Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Tuxedo Blazer

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

QMack Tuxedo BlazerI’m totally unfamiliar with the QMack line at Macy’s, but I do like the look of this tuxedo blazer and a few other pieces. (One good sign: the two reviews for the pictured blazer are both glowing.) And for $24, it’s hard to go wrong with a semi-seasonal, semi-trendy piece like a tuxedo blazer. It was $99, but today is $29.99; with the special “Deal of the Day” discount on Impulse clothing, it comes down to $24. Nice. QMack Tuxedo Blazer

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]



  1. Miss Behaved :

    Snow day. Yay!

    But it’s so cold here that I climbed back into bed to keep warm. And, unfortunately, if the roads clear later, I have to go to a wake.

    • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s! I love Fruegel Friday’s! And I love this tuxedo jacket! I think it can make us look THINNER! Yay!!!! Great find, Cat!

      And happy 2014 to Cat and the Hive! It is so cold that the manageing partner called EVERYONE to give them the day off. That is a good thing for me b/c I still have NOT got a new coat to replace the down coat I gave to NY Care’s, and now I am freezeing my tuchus off when I go out. Dad say’s that mabye that could be a blessing in disguize b/c I have put alot of wieght on since Thank’sgiving, he say’s all of it in the tuchus. FOOEY on him!

      I did alot of walking in SC, but dad was not abel to monitor me there. I found out that he can NOT track my step’s until I bring the FITBIT home and it is blue toothed to my MACBOOK AIR! Who knew? He was mad b/c not all of my step’s got traced either, and he says that unless I do my 10,000 steps, I will ALWAYS have a big tuchus, and I will NEVER find a guy who will want to MARRY me. DOUBEL FOOEY b/c he married mom and she had a big tuchus and I know I am right b/c I saw there wedding picture’s!

      Dad says yes, he married mom, but she could cook, and he said I am useless in the Kitchen, and that no guy will marry a woman who won’t cook for him 6 day’s a week. I said that I am a profesional and do NOT need to cook to keep a guy. He said that the onley guy I had for any amount of time was a drunk. I told him that there are alot of guy’s who wanted me, but he said only for a good time, b/c he had lots of women in Europe who wanted him to marry them and bring them back to the USA, but he said he was not sure until he sampeled them in bed. So they all gave him sex, but he came home to marry a woman with a tuchus who could cook. FOOEY on Dad for haveing sex with all of those women and then marrying mom.

      Clem (the guy from Myrtle Beach) sent me a text. I did NOT give him my number so I am not sure how he did that. He say’s he and his freind want to come to NYC in the spring and want’s to get together. I do NOT want to have anything to do with him or his freind (who beleive it or not was WORSE then Clem). I think Myrna must have given him my number. TRIPEL FOOEY! I think Myrna just want’s me to have a guy, but not that looser!

      Anyway, I have to be positive in 2014, even if I am NOT married. YAY!!!!!!

    • Sorry about the wake…

      No snow here, but it was 30 degrees this morning, which is COLD for here and especially with a house that isn’t insulated and doesn’t have central heat.

    • I have been working from home for the past 3 hours, but just was told that since I couldn’t get to my office (bus service suspended), I must take a personal day. When do I get my 3 hours back? Grrr…

      • OttLobbyist :

        I wish I understood the aversion to seeing “working from home” as a legitimate option when getting into the office is a problem. The couple of days a month that I work from home are amazing from a productivity standpoint, and I am often more available for last-minute things than I would be if I were stuck in impromptu meetings at the office. So what if I also do my laundry at the same time?

        • Unfortunately some people ruin it for the rest of us. I have an employee in NYC and we have no published telecommute policy. She claimed she couldn’t commute today. We take the same subway. I got here. The difference – her nanny didn’t show and I am proactive and left earlier, made arrangements for my dog walker, etc. She told me she was working from home rather than asking me or better yet, being proactive and making a plan yesterday. The weather isn’t exactly a surprise. So she is now “working from home” while caring for a one-year old. Not much “work” going on there. If she was honest with me from the start, I would be more accepting. Instead, I’m irritated, feel like I’m pulling more weight because I don’t have kids. Her failure to plan shouldn’t be my problem. I’d love to pile on the work but it won’t get done properly and I’d need to just redo it anyway.

          I blame this weather hysteria on the rise of the weather channel. Growing up in a semi-rural area outside of Philly, we had to plan for weather and extended periods of time with no power. We had a generator, a four wheel drive truck, a private snow plow contract for our driveway, etc. my dad maybe missed one day of work due to weather.

          • Well, I can’t say that in Chicago I have a generator and a four wheel drive truck. But… I try to leave earlier and make plans when/if the weather is supposed to bad. That said.. if people have the type of that job that can be done from home when the weather is bad I completely support that. Don’t fight horrible traffic and dangerous road. Just work from home.

          • Do you know for sure that she didn’t plan properly? Maybe her nanny said she could make it, maybe she doesn’t have back-up care that is workable for weather. Unfortunately, plans fall through. If your dogwalker bails, then you may have a mess to clean up and a hyper dog, but you can still leave the house. She can’t exactly leave one year old at home with a sippy cup and some snacks. Can she get a ton of work done? No, but hopefully she can utilize the naptime.
            Your post seems a bit harsh, IMO.

          • Flexible work arrangements can really increase employee loyalty. Giving her the benefit of the doubt and letting her work things out the best she can by telecommuting could actually be a good thing. Instead of looking down on her, think of this as a chance to show that you at least partly understand. We will all be there at some point, right? Whether or not it’s kid-related, we could all use a bit more flexibility.

          • I think the key here is “whether or not it’s kid-related…”. Employers are slowly getting better about this. We all have lives. Even those of us who are kid-free.

          • anon-oh-no :

            seriously? do you know that she isn’t getting any work done from home? I can get work done from home with my kids at home. and i know a lot of other people who can as well. its not a perfect solution, but its better than missing an entire day of work. plus, as others have said, i often get more work done at home than i do at the office.

          • Really, what I wish people would focus on is output. If an employee is not producing work (or producing lower quality work) or is consistently less available while teleworking, then I would start by addressing the reduced output. If there is consistently a correlation between working at home and low output, it’s fair to tell that employee that the telework situation is just not working out for her/him. But focusing on where you work vs work quality is just ridiculous in my mind. Believe me, I can be in the office and have a massively unproductive day.

          • Yes, I know for sure she didn’t plan properly. She should have had a conversation with me. We go through this every time there is a weather situation and she works from home — the quality and quantity of work degrades which causes others on my team to have to pick up her slack. I do agree that flexible work arrangements can increase employee loyalty and even productivity in some cases. I do agree that some jobs can be done remotely but unfortunately my employer doesn’t have a policy in place either prohibiting it or endorsing it. Top executives are allowed but it’s really frowned upon by our COO, thus no policy and this job is not one that can be done remotely when juggling the needs of a baby. Most of us made it into the office and some honesty from this employee would have gone a long way (we take same subway, she lives even closer to the office than me). Our office was not closed. I get that plans fall through and that back up child care might not exist or might not be available in this situation. That being said, she should use a vacation or a personal day.

          • Although I am not your employee, I also want to chime in because I’m in a similar situation–I did make back-up plans (if schools are open Y, if they are closed X, if I am off Z) with my babysitter, and last night at 8 pm I was covered. Guess what? Life happens. In this case, a family emergency caused by the snowstorm left her obligated to care for someone in her family, so when my kids’ school was cancelled, my work was not, and my spouse was up until 4 am on his own work emergency that continues into today, I am left stuck between a rock and a hard place. Back-up care (both daycare and our semi-regular babysitters) were unavailable; we checked. I’ve already used up *every* possible leave day I have (plus some I do not) covering other emergencies for children, and the single sick day I have left I will not use because I am 6 months pregnant and want to have the option to use if I need it for myself for, you know, pregnancy. What is the appropriate solution here?

            In our case, it’s a horrible morning while spouse and I compare our non-options and stress out, then manage, after many phone calls, to finagle some emergency ($$$) care for the afternoon which we are extremely lucky to even be able to get, and which means we will leave our children with a complete stranger. Now remove “children” and “babysitter” and replace with “pet” and “pet sitter/walker,” only your pet cannot be left alone, even for five minutes. What’s your solution?

            Sorry to be a wet blanket, but this morning has not been so awesome. I love my kids, I love working, and usually I have all the contingency plans in the world to keep everything humming, but sometimes you hit a harsh wall.

          • applesandcheddar :

            Just wondering if you go through this a lot with this same employee why you haven’t mentioned something to her about it not being acceptable?

            For the record, I don’t have kids and telework is used widely where I work, both scheduled and unscheduled. I understand people might not be able to get everything done if they have to care for their kids while working, but we all have days where other things come off, and we need to cut each other a little slack.

