Catch-All Tuesday: The New Girl

"Learn something?  But -- I'm too old for that shit!"

“Learn something? But — I’m too old for that shit!”

It just so happens that I recently changed jobs.  I went from a minor management position to the position I used to manage, and at a different company.  Good job.  Good company.  But I still get shaky knees each morning on my way to work.

Why?

‘Cause I’m the New Girl, that’s why.

Five Reasons Why It Sucks To Be The New Girl

1)  You’re Scared To Make A Mistake

Especially when you’re coming from a position where you managed what you’re now doing.  You can’t catch everything, and you will screw up, and when you do, it’s gonna sting.  Rookie mistake, right?  And it’s the little, day to day errors that will trip you up. Using the wrong ink colour on a report, or putting your work in the wrong file. Forgetting someone’s name, or opening the wrong door and interrupting a meeting. There will be others judging you and watching you, even if you’re only sixteen and it’s your first job as the fry girl at McDonald’s.  It’s nerve-wracking, and it’s the primary reason why new people need your understanding.  Only make fun of us when we can’t hear you.

2)  You Don’t Know The Staff Dynamics

Are you accidentally pal-ing up to the staff gossip?  Getting on the bad side of Superbitch?  Kissing ass to the totally wrong supervisor?  It can take months to figure out the minute details of the human behavioural patterns in your workplace, particularly if the people you now work with have been together as a group for quite some time (read: clique-y).  And once you realize that you’ve made some kind of social error, it can take a long time to fix it.  Establishing relationships with your co-workers isn’t easy; you need to put in effort and, frighteningly, put yourself out there (see Reason #1).  Us new people won’t get it correct right out of the gate, so give us some time to warm up to everybody and see where we fit in.  And for God’s sake — let us fit in!

3)  You Don’t Know Where the Bathroom Is

For the first week I was at my new job (which was just last week), I had no idea there was a bathroom on our floor.  No one had told me.  No one had given me a tour.  I was going up two flights of stairs to pee.  You can imagine how red my face was when I asked another staff member what was behind the door everybody was using only to be shown that it was a  coat room with lockers (which I also did not know about) — and two bathrooms.  Feck.  If you see The New Girl, ask her if she’s had a tour, and offer to take her around if the answer is no.  If you are The New Girl, ask someone if there is a bathroom on your floor, and ask where the closest one is if the answer is no.  The moral of the story here is to not be so shy and afraid to ask routine questions that you end up looking ridiculous.

4)  You Wear The Wrong Thing On The Wrong Day

Tomorrow is Jeans Day where I work.  If you pay $5 to a certain charity, you get to wear jeans to work, provided you wear a corporate attire shirt specially chosen by the company to go with.  I was given a shirt today, which I promptly forgot in the aforementioned coat room.  I could wear regular work attire tomorrow, but will I be a poorly clothed outcast?  Standing out like a sore thumb?  Oh, decisions, decisions.  It might sound frivolous, but it’s not.  Again, it’s about fitting in and making sure that you are accepted.  One place I worked had a corporate attire program, complete with schedule of what items could be worn on which days of the week.  Failure to adhere to the schedule — inadvertently or no — meant you didn’t look like anybody else you worked with that day, and prompted a lot of teasing.  It can be mortifying.  Don’t point and laugh at me tomorrow in my dress pants, or don’t judge me if I show up in a t-shirt and duck away to change.

5)  You’re Scared You’ll Screw Up And Get Fired (Like, WORSE than Reason #1)

Now, this is probably everybody’s biggest professional fear, but it plagues me for one reason: I know someone I now work with was “encouraged” to find new employment when we worked together several years ago because they had made a very serious professional faux-pas.  I can’t look at this person without thinking, “Man, I know what you did, you dirty –“, well, you get the picture.  That incident happened ten years ago, and I still remember it.  Making mistakes is a part of life, but making one so bad that everybody knows about it (and remembers it ten years later) is crippling.  My new job is very public, and making a mistake means that many people will find out about it.  I feel extra pressure because I am expected, and rightfully so, to know this job inside-out, and yet I will still make errors.  I’m afraid I’ll be humiliated.  Fired.  That will lessen with time, but right now, it’s very raw.

