Category Archives: ADVICE

To Complain or not to Complain?

JANE LANEWhen should we complain?  That’s the question of the moment.  In 2015, We are already mired in passive aggressive energy courtesy of the Year of the Sheep.  That means we are all in for a lot of subtle bitching both serving and getting served in the complaint department.  When you are as critical as I can be, there are always areas of dissatisfaction.  When is it worth it to express that dissatisfaction and expect a meaningful response?POINTLESSThe following unsatisfactory situations recently occurred.  Which would you complain about and which would you just suck up without complaint?

1) I visited a waxer.  After less than 15 minutes on her table, she declared me “finished.”  She did not remove enough hair to actually clear my bikini line.  The line between the crease and the thigh still had hair.  She did not even go a quarter of an inch inside the crease.  The treatment cost $37 for a “classic bikini wax.”  Request more removal or leave hairy and dissatisfied?YOU MOCK MY PAIN

2) I checked into a hotel room and hair from the last guest was all over the floor and bathtub.  Criticize housekeeping or clean up the mess?AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME

3) My dentist urged me to spend big money on a bite analysis and revision.  After thousands of dollars my bite still didn’t feel right and my teeth uncomfortably bumped together.  Furthermore, at my last cleaning, the technician didn’t polish my teeth.  Fuss or suffer?GETTING IN TO4) My neighbors are door slammers.  Bitch to the HOA or endure the clamor?LOUD NOISESHow did you answer to each of these scenarios?  Here are my answers: 1) didn’t request a waxing revision; 2) hate-cleaned it myself; 3) made him fix it (I basically paid for a chunk of his kid’s college last year for what I spent in his office); 4) haven’t notified the HOA….yet. THIS IS BORING

a month of sobriety

SEETHING RAGEWell kiddos, I made it a month without smoking grass.  I can hardly believe it myself.  There have been some trying times.  I managed to avoid puffing at a party, during relationship duress, and through several sleepless nights.  After I made it through the physical detox, a new set of psychological challenges emerged.  What surfaced was a deep well of seething rage that I’ve been spouting out in every direction at anyone who even slightly annoys me.  It’s fair to say that without weed, I’m a total cunt.  All my physical symptoms have diminished.  No more sharp pains between my ribs.  The wheeze is gone, as is the choking feeling I experienced around my throat.  My moods, however, need regulation.  For quite some time, I’ve been using ganja like some people use lithium – to manage moods.  While I was aware of my dope dependency, I didn’t realize until I quit that I arrested my emotional development by using instead of feeling.  Now, at this late stage in the life game, I’ve got to come up with new ways to cope with the depressing state of the human condition.  I’m far from figuring out a consistent solution, but I’m working several different angles – yoga, meditation, and therapy, to name a few.  Some days these methods are effective, and I can self-soothe my frustration.  And some days I yell “fat boy” at my neighbor for continuously slamming his door like an obnoxious idiot.  I’m not proud of the way I behave when I get aggressive with others, but I’m working on it.  SHUT UP FAT BOYI also wonder if I will ever be able to successfully reintroduce miss maryjane back into my life in a similar fashion to the relationship I have with alcohol – which is I can take it or leave it.  I don’t crave booze.  I can have a Scotch occasionally with friends and go months without a drink.  It is this relationship of non-attachment that I strive for in every area of my life.  DETACH

Congratulations are in order!

PARIS WEDDINGBest wishes to my longtime friends Michael and Ryan who recently became engaged in gay Paris!  Wishing you two the very best as you continue your celebration in Rome!  I’m thrilled for you both as you embrace this lifelong commitment.  Better you than me, gentlemen; better you than me.MAZEL ONESIE

Sending big love to my favorite mommy-to-be Wendy.  I so enjoyed serving as your pregnancy bitch and taking a culinary tour of Oakland County.  I can’t wait to meet little Tova.  May her arrival be swift and painless.OWN DAMN PLACEHappy housewarming to Katie and Broc who recently purchased their first new home together; may it shelter you from the storms.SUPER HAPPY FOR YOU

Hell Hath Frozen: I quit weed.