          • Wow, just wow, you sound horrible to work for. Adding gratefulness for my humane boss and coworkers to my New Years thankful list.

          • Anon at 11:50- I sympathize. And I agree, the problem is the NOT having a clear written policy!! That’s what policies are FOR, so that people don’t have conflicts like this. Ugh. My work is the same way, and I had lots of weird passive aggressive conversations with my boss for years that made me feel like an idiot, because i didn’t “understand” why certain people were allowed to work from home and others weren’t. My favorite was when she finally said, “well, there’s an unwritten policy” WHY is it unwritten!!?!? Freaking write it down! It will make everyone a lot happier when expectations are clear and we don’t have to play games. ;oP

          • Thanks Zora. It is super frustrating. If the policy was clearly articulated, transparent and fairly applied, she’d be using a vacation day. Instead, I have had several of her peers complaining to me, to one another, and to colleagues in other departments about how she isn’t doing her fair share, how she is taking advantage, and how it’s unfair to everyone else. I have to walk a tightrope trying to explain that while Big Bosses can do whatever they want (work from home for everything from a contractor to a nanny SNAFU to just because/no reason), the rest of us don’t get the same benefit. I would love any policy to be written down even one saying “no” just so I don’t have to deliver this information repeatedly to the rest of the team.

            And to those of you who think I’d be horrible to work for, I’m not. I’m trying to balance the needs and workload of everyone on my team and trying to do so in the most equitable way. This person has a history of taking advantage in situations like this and it’s contributing to morale issues as well as the productivity issues. I can conclude that she’s not productive because she is not logged in/active on our company IM, she isn’t answering her cell or land line when several of us, including clients, have called, is taking far too long to respond to emails/voicemails, and hasn’t delivered the work we’re waiting for (work that would take a couple hours in the office when you buckle down and do it). Wishing that she planned better, doesn’t mean I think she should have multiple forms of backup childcare in place or that she should leave her child unattended or that I’m an awful boss. I simply believe that she should have picked up the phone yesterday and had a conversation with me about it like any reasonable person would. We could have reassigned her crucial assignments, we could have determined that she should plan to take the day off, etc. I understand that transportation may have been difficult for her nanny; I understand that the best plans can get messed up and messed up again once you think you have a new plan in place; I understand that life sometimes gets in the way. That doesn’t mean you get to skip work and get paid without using your PTO/vacation/personal day.

            I posted about my annoyance to get a little support and really don’t appreciate the piling on of how I must be a horrible boss. I’m sure if I had complained about a male employee and didn’t include details about kid/nanny, your responses would be different. However, since this is a female employee, I must be an awful ogre. Thanks!

          • Yep someone I work with has been “working from home” this week and I’m still waiting for them to respond on a simple request from Tuesday morning. If he/she were in the office I could just walk over and ask for it.

          • winter rant :

            Oh, please. Don’t try to make it sound like reverse sexism.

        • I find the working from home policy at my job frustrating as well. My boss can “work from home” when is 2 year old is sick but when I ask to work from home I get snide remarks. I’m not married, no kids, no dog and I’m insanely productive at home.

        • OttLobbyist :

          I can see how this is a hard one for bosses to navigate, but think most organizations without front-line client interactions or confidential information that can’t be removed or accessed offsite should have a policy. Where I am at, it must be pre-approved, and on a day when you do not have obligations in the office.

          On a related note – the weather hysteria thing is interesting. I live in the frozen North, and now even our forecasters freak out about 2 inches of snow. That used to just be any given Tuesday, November – March! Stay safe and warm!

    • Sorry about the wake.

      The snow is, at least, quite beautiful here.

    • Snow here too (Boston), but no snow day. I don’t understand why my firm made the office open when exactly six people (and only one attorney) were able to get here. All the other attorneys are working from home and there is almost no need for any support staff to be here. Oh well – the walk to the T was beautiful!

    • The Gov cancelled all K-12 school in the state for Monday. Hasn’t happened since I was in high school. To be fair, the high for Monday is -11F.

    • Ugh. So I was in a meeting this morning, looked at my email and saw that a colleague’s mother had passed away and the funeral was in 45 minutes. My other colleague and I threw on our dark coats over our jeans and ran out there to pay our respects. Got out of the car in the parking lot at the funeral home and had a text that a friend had passed away this morning. She was such an awesome lady.

  2. TropicalQueen :

    I have this blazer (just picked it up a couple weeks ago) and I love it! So just chiming in for anyone on the fence. Get it!

  3. Continuing on yesterday’s honeymoon theme, anyone want to play travel agent and suggest a region?
    – Continental Europe (we’re UK based)
    – Lakes / mountains rather than beaches
    – Lodge or spa, maybe with walking or biking paths?
    – Veggie friendly
    – Mid October 2014

    We’re thinking Italy is probably the best option given the vegetarian requirement but anyplace a bit in the country /quiet would be lovely.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Lake Como.

    • Consider Slovenia.

      • Agree–was going to suggest Lake Bled, easy to get to from Lublijana, which is also lovely.

    • I actually had a terrible time as a vegetarian in Italy (at least in the northern and central regions – not sure about southern). The only vegetarian items in nice, standard Italian restaurants are pastas, so dinner out with my carnivorous husband was a challenge. Pizza and middle eastern cuisine are very common also, but they tend to be served in casual, lunch-style places, and there’s still not much variety in that arena either. Salads almost always contained meat or were little more than a pile of lettuce. After a week there, I was absolutely sick of pasta and was feeling quite malnourished. I’d say if you do go to Italy, definitely research non-standard-Italian restaurants to eat at for at least some meals.

      • In Southern Italy, it would have been easy if you ate sea food, but I think you’re right – it would have been monotonous as a vegetarian.

        • Good point, although he would happily eat pasta or pizza everyday so could still be a decent possibility.

    • Croatia?

      • Ditto! We went in late September and had a blast! We went from South to North (starting in Dubrovnik, hitting up hvar, then istria) but you could do the reverse or just stay in the Dubrovnik area and also do Montenegro.

        We found it cheaper than Italy too.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I loved Slovenia, though I only really saw Ljubljana and Lake Bled. Croatia was also lovely, but I missed a lot of the beachy things in Croatia because I was there in mid/late October, though it is the end of their busy season, so it would be cheaper and plitvice lakes was absolutely gorgeous.

      I vote Bavaira. I absolutely loved it there, the people are so delightful – there are a ton of mountains (obviously), and I went on some cool hikes, and a thermal spa which was so relaxing. And I am vegetarian and surprisingly didn’t find it too difficult there? They love schinken and put it on a lot of stuff, but it was pretty easy to explain in my rudimentary German, and they were all so accoomodating.

      I actually have to convince myself before I book every trip that there are other places in the world to see, but I would move to Bavaria in a hearbeat if I could find a job as a Canadian lawyer htere.

    • Flying Squirrel :

      Greece? We loved Crete on our honeymoon. We stayed in Western Crete, up in the hills. The place we stayed was Las Samonas traditional villas. Super secluded and relaxing.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Crete was our favorite spot on our 3 week honeymoon in Greece and we stay much longer than expected. We aren’t vegetarian, but I think you’d have pretty good options. Breakfast is yogurt with honey, pound cake, and fresh orange juice. The lunch and dinner options include a lot of sea food if you eat that, but also a lot of bean, eggplant, etc options.

        I like Loire valley idea. France will have a lot of cheese and egg options, although they do add pork products in a lot of the food.

        I loved Swiss alps, too – very romantic – but I found vegetarian (I was one at the time) hard to do… although in fairness that was in the mid-90’s.

        Several friends seeking a similar experience went to the Black sea area and had wonderful experiences. One couple did a cruise. I’m not sure about food options, though. One of them has a medically restricted diet and must have done okay since she didn’t mention difficulties.

    • The Loire Valley region of France. We just did 5 days there and 5 days in Paris, and I thought my boyfriend was going to cry when we had to go back to Paris (and it’s PARIS!) – he loved the Loire area so much. So relaxing, rural, with lots of wine, good food, and historical chateauxs to tour!

      I can send you our Loire Valley itinerary if you want!

    • Anonymous :

      Italy or Switzerland. Done both as a vegetarian.

  4. Diana Barry :

    Ladies, I have been sick all week. Boooooooo! I feel like all of this is wasted time that I should have been using to do work or spend time with my kids, or take down decorations, but instead all I want to do is lie on the couch and tell the kids to GO AWAY or STOP MAKING NOISE. Grr.