 

So be nice to The New Girl.  Especially if she’s a red-head in her late thirties who looks a bit lost and asks if you can point her in the direction of the bathroom.

 

Relationship Friday: He Didn’t Call Back…

But I didn't even wear the  granny panties...

But I didn’t even wear the granny panties…

It was only two dates.

He didn’t even kiss me.

…Shoulda been my first clue, I guess.

We went for a walk.  Then a few days later, we went out for coffee at Second Cup and closed the joint down.  He said in the parking lot he wanted to see me again, but, obviously — not so much.

I seriously have no idea what I did or said that caused him to look at his phone and go, “Uhm, no thanks”.  I never will (more’s the pity).  And it’s not like I was mentally walking him down the aisle.  But, really?  GAAAAACK!  I still want to know why I’m not the one who gets to Date #3.  When I was so nice.  And funny.  With great hair.

The sad reality is that I just need to get over myself and move on.  I wasn’t heavily emotionally involved, but my ego takes a beating every time a guy decides I’m not the one, whether I’m into him or not.  I’m self aware enough to state that even though I may not be smitten, I certainly want him to be, as ridiculous as I know that is.  I grit my teeth when I think about the guys that just stopped.  Stopped texting.  Stopped calling.  The only guy who still trys to get ahold of me was a lousy boyfriend the first time around, and I’m not interested.  I think this happens to every gal — gotta kiss a lotta frogs to get a prince, as they say — but with this particular guy, we had known each other casually for several years, and I kinda developed a thing for him.  I’m not shedding any tears, but I’m pouting pretty hard.

I think that although women normally throw their hands up and make like they want to know what happened so that they don’t make the same mistakes again — they lie.  We lie.  We don’t like to think we’ve done anything wrong, much less have it pointed out to us, no matter how much we insist we do.  We’ll probably bitch you out when you give us the answer we said we were looking for.  So we are perfect.  And confused.  Because if we’re so perfect, why didn’t he call back?

We make all kinds of mistakes.  An off-handed comment that falls flat.  Showing up in heels and being taller than him.  Suggesting the wrong movie.  And then there’s always the spinach in the teeth/zipper undone/snotty nose horror that we don’t find out about until we get home and realize our chance with him totally slid down the drain.  It can also just be a chemistry thing.  You’re feeling it, but he’s not.  And he’s not doing it on purpose.  He can’t help it, which somehow makes it worse.

What we have to realize is that the guys who don’t call back are just getting out of the way for the guy who will.  It’s like looking for a really nice pantsuit at Bergdorf Goodman.  Some you just leave on the rack.  Others you try on, hum and hah about, then take off after a minute or two.  Others — well, you can suck in your tummy, fight with the zipper, try to explain away the weird colour, and tell yourself it will “ride up with wear”, but the amazing suit you had your heart set on is just not going to work.  Ever.  No matter how much it blows, you have to put it back on the hanger for some other gal to try out and keep if it works.

I’m sad.  Not devastated.  Weepy.  Shattered.  Just sad, thinking about the men who have been messaging me on the dating site that I use and realizing they are not even close to being matches for me.  I liked this particular guy.  Boo-urns.  But if this ever happens to you (and if you’ve ever been single, it has), keep your chin up.  I know how hard it can be, but don’t let a few no-shows let you down.  I know I’ll feel better tomorrow, and that’s because I totally, 100% believe that the perfect suit is hanging up at Holt Renfrew — I just need to keep looking.

 

Gallery

Because We Can: Superheros Who Need A Movie (Or A Reboot)

We all have one — a superhero we adore who we think Hollywood has given the short shrift.  Either their movies sucked ass, or they haven’t rated getting a movie at all.  Now, we’re not comic book types (sorry, fanboys), but we are aware of what’s up with pop culture in general.  Here’s Ellie’s list of superheros that either need a reboot kick in the pants, or even just a movie.  If you know of something already in development, let us know!