PASS THE DUTCHIEYou read it right.  I quit Mary Jane.  It has only been 7 days, but the first week is the hardest, right?  (Fuck, I hope so.)  I’ve been smoking grass for 20 years.  I’ve had a hardcore daily habit for at least 10 years.  Bong hits for breakfast; bong hits for lunch; bong hits before bed; that was the routine for a decade.  Since I was a high-functioning addict, I managed to graduate university and law school with high honors, and pass the bar on the first try.  I was able to hold down professional jobs stoned.  Nobody knew or they didn’t care.  I’ve driven everywhere stoned.  I’ve engaged with parents, professors, bosses, and law enforcement high.  During virtually all my interactions with friends and lovers, I’ve been under the influence of our green leafy friend.INNER WEED BABYWhile universally supportive, the first response most of my friends had when I told them I quit was, “why?”  I found this question interesting, since my friends know gawddam well that I’m probably the biggest fucking stoner they know.  Isn’t it obvious why?  Let’s start with the sharp pain in my ribs that felt even more intense and persistent after a day pulling tubes.  The wheeze I developed with a quick intake of breath was certainly cause for concern.  Top it off with a tight uncomfortable choking feeling around my throat and thyroid.  Physically, my body has been saying “stop” for some time.  Well, enough is enough.  I’m a grown-ass woman.  Beyond the physical ramifications, I don’t want to be enslaved or addicted to anything.  Addiction robs you of freedom and self-control.  Whether I’d like to admit it or not, many of my decisions were motivated by a desire to serve my addiction.  What a waste of time, energy, and money.WASTE OF MONEYI ain’t gonna front like it has been easy.  This week, I’ve been a really big bitch.  My fuse is short.  I’m impatient.  I’m annoyed.  That’s because I’m having to cope with those unpleasant feelings I’ve been avoiding for the past 20 years.  Sleeplessness, mental confusion, and lack of appetite haven’t helped my mood.  I’m sweat detoxing and stink.  It’s really not a good look – except for those 5 lbs I’ve lost just in time for my trip to Grand Cayman.DETOXLook, my ex would get really sanctimonious and judgmental every time he quit weed, and then like clockwork three months later he’d be asking me for the bong.  I’m not about that hypocritical bullshit.  What you do with your body and your life is your business.  However, if you are contemplating a change in your life – whether it be smoking, drinking, eating, or whatever your addiction, I encourage you to get a hold of the situation.  While difficult, it isn’t as hard as you think.  All rationalizations and expensive rehabs aside, for most (who don’t require medical supervision to detox, eehhm alcohol and benzos) it really just boils down to a decision to quit.  Quitting requires courage, fortitude, and commitment, but once you do, you’ll not only be free of your addiction, you will know what you are made of for the rest of your life.ENOUGH

 

Dear Demeter Clarc, Am I Inn or Am I out?

DRAGONFLY INNDear Demeter Clarc,

There is an interesting opportunity for me to leave my current position and take a very big risk to purchase a small hotel in the mountains.  My boyfriend and I have quit our jobs and are prepared to move out of the city to take on this new challenge.  The owner of the motel is old and burnt out.  He’s ready to retire.  He’s bending over backwards to help us secure financing.  We have never run a motel before or any business for that matter.  Are we crazy to uproot our lives for this unique opportunity? 

Sincerely,

The Newharts

Dear Mizz Newhart,

May I first congratulate you on your courageous spirit of adventure?!  I’m all for calculated risks.  Agree to run the motel for a year.  See if you and your boyfriend like the lifestyle and responsibility before you commit.  There’s no need to go ballsdeep in financial risk when you don’t even know if running the motel is a sustainable and enjoyable choice for you both.  Since the owner is desperate to unload the property (a red flag, btw), when negotiating a year-long management deal write in a right of first refusal, so you get the first option to buy the place should somebody else come sniffing around.  During this year, you will learn all the “inns” and outs which will allow you to make an educated decision about investing your money and taking on a major mortgage.  After a year of hard work at the motel, you’ll discern whether the arrangement is both feasible and sufficiently rewarding enough for you both to commit to this project long-term.  ANTHONY MELCHIORRI