    • You’re sick! It’s not supposed to be productive time. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

    • ugh, sickness ruins everything!! I totally know how you feel. Hugs and RAWRS

    • I hear you. I had all these glorious plans of getting my closets organized, decluttering everything, reading all the books I have piled up, going shopping, going to a museum, seeing movies, etc., etc., over the break and I have been sick and feeling awful since last week and have only managed to watch breaking bad and scandal on netflix. Ugh. Back to work monday with a still disorganized, cluttered house. Oh well. Hope you feel better!

  5. Belated Resolution :

    Y’all, you’d think that with 30 years of zip-popping experience, I’d be a pro. But even a gold medalist doesn’t stick every landing.

    I resolve not to pop zits (especially not at work!).

  6. So, I was reading over yesterday’s posts and one of them sparked a question. For those of you who had parents who tended to pay for things when visiting (e.g., meals at restaurants), do they still do so? And if not, when was the transition and how did it happen?

    After 4 years of college, 3 years of gadding about (travel, seasonal/part-time work), and 3 years of law school, I am coming up on my one year work anniversary. My fiance is in the same boat. Both of us had parents who would always pick up the bill when we’d go out to eat, either when we are visiting them or they are visiting us. When they visit us, we cook for them and have a well-stocked kitchen, but if we go to the grocery store or farmer’s market, they will typically pay. Neither of our families are fabulously wealthy but they certainly have more disposable income than we do.

    That being said, I now feel slightly guilty sitting at restaurants and not even making a gesture towards the check when we are with our parents. I don’t want anyone to think that we expect them to pay our way in perpetuity, or that we wouldn’t be willing to chip in. I also don’t want to engage in awkward fighting-for-the-check moments if the parents really do want to pay. I suppose I could start making more determined grabs for the check, and refuse reimbursement for things like groceries. Alternatively, I could actually have a conversation about this with the parents. Thoughts?

    • Have a conversation. They may just really want to do it — they are still your parents (and mine were of the means to send me to school, but not anything beyond a BA or provide house downpayment assistance or other things, so this is the thing that they can do and want to do).

      That said, when I want to pay, I generally tell them that *I* am taking them to X (so no surprises) and I tell my waiter (privately) that I am paying and not to let the sweet older people pay. And this always works if it’s some place I usually go to.

      And I will make them nice meals at my house (steak, crab imperial, crabcakes) that have things that I know they never cook at home for themselves. They like that.

    • DH and I are 30, with a baby. His parents live across the country. When they come to visit, they want to go out to eat, and they will pick up the tab. If/when we go out at our suggestion, DH grabs the tab. When we visit them, we go out to eat only at their suggestion and they pick up the tab.

      My parents live more locally and we rarely if ever go out to eat together. When we do, it’s typically the invitee that pays– ie if we are down visiting my parents and suggest goign out, we get the tab. If they are visiting me and we suggest going out, we get the bill.

    • I’m 24 and my bf is 27. We live together. Our parents have different philosophies on this. My parents paid for my college and now I am on my own. We go dutch when we go out, and if one of us has the other over for dinner the expense is on the host. One exception to this – if they plan a meal that is WAY out of our budget, they will pay because they want our company. My bf’s parents pay for everything when we go out as a group. They also pay our way on family vacations. I think this will slowly change as we get older and move up in our careers, but for now I think his parents enjoy it.

      Moral of the story: talk to your parents about it if you’re uncomfortable! It’s possible they enjoy treating, or on the other hand they may be ready for a change.

    • We’ve tried to pick up the check and they fought us for it. Our rule now tends to be that if they ask us out, they pay and if we invite them out, then we pay. Even though we could pay now, I think it makes them happy to treat us.

    • My mother always struggled financially, and as a teenager and college student, I always gave her some of the money I earned from summer jobs. So once I was on my own and working, it was a no-brainer that I’d pay any time we went out to eat (and I often sent her gift cards to her favorite restaurants so she could get take-out there once in a while).

      My MIL, on the other hand, is quite comfortable and enjoys spending money on us. Left to herself, she’d spend a lot more on us than we would feel comfortable receiving. She lives nearby and we see her every week or two. So we just tend to trade off. When the check comes, my husband might say “let us get this, mom.” Or she’ll ask if she can treat. If she’s bought the last couple of dinners/lunches, my husband will argue with her, but if we got the last one, we just say thank you. Overall, she tends to buy the more expensive meals (or whatever else — tickets to things etc.) but I’d say it’s probably 66/33.

    • My transition happened rather abruptly when I was in grad school. I was still broke, but my upper middle class parents suddenly became pretty broke. They would treat if they could, but now we kids try not to put any money pressure on them and pay our fair share and occasionally treat them. Now two of three kids have slightly more disposable income, so we really make every effort possible to cover ourselves and occasionally treat our parents (eg, pay for the groceries).

    • My mom always paid for stuff like dinners out when my husband and I were young and broke. When we went back to school and were living off of my extremely small salary, she even paid for some of our tuition. Now she’s retired and we make a comfortable living. She has stopped paying for stuff other than the occasional dinner out. I actually prefer that to her continuting to spend on us, as she’s giving us an amazing gift– a retirement she can afford. When she comes to visit, we rarely eat out, but we buy all the extra groceries that she wants. We still get each other Christmas and birthday presents, but those have scaled down as well.

    • I am a single professional who still makes likely a little less than my retired parents (thanks to excellent pension plans on their parts). For the most part, they still pick up the tab but if I invite them out or ordered a more expensive meal/more drinks, I will pick it up. I also do my best to bring food and wine over when I go to their house for dinner (most Sundays).

    • I am 27, graduated from law school in 2011 so have been working as a lawyer for 2 years. I don’t think my parents or in-laws make very much more than we do (maybe 20% more?) but they may have more disposable income as a lot of my monthly income services student loans.

      I will always pay for groceries if I’m at the market/store with my parents or in-laws, but if I ask them to pick up a forgotten item on their way over, I won’t fuss to get the receipt and reimburse them.

      I pay for every 4th or 5th restaurant meal with the whole family as a gesture. I pay for every other coffee date with my mother or my mother-in-law as I would alternate with a girl friend.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      SO and I have only been working full-time for a few years, but have high dual incomes. We have 3 sets of parents (my parents are divorced, his are not). They are all in different income brackets. I earn more individually than his parents combined. We don’t see them a lot (but when we see them it is for long stretches at the holidays usually). They don’t do outings/dinners very often anyway, but we do try to pay when we are all out together. We also try to buy groceries, especially if we request something special. Generally though, they keep a tight budget and we just go with that when we are there. With my parents, my stepdad and mom were doing okay (solidly middle class) but he recently lost his job. Whereas they were picking up the tab before (even the extent of sending me out with cash to buy groceries and alcohol when we were there rather than letting me pay myself) almost always, we are now picking it up almost always (dinners out, events, groceries – even buying each other Christmas presents “from my parents” and not letting them pay us back). I don’t think it would have changed if their financial situation hadn’t changed though. The other parents, they have tons of money, but would never really offer to pay for us at all – we usually split, as per their lead.

      TLDR: depends on the financial situation of the parents, imo. If they can afford it, they probably enjoy treating you and I’d allow them to.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      DH and I are 40, no kids, no student loans, and jobs that pay well. For my mom, who struggled financially post-divorce and is pretty much retired, we usually pick up the tab at restaurants, which tend to be ethnic or not super-expensive. Every now and then she picks up the tab or has us over for dinner (prime rib on New Year’s Day, yum!). We don’t buy groceries for each other, but might bring a dessert over if the other is cooking.

      My father and step-mother are really well off. They used to get the tab when I was in college and grad school, but we alternate with them now and frankly, I think they like it because my other three sisters continue to look the other way when the check comes. Again, we don’t normally buy groceries for each other.

      My in-laws are comfortable (no mortgage, retired, planned well) and strongly prefer to pick up the check at a restaurant. Everyone now and then we fight them for it, but it’s not really worth it. Most of the time, we eat at home with them so there is no check to fight over. We don’t buy groceries when we visit and I don’t think they’d let us because we’re paying for plane tickets when we see them.

  7. T-shirts for the well endowed? :

    I’m going on vacation soon and need to stock up on basic t-shirts (as usual, I buy for work but not for play). I just got 2-3 shirts from Banana Republic, the ones with the nice silk trim around the neckline, and even after sizing up from M to a L, the chest area is still puckering. I’m a 34DDD, so while this is not a shock, I’d like to avoid it. I’m also on board with buying nicer tshirts I can layer underneath cardigans for work, but which can do double duty on vacations. We’re going to visit religious sights, so I need to cover my shoulders (tank tops or sleeveless tops are out). Any t-shirt suggestions for the well endowed lady? Thanks hive!

    • I really like the seamless tees at White House Black Market. Definitely size up though.

