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Dear Judging Community:

My son (15) has few responsibilities around the place he shares with me, his father and brother (13):

  1. Keep up with schoolwork.
  2. Take out the trash and recycling.
  3. Keep his room clean.

In return, we don’t harass him, and we give him an allowance.

As he is a 15-year-old boy, you can imagine he is not holding up his end of the bargain.

It’s No. 3 that’s really bothering me at the moment.

Y’all, look:

Those are clean clothes that have been on the floor for more than two weeks.

Well, they aren’t clean anymore, of course.

I know they WERE clean because I dried and folded them.

Lest you thing I regularly do his laundry, let me explain: He put his clothes in the wash, then “forgot” about them. I needed to do laundry, so I finished them up.

I see now I should have just put them in the trash.

We’ve had numerous arguments about this.

He says it’s his room, and he will clean it up when he’s ready.

I say it’s slovenly behavior, and he never should have let it get like this. But as he did, he should clean it up. Now.

So Community, AITA for expecting him to keep his room clean?

Before you answer, one more thing I need to tell you.

He asked for a few of my Oreos, then ate the entire package without a word to me. I found the empty package in the trash.

So. AITA?

Thanks for weighing in,
Beth

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Dear Karen, Georgia and furred colleagues, including Steven,

I’ll get right to it:

I was accepted to a leadership conference hosted by my sorority. I haven’t been involved in the organization since I left college many (many) years ago, but it’s been a tough year, and so I applied.

The organizers sent out a list of roommate assignments.

I’m a grown woman; I didn’t want a roommate.

That is until I Googled my assigned roommate. (I’m a journalist. I research.)

She was a Chi Omega.

At Florida State University.

In 1978.

That’s right, y’all.

My roommate was nearly a victim of Ted Bundy.

He killed the sister next door to her, and the one in the room across the hall.

The police took her door because his fingerprints were on the doorknob. He was interrupted from going in because Nita Neary came home.

My roommate was the one who found Lisa Levy — still alive until she got into the ambulance.

She ended up being deposed three times by that monster who served as his own lawyer.

(You know what Lincoln said: He who represents himself has a fool for a client.)

The focus of the conference was resilience. And Diane McCain is the epitome of resilience. Her Bundy experience led to her becoming a crusader for victim’s rights.

She’s also battled some serious health issues.

In sum, Diane is a badass.

Of course, I offered to help her write a book about her life, or write it for her.

Stay sexy, and say yes to roommates.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Ca Phe Viet (that’s clever, btw),

In America, businesses typically have one focus. The Container Store sells containers. Publix sells groceries. Popeye’s sells (fight-inducing) chicken.

Not you.

I visited your Manchester establishment because you had a half-star rating higher than the other Vietnamese restaurant within walking distance.

Little did I know I would get so much bang for my buck.

I had no idea I’d be able to shop for Asian specialties from the comfort of my chair while slurping up savory Ph. How handy!

See, when I walked up, I thought these three awnings represented three distinct shops.

But no. I could eat lunch, do my grocery shopping AND buy a mobile phone/change my service.

You know what I was surprised I couldn’t get? A glass of water. You know, like regular water with ice in it.

When I asked for water, the server blinked a few times like she was trying to process the word. Then she brought me a mug of hot water.

But I guess you’re great at multitasking: selling calling plans, restocking sriracha, putting the kettle on.

So thanks for forcing me to try new things, such as hot water as a beverage with hot soup. Like you, I’ve branched out.

Kính thư,
Beth

* Thanks, Rick Ross.

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Dear Aggressive Fellow in Office Depot:

I’m not sure I adequately displayed my shock at your approach in the printer ink aisle.

I thought maybe you thought I worked there.

But then when you got very close and asked me if I had a husband or boyfriend, I knew I was wrong.

It was flattering, for sure. Especially as I had my hair piled on top of my head, didn’t have makeup on, and was wearing a Fishbone shirt and raggedy shorts.

But when I said, “Yes,” you were skeptical.

“Are you sure?”

I held up my left hand.

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“But I like you. Are you sure you don’t want to come home with me?”

“I’m sure. Thanks anyway.”

Then you dropped this line:

“I’m Guatemalan.”

OH! Well in THAT case!

But seriously, “a new man” was not on my shopping list.

And I don’t think the lady you were with would have appreciated your activity 10 feet away.

But you did give me a great story to tell, so thanks.

And you do have moxie.

Impressed,
Beth

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Dear Karma,

Sometimes I don’t think you really are a bitch. But then there will be an experience that renews my faith in you.

I had one of those experiences this week.

Or rather, the troublesome 14 year old in my life did.

We shipped Dominic off to stay with cruise friends Patrick, Petra, Ryder and Mia so that Ryder and Dominic could be counselors at a summer camp together.

I didn’t hear from Dominic all week, so I checked in.

So I asked the head camp lady if he could come back in two weeks. She said she would love to have him, but didn’t have anything for him to do. No room on the schedule for him.

I’ve raised a resilient, motivated, intelligent child, right?

Not so fast.

He still has trouble following directions. When to get off the bus, for example.

Also, look at what he did to himself in a bike accident:

How? He was rooting around in his backpack while driving the bike instead of paying attention. The speed bump won.

Anyway, thank you, Karma, for avenging me. For all those times he drove/drives me crazy, thank you for sending a plague of toddlers.

You’re the best.

Back to believing,
Beth

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#TBT to a post I wrote years ago, but holds up well. This is a story all about how … YOU GET A FREAKIN’ JOB!

Observe and report

Captain’s Log: Embarking into hostile environment. Kowalski! We’ll need to win the hearts and the minds of the natives. Rico! We’ll need special tactical equipment. We’re gonna face extreme peril. Private probably won’t survive.

Dear unemployed graduate of the university for which I work:

Congratulations on your achievement one month/one year/three years/10 years (choose one) ago! It is impressive that you were able to get through two years/four years/five years/eight years (choose one) of a degree program designed to help you earn a career, make money, and permanently move out of your old bedroom in your parents’ house.

(If you had a job and were laid off, you can stop reading. This post isn’t for you. It is for the never-employed graduate. Unless, of course, you need a tough-love pep talk. In that case, read on.)

By now, you might be blaming the university for the fact that you don’t…

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This post popped into my mind today because Gideon is a bit like me. So I thought I’d reblog. Don’t worry: I don’t often recycle content. I’m working on a new post about sleep deprivation.

Enjoy!
Beth

Observe and report

image

Dear WebMD:

Thank you for making me feel better last night — eventually. First you scared the crap out of me.

Some background: On the plane ride to New York, I had read an article about a woman with ALS who is working through her bucket list as she prepares for the eventuality of the disease. The article described the symptoms, of course.

Fast forward to last night. Suddenly my left arm started to hurt. And then I felt numbness and tingling in my fingers. Thinking about the article, I started to panic.

Note: My husband sometimes paints me as a hypochondriac. I’m not. I don’t always think there is something wrong with me. On the rare occasions when there IS something wrong with me, I just assume the worst (i.e., a headache is an aneurysm). Anything but that is better, right? So I’m always relieved.

You helped me…

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