 

 

The Punisher.  Both Thomas Jane and Dolph Lundgren have played some version of the malevolent vigilante, and there was also some other guy whose name I don't remember.  None of the performances -- or scripts -- were any good.  This poor fellow needs his due.

The Punisher. Both Thomas Jane and Dolph Lundgren have played some version of the malevolent vigilante, and there was also some other guy whose name I don’t remember. None of the performances — or scripts — were any good. This poor fellow needs his due.

 

Never on the big screen.  Not a single female superhero who can carry her own film has been given the chance.  Wonder Woman is a weird superheroine, too; Hollywood just doesn't know what to do with her.  Get someone who understands her to get her a good treatment.

Never on the big screen. At least, not on her own. Wonder Woman is a weird superheroine, too, kind of like a female Thor, who aside from being in “The Avengers”, hasn’t fared as well at the box office as his fellow mightiest heros. She’s almost too powerful with a wacky backstory; Hollywood just doesn’t know what to do with her. Get someone who understands her to get her a good treatment.

 

Going after the evil that lurks in the heart of men is The Shadow's specialty.  His best known alias is Lamont Cranston, a pre-Batman wealthy playboy who disguises himself to fight crime.  His "superpower", so to speak, is the ability to cloud other people's mental faculties.  Low-tech, and would be a fantastic detective story.  At least, Ellie thinks so.

Going after the evil that lurks in the heart of men is The Shadow’s specialty. His best known alias is Lamont Cranston, a pre-Batman 1930s wealthy playboy who disguises himself to fight crime. His “superpower”, so to speak, is the ability to cloud other people’s mental faculties. Low-tech, and would be a fantastic detective story. Perhaps more so than a superhero story. And his film with Alec Baldwin was a horrible flop. Worth another look. At least, Ellie thinks so.

 

Ellie didn't actually mind the movie with Sean Connery, but some of the other casting sucked, and the script was weak.  At least, the ending of that one was left open to bring Alan Quartermaine back to life, perhaps even younger to facilitate a move to a different actor.  This varied cross-over has the ability to be so cool.  Find someone cool to breathe some fresh life into it.

Ellie didn’t actually mind the movie with Sean Connery, but some of the other casting sucked, and the script was weak. At least, the ending of that one was left open to bring Alan Quartermaine back to life, perhaps even younger to facilitate a move to a different actor. This varied cross-over has the ability to be so cool. Find someone cool to breathe some fresh life into it.

 

I don't know if Elektra has been relevant in cinema -- ever.  Barring the very blech film starring Jennifer Garner (I didn't like her in "Daredevil" either), Elektra has been at a standstill in film.  She has a great dynamic with Daredevil, and her ferocity and recklessness puts her at interesting odds with Daredevil, which would make for a better film than the one she got.  Again, the victim of a WTF script and limp acting.  Let her rage properly.

I don’t know if Elektra has been relevant in cinema — ever. Barring the very blech film starring Jennifer Garner (I didn’t like her in “Daredevil” either), Elektra has been at a standstill in film. She has a great dynamic with Daredevil, and her ferocity and recklessness puts her at interesting odds with him, which would make for a better film than the one she got. Again, the victim of a WTF script and limp acting. Let her rage properly.

 

Oh, Doctor Strange.  I don't know too much about him, except that he had a 1970s TV movie with a disco round, and shows up with The Avengers every once in a while.  His name was even dropped in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier".  He rules the mystical world, using dark forces to fight for good to balance the universe, no small feat.  Macabre, bizarre -- all of Ellie's favourites.  Give him a creepy, thrilling movie that is well-written and well-acted, and Ellie will be first in line at the theatre.

Oh, Doctor Strange. I don’t know too much about him, except that he had a 1970s TV movie with a disco round, and shows up with The Avengers every once in a while. His name was even dropped in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. He is part of the mystical world, using dark forces to fight for good to balance the universe, no small feat. Macabre, bizarre — all of Ellie’s favourites. Give him a creepy, thrilling movie that is well-written, with good cinematography and good casting, and Ellie will be first in line at the theatre.