      • I’d have to disagree here. I have those and they are very sheer (like belly-button awareness on the white ones) and the scoop comes down very low. I like them for layering, but only for layering.

        LBH (Lilly Beverly Hills) is a tennis gear company that has microfiber shirts that have a double-thickness of fabric in front (so not sheer) and are not cut down as low. They are pricey (but less than Adea, which I think is the gold standard here) and you would need to size way up (I am a 30D, but a small is really tight on me).

        Maybe Land’s End also? That’s a size down type of store.

    • 1. You’re not alone with the BR shirts – I find that they are fit for very straight figures and just dropped three off at the consignment store this weekend.
      2. I like Ann Taylor’s t-shirts for more space in the chest area. Unfortunately I haven’t found any that work for business casual yet. I only have the scoopneck basic t’s.

    • Manhattanite :

      30-DD here. I like Gap perfect scoop neck. Essential v-neck are ok, but thinner. I have the same problem as you with BR Ts — they never work for me. I’ve also bought Old Navy T’s in the past for traveling.

      • Equity's Darling :

        I love the essential V-necks from Gap. I’m around the same size as the OP, for reference. The scoops are good too, I just don’t like how I look in a scoop, so I never buy them. If you want more coverage with the V, I usually just throw a camisole underneath.

    • Caslon tees from Nordstroms and Land’s End tees both work for my busty frame. And they make them in shorter petite lengths if that’s a concern.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Ditto to both. I’m a 30DD with narrow shoulders. They fit well and the quality fabric has a thick-but-not-too-thick feel that skims but doesn’t sausage the midsection.

    • As a 32 DD, I’ve had surprisingly good luck with the target merona basic v neck t shirt. The v isn’t low enough to show anything, but is very flattering.

      • 34DD, I second the Target merona ones, you have to feel them because some types are thin and some are thicker, there’s usually one table near the “junior” type clothes that are thinner, but if you go back in the “misses” area there are the thicker ones. Of course, at target, these sections aren’t defined but you can tell by looking at the clothes.

    • 32DD here. I recommend Everlane. The t-shirts are cut with just enough room to not be skin tight but not too much to be boxy. The fabric is not sheer and see through like J Crew.

  8. applesandcheddar :

    Can anyone offer some help for my really rough and dry feet? My feet, mostly the soles and a little on the big toes, are really rough and dry. They are so nasty, and they sometimes even flake off during yoga on my mat (ew!) I’ve tried soaking and using a pumice stone, lotion with socks at night, but it’s not enough. It doesn’t hurt, but it is really grossing me out.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Before bed, slather and I mean SLATHER your feet with lotion (any kind will do, cheap or expensive). Really load it on so much so that it won’t all absorb. Then, wrap your feet (very loosely) with saran wrap or place in a ziplock bag (left opened) and then put your heavily lotioned and saran wrapped foot into a thick wool sock. The plastic and heat insulation make all the difference in the absorption.

    • Have you tried castor oil? It’s a tip I picked up from the ex-fashion writer for Jezebel who used it on her hands. I’ve done it once or twice, but to be honest, my skin isn’t actually dry enough to warrant its use. You do the same as with lotion: slather it on, put on socks and leave on overnight.

    • Gold bond foot cream. It is MAGIC. Seriously. Will heal it in days.

    • First Year Anon :

      I think getting a pedicure would be a good start- they can remove all of the extra dead skin so the cream can penetrate properly. Even though you said it doesn’t hurt, I find the extra calluses from running do start to hurt after awhile, and I only notice that they were causing me problems until after I get a pedicure and notice how different my feet feel.

      • Seconded. I can never get as much skin off at home as they can.

        There’s also a lotion I have seen at the drugstore called “Pretty Hands & Feet Rough Skin Remover.” I’ve never bought it but it has good reviews. Might be worth a try.

    • You have to use a pumice stone every day in the shower and then slather on really thick lotion with socks for bed. Just keep doing this until it gets better. A parafin bath can also help (you can buy the machine on amazon).

    • Mountain Girl :

      Maybe you have athlete’s foot. Try using an athlete’s foot creme instead of lotion. If you have athlete’s foot and lotion isn’t making it better trying using a medicated antifungal treatment. Its sometimes hard to tell the difference between athlete’s foot and just dry, cracked skin so you won’t hurt your feet by trying this for awhile but you could be making the athlete’s foot worse if you keep slathering lotion on it. You don’t have anything to lose.

    • Traditionalist :

      I’ve actually had really good luck with the Ped Egg, that thing they sell/sold on TV and now at places like CVS. I have to use it pretty routinely, but it works far better than a pumice stone for me. My sister swears by Heeltastic, which is kind of a stick moisturizer thing, and she does the slather/sock method there as well. I also agree with getting a fresh start by having a pedicure, as another poster suggested.

    • My feet are similar. I do the sock thing, but I do a heavy-duty moisturizer like coconut oil or Nivea cream (blue tub) and then an occlusive like Vaseline. Occlusives don’t necessarily moisturize on their own, but they create a barrier that holds moisture next to the skin. I found that the moisturizer was just absorbed by my socks and not my feet without the extra layer. There’s no way I could sleep with my feet in plastic bags or saran wrap, but socks are tolerable. I have a ped egg but prefer to use a pumice stone in the shower. Once at a pedicure the nail artist whipped out a Dremel tool instead of one of those little callus shavers and it did an excellent job, but that is a little too Tool Time for me to do at home on a regular basis.

    • Laura Mercier’s Creme Brulee rocks. But do the cream and socks at bedtime. The combination is pretty slippery for even walking around while lounging at home.

  9. Awful Situation :

    I don’t even really have a question, just a need to put this out there. I am 100% certain I am being cheated on by my spouse. I have suspected for a while, and his behavior has been questionable at best, but there are far too many signs to ignore. Worse, when I try to bring it up, it gets turned around on me and we end up in a giant, awful, horrible fight, which affects my productivity at work and my health. He definitely has bully tenancies; not quite abusive, but I can never hold my own in a fight. Worse yet, I’m currently pregnant with our first. Worse, worse yet, I don’t think I can financially do it on my own. I’d love to simply pack it up and walk out, but I don’t think I can. I have family that would help, but this is so embarrassing and I don’t really want to tell anyone in real life.

    I don’t want him at the birth of our child and I don’t really want to have anything to do with him ever again. I hate him and I love him and I definitely hate this situation.

    • Can you secretly see a lawyer, and get a small group of close friends and family to support you (emotionally)? It seems like you’ll need a support team. And it sounds like you want to divorce.

      And I hate to break this to you, but unless you are thinking of having an abortion, you will not likely be able to avoid this man. If you have this baby, you will be tied to him for life. Unless, of course, he wants to go the full deadbeat and run away. Or partial deadbeat (pay child support, but never, ever see you and your child.)

      • Awful Situation :

        Abortion is not an option at this stage of the pregnancy. I understand that I’ll always be tied to him through the child. I’m just sick at the situation. I really hate him for doing this.

        • Lawyer. Therapy. You absolutely need both. Nothing says that seeing either of these people will mean you’re 100% getting divorced, or that you’re not strong, or whatever else might be holding you back from getting some help. From the lawyer, you just need information. What are your rights in terms of money, the house, and the child? What should you do now to preserve those rights in case of a messy divorce? (Not saying you’ll have one, but lawyers think about the worst case scenario and then advise their clients on how to act to protect themselves in case the worst happens.) From the therapist, you need someone with an outside, neutral (i.e., not family or friends) and non-judgmental perspective. The therapist should help you sort out your feelings, get you past biases that might be clouding your vision (and leading you to believe certain things are 100% not doable that actually are), and help you figure out what you need to do for yourself and the baby. I’m sorry. This is a tough situation.

          • I am so so sorry and you’re right. You’re totally being robbed of what should be a happy time in your life and it’s awful knowing that no matter what you decide to do, you’re always going to be tied to him.

            Just wanted to second TBK’s rec to see a lawyer and a therapist. They are the best professionals available to you during something like this and can provide you the information you need to decide how you want to move forward.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes! Great advice. And remember both therapist visits and lawyer consults are free through your EAP program. Good luck and hugs to you

    • Anne Shirley :

      Pretty sure if my mom ever heard me say I’d rather stay with a horrible cheating bastard than face the embarrassment of turning to her for help it would break her heart. You’re lucky- it sounds like you have a network of people who love you. Let them!