For the tax preparation procrastinator

FREE TAX USA EBATESThose lucky ducks who receive fatty refunds filed as soon as you got your W2.  Those of us who have to pay up come tax time aren’t in any rush.  Well, there’s no more time for dicking around.  Tomorrow is the day.  Avoid Turbo Tax.  Some states aren’t accepting the e-filings from Turbo Tax due to wide-scale fraud perpetrated using the software to file fake returns.  I asked an accountant friend which program he used, and he recommended freetaxusa.com.  It works just like Turbotax – by prompting you with a series of inquires and totaling your refund or payment as you go, but it costs much less and is a easier to use.  Currently through Ebates, you can get 25% cash back on your freetaxusa.com purchase as well as a 10% off coupon to apply to the state filing charge of $12.95.  With applicable discounts, you can get your taxes done quickly and efficiently for about $10.  And if you are wondering if it is just too hard, I have employee wages, independent contractor income requiring a schedule C, investment earnings and losses, and a number of business write offs.  Even with all those complicating factors, I was still able to complete the assignment in less than 2 hours.  It’s not too late procrastinators.FREETAXUSA

In-Flaws

BURRUSS TUCKER DRAMAI’m not going to pretend there aren’t things I don’t miss about my ex.  I wouldn’t have been with him for close to a decade if he didn’t have some redeeming qualities.  Since we’ve split, we rarely talk.  His hateful parents were a major reason we broke up.  They aren’t very nice.  They don’t seem to like anyone.  They participate in long estrangements from family for flimsy reasons.  They grumble.  They complain.  Too cowardly to say it to your face, they would rather just passive aggressively back-bite.  I did not want to form a family amidst the discord.  And the thought of dealing with them over a lifetime felt like an emotional prison sentence destined to indefinitely ruin every holiday and cause innumerable conflicts.  My ex’s sister and husband just had a baby, and the parents came out to visit from another state.  After years of ill-feelings, not even a brand new little sweet baby could serve to keep the peace.  The parents departed early leaving behind a dirty diaper full of fermenting bad feelings.IN LAW DRAMAIn the wake of their departure, I got the inevitable text from the son-in-law with concerns he didn’t know how much longer he could take it.  The hateful parents are causing a major strain on the marriage even from hundreds of miles away.  I can’t help but feel like I dodged a bullet getting out when I did.  Even though my ex has a number of wonderful qualities, his inability to appropriately deal with his unreasonable parents spelled disaster for the future of our union.  If you don’t like your partner’s family, don’t get married because it can only really play out two ways.  Either 1) suck it up and forever deal with people who despise you; or 2) set boundaries limiting your contact with the mean ones which in turn distances your partner from his family thereby breeding resentment in your relationship.  See why this will never work?  Don’t even bother.MONSTER IN LAW

Can You Afford It?

SUZE ORMAN DENIALDo you ever watch Suze Orman?  She includes a segment at the end of her show where she “denies” or “approves” purchases based on an unknown algorithm.  I’ve been thinking on whether it’s ethical for me to encourage someone to spend on a trip that he arguably can’t afford.  Yes, he could throw the trip on credit cards, but I don’t want a few days on white sandy beaches to turn into years of indebtedness.  Conversely, life is short.  And if you’ve ever seen a retiree try negotiate the steps of Prague Castle, you know you don’t want to save your most adventurous traveling for your financially solvent, but psychically feeble golden years.  I know some of my more affluent girlfriends might opt to pay a larger share of the bill just to keep everybody happy, but something about that doesn’t sit quite right.  That sort of imbalance breeds resentment over time.RESENTMENTAt a minimum, before splurging, you gotta have a year of living expenses saved up, a maxed IRA contribution, no credit card debt, and the money for the splurge saved up separately.  Without those basics in order, approval for the purchase must be DENIED.  But then again, who am I to tell someone else how to spend his money?  If I limit my social invitations only to folks that fit into that aforementioned category of preparedness, I would be engaging in most activities alone.  It’s your money and ultimately you must decide how to negotiate the tightrope walk between adventure and safety net. TIGHTROPE

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

ESSENTIALISMI’m reading a really fantastic book called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of LessGreg McKeown has shifted my perspective and put a name to a philosophy I’ve dabbled with for years.  I was dithering over a few issues, and I’ve already used the standards and methods offered in Essentialism to make key decisions.  Much messiness results from quick yeses and slow nos.  The philosophy of Essentialism has me taught to celebrate and embrace “No,” and the book provides plenty of logical and well-backed explanations for why your life improves when you have the courage to eliminate the people-pleasing bullshit.  As I’ve started applying the principles consistently, I’ve found liberation and a drastic reduction in stress.  As your time frees up, this book recommends you sleep more to further enhance productivity.  In sum, this bestseller is full of advice you actually want to follow.CLEAR NO