DIY Thursday: And You Thought Latex Just Came From The Drugstore…

Oooooo...  Preeeety...

Oooooo… Preeeety…

Painting is one of the easiest ways to change your house.  In comparison to, say, new flooring or cupboards, paint is the fingersnap of home renovation.  It’s inexpensive, quick, and even a total turkey-butt can do it.  Picking a colour isn’t that hard.  Picking what type of paint to use, however, can cause shivers in those who haven’t heard of VOCs before.

So here’s the first in an ongoing series about types of paint, a primer of sorts (bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!  Pun so intended).

You can get two basic kinds of paint: interior and exterior.  Let’s talk about interior paint today.

When it comes to interior paint, there are two different mixtures you can get — waterborne (often latex), or solventborne (oil based).  In the past, you could categorise them as oil based being smelly to apply but good for high traffic areas (very scrubabble), and latex was easy to clean up after the paint job.  Now you can get oil paints that don’t get you high when you roll them on, and latex paints that can handle the Crayola “art” left behind by your toddler.

But before  you paint,  take note.  Although it adds to your project time, it’s usually a good idea to prime your walls first.  Sand them lightly if they’re already painted, and wash them down with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust and grime.  If you’re painting drywall, alwaysalwaysalways prime your wall with a high quality primer.  Primer preps the surface for better paint adhesion, and helps the colour you chose stay true.  Also invest time in taping off areas you don’t want painted, like trim, door handles, and strips of ceiling and floor against the wall.  Any good painter will tell you that taping, while the most painstaking part of a paint job, always pays off in the end.

Okay.  Let’s get going.

Solventborne paints

Solventborne paints contain a higher level of pigment and binders than waterborne paints, but because of the smell, the longer drying time, and difficult clean-up, they usually take a backseat for interior paint jobs.  They are sometimes called “premium paint” because of the higher quality of colour and longevity in comparison to something like latex.  You can get low VOC solventborne paints nowadays, too, which affect the environment less harshly than a regular paint and have far less of an odour.

Using a solventborne paint requires organization.  You have to be ready for an extended drying time — so not using or closing off the room for a couple of days — while also ensuring that the room is well-ventilated with plenty of airflow.  You have to be ready for a quick clean up, especially if you intend to use the brushes and paint trays again, or are the spilly type.

I had oilbased paint on a few walls and trim in my previous home, and I gotta say, it took scrubbing like a dream.  The colour was fantastic, very rich and bright.  It was great in my kitchen and hallway.   However, when I went to paint over the oilbased walls in my home, I had to spend some coin and get a special latex paint that had a special primer in it specially made for adhesion to oilbased walls.  If you put a regular latex paint over an oilbased wall, your paint will peel off.   No joke.  I’ve seen it happen (sob).  Sanding the walls first will help make adhesion easier for latex over oil, too.  If this is your situation, talk to your local paint store expert before you do anything.

Waterborne paints

Thinner and less persnickity than its oilbased buddy, waterborne paint is great for the novice, like me.  Now, there aren’t as many solids in a waterborne paint like latex as there is in an oilbased or solventborne paint, but the colours are great, nonetheless.  The big draw of this kind of paint is the availability of low to zero VOC products, making it far easier to work with in residential applications, like your main floor bathroom.  It cleans up with soap and water, which also can save your flooring if you slop, and can also be handy for cleaning brushes, rollers, and trays so you can reuse them, thus saving yourself a little bit of money.  It’s also generally less expensive than a solventborne paint.

The big drawback for latex or waterborne paint, though, was that if it got quite dirty or grimey, trying to clean it could be a bit tricky.  I scrubbed a latex painted wall once because one of my kids had put a sticker on it and the glue wasn’t coming off.  With only a few rounds of elbow grease, I managed to peel the paint off the wall and expose the the previous colour underneath.  Whoops.  Luckily, one of the other perks of waterborne paints is that they take touch-ups really well; you couldn’t even tell where I had my janitorial faux-pas.  Just a note, though, for high traffic/dirtier areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and entry ways — talk to a paint expert to see if oil might be a better option.