      • Awful Situation :

        My parents and family are wonderful people and I know that they would help me out with anything I needed, but this is not the first time I’ve found myself in a bad situation. I think that they think I have poor judgment. By all accounts, I’m moderately successful and self-sufficient (and other situations have not involved relationships), but I know they think that I get myself into trouble by having poor instincts or making bad choices. I just don’t know if I can face the [silent or not so silent] judgment right now. This is also supposed to be such a happy time. I know that plenty of people are in awful situations and it seems self-indulgent to whah whah whah about not having a perfect little, picturesque life, but I can’t help but feel a little mournful of the fact that what is supposed to be a wonderful and exciting time in my life is such a mess.

        • Oh my goodness, this sounds so much like something to talk about with a therapist. Both your judgy family and, if it’s true, the fact that you don’t always read situations as well as you could. NOT that your husband’s behavior is your fault. But that if this is a pattern, it could be helpful to have a professional help you see the pattern and identify clear steps you can take to make different choices in the future.

        • Senior Attorney :

          My feeling is that you are in an emergency situation, and so what if it’s because of poor judgment, and so what if they think it’s because of poor judgment? You need help, you need to get out, they are willing to help you, so take the help! Honestly, I think the worst judgment of all would be to stay in the current situation because you are too proud or embarassed to turn to your family.

          And TBK is right… get some therapy to look at whether this is a pattern. Later. After you have gotten out of the house.

        • Seattle Freeze :

          Your husband cheating on you is not poor judgment or a bad decision on your part. Your husband bullying you or otherwise treating you badly is not a reflection of your poor instincts or bad choices. His bad behavior does not mean that you chose badly or in any way asked or deserve to be in this situation. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it, and my dear, you do need it right now.

        • Tough love time. “I know they think that I get myself into trouble by having poor instincts or making bad choices.”

          Don’t make this statement true. Don’t get yourself in “trouble” or make the choice to stay with someone because you’re afraid of the jerks in your family saying “I told you so” or “look Awful’s done it again.”

          Truth be told you probably do have bad instincts if you come from a family who would put you down at a time like this. And guess what, not your fault!! And even better, you can work to change that in therapy. Living in fear of what people will say or think will only keep you down. This is classic emotional manipulation.

          Make the life you want happen. Lawyer, therapist. ASAP.

        • My family sometimes feels this way about my little sister – that she hasn’t made great decisions – but if my little sister was in this position, we would do absolutely everything for her to get through this. Tell your family – you need a safe place that you can go to if you need to get away, and you will need help when the baby comes. Of course, also agree with the therapist and lawyer comments as well.

      • agreed. There is no reason for you to be embarrassed – this is entirely on your spouse and has nothing to do with you. It’s a bad situation that you did nothing to create. I think you’re underestimating how compassionate people will be to you in your situation. Almost everyone has had something like this in their life or the life of someone close to them.

    • My dear, you need extra hugs for this one. I second the Anon’s suggestion about getting a secret group of supporters.

      I would also recommend finding a good therapist so you can learn some strategies to protect yourself emotionally from this guy. Find a safe place you can go to, too, if you ever, even for a minute, think he might harm you physically. Bullies who are as manipulative and nasty like your husband can’t be trusted to do the right thing when they don’t get everything they want.

      Keep us posted. We are internet strangers, but we can feel empathy across the computer screens and wish you luck and success in extricating yourself from this horrible d-bag.

    • I’m so sorry. I know how embarrassing it is, but I bet once you tell someone in real life, it’ll be such a relief. I always used to have fantasies of calling my ex’s mom and telling her just what he was up to so that she’d shame him, but I never did.

    • Just a little thought on putting to bed the whole idea that his cheating on you *while you’re pregnant* says anything about you and your decisions.

      In my state, you’d be able to sue the other woman. And have a jury trial. [And other states, too; South Dakota comes to mind.]

      This is a case that I’d love to try.

      [FYI, I would not recommend such as lawsuit, but it might be a daydreaming exercise to try. And let the imaginary jury speak louder than any critical voices.]

      • Awful Situation :

        I know that his actions do not actually say anything about my decisions, good or bad. I just don’t feel like dealing with it on top of the disgust I am feeling now. It doesn’t actually feel like it would be a relief to tell them. I think it would make me feel worse.

        And while my family would do anything and everything they could, they all live in a different state than where my job is, so its not like I could pack up and go stay with them. I still have to work here. They also all work and so coming here at the drop of a hat is not an option, either.

        Its not like I’d be out on the street — I can take care of myself in the short term, I just can’t do necessarily do it in the long term without some major planning.

        As an extremely petty aside, he absolutely knows I know based on something that happened last night and this morning and I feel like it has totally given me the upper hand. He’s been “checking in” all day and I’ve been pretty non-responsive and distant. In the past, I’ve voiced suspicions and he’s been able to deflect or make it seem like I’m the bad person for asking, but because I’ve been calm and non-confrontational and he 100% knows he’s busted (in a pretty hilarious way, I might add). I’m enjoying hearing his sad, pleading little voice (without actually coming out and saying that he knows I know or admitting anything) and hearing his feeble attempts to make “nice plans” for the weekend.

        • The upper hand in what?

        • Then I’d trust your own instincts and not spend too much time venting to your family. I think it might be helpful to let them know the bare bones just so it’s not a surprise later on. Given that you mention that you’d need a lot of planning, I’d recommend focusing your energies on that, instead of explaining stuff to your judgey (even if well-meaning) family.

          I also really take issue with some of the posts that suggest that divorce might *not* be the ultimate outcome. This is a situation where I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t divorce this lame-o husband. His nastiness, his continued deception, his turning it back at you, are all signs of a greater problem than cheating– he’s cruel and clearly has problems with honesty. I can’t see why anyone would want to spend a life with a cruel liar, and worse yet, to allow that kind of influence around one’s child more than is court-mandated necessary.

        • He is cheating on you. You certainly do not have the upper hand, and its very unhealthy to think that way. Please take care of yourself

    • First of all, I just want to say hugs to you. I’ve been there – cheated on by my spouse, suspecting while he lied. Although I was not pregnant and did not have children. It was horrible. I knew something was going on and he just lied the whole time. Trust your instincts. Take care of yourself. Don’t blame yourself. Do whatever you have to do to get to the other side of this.

      FWIW, my ex married the woman he cheated on me with – and then cheated on her.

    • *hugs*

      I posted a while ago about suddenly finding myself in a failing marriage and being pregnant, and got some great support. I found a therapist, and told my OB who promptly got me into a psychiatrist (I was suicidal). My husband and I started marriage counseling. Several months later, we’re working on things and I have a much better understanding of what has been going wrong in my life, and both my husband and I have taken significant steps to fix those things.

      The most important advice anyone gave me was my therapist, who simply told me not to make any decisions right now. Of course, that’s only true if you’re safe, but I would have made lots of hasty and uninformed decisions if I hadn’t had that guidance.

      So – take care of yourself. Get a therapist, talk to your doctor, and make no decisions for a while. Best of luck, and I hope you find yourself in a happier situation soon.

    • Do you really want your child raised by a bully?

  10. Question for you all: I have a coffee date with a former colleague who now works at a company I’m interested in working for. I don’t know this former colleague very well and we didn’t work much together, but he’s a friend of a friend, I know him slightly and since I’m in his city for the holidays I looked him up and arranged to meet. He’s older and more established in his career, and even though I know this is not at all an interview, I feel nervous. I’m not sure what to talk about. Do I keep it purely social? (I’m not in a position to apply to his company right now, just making the contact). Or do I ask him about the company? I’m drawing a blank on what would be appropriate to ask. I want to come off as smart and competant, but also relaxed so he knows I know this isn’t an interview. (He’s not high up enough to do the hiring anyway). I’m still pretty young in my career and haven’t done much networking. Help??

    • I think you can work it all into the conversation. So how’s life in new city, what do you think of new company, what is your role (if different than old job) etc. I don’t think you have do all this research on his company in the news, but if there is some opportunity to “talk shop” about the industry and it feels natural, I think that is ok too.

    • First, dress professionally but not in the full interview get-up (e.g., depending on your industry and assuming it’s a workday, maybe an outfit with a jacket but not a full navy suit with hose). Second, definitely express your interest in the company! If you say you’re not in a position to apply right now, then there’s no way he’d think you thought it was a real interview. Ask about what he does, where the company is going (do be sure to read up on it first — try the company’s web site and especially their news/press release section — if they’re about to roll out a major new product or have a huge merger, you want to know that). What’s the culture like? What are the things he likes best/least about the company? Ask about the type of role you’d be interested in. Does he work with people in that role? What kinds of things is the company generally looking for when they hire for that kind of position? What’s the career path for someone in that position? Finally, ask 1) if there’s anyone else he could suggest you talk to and 2) if he’d take a quick look at your resume (you’d email it to him after the coffee, not right there at the table) to see if he can see anything you could do to help improve your qualifications as a candidate for the kind of job you’re interested in with his company. And then send a sincere and thoughtful thank you email when you get home.

