?, Pennysylvania, Sheldon in the bathtub, and of course, Penny.

    And in the boat scenario? Couldn’t the goose swim? I mean, that makes sense? Right? And why would you want to bring along with you a goose eater that, by definition, WOULD EAT THE GOOSE YOU WERE TRYING TO SAVE. Ok, and now my brain hurts.

    Kammah Reply:

    Ok. I just looked up that riddle and that riddle is dumb.

    Geese can swim.
    Foxes are wild animals and would make terrible travelling companions for humans and geese.
    There is always more goose food. Geese are not picky. Also, they are dumb.
    The end.

  26. Dani

    I totally understand the whole not wanting to be an ass hat when someones trying to be nice thing. My boyfriend and I have a friend that’s always doing this to us. He’ll come over and hangout and then in the middle of hanging out he’ll see our garbage can is full or our some dishes in the sink and just start cleaning them. Dude, you don’t have to clean my house…it makes me feel like you think Im a slob or something.

    One time was particularly bad when he offered to have a birthday party for my boyfriend. My boyfriend really doesn’t like parties much. So he told him that if he wanted to hangout that would be fine but no big party. For a week this friend brought up having a party everyday. Finally, I guess he thought he would be tricky and changed it to, “Well Im gonna have a party on your birth date but its not a “birthday” party. Im just having a normal not birthday party. Will you come?” of course we said no. My boyfriend felt like a huge ass for saying no but come on! Our friend just didn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a party for their birthday. Some people just don’t like parties!

    Later he even called us from the “not birthday” party and left us a message while we were celebrating his birthday at the zoo (we were not answering any calls at that point) and asked if we had decided to come to the party…
    Really? We ended up having a great day at the zoo but my boyfriend still felt bad about the whole party thing.

    Meghan Reply:

    “Dude, you don’t have to clean my house…it makes me feel like you think Im a slob or something.”

    THIS RIGHT HERE. Ugh. Even if there is only one thing in the sink and I’ve spent the whole day doing laundry, I will still feel like a slob and a failure if you try to clean up for me. Hate, hate, hate.

  27. EmilysHollow

    This is why I never try to be nice and I never try to be helpful. I don’t want to be a #3.

    I feel your pain on the dog/baby thing. I do. Well, sort of. I only have ONE dog, but she’s a brat (a loveable one, sure, but still) who I most certainly do NOT trust around the baby. We got one of those pay yard things that are ugly as sin and used that for a while to keep X safe and dog free so I could pee and/or drink water without almost drowning him when he knocked the glass out of my hand. It only lasted a few short months (2?) before being confined at ALL just pissed him off. But it was the greatest thing ever for those 2 months.

    Penney’s last comments there made me weep with mirth. Weep.

  28. Dianne

    OK-Help me people. I’m soon going to be the MIL, and I absolutely love the DIL. Occasionally I’ll send her some surprise gift-a special food they sold in her college town, a personalized avatar, shoes from Zappos, etc. I don’t want to be the “nice” person who is sending stuff she doesn’t want because I totally get that, but how do I know whether she really likes it or is exasperated? It seems like the alternative is to not send anything. (We live in different states).

    Kate Reply:

    I think the exasperation comes mostly when the “nice” thing is continuous and has to be dealt with at periodic intervals- then you get the annoyance of dealing with the thing PLUS the irritation of looking forward to the next time you have to deal with the thing. So: sending her a pair of shoes you think she’d like every once in awhile=fine, signing her up for a 10 year subscription to a Shoe-of-the-month club=not fine.

    Maggie Reply:

    From my experience sending something every now and then is great as long as it doesn’t (1) end up costing your DIL money or (2) take up a ton of space. Also it’s probably important for you to decide before sending something if you are ok with the idea that your DIL might not always want what is sent and may not use or keep it and so may give it away or similar. If you are comfortable with that possibility (and it meets the first two things) I think it is really a nice thing to do.

  29. Rhonda

    What I don’t get is in that riddle there is food for the goose to eat, but the goose eater gets nothing except the goose – which it’s not allowed to eat.

    And those people that give workaround answers are people who just don’t understand that sometimes all you need is to complain. Sometimes it just makes you feel a bit better and then when you get the workaround answer and it pisses you right off again.

  30. rebecca

    Well I do not have a twitter, so I cannot speak to that issue. BUT on the “just being nice” thing, here is my thing that makes me an asshole. You know when you have just had a baby or some other major life change, and people want to bring you meals? Totally nice, right? Except I hate it. I am a picky eater and mostly I dont like stuff other people make, plus cooking is relaxing for me, even (and maybe especially) with a new baby, so I really really hate being brought meals. There. See what an a-hole I am? Probably the biggest a-hole out there, becaue who the hell is ungrateful about free food? Apparently, me, that’s who. ahem.

  31. Mary

    The Penny pictures are, as usual, awesome! The captions though, those put them over the top (as in double-plus extra awesome!). Sooo funny. :)

  32. Sarra

    It took years….before I could go to the bathroom with the door closed and not have my kids freak out, yeah me. Now, I have a very clingy momma cat we adopted that will sit by the door an meow, ugh!

    My MIL was the type of person who “was just trying to help” would come into my house while I was at work or school and clean floors, wash dishes, etc. Nothing was too personal for her, then she would tell me what needed replaced if it was looking worn. Numerous Ass Panda conversations later and I just gave up.

  33. Emily

    I’m still waiting to do something alone. Pee, throw a load of laundry in, eat something I don’t want to share. She 3.5!! I love my inlaws. I really do. Yes they do annoying things. I gave up on trying to “fix” it and just go with it. Much more relaxing for all of us. Especially my husband who would have to listen to me.

  34. Lisa

    I have a locked Twitter account because, frankly, I don’t want my family members reading what I tweet. Not my husband, of course, but he barely gets e-mail, much less Twitter. I mean my 15yo niece and ::shudder:: my kids.

    It may make me a wang, and cost me followers, but yeah. I’ll keep it locked.

    TJ Reply:

    YOU’RE BEING A TWOOOOOOOOOOO.

    Lisa Reply:

    Noooo! Not a two! I swear! It irritates me when OTHER people have locked accounts, but I have REASONS! I’m a hypocrite, not a two!!

    (please don’t unfollow me)

    cakeburnette Reply:

    I must have a locked Twitter account, but I think I’ll keep it that way because I primarily use it to post stuff that is too wrong to go on FB. Like, I’ll say mean things about my 13 y/o’s stupid classmates that I only want her and her cool friends to see.

    Yeah. I might still be 14.

  35. Midwest_Jen

    As always, a wonderful read! I’m avoiding most news/websites atm while I wait to watch some shows that were on and I don’t want spoiled, so I appreciate you more than you know right now. At least I can wander through your archives without fear! =)

    Also, I thought about saying I hate to suggest anything, then realized how assholey that sounded (cause I’m going to do it anyway), but we have 2 of these gates in our house (to keep the cats out of certain rooms) – Bindaboo Pet Gates Swing-Close Expandable Pet Gate – got em on Amazon. The part I wanted to suggest I guess is that a normal kiddo gate where you have to move the arm and such is a pain in the butt after awhile. These have latches and swing shut after you (there are others out there, this is just the one we got). I also didn’t have to actually do anything to the frame (we rent), which is a bonus. I’ve lived in military housing, the “move out” process of cleaning/fixing is HORRID (at least it was in WA).

    Anyway, thanks again for a refuge for the day and feel free to ignore my suggestion, I mean … I was only trying to be nice. *snark*

  36. Shane

    I didn’t realize you couldn’t see the tweets even if I @you’d them. So I unlocked my account, it’s not like I do much more than retweet other peoples clever tweets.

  37. Nicole

    My grandmother. I love her, but she constantly gives us stuff we have no desire to have. It was bad enough when it was just for me, but now there’s a baby. I, however, have no fear of looking like an asshole. I will return the giant box of baby wipes to Costco, because we cloth diaper and therefore use cloth wipes. My now standard reply is that we don’t want her to waste her money and next time she sees something cute, set the money aside and put it in the kid’s college fund.
    It’s much harder for me when it’s a non-family member. I just smile and say thanks. And feel like a jerk when items go directly to Goodwill.

  38. Meghan

    Apparently I’m also an ASS PANDA because I totally hate people “just being nice” WHEN I DO NOT REQUIRE THEIR NICENESS. I don’t like other people doing my laundry, my dishes or sending over food that I will not eat and will not allow my children to eat. And then I feel like an asshole because of all the NICENESS.

    Side note: As I type this, a known helper just called to ask to do my son’s laundry. And I said yes. And now I’m just… done.

    cakeburnette Reply:

    This is baffling to me…who just walks into someone else’s home and cleans up or washes dishes? Or asks to do someone else’s laundry. That is so weird to me…

  39. Leah

    I have a “just trying to be nice” story that strikes fear into my heart to this very day.

    So my Dad is dead-set on buying me a car.

    (this is the point where people stop me and go, OMG, you’re complaining about this? You asshole! But this story needs CONTEXT!)

    But I don’t want a car. I am a dirt-poor University student, and the buying of the car would only consist of the actual purchase of said car. The gas, the insurance, the maintenance, and the parking is all expected to be paid for by me. And I CANNOT AFFORD ALL THAT at this time. Besides, I have free bus travel as a perk from my school.

    So I tell my Dad, thank you, but I don’t want a car right now for above reasons. He goes ok, that makes sense.

    Invariably, within an hour, he goes, “you know, I was looking at this Ford, and I think that’s what I’m going to get you.”

    Or, the next day, “Hey, let’s go to the car lot and look around.” etc. etc.

    This has been going on for months, and my mother says that every time I refuse I’m hurting his feelings. I’m actually terrified that some birthday or Christmas they’re going to surprise me with one in the driveway. It’s not unlikely; these are the same parents who, when I told them that I wanted to redesign my room, went out and bought ALL the new furniture for my room WITHOUT CONSULTING ME or ASKING WHAT I WOULD LIKE or even TELLING ME THAT’S WHAT THEY WERE DOING. (Kind of missing the point of ME redesigning MY OWN ROOM)

    And the cherry on top; the cars he always wants to buy are cars I HATE.

    Please tell me I’m not the unreasonable one here. ;_;

  40. velocibadgergirl

    And I think I figured out the goose thing…is that good or bad?

    Step 1: Take goose across, leaving goose food and goose eater behind.

    Step 2: Take goose eater across, leaving goose food. This time, take goose back with you.

    Step 3: Take goose food across, leaving goose alone on original shore.

    Step 4: Take goose across.

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