That’s just a bare bones overview.  There’s far more intricate stuff to consider when painting your home, if you want to do it properly.  I highly recommend you talk to the paint folks at your local paint store; they can give you the lowdown on everything you need.  From brushes to finishes (which we’ll talk about another time), they’ll get you set up.

In the meantime, check out some DIY sites, like HGTV or the DIY Network.  They’ll have great ideas and information to get you started on your project.  And no, I don’t work for them.   🙂

Hope that helps!

 

 

 

 

 

Pop Culture Monday: Can You Tell I’ve Been Crying?

“Clue”, a SMART comedy I actually enjoy. I also dig Python and Black Adder — any comedy that doesn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator. That excludes most of what’s out there, sadly…

…That, in short, summarizes why I hate dramatic movies.

I am one of the few women who will stand in the theatre lobby and get irritated because all that is playing is rom-coms and dramas.  My nightmare date consists of showing up to the cinema on a first outing with a guy who gasps and says, “Hey, they’ve got “Schmaltzy Coming Of Age Movie”!  Or how about “Toilet Humour Abounds”?  Or “Maid In Manhattan?”  (Sorry, J.Lo)  I would rather put a pen through my eye.  Give me “The Movie Where Stuff Blows Up”, or “Completely Detached Popcorn Movie With No Emotional Involvement” any day.

“Transformers?”  M’kay.  Michael Bay usually has good effects.  Horrible character development and plot holes aplenty, but who’s thinking about that when Decepticons are invading Chicago?  Pas moi.

“The Avengers”?  “Pacific Rim”?  “Olympus Has Fallen”?  “The Bourne Identity”?  How about “Star Wars” or even “The Evil Dead”?  Sign me up.  When I go to the movies, I want one thing — to be entertained.  I don’t go to be spiritually or emotionally moved, or even really to learn anything.  I learned my lesson with my theatre experiences as a small child, specifically “E.T — The Extra-Terrestrial”, and “Return Of The Jedi”.  I had two vastly different experiences.

In “E.T.”, I was only four years old, and someone insisted that everyone go to the local theatre.  So off we went.  I didn’t understand the nuances of the film.  I was bored.  All I knew was that E.T. wanted to go home, and the little girl had dressed him like a dolly.  But by the time Elliott and E.T. have a symbiosis so strong that E.T. is screaming and Elliott is crying, I was traumatized.  I remember walking up and down the aisle, looking for comfort from adults who were crying, too.  It was a wretched time.

A couple of years later, out comes “Return Of The Jedi”.  I was now six years old, and really, really wanted to go because my dad was so jazzed about it.  My younger brother would rather go swimming, so my mom takes him, and it’s just me and my dad at the theatre.  It.  Was.  Epic.  There was an obvious bad guy.  An obvious good guy.  Cool lasers.  Robots.  Action I understood (bad guys chases good guy, good guy gets away or wins).  And teddy bears!  I was hooked.

Don’t get me wrong.  I will watch the occasional drama or comedy.  I saw “Titanic”.  Cried.  “August Rush”.  Cried.  “i am sam”.  Cried.  I fell asleep during “Snow Falling On Cedars”.  I have since given up.  I also had the misfortune of being forced to see “The Breakup” (seriously?), “Observe And Report” (Seth Rogan should hang his head in shame), and “Bridesmaids”, which I found more embarrassingly self-absorbed and ridiculous than funny.  The dudes in “The Hangover” were just too stupid to take; they made me want to slap them, not root for them.  Even though I finally get it, I still won’t watch “2001 — A Space Odyssey”; too much of what Arnie Carvalho of NowPlayingPodcast.com calls “artistic douchebaggery”.  Still do “The Shining”, though.

This seems counterintuitive compared to what most women will tell you they want to watch for date night.  To be honest, it’s almost humiliating.  I’ve always known I’m not like the other girls, but going to the movies with my gal pals often has me shifting uncomfortably in my seat because I just don’t want to sniffle and cry in front of them, or I don’t want to be bored for two hours watching fools learn a basic life lesson.

