It’s ask the grumpies time again: Put your ask the grumpies questions here!

Hard to believe, but we’ve finally run out of ask the grumpies questions.

When that happens, we solicit more!

Ask the grumpies is a feature we run every other Friday (unless we get an emergency question that displaces the alternating google questions feature).  You ask, we answer, or we punt and ask the grumpy nation to answer.  In any case, you get the benefit of not only our wisdom but the collective wisdom of the far wiser grumpy nation.

What questions do you have for us?  What can we bring clarity or further confusion to?  What can the grumpy nation ponder and discuss on your behalf?  Ask in the comments below or email us at grumpyrumblings at gmail dot com.

43 Responses to “It’s ask the grumpies time again: Put your ask the grumpies questions here!”

  1. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    I’d like to know why we’re not updating in anybody’s blogroll in a timely fashion… but I also don’t know the answer to that question.

  2. Rented life Says:

    Hm. I need to buy an MP3 player (not iPod). What do I get?

    What are your thoughts on MLMs and the abundance of facebook “parties”? My husband thinks the MLMs are being pushed on women/moms who makes less than me and the “freedom” sounds appealing to them even though it looks like more work than my 2 jobs!

    Tips on “managing” bosses who need to be reigned in when they are over excited about projects you’re in charge of–especially since the excitement means he’s worrying about things 15 steps ahead of where we really are. I need the info for step 1! (He means well, just not good at focusing.)

    Favorite spring flower?

    What to tell a non mom friend when she says you need to find mom friends. ( I expressed being lonely, never mentioned my kid). I don’t want mom friends. I don’t like most other people’s kids and good lord I don’t want to talk about kids.
    What to tell pedi who says LO needs more sleep and shouldn’t wake got 10 hrs. Zie wakes after 6, nurses, sleeps again. Some nights 8-9 hr total sometimes 10 but never in one shot

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      With that last one: “Can I get my kid’s records transferred to my new pedi?”

      • Rented life Says:

        I wish. Sadly there aren’t many options where we live. The other place our friend’s brother has a huge lawsuit on bc they put rods in his back that had known bacteria problems…I generally don’t go to the dr because of these stupid things. But with the kid, I want the immunizations, etc.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Well, there’s always the say nothing and continue doing as you damn well please method.

      • Rented life Says:

        Yeah we’ve been doing that for a few things already–milk, bottle weaning, pacifiers, etc. guess sleep is added to the list. She’s more than welcome to come over and for the kid to sleep. I’ll sleep in while she works on that.

      • Rented life Says:

        *force the kid to sleep

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        The human race wouldn’t have survived if kids couldn’t figure out how to get the right amount of sleep. Seriously.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        My DH can answer the mp3 player one. (He says they’re overpriced.)

      • Rented life Says:

        iPod is overpriced yes but also won’t allow any of my non-iTunes music I’ve collected over the years. I have a hard time paying for something that doesn’t do what I want but does all kinds of stupid stuff instead. I need all my writing music in one spot.

      • Leah Says:

        Is the issue that you don’t want to use itunes? Because you can import all your music into itunes. I have ripped/downloaded/collected music from lots of places and play them on my ipod.

        I suppose ipods are expensive, but I am still using my 3rd gen ipod I bought back in 2003 and the nano I got in 2008. I’ve found them to be durable and worth the expensive. But that is obviously an individual thing.

        And that’s my long comment of “sorry; can’t help”

    • Leah Says:

      We have a similar issue with our little one. Our doctor told us to have our baby sleep in a separate room so she can sleep more soundly. Attempts to do so result in hysterics. We like our pedi for almost everything, but I just know now not to talk about sleep with her, and we’re working on other solutions. Co-sleeping has also been a mixed bag. Might just be the phase we’re in — sleep regression? Growth spurt? teething? baby who doesn’t need much sleep? Who freakin’ knows.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        If the human race had to have babies sleep in another room for healthiness, we all would have been eaten by wild animals and died out aeons ago.

        Sleep stuff definitely changes with phases, which is nice because bad things won’t last forever, but kind of sucks because just when you get used to something, it changes!

  3. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    My parents are very toxic people: judgmental, intrusive, manipulative, and demeaning. They behave very poorly in public, especially when it comes to service workers in restaurants, hotels, airlines, stores, etc, whom they treat like absolute shitte–as if they aren’t even fellow human beings. Because of all of this, PhysioWife and I drastically limit the time we spend in their company. They have gotten used to the fact that we visit their home in a sunny place only once per year, staying for four nights. We see them on average about once per month when they are in their other home in our city, generally spending a couple of hours having dinner.

    Here’s the question: They are pressing me about PhysioWife and I going on a trip with them to a foreign country to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary and one of their milestone birthdays. There is absolutely zero chance that we are going to do this, and I am trying to figure out how to tell them we aren’t going in a way that minimizes the hysterical shitshow they (mostly my mother) will perform.