      • Sorry, I missed that this was a former colleague and not just a friend of a friend. You can be more relaxed in your dress, but I’d still be ready to spend time talking about his company.

    • If it is a company you are interested in working for, then asks him about it! Tell him straight up that its a place you’d like to work and you’d like to hear his impressions of the place and the people. If there is an area that you think you’d like to get into, ask him about that group, what he knows about it, how people usually end up there (assuming he indicates that he knows/can talk about it – nothing worse than having to tell someone “I don’t know” more than 3 times in a row).

      Mix it in with some social stuff (maybe start there), but I don’t think you need to avoid talking about the company.

    • Ask him about his career path. If you’re interested in being in his position someday, ask how he got there. I think it would be ok to ask about his current company and what drew him there. Ask him what kind of advice he would have for someone just starting out in your field. Assuming you approached him as a professional contact, I think he’ll probably be expecting to talk about work-related things.

      What you want to avoid is giving him the impression that you are asking him for a job, because if that is something he can’t help you with, then he will feel pressured and may clam up. But if you can keep your questions more general and geared towards seeking information/advice, in my experience, people are very happy to help with these sorts of things. Good luck!

  11. Actual snow boots! :

    I know there have been tons of warm boot recs here, but I need something specifically to keep me from killing myself on subway stairs/tile but are tall enough to climb through the piles of snow on street corners (yay NYC!). It seems like I can get boots that fit one req or the other not both and if I read one more comment on Nordies about how these Sorels are “cute” but say nothing about actual snow use I’m going to scream. Help!

    • Kamik - Brooklyn :

      I have these – great tread and keep my feet dry slogging through snow.

      • I have Kamik Rival boots – new this year – and their tread is awesome. I walk about a mile to the train and needed boots that would be comfy, keep my feet warm, and do well walking on sidewalks that haven’t been shoveled. My Kamik Rivals do all this. And I got them for about $80. Score!

        The only down side is that the fake fur seems to pill my tights. I’m trying to figure out a solution to this problem. Maybe leg warmers to protect the tights?

    • Equity's Darling :

      I’m confused, Sorels are actual snow boots…. With solid grip for icy sidewalks, and they don’t leak when it’s slushy because their soles are rubber. And my feet are always toasty in them. So yeah…Sorels?

      • Actual snow boots! :

        My frustration was that none of the reviewers actually confirm that they were good for any of those things, they all just talk about looks not function, so I didn’t want to drop $200 if that wasn’t true. (Especially since you can’t really test run and return snow boots) But, thank you from speaking from actual experience! Clearly, I am cold and grumpy from my walk to work this morning.

      • Agreed. Since when were Sorels cute? I have the Tofinos and they work quite well in Boston. My feet have yet to feel cold and they’re pretty sturdy.

      • Yes to this. I mean, they aren’t going to be invincible on ice, and you still need to do the penguin shuffle, but they are honest to god snow boots. The iterations you are seeing now are cute-ifying a men’s version of a reliable snow boot (my dad has some).

        The Cate’s are tall, but heavy, and aren’t great for walking long distances. The Joans and Tofinos are popular, and have a shorter shaft.

    • LL Bean.

      • These look amazing if you’re willing to spend $200 —

    • My Sorel boots that I’ve had since middle school (I’m now 25) have held up really well and have good traction and warmth in the snow. They do feel pretty heavy, though (not sure if their more current styles might be lighter), so if you don’t like the lead-foot thing, you might want to try something lighter.

      • I’m 28, have also had my Sorels since middle school, although you could never tell, and second everything else in this comment.

    • I ordered the Powder Run boots from Lands’ End recently and they appear to do a good job in the snow, haven’t slipped yet. I commute from Queens where most people haven’t shoveled, and the boots were tall enough to deal with the snow there.

    • As someone living far north in Canada, I can assure you that Sorels are the footwear of choice. The fact that they have stepped up their style game in recent years is great, but even if they were still the clunky moon boots of my youth, I’d wear them to keep my feet dry and warm.

    • I bought columbia bugaboots (link to follow) and have been using it heavily in Chicago snow for the past month. I take the subway regularly, walk atleast 15-20 minutes daily on streets at different levels of snow (fresh dump on nye, slushy when it starts melting or hard when the snow sets in) and found it has excellent grip, don’t have prepetual fear of slipping. It keeps my feet warm when it is below 0. It is not as “cute” as sorrel, they ran out sorrel at the store and I bought these instead. It did take 1-2 wear to feel comfortable, intially the shaft felt too stiff but now it feels just right especially when i wear them with long socks.


    • I’m wearing similar boots from Lands End today:

    • Actual snow boots! :

      Thanks everyone! I’m buying whichever of these recs has my size in stock ASAP.

    • I love my North Face boots–warm and great in snow. They are not cute, though

  12. I just have to vent, hive. My MIL just found out that my SIL is gay. It was an accidental social media slip up, but I’m actually kind of glad it happened this way. She was scared of being disowned, so I think that’s ok. So the mistake happened Sunday, and MIL calls Aunt at 1:30am in hysterics. She just sat there sobbing for about 2 minutes, then hung up. Aunt tried to call back, and the phone was off the hook. The phone was off the hook until yesterday, when I sent my brother over to ask MIL to call my husband.

    So she called…and basically said she is “done” with ALL of her kids, because she doesn’t think it is fair that she found out “last” (technically, they all found out at the same time “officially” with the social media post, the rest was always only suspicion. (I knew, but no one needs to know that!) She’s mad at SIL #2 because she planned some vacation days “in the area” of my MIL (1.5 hours away) and didn’t plan to bring her boyfriend to meet MIL, she’s mad at my husband for not getting MIL & FIL’s tax issues fixed fast enough (every try to deal with the IRS over the holidays?), and mad at SIL for not calling her first and talking to her about it. SIL #3 escapes because she and MIL haven’t spoken in at least 5 years anyway. She got excommunicated when she was like 16 and moved out.

    It feels to me like she knows she can’t be angry about the fact SIL is gay, so she’s making up all kinds of other things to be mad about. SIL is 23. She actually said to my husband “well you’re supposed to be the head of the family, you should have found out and called me!” Compounding the issues is the fact that my FIL remains in a persistent vegetative state since an accident in 2009, and she takes care of him at home (not for lack of money, but because she feels that the 24 hour, very nice nursing care home doesn’t do a good enough job). She’s definitely tried to make my husband the stand-in for FIL.

    It’s just so manipulative. Everything is all about how it makes her feel, and what she wants, and how no one is living up to her expectations (we live 500 miles away, near SIL, and make it up there, at a minimum, every 6 weeks. Husband handles all of her tax, insurance, retirement and accounting issues. Does nothing but work and finish her “to do” lists whenever we are there. They go way above and beyond what children in their 20s/30s should be doing for a parent in her early 60s with a college education and has been on her own since 18…) Husband has to talk to her every. single. day. or it causes a nuclear meltdown. I’ve been arguing against enabling this behavior for years, and I think this is the logical end to always trying to appease her…it’s never enough. So frustrating. No matter how crazy, it is terrible to be told you’re a failure by a parent!!

    So I’m just trying to be supportive and add some calm logic to the situation. To add to it, we had plane tickets for this weekend, and she told my husband she didn’t want to see him. This is the woman that burst into hysterics when he said he couldn’t come for Christmas because he had to work the Thursday-Saturday after (husband runs a commercial electrical contracting business, and if a client needs work done, they need work done…and if you’re not available, you’re likely to lose the client), even though we bought tickets for this weekend to make up for it (and we were there on Thanksgiving). Sorry for the long vent. It just is so frustrating to see them all going through this…

    • I wish everyone would just cut your MIL off. Seriously, what is the purpose for keeping a relationship with someone who’s that much of a jerk? I really think people go all “style over substance” and like checking the box and pretending they have a close family relationship. Everybody should stop feeding the vampire (that’s what your MIL is) and then it will dry up and go the F away. I will never, ever understand people who want to keep one-sided relationships with crappy people who will always be crappy to them and everybody around them. My sympathies, SoCalAtty. You sound like one of the few sane ones here.

    • Stop coddling her? Well, have your husband stop coddling her? She’s a grown up and needs to act like it. The more you cater to someone’s crap, the more they’re going to dish out.

      She’s making choices so make her live with the consequences. She can act like a responsible adult and have a relationship with her kids or can keep up the hysterics and alienate her family. It’s that simple. Your DH can give his siblings a heads up, but seriously the only way it changes is if you stop responding to it.

      Clearly my motto for 2014 is stop putting up with people’s BS. I feel like I should needlepoint this and display it on my front door as a reminder for myself!