So if you’re like me, take heart, dear friend!  There’s more than one of us out there,  so let’s create our Netflix queues with pride.  Not every woman needs tears and a happy romantic ending.  Sometimes the hero just finishing the film with all his limbs intact is all we need.

Relationship Friday: Play Nice, Ladies… No Fishooking.

...but some other poor turkey is.  Hee, hee, hee...  Just kidding, Newbie.  Mostly.

…but SHE is. Hee, hee, hee… Just kidding, Newbie. Mostly.

New girlfriend.

You hated that just there, didn’t you?  I’m gonna say it again.

New.  Girlfriend.

Okay.  Now you say it.  Except without turning into über-Bitch and screaming it at your bestie over the phone.  (Which I did.  Em’s first words: “Well, she’s the downgrade.  Just thank God he’s not your problem anymore.”  I love you, Em.  LOL)

He has a new girlfriend.  Calm down.  It sucks to be you right now, but pour yourself a nice crisp shiraz and listen to me for a few minutes.

I’ve been there.  That’s the primary reason I kicked my Assclown (yes, he knows I call him that) out the door — he had girlfriends.  Plural.  Neither of us pretended to be in love anymore with the other.  That’s would’ve been a waste of time.  He didn’t want to come back, and I sure as hell wasn’t asking him to.  But there was…  HER.  All caps. HER.

RULE #1:  What Happened Between You And Him Was Not Her Fault

Unless, of course, it was (she knew he was with someone and cheated with him or something like that).  If that’s your sitch, just skip this part.

Seriously.  It is waaaaaay too easy to blame her for everything.  Let’s assume that she wandered into the picture a few weeks (or months) later, and is now dating your own Assclown.  Understand this: she did not make him an idiot.  Or emotionally cold.  Or a workaholic.  Or whatever it was that drove a wedge between you two.  Him not wanting to discuss his feelings with you or choosing the guys over you happened long before she stepped in.  Let him own his behaviour.  Let him own his choices.  What he did six months ago that ended your conubial bliss did not involve her.  Don’t punish her for shit that she literally had nothing to do with and probably doesn’t even know about.  That just makes you a bitch.  And you don’t want her telling everyone you’re a bitch, do you?

Show yourself some respect, and protect your reputation.  It’s hard to build a new one.

RULE #2:  This Ain’t ThunderDome, And Facebook Is Not A Weapon

You will be well served by keeping your hands off social media until you settle.  Twitter and Facebook, especially.  Neither of those will serve you well, unless your goal is to make yourself look like a jealous loser who can’t let go of a man who evidentally does not want you anymore.  And if you dumped him, complaining about him moving on is just some wacky what-the-fuckery.  You don’t need to burden the guy you dated that one time in ninth grade with all your drama on FB.  Or the ex’s family, if you’re still friends/followers.  Sit on your hands, and wait out the urge to let everyone know just how much of a naive twit she is for dating your Assclown in the first place.  See Rule #1.

RULE #3:  She Will Eventually Meet Your Kids.  Book Your Therapy Appointment Now.

Oh, this was a hard one for me.  I kicked my Assclown out knowing there was at least one other woman he would run to.  However, when less than two weeks later, he’s standing in the kitchen insisting that his “new” girlfriend meet our children after only four dates, I lost.  My.  Shit.  Even he now admits that was a bad idea, and we had a pretty big scrap about it.  The next — and current — girlfriend (for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just call her Newbie) didn’t get to meet them right away, again, because I kicked and screamed. I didn’t believe the relationship was serious enough to warrant including our children.  He insisted it was.  Aaaaaand that’s when the fight started.

So I threw a rule out there, and insisted he stick with it.  You have to have dated someone for a least six months before they can meet the kids.

My assclown threw a fit, and I gloated.  Both reactions were bullshit.  Wanna know why?

Because neither of us were thinking about our kids, and that sucks.

Assclown just wanted what was easiest and best for him.  It was far handier to not have split his free time up between his girlfriend and his kids, she could help him out with them, and, well, he wanted to show off what a stellar dad he was.  [EDITOR’S NOTE:  that’s a whole other blog post.]  And I got to watch him suffer, which is a reward unto itself.  Hell, I got popcorn, sat back, and giggled.