    Obviously, one extreme would be, “We’re not going on this trip with you, because you always behave terribly and it is misery to be around you, and thus we will never travel with you, especially to a foreign country.” Any creative ideas for scripts to make use of? Obviously, I can’t just say, “We aren’t available those dates”, because they’ll just propose other dates. One thing I thought of was, “Oh, it’s a nice suggestion, but we just really don’t like traveling with other people.” PhysioWife doesn’t think that sounds plausible, because we travel all the time with her family (who are totes awesome).

    Anyway, any suggestions? I am sort of at a loss, and am feeling resigned to just having to say, “We don’t want to travel with you”, and dealing with the hysterical fallout.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think I speak for both of us when I say that we suck at this kind of thing. But we can definitely throw it up to the grumpy nation! You might also want to get a copy of Crucial Confrontations, I dunno though.

    • Perpetua Says:

      There are a couple of other possibilities besides the ones you’ve mentioned. You could cite money as an issue (that is, you don’t have the money to travel, or to travel the way they’d want to travel), and if they’re offering to pay you could say this makes you and your wife feel very uncomfortable and you don’t want to go if you can’t pay for yourselves, which you can’t (either because you have no extra money or, if that’s not plausible, because you’re saving your money for X thing). If the milestone anniversary is one of yours (rather than theirs) you could simply say you’ve decided to celebrate another way – or if it’s theirs and you have a milestone of your own coming up in the next 2-5 years, you could say you’re saving for X special thing for that milestone. You could also develop a work or health related reason why travel in the timeframe they’re wanting to travel won’t work for you and you would be miserable if they postponed their trip because of you. (This kind of thing is one of the rare cases where having kids can be helpful – a handy excuse to get out of things you don’t want to do! Pets might work – my ILs excused themselves from visiting us for years because of their dog.)

      • delagar Says:

        I used a work-related reason when my toxic family wanted our entire family to go on a cruise together for my parents’ 50th anniversary. I was going up for full professor, said I had to work on that. It was even (sort of) true, and it worked like a charm. Don’t you have a paper or something? Could be very pressing!

    • becca Says:

      Any chance of saying “Oh, we weren’t planning on traveling there this year, and we don’t want to ruin the romance of your *milestone wedding anniversary*. But we’d like to be part of the festivities by throwing you a small ‘bon voyage’/happy milestones party at our place right before you leave”. This would involve no more than the typical amount of contact with them, with the added bonus of you having the option to have the evening catered so you don’t actually have to go out in public with them if you don’t want to.

    • Debbie M Says:

      I’m always a fan of true answers, but then I only rarely have to deal with unreasonable people. So the question is how to be tactful. I’m not so great with the tact. The truth you’ve mentioned is that you don’t like to see how they treat service workers, so watching that is something you don’t want to do on your vacations. The tactful route might be something about how y’all might ruin their trip by freaking out about how they treat service people, and you wouldn’t want to do that on their special trip. The best thing about true reasons is if they really do address them, it’s win-win! But they probably can’t treat service people with respect. And even if they suddenly could, I get the idea there are plenty of other good reasons not to accompany them.

      I’ve also read many times that “No” is a complete sentence, though I prefer “No, thanks.” In this case, even, “No, but thanks so much for thinking of us. We wish you all the best on your exciting trip.” But don’t people always then ask why? “Oh, we’re not interested, but thanks.”

      Bleh. Good luck.

    • Leigh Says:

      One of the best excuses I’ve used is “I don’t have enough vacation days for that trip.”

    • Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

      Thanks for these suggestions! Unfortunately (fortunately?), some of them are precluded by personal circumstances that my parents are aware of. It is isn’t credible that we wouldn’t have the financial means to take the trip (we clearly do), nor that we wouldn’t have sufficient vacation days (neither of us have jobs that count vacation days).

      I think “Thanks, but no thanks” makes the most sense. This gives them a face-saving way out, as they can decide to just take that for an answer and move on. If they press for a reason, then it is on them that they have to listen to me say, “Thanks, but we’re really not interested”. And if they press further for why we aren’t interested, then it is on them that they have to listen to me say, “We don’t want to travel with you”.

      Thought just occurred to me: How about, “Thanks, but that’s really not necessary”? This is on the surface a responsive answer to their suggestion, since they offerred to pay for the trip. Does that make clear that we aren’t going at all, or does it make it sounds like we are going, but want to pay our own way?

      • Rented life Says:

        “Thanks but actually we had planned something special for you to mark th occasion” and then do nice night out with dinners and show (or whatever is appropriate–small party? Etc.). You’ve marked the occasion, met the family obligation and no one can say you ignored the big deal milestone.

    • Steph Says:

      I’m a few days late to this b/c of travel, but Captain Awkward might also be useful. The closest thing I could find quickly was this post about not wanting certain family to come visit:
      but her archives are extensive and likely to have something

  4. Debbie M Says:

    I have three questions occupying me lately, but I wouldn’t normally think to ask you. Please feel free to ignore.