      • Anon and L – I totally agree with you both. Once we get this last piece of tax mess dealt with (before the accident, FIL owned my husband’s business as a sole proprietor and for some reason thought it was a good idea to do his taxes by hand. We didn’t find out they weren’t being filed properly until a year or two after the accident, so we’re mopping up 2009-2011, with the help of a CPA, because MIL knows nothing about taxes or the business), we can really, fully disengage. Hopefully we can start doing that sooner with other things…there is no reason she can’t call her own plumber, or tree trimmer, or figure out the medical bills on her own. It is a Kaiser HMO so…not super complicated.

        • Ugh. Good luck lady. Start backing out now and maybe help your husband to facilitate a conversation between siblings. They all need to present a unified front to save themselves from the insanity. I can only imagine how hard it is with your FIL in the situation he’s in. fingers crossed 2014 goes a bit smoother for you!

        • Frugal doc..... :

          Wow… I am stunned.

    • I can’t even imagine what it must be like to care for a person in a vegetative state; aside from the physical strain (which as you pointed out could be mitigated with paid help), the emotional strain and sense of loss must be very difficult. I know it must be torture to deal with a manipulative MIL, but in this case she is probably struggling more than you realize.

      When I was a newlywed, my MIL was terminally ill and she was sometimes pretty difficult to deal with. After she passed away I realized that her behavior was out of character for her and the physical and emotional pain of dying caused her to act that way. Honestly, I regret being unsympathetic and if I could do it over again, I would have been nicer and more understanding. (This happened 25 years ago and my lack of sympathy is one of the few things I really regret).

      • Yes – it is completely awful. I totally understand that. The problem is that she has had, for the past 4 years, all the support from friends/family/church/community that a person could ask for. She has a nurse that comes in 1x a week for a check in, and a “helper” that is there about 3-4 times per week to watch FIL while MIL goes to the store, or helps her with showers or other heavy lifting. She outright refuses to see a therapist, even though we’ve found several that will visit her at home. She thinks none of them know what they’re talking about.

        Unfortunately her behavior is completely in character for her. She was manipulative and demanding before the accident…it is just magnified now.

      • frugal doc... :

        Oh my goodness…. Very stressful, and I completely sympathize with your reasonable frustration.

        But I feel sorry for all, and can relate to your poor mother’s situation, as I am a caregiver to a severely disabled family member. Her situation deserves so much understanding, support, and patience….

        Your mother has lost…. so much. Taking care of her husband is a living nightmare, in so many ways. And actually…. she is absolutely right that caring for him at home is MUCH better in most cases then the care he would get in a “nice” nursing home. You are not properly informed about what actually goes on in “nice” nursing homes, for you to say this….. I know from my experience as a doctor and a caregiver that many nursing homes are death sentences for the severely disabled or … my goodness… the comatosed. Perhaps deep down some family members might “prefer” this….. there are so many issues at play, and all are painful.

        Your minimizing of this “small detail” about your FIL in the story is shocking to me, actually.

        Your MIL’s situation is one of the most stressful, depressing, isolating, situations you could ever be in. All of your friends leave you, you feel helpless and alone. Your MIL probably has PTSD/anxiety related to this situation and desperately needs good medical care herself to treat this, as well as a support group for caregivers. Does she have a good physician and psychiatrist? She needs it more then ever. Yes, she is leaning on your husband too much…. but who else does she have? Is everyone truly doing their share to help? Does she need more help/caregivers in the home?

        It is very very difficult managing in this situation. I am so impressed that your family has embraced her in many ways to support her…. but try not to focus on her lack of understanding/gratitude, as she is probably terribly depressed, terrified…. And the recent breakdown just reveals her totally instability and need of help and support. She is sick… that is now you should look at her. She needs help. She feels alone…. .and in so many ways, she is alone and you will never be able to relate to her situation.

        But I didn’t say that this is easy. Stay out of all of these family issues that do not affect you directly. Give her time and space, but do not isolate her and cut off the help she needs to care for her husband. It’s ok to set up clear boundaries and try to be consistent. But as soon as possible, get her medical care. I suspect your husband would benefit from counseling as well…. His position is also very difficult, and he feels additional guilt from you as well.

        I wish you all well.

        • Anonymous :


        • Holiday blues :


          Here here…..

        • SoCalAtty :

          Well…yes and no. I have been through this 3 times now. Once when my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I was in charge of her until she passed in 2010. Then I was responsible for my grandmother who had early onset dementia (lived with her for that one) until she passed in 2006. Next I was responsible for my grandfather, who just passed from pancreatic cancer this September. Mom was in care the entire time, and not only did I manage that, I micro managed that. I was lucky to find such a great care place for her, but I STILL had to micro manage because that’s just the nature of the beast. I lived with my grandmother, so that wasn’t too terrible logistically, but emotionally it was tough. My uncle helped with my grandpa, so I was the relief string this time, but still very involved. The facility my FIL was in right after his discharge from the hospital was fantastic. So…I am pretty well informed about what goes on at nursing care facilities. I know about this particular place because I was there for weeks, and I know one of the care ombudsman there. I’m not coming at this issue as an outsider to caing for a dying or disabled family member at all.

          As for my MIL…none of her friends have left her. They still play bunco every Thursday, call, bring lunch, and make sure she gets out of the house. I’m SURE she has severe depression, anxiety, all of that – but she outright refuses to see a therapist, a psychiatrist…a physician…anyone. She is sure that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Like I said, we have found services from each category that will visit her at home, but that’s a no go.

          I hope I don’t sound like I’m guilting my husband. I’m not. My position in this is, “you shouldn’t let her make you feel like a failure, you’re not, but I understand what it is like to get this from a parent. Let’s make it easier…”

          She doesn’t need us to help her care for my FIL. First, we’re 500 miles away. She’s completely set up in that regard – good insurance, good, regular staff that helps her out, and the ability to use respite care if she ever gets really sick. Believe me, I’m staying out of this as much as I can, but these issues DO affect me directly. In fact, my husband’s business has suffered because of the time he spends “helping” MIL. Our sleep suffers, because she calls us at 1:30 am to talk about something she got in the mail that stressed her out. Sleep doesn’t matter that much for me, but when you have your hands in an electrical panel big enough to run a 30 story building, you better be on your game! I don’t want my husband to blow himself up because he was exhausted, physically or emotionally, over his mom.

          You’re right that she is unstable…but you’ve got to want to help yourself, and, at some point, we have to decide to not go down with the ship. In fact, it is part of why husband and I don’t have kids yet…neither one of us are willing to have one in this totally unstable, stressful situation. So we do have to find a solution, and if MIL isn’t willing to help herself, despite the help she is getting from all sides, I don’t see any other answer than withdrawal.

          • I hear you. When my MIL was terminally ill, she didn’t call in the middle of the night, but she was unreasonable in other ways. We were newlyweds living in the smallest apartment imaginable, but she asked us to take in my husband’s sister to stay with us because the two of them weren’t getting along. (We did it, but it didn’t last long due to my SIL’s own personal problems). I was pretty outraged, thinking that a newly married couple should have space and time without an annoying sister living with us. There were some other unreasonable requests and behaviors too. Your situation is worse because my MIL’s situation was self-limiting: she was terminally ill and died within the year. Your FIL’s illness could go on indefinitely.

            My point is, as much as you see her unreasonably infringing on your lives, careers and future children, is that it’s not all about you. Her situation sucks and she is taking it out on those closest to her, but her situation is still so much worse than yours that more sympathy is in order.

            However, you don’t have to literally kill yourselves. I’d recommend turning off all phones at night if you’re concerned about your husband’s ability to work.

          • SoCalAtty :

            You’re probably right about sympathy. I’m just…out of sympathy. After working so hard for the last 4 years to help her in any way possible, and with MIL basically having 0 sympathy for me while I cared for my grandparents and mom while they were dying (especially pre- accident), somewhere in there I ran out. I think that has to go both ways – of course our situation is better than hers, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter when we go through “stuff” – ER visits, death of my family…and she’s never cared about any of that – before OR after the accident. Makes it hard to reciprocate.

            Unfortunately, we can’t turn the phones off. Husband’s service necessarily includes emergency service, so he’s on call. I’m working on figuring out a way to change his emergency service number to one MIL doesn’t know, it just takes some time to get the information out to all current and past clients.

          • Anonymous :

            Note too that she might care, but just not be in a position to have anything to give you. Kind of a tunnel vision about her own situation.

          • For SoCalAtty re: late night calls :

            Do these emergency calls come in from known phone numbers?

            For the iPhone, at least, you can turn on a “Do Not Disturb” feature with a list of exempted numbers, and then ONLY those numbers will ring through to you. If MIL calls, and you didn’t put her number on the list, then your phone won’t ring. It may be worth investigating (or seeing if the alternative is possible – a way to block her number from ringing through between the hours of X and Y).

          • @tesyaa
            “My point is, as much as you see her unreasonably infringing on your lives, careers and future children, is that it’s not all about you. Her situation sucks and she is taking it out on those closest to her, but her situation is still so much worse than yours that more sympathy is in order.”

            NFW. Stop with the “suffering p!ssing” contest. That’s not the rule by which we should allow manipulative people to mess up other people’s lives. Let’s be honest here, a lot of that suffering is self-inflicted, or stuff due to her putting obstacles in front of herself. SoCalAtty is not responsible for that.

            And as for the “it’s not all about you.” It’s not all about the MIL either, but because the MIL wants to make it a zero-sum game, she really sounds like she deserves zero. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with making sacrifices if it will make her life better. But this MIL steadfastly refuses to make her own life better and refuses to let people help in ways that would, so why sacrifice for her when she’s just going to throw it away? Net net, everybody is more unhappy because of her.

          • SoCalAtty - Late Night Calls :

            No, unfortunately lots of them are blocked and/or unexpected numbers that come in. It rings to a landline that also forwards to the cell phone. We’re going to try and get it set up with a different landline, which would also forward to the iPhone, and then just set it up so MIL’s number doesn’t ring the iPhone.

          • For SoCalAtty re: late night calls :

            Could you keep the existing landline but then get a new, separate iPhone that it would forward to for evening calls only? That way your husband doesn’t have to change any known phone numbers, and you can block MIL on the “evening hours” iPhone.

          • I do have to say, that based on your description, I’m not sure your trying to feel more sympathetic towards MIL would actually help MIL. As in, MIL is in a terrible situation, and trying circumstances, but can you, her DIL, do something more than you are currently doing in a way that would fundamentally make her better? Can your husband? Based on your description of MIL’s situation here and in previous posts, it seems that perhaps the answer is no. In other words, is allowing MIL to take things out on you and your husband actually beneficial to MIL?

            I would continue to focus on what you should do or not do in this situation, and let yourself feel however you feel. It seems to me that you are approaching this the right way, trying to support your husband and trying to draw a needed boundary with MIL. It is just tough when there isn’t always a clear indication as to where exactly that boundary should be. The “correct” balance between supporting your parent and sacrificing your own health/sanity/career/other relationships in in the name of supporting that parent, isn’t always clear and often changes, in my experience.

          • SoCalAtty - Late Night Calls :

            It may get too complicated that way. But we’re exploring all the options. I don’t really want to pay extra $$ for another phone just to avoid MIL.

        • Um, no. No a thousand times. Stop with the excusing of bad behavior already. Just because the MIL faces a difficult situation, doesn’t give her license to continue behaving this badly for so long.

          Let me put it another way: people with fewer resources and far worse problems have behaved far, far better than the MIL.

          This kind of justifying of bad behavior is why so few of these people are ever held accountable for their behavior. They know that as long as people like you keep making excuses for them, and nobody leaves, they can keep acting this nastily. As soon as enough people drop them, some of them get their crap together and start acting like civilized humans.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Why did you send your brother over to ask her to call your husband? It sounds like you knew she was in a snit. No need to wade into it and certainly no need to involve your brother. You’ll only start having less drama in your life if you start the slow painful process of not. doing. it. (and are you telling yourself you had to do this to check on her husband? Is that really true when you’re being honest with yourself?)

      • He actually lives on the property…should have clarified that…he rents her guest house because it is across the street from the college he is attending. It was more of a “hey…give the husband a call when you get a minute” as he walked past her in the driveway (and with the phone being off the hook for 3 days, we wanted to make sure she was in one piece.) That was all it was.

        • Anne Shirley :

          Oh well then doesn’t sound nearly so crazy! Good luck with her.

          • Oh lord, SO MUCH SYMPATHY. My MIL had a total meltdown when my SIL came out as gay. Then she showed up when my husband had surgery and tried to disconnect his IV while screaming how the doctors didn’t understand that they were making him an addict.

            That was fun. My poor husband kept trying to make his mother…normal…but gave up when his sister asked him to call MIL and tell her that SIL was no longer gay (SIL goes back and forth and has apparently never heard of being bisexual. It’s a constant merry-go-round of Gay!NotGayIWasWrongItWasAllAMistake! NoWaitIAmGay! NoNoNoINeverWas!) MIL flipped out and started screaming about how husband was trying to control her.

            Crazy is as crazy does.

  13. Anon This Time :

    I mostly want to vent, but if anyone has any experience/advice on this, I’d be really grateful to hear it. My husband suffers from serious depression that affects every aspect of his life, and seeps into most aspects of mine, as well. He’s getting good help with meds and has done a lot of talk therapy, and he’s improved in the past . . . but now he’s getting worse again. I’m so frustrated because it seems he has just stopped trying even the minimal amount. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helped him a lot, but he stopped going to his appointments and doesn’t implement any of the therapist’s suggestions. He’s now in bed most of the day, every day. With medical leave from his job about to run out, he wants to take early retirement.

    I’m at my wits’ end. I feel horrible saying this, but I want to leave. The most important thing is that I feel like I need to get out to save myself, as I’m getting dragged down into the dumps, too. I’m normally a cheerful and social person, but it’s hard to keep that energy up when the atmosphere at home is so dismal. Also, just to face the material end of things, I can’t see spending the rest of my working life supporting him, and making job decisions based solely on needing to make lots more money. My salary is higher than his, but if he stops working our household income drops by about 40%.

    Have any of you in the Hive been in this position? What helped you make decisions, both personal and professional? We have no kids, thank heavens, so that’s not a factor.

    • Anonymous :

      I can relate – similar situation due to a different disease. Hugs. You’re not alone.

    • marketingchic :

      I have not experienced this personally, but someone close to me was in a very similar situation, except with kids. It’s been a year since her divorce now, and she says she can’t believe how much happier her life is (and how well adjusted her kids are) because they don’t have her ex bringing them all down and holding them all back. It took her a long time to decide to leave (well over a year), but now she is glad she did it.

      Maybe you could start by seeing a therapist yourself to talk things out.

    • Holiday blues :

      He must get back into therapy. If he is getting worse the meds are not working anymore, and he isn’t getting good care anymore. He sounds like someone who needs indefinite follow-up with a psychiatrist and therapist….. And a winter happy light. My father also gets worse every winter….

      But as you know, this is a minefield for you and depressed people often decline treatment. Can you call one of doctors now to alert them?

      I’d say push him, and be honest…. Say you are becoming depressed and fearful for your future together. You cannot live like this anymore, and you are worried about him.

      I also worry is you leave he will collapse…. And you may need to support him if he is “disabled”.

      Hugs hugs to you. It is so so hard….

    • SoCalAtty :

      Yes, I have been through this with other family members, but not my husband. It may be that it is time to change therapists. After a certain amount of time, sometimes people learn how to “trick” their therapist…not intentionally, but sometimes talking about one thing is easier than talking about the real root of the problem, or of the depression, if that makes sense. Once you have become comfortable with a therapist, sometimes it gets easy to “lead them down the garden path,” so to speak, and then you’re not actually addressing the problem anymore.

      I agree that it may be helpful for you to have your own therapist – not necessarily on a very frequent basis, but someone you can see to help you work out specific issues?

    • I can, I ended a long term relationship with a severely depressed partner. It was hard to leave but felt so good when it was finally over. I feel completely liberated no longer taking on his problems/moods/etc. I didn’t realize how broken I became in that relationship and I’m just now getting back to feeling like my old self again. As much as I feel for him, leaving felt like saving myself. Best of luck to you.

    • Coach Laura :

      No personal experience but I have suggestions. First, he needs in-patient therapy. Obviously, what he’s doing now isn’t helping. He isn’t going to get better without something. I agree about the “tricked” therapists. At the least, he needs to go to therapy and let you go with to explain the day-to-day reality to the therapist.

      Second, you aren’t bad or unfeeling to want to leave, but I think you may need to have someone in your corner too – one who understands depression. So I suggest a therapist for you while you work out whether to leave or not.

      And finally, do your best not let him quit or retire. In fact, I suggest you consult a divorce attorney. If you leave and he isn’t working for a period of time, you may have to pay “maintenance” (alimony) for a long time. All the best.

    • Anon This Time :

      You all are just the best. I’m really grateful for all for the empathy and the excellent advice. I talked to a therapist awhile back, but mostly it was to seek advice on my husband’s condition, not to get support for myself. Monday morning, I’ll make an appointment with my therapist. And call his therapist. And set up a consultation with a divorce attorney to get all my facts in hand. It helps a lot to have a plan . . . thank you, just thanks.

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