And I was wrong to do so.

Turns out Newbie isn’t all that bad.  She has two adult children of her own, so she’s been there, done that.  Nothing seems to shock her or gross her out.  My kids genuinely like her, and I get the impression she genuinely likes them.  I have very likeable kids, so why not?  I’ve sat back and watched her actually care for them, making sure they get fed at a buffet dinner, or helping them learn to ride a bike.  Just recently my kids started referring to her as their stepmom, and I — much to my own surprise — didn’t get worked up about it.  She wants to help them grow into strong, responsible adults — why would I tell her to bugger off?  Why would someone who wants to help my kids be amazing earn my wrath?

Ponder that for a moment.

RULE #3:  Don’t Expect To Be Friends — Or Enemies

Basically, expect nothing.  Expect to interact like normal human beings at the grocery store, dropping off/picking up the kids, and at the odd family thing like kindergarten graduation or ballet recital.  Ignoring her might seem like a good idea at the time — look at you, being all “above that”! — but chances are you’re just making her feel small and unwelcome.  And again, she’s not responsible for your Assclown’s behaviour while you were married (and still isn’t), so why would you make her feel like crap?

But you don’t have to go out of your way to chum up to her, either.  That’s a lot to ask of anybody in a situation like that, you and her.  My Assclown would’ve loved for us to go camping together, do family things together, all that jazz, until I basically told him to get bent and get real.  Now, Newbie and I don’t act like jerks to one another’s faces just on principle, but she did snub me pretty hard when we first met (she refused to return my smile or shake my hand), and I know she’s said some pretty unkind things about me behind my back.  I, thank the good Lord, have been cordial regardless, and the only thing I’ve ever said about her that isn’t nice is that she has bad taste in men (hah!).

And I gotta cut her some slack…  I had to realize, too, that she’s only heard his side of the story, and has a pretty biased view.  What has he actually told her?  Is it the truth?  Who’s to say?  And does it really matter?  Which leads us to Rule #4…

RULE #4 — Conduct Yourself With Honour

This is, by far, the hardest rule.  Maybe you hate the bitch.  Maybe she hates you.  That’s fine.  See Rule #3.  But always, no exceptions, show respect to yourself, your friends, and your children by being “the bigger person”.  That means you don’t complain about her behind her back (if you have a problem with her, either address it with her directly or talk to your ex).  That means you don’t try to sabatoge her relationship with your Assclown (makes you look like a douche, and besides, like you want him back anyway…  Gross).  You don’t throw shade when you are required to be around one another, and that passive-agressive nastiness you have up your sleeve can go take a hike (“Love your dress!  It was all the rage three years ago when I had one.”).

Side note: at an annual event that is pretty significant in our mutual social circle, Newbie and I ended up wearing the same cocktail dress.  People who knew us watched and waited.  I smiled, greeted her, and said, “Isn’t this just the best style ever?  So flattering on so many people!”.  And a great sigh of relief rippled across the hall.  Crisis averted.  Because I conducted myself with honour.  They still talk about that, too.

 

Ugh.  It’s a lot of work.  And you’ll make mistakes.  She’ll make mistakes.  Your Assclown will make mistakes.  But be brave.  Be a role model for your kids.  Show everybody how amazing you are.  You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

 

DIY Thursday: My, what a big tool you have…

When I got married, I married a tool guy.  He came with his own tools — a lot of tools — and he knew how to use them.  He did all the little DIY stuff around the hacienda, and my role was really just to point out what needed fixing and go with him to the hardware store to be sure he didn’t spend too much money on repairs.

You can imagine my surprise when my tool guy went overseas to Afghanistan for a year and I suddenly had to do all the little DIY stuff around the hacienda on my own.  I was good at pointing out what needed fixing.  I was good at going to the hardware store and saying “no”.  But I had no idea how to anchor screws into drywall, cut ceramic tile, or pull apart kitchen cabinets and put them back together.  Now compound that surprise thirteen months later when not only have I kicked out my tool guy, but he actually came back and got his tools so they were gone, too.

And I have to hang a picture.  Damn it.

As far as I’m concerned, every woman should have her own tools.  I don’t care if you’re married to the Snap-On tool guy.  Get your own tools.  They make ’em pink, if you want ’em pink.  Soft grips.  Funky tool bags and boxes to store your weapons of mass construction.  That way, you always know where to find the tool you want to use, and you don’t have to listen to him bitch if you don’t put it away just so or keep it out for a day or two because you aren’t done with it yet.

But how to stock your stash?  What do you need to start with?

Hand tools, baby.  Hand tools.

Here’s a single mom’s recommendation of the tools you need in your household tool kit:

(Quick note: the pictures are just to show you what the tool looks like, not because I think you should go out and get that exact tool.  Just sayin’.)  

 

wrench

A wrench is best served with a cushioned handle; if you’re really hauling on one, your palms will thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A well-weighted, anti-vibe hammer will be worth every penny you pay for it, decreasing the stress that home renos can put on your wrists and arms.  Trust me!

A well-weighted, anti-vibe hammer will be worth every penny you pay for it, decreasing the stress that home renos can put on your wrists and arms. Trust me!

Tin snips are good for everything from trimming stray wire, guitar strings, and opening those pain-in-the-ass hard plastic packages that gauge your hands because they get such sharp edges.

Tin snips are good for everything from trimming stray wire, guitar strings, and opening those pain-in-the-ass hard plastic packages that gouge your hands because they get such sharp edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good tape measure, with accurate, easy-to-read measurements, will save you a lot of extra work by avoiding incorrect measurements.  Be sure to get one that locks!

A good tape measure, with accurate, easy-to-read measurements, will save you a lot of extra work by avoiding incorrect measurements. Be sure to get one that locks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mutli-bit screwdriver takes up far less room in a tool bag, and they are far more convenient than having to organize a collection of four different kinds of each different bit.  Be sure yours comes with a Robertson (square), Philips (a "+"), and a flat head ("-") at minimum, ideally in a couple of different sizes.  And don't forget one of those teeny-tiny screwdrivers for kids' toys and eyeglasses, too.

A mutli-bit screwdriver takes up far less room in a tool bag, and they are far more convenient than having to organize a collection of four different kinds of each different bit. Be sure yours comes with a Robertson (square), Philips (a “+”), and a flat head (“-“) at minimum, ideally in a couple of different sizes. And don’t forget one of those teeny-tiny screwdrivers for kids’ toys and eyeglasses, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm sure you have a couple of flashlights kicking around your house, but always keep one in your tool bag.  Indispensible, especially working in basements or closets.

I’m sure you have a couple of flashlights kicking around your house, but always keep one in your tool bag. Indispensible, especially working in basements or closets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pliers are superstars for removing staples or gripping bits of metal or wood you need to wiggle or move.

Pliers are superstars for removing staples or gripping bits of metal or wood you need to wiggle or move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Absolutely have one for silicone or weather caulking, especially if you  are tackling kitchen or bath renovations, or anything involving windows.

A caulking gun.  Absolutely have one for silicone or weather caulking, especially if you are tackling kitchen or bath renovations, or anything involving windows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From scrapbooking to minor repair work, every took kit needs a trim knife.

From scrapbooking to minor repair work, every tool kit needs a trim knife.

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to be taken seriously, go with the basic tool bag, but they do come with funky patterns, too.  Make sure you get one that actually helps you organize your artillery, though, and doesn't just look good.

If you want to be taken seriously, go with the basic tool bag, but they do come with funky patterns, too. Make sure you get one that actually helps you organize your artillery, though, and doesn’t just look good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I also want to encourage you to add: razor blades (for scraping paint or cleaning shite off windows), picture hooks (because you never have one when you need one), drywall screw anchors (for things you have to hang on a wall and can’t put a screw through a stud), a hot glue gun, a Sharpie, a pencil, painter’s tape and duct tape, and WD-40 (for all those squeaks you come across).

Not an exhaustive list, but enough to get you started!  What’s in your tool bag, ladies?