    1) I want to make a cool graph like the one in Your Money or Your Life that shows a) income, b) spending, and c) the amount of income you could get from your investments. The first goal is to get b) lower than a). Then it’s super fun when it is also lower than c). But I’m retired now. Is there a super fun graph for me, too? Or do I have to settle for just income and spending now?

    2) How do I deal with having a smart phone? How to I carry it? Where do I bring it? When do I have it on? I don’t want to turn into one of those people who’s always attached to the phone even when I’m socializing with actual people in person, or watching a movie with them, or attending class with them, etc. And I don’t want to mess it up or be uncomfortable carrying it in my pants pocket. I don’t always have a purse or wear a blazer.

    3) How can I be more polite in making various purchases (or, really, doing anything). Some answers: use less water and power (and certainly don’t waste it); re-use, fix, and share things rather than buying new; buy organic instead of regular for less poisoning of the earth and farmworkers; buy fair trade instead of regular so the people who actually do the work get some of the money; buy shade-grown chocolate instead of regular so they don’t have to burn down more rainforest every three years; buy free-range meat/eggs instead sardine-city-raised meat/eggs to be nicer to the animals–or even better, get nutrients directly from plants; contribute to charities that address important issues effectively and efficiently.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Huh, interesting questions. In the interest of full disclosure neither #2 nor I have a smart phone, but we can still opine! And, of course, the grumpy nation knows best.

    • Leigh Says:

      I have a wristlet that I keep my smartphone in and a few credit cards and ID. It’s better than always carrying my purse around and often fits in a coat pocket.

      • Rented life Says:

        That’s why I have too. It’s always on because it’s pretty much my only phone but it’s also nearly always on silent. So people can call/text but if it’s in my bag I’m not answering. I only turn he sound on if I’m expecting an important call.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Ha! I actually had to look up wristlet to see what one was. Very interesting idea. Thanks!

    • Leah Says:

      I keep my smartphone on silent. I disable (almost) all push notifications. If I want to see something, I’ll go into the app myself, thanks. I do keep my phone on most of the time. It’s a phone with portable internet, honestly. Airplane mode is great for when I don’t want to be contacted but still want to use some phone feature.

      Get a case, for sure. I’ve dropped my iphone so many times over the past 3 years with nary a crack. And I just have a cheap, basic case my mom bought me — somewhat flexible and covers all the edges. You just want something that will protect the edges from any impact.

      My only downside is that I do keep it in my pocket a lot, and I notice that I’ve got some wear on my pants pocket from where the phone always sits. I dislike how large smart phones are. I’ve debated going back to a dumb phone, but there’s a few features I use all the time that don’t seem to be available any more on dumb phones (tho they were plenty easy to find in the mid-2000 years). Seems like phone technology has now diverged to smart phone or super dumb phone.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Thanks, Leah! That’s super annoying that you can’t find a nice, petite average-intelligence phone.

  5. First Gen American Says:

    Houses.. When do you downsize, upsize, etc. When you can no longer afford the house you live in, how long do wait until you make the decision to sell. (Due to a life change..job loss, stay home with kids, etc)

    When you pay off all your debt, what then? What should you save for (presuming that you are already saving for retirement and kids college and you like your profession so you’re not necessarily motivated by extreme early retirement).

    At what point does “experiences over stuff” become just as shallow and annoying as having that fancy car. Examples please.

    What is on your must have bucket list for your kids to do/experience before they are grown? On a related note…what are your fondest childhood memories that your parents influenced.

    How do you suck yourself out of an unproductive funk. Do you find that allowing yourself to wallow in it for awhile is actually is more helpful than beating yourself up about being unproductive.

    That’s all I can think of for now.

  6. crazygradmama Says:

    My husband and I are saving up for a down payment on a house. Right now that money is stored in a savings account with a (no kidding) 0.01% interest rate. Can you recommend any better options? We know next to nothing about investing.

  7. Leah Says:

    A few questions:

    – We’re debating becoming landlords in order to intelligently use a “big” (relatively speaking) pile of cash we’ve saved by investing in real estate. What are our other options for investing money wisely but still having access to that money if needed? We’d ultimately like to have a house for ourselves to live in.

    – What’s your favorite shows/movies for kids?

    – How do you play with your kids when little? Anything I should be doing, or is interaction of any type sufficient?

    – How does one spend leisure time when trying to scale back on work responsibilities? I’m working on rebalancing life and realizing that I’m not even sure how to spend my time when I limit work hours. In college and grad school, one could conceivably be working any time. Teaching is similar. What to do with one’s time if you decide no more work after, say, 5 pm except in the busiest of times? I’m trying to remember what I did with myself when I only worked 40 hours a week with minimal out-of-work requirements.

    • Leigh Says:

      Hobbies! Gym, hang out with friends, read books, organize your house, hikes, learn to cook new things, bake. It’s nice to have some free time again now that I’m not working weekends :)

  8. Ask the grumpies: How to say no to trips with crazy people | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] For those of you who missed this question and following commentary in the last Ask the grumpies solicitation